Approx. 1900 words
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 SJ
written by SJ
Lana’s team had been allowed to carry some weapons: She had her 9.1s, with optional silencers, Ramcke had a 13mm auto pistol, all which were kept in the trunk of their rented car until needed. Jennifer had a smaller version of her Staff, which was about the size of a small cane, and could be collapsed down to one-third its size and hooked on her belt. Her normal Staff was kept in the trunk.
The next day, they met at a small café, Jennifer discussing what she had seen the previous night. “The back of their mansion has a large pool, but there’s almost no water in it. And the yard has not been kept up. I saw you guys go to the door; I assume nobody answered. I stayed until midnight until you guys came and got me. Nobody came or left. And I didn’t sense any WARP aura. Of course, if all they have are some WARP Worms, I can’t sense that unless I’m right next to them.”
“This morning,” Lana began, “I called the lawyer: He’s a Tau by the name of Tal’far Rani’fay esquire. I called his firm, and his home. No one has seen or heard from him for three days. His wife is worried.”
“That sounds ominous,” Hank mentioned the obvious. The two women looked at him, waiting for him to continue, which, at first he wasn’t going to; then he thought of something. “Maybe we should check to see if there’s another place S’hawna and Randal might be. Another piece of property...maybe a resort, or a cabin in the woods.”
Hank had light-brown, medium-length, hair. Jennifer smiled and put her hand on his shoulder. “Well, you’re not just the dumb blond of the group after all.”
The next place Lana and Hank went was city hall. They had contacted the Governor first, which made it easier to get any public records pertaining to the couple. Jennifer had been sent back to her usual place to keep an eye on the mansion.
However, the mansion turned out to be the only piece of property either S’hawna or Randal owned. There was a mention about them having part ownership in a hovercraft repair shop. But, that was all. Lana got the phone number to the repair shop and called, but it was a weekend and they were closed.
After thinking for about a minute, Lana then got the records for the lawyer, Rani’fay, but found out all he owned was a home in a nice part of town.
At this point, it was beginning to seem like the only thing they could do was wait and watch...see if the couple comes home.
But, Lana began considering doing something a little more covert, like trying to break into the mansion so she could look around, something that might get her into trouble if she got caught; plus, if there WAS a hostile ogryn inside, she could end up in a very dangerous situation. As they left city hall, she noticed that the address to the repair shop was on the way, so she decided to pay a visit.
The hovercraft repair shop was located behind a large warehouse, which was closed also. In front, the shop looked normal, like no one was there. In the back--there was a large hole in the wall.
Lana and Hank went inside and looked around just after they called the police. The hole in the wall looked like it had been busted from the outside in, then from the inside out, making a much larger hole, but not by an explosion. They didn’t see any vehicles under repair, but Hank mentioned it looked like they had been working on one. When the police arrived, the incident was turned over to them.
Lana and Hank joined Jennifer at the place she was stationed to overlook the mansion, bringing lunch. While eating, Lana thought about the repair shop; there was just something about the hole in the wall that bothered her. During lunch, they got a call.
It was the lawyer’s wife, worried. “Did you find him. Oh, this is Tal’far’s wife. I was just wondering...” She sighed.
“No, I’m sorry, we haven’t” Lana answered.
“I’m sorry to bother you.” She sighed. “The police haven’t found him yet either.”
“No, don’t be sorry.” Lana tried to be comforting. Then she remembered something, a long shot question. “Do you know if your husband had a place in the country or the mountains, like a cabin, or something?”
There was a delay...then the woman spoke, remembering. “Well, a couple months ago, he went to a place in the country with a couple clients. I remember he mentioned one of them was Terran: Rand. He called him, Rand.”
“Do you know where that place is at?” Lana’s investigative confidence was restored.
“Oh...oh, I don’t know.” It sounded like she was getting ready to cry. “Do you think he could’ve been taken there? Ohhh...I don’t know where. WAIT...”
Lana waited, hearing on the other end of the phone desk doors being opened and closed and objects being moved and dropped.
Then she returned to the phone, excited, but still worried. “I found it...I found it.” Rani’fay’s wife proceeded to give Lana the address (a rural route), and then directions, reading them off a note. She sighed. “There’s no phone number.” It sounded like she was going to cry again. “Do you think he’s there? I hope he’s alright?”
“I don’t know. We’re on our way there, now.”
“Do you want me to called the police?”
“You can, but I don’t know what they can do.” Lana sighed. “This address is in another District, and so far, all we have is a hunch.”
“Okay. Thank you...” The woman hung up.
Lana sat thinking.
“Are we going?” That was Hank.
“I’m just not sure if I should leave someone here.” Then she decided. “No, we’ll all go.” Lana began showing Hank the directions. “You drive.”
“Like a bat out of hell.”
“Yep...but, only if there’s no civilian traffic.” They began getting into the hover car. “I’m going to call Melinda and see if she can have any planetary police on call...and any medical.”
The rolling hills estates was on the edge of town. There was a road that went through the hills, then out into the country. If Rani’fay’s wife hadn’t given them these directions, they might not have found it. It was going to save at least an hour.
Terra Aurigae had 21 hours in a day, 502 days in a year, with a gravity of 1.08G. However, they were too busy to notice any of it. By the time they reached, what looked like a farm, it was evening. Thankfully, Lana had the good sense to bring their Scout optics with them.
There was a modest farmhouse, a barn, a couple silos, and another building that looked a little out of place. There were no crops at all, the season long past. They parked their hover car back out of sight, then proceeded to sneak in the best they could. This time, they were armed. Jennifer still had Marcellus’ old 11mm pistol, which he had told her to keep.
The farm was fairly large, with plenty of trees and bushes for cover. The barn seemed to have a dim light in it, which Lana decided to check last, with all of them together. The farmhouse was closed up like nobody had lived there in several months. Hank checked the silos and found them empty. Lana and Jennifer checked the out-of-place building, which turned out to be a place to rent recreational vehicles, with an office in front. In the back were several old-style ATVs, and a motorcycle.
In front of the office, all three of them met and planned their approach to the barn. Lana’s bio-scan picked up three life forms, which was good news. That meant the lawyer could still be alive.
“Lana.” Hank got the team leader’s attention without being too loud about it.
Then there was a light around them as an older, middle-aged, Terran, man with a flash light spoke, his voice loud. “What the hell are you kids doing here, again?”
Lana was just about to tell the man to be quiet.
“Hey, wait, you’re not the same group that was here a week ago. But, it doesn’t matter–-this is private property!” He shouted.
“Please...be quiet.” Lana tried to be calm as she pointed at the barn. “I think there’s some dangerous people over there--”
“What? In the barn?” The man was unconvinced.
Lana thought of something. “Do you know who owns this place?”
“Yes...and I KNOW it’s not ANY of YOU.”
Suddenly the lights went out in the barn, followed by some noise.
The man made a sound of frustration, then started walking toward the barn.
“No...don’t go over there.” Lana warned, not really knowing exactly what to do, not having faced a situation like this before.
“I saw those lights go out.” He continued to walk. “The rest of your group is hiding over there just like the last group tried to do. The office for renting ATVs won’t be open for another month...and, NO, you can’t borrow one now!”
“Stop, don’t go over there--let me explain.” Lana began searching for her Space Marine ID.
The man spoke, threatening, as he quickly walked to the barn. “I’m going to give you guys one chance to get out of here before I call the District authorities.”
Lana made a decision. She told the other two members of her team to catch up to the man, don’t let him open the barn door even if they had restrain him, while she called, Melinda. They needed help from the authorities themselves--fast.
The man still believed that Lana and her team were just some trespassers, and by what he’d just said, something like this had happened not too long ago.
Lana was following about ten steps behind the other three, trying to reach Melinda on her com. By the time Ramcke had reached the man, he was just about ready to open the barn door; then a small object rolled underneath.
The Tau had different types of grenades. One was a EMP grenade, which was good for shorting out electrical equipment. They had another type of grenade, which, in effect, shorted out a nervous system. Some were deadly. When the grenade went off, Jennifer, Hank, and the man slumped to the ground, out cold. Lana had dropped to her hands and knees, still partially awake, affected by the bomb less so than the others. As she tried to get up, she was grabbed by two people.
She staggered, barely able to walk, but was surprised with herself when she was able to leg sweep the person on her right, who fell to the ground. She then broke free from the other person and pushed her down.
Lana couldn’t see clearly, her motor functions still impaired. She tried to run, but her legs gave way and she found herself on her knees. Then someone put her in a choke hold; in a few seconds she passed out.