Saturday, 3 March 2012

Race Against Time

So two friends sit across from each other in a deserted bar, two drinks between them. Over some general chit chat and the drinks an understanding is reached over a subject. A little confession, revelation and a laugh. A little conspiracy. A secret is revealed by one of them, a secret which may have drastic consequences for one, maybe both of them. Certainly for a lot of innocent people, and maybe some who are not so innocent. A deal is struck, a price agreed upon, there is no need to shake hands, no gentlemens agreement. Women dont need it. Especially not these two. So they go on their way and one of them thinks long and hard about the secret, as it is her secret to keep. The other uses her connections to look for the secret. But secrets have a life of their own, they need to be told, they will someone to tell them. Or failing that, they will someone to find it and steal it.

She sat behind the desk and looked at the people before her. Three Serpentis and two Gurista, the best on her staff at locating people. And all three had drawn blanks. Their searches through the networks and information superhighways had been covert, penetrating and revealing. Leads a plenty, but all leading to dead ends. It was as if the person just simply did not exist. She slammed her fist on the table.
"I know she exists. I know it's not a lot to go on but we have to find her."
"Not a lot to go on? You gave us a name. One name. Amongst trillions."
"So what leads do you have?"
"We got shit. Everything is years old. A crew listing from a skirmish in gallentey space where a freighter was torpedoed has a Toria Mariska as a passenger. Three days later a Tania Makisra appears on a list of people arrested on Caldari for political dissent."
"You got the name of the prison?"
"Yes, but the prisoner was gone two days later, escaped."
"What else? The only solid thing we have is the one we thing we all believe is a plant.
Carmilla sighed and poured a glass of quaffe and leaned back in her chair and gestured for them to continue.

"Two weeks ago a Matari named Jias Ginare was added to the watch list of two seperate intelligence concerns."
Carm sat up and put her glass down, an eager look on her face.
"But you didn't search on that name, right?"
"That's right. So, we ignored it and moved on, making sure we left our tracks on similar searches and went back and started looking around, real quite like. Someone had been there before us. Someone had changed the name."
"That we can determine, one of the intelligence concerns. The buffer patterns still held the original name, as it was a security encrypt you can't totally delete it. So, we added you onto the watch list."
One of the hackers keyed in the terminal to his datapad and tapped away bringing up a four split window of a hotel.
"Looks like one of the rat traps in Pator. I just came back from there. What is this?"
"Current surveillance on Jias Ginare.... and, this is the person they are looking at."
He clicked several freeze frame pictures of a woman at a large computer console array, definately a brutor, and as the last frame showed a close of of the woman looking out of the window Carmilla looked into a familiar face.
"By the sacred teats of the Empress. It was true."

Tira Mariska sat at the expansive computer console array and looked at the door when she heard the knocking sound. She wasn't expecting anyone, anyone friendly that was. Picking up the pistol by the keyboard she slipped over to the door and looked through the eyehole.
"A geisha?" she whispered to herself.
Padding back to the computer she tapped a few keys and checked the security cameras she had placed and cursed loudly. People were coming up the elevator with poorly concealed weaponry, and front and back stairs were blocked. The sound of gunfire had her pointing her weapon at the door. There was the knocking at the door, more frantic this time.
"Open the fucking door...."
A window smashed and a stun grenade rolled across the floor and for a moment everything went white for Tira. More glass smashed and she fired her pistol wildly to where she thought the window was.....

The door burst in and the geisha surveyed the room quickly. Target down, four hostiles. She started moving, her pistols flying fowards and being replaced by two blades from forearm sheaths, screaming as she leapt at the surprised men.

Tira came around slowly then looked up into the painted face of the woman she had seen through the door. Her hand instinctively went for her pistol.
"Who the hell are you, painted lady?"
"I'm a friend of the family so to speak and trying to get you out of this. What the hell did you do to warrent all this attention?"
Tira was pulled up to her feet, the geisha ignoring the pistol pointed at her. She held a hand up to her ear and went and peered around the door corner
"I need an out. What do you have?"
She pulled her head back as the door frame exploded from the shell fire down the corridor. Tira watched as the geisha nodded and slipped her weapons away.
"You, if you got anything you need to take with you get it, we're leaving in thirty seconds."
"I'm not going anywhere until you tell me who the hell you are!"
"I'm a friend of your sisters. Those people out there are trying to get you for something, but hurry up. We have to go."
"No. I can't leave this stuff!"

The geisha sighed and rubbed her temples then went over to the console and removed the memeory chips and handed them to Tira. Tira never saw how the fire started as she was too busy pocketing the chips and found herself being dragged at a run towards the window. She screamed as the two of them smashed through the glass and out into the air while a dull whump transformed the rooms interior into a fireball. As they fell they geisha laughed.

Tira woke up on a sandy beach and looked around shocked. Four women in various states of undress were running up and down the beach and falling into the water, laughing and screaming. The sun was high in the sky, the water looked inviting and she sat up and pulled her legs towards her and held them while she tried to work out what was going on. One of the women broke away and walked over to her. Even without the kimono and makeup she recognised the geisha.
"Who are you? And why did you bring me here?"
"I told you, I'm a friend of your sisters."
"I dont' have a sister anymore."
"You do. She's on her way here to see you. Took us a while to track you down. I'm guessing you were the one who managed to clean away all the references to yourself?"
"Yes. I like my privacy."
"I dont, my life is an open book."
The woman sat down next to her and held out a hand.
"Carmilla D'morenta. Welcome to my island."
"Tira Mariska. When can I leave?"
"When you meet your sister."
A shuttle flew overhead and landed beyond the sanddunes.
"Once you talk, you can go anywhere you want, my ships are at your disposal if you dont want to go with her."
Carmilla slapped her on the shoulder and grinned.
"And I'll get my techs to show you how we found you. Was a race against time for a while, but I like to win every now and then."

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