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A-to-Z Challenge — Letter I

April 11, 2015

Interlopers
Astraeus Earth Force Station, 2115 A.D.

Rourke contacted Davies on his way to Command. By the time he arrived, Davies was waiting inside with Kerchev. Both men stared at Rourke when he entered and Davies snickered at Rourke’s tux.

“I guess we all know what you were doing when Kerchev called,” Davies said, still laughing.

Rourke rolled his eyes. “Give it a rest. What you got, Kerchev?”

Kerchev sat up his computer and opened a video file. “I got to thinking, sirs, what if I could trace who moved those crates of artifacts from S&R to the Caverns. So I’ve been scouring the security vids for the last few hours. And I saw this,” he said, as he sent the video into the air and played it.

The video showed three figures in hooded red robes being led away by someone in a black hooded jumper. The four men moved from Dockbay 6 and then the vids picked them up again heading toward the Caverns. From the angle of the video’s feed, you couldn’t see their faces.

“I don’t get it. Yeah, it looks suspicious, but you can’t even see their faces,” Davies said.

“Not in these two vids, but I was able to pick them up again just before they entered the Caverns,” Kerchev said. He pulled up another video feed and played it. “There!” he shouted as he pointed to one of the figures in the red robe who turned around for a mere second.

“I can’t make his face out,” Rourke stated as he stared intently at the scene.

Kerchev zoomed in on the face and froze the frame. A bug-eyed Makaa stood staring almost straight into the camera. Rourke pulled the video closer to him, studying the face. He couldn’t tell if this Makaa was a worker or militant.

“Is this the only shot you have from the four of them? Nothing on the man in the black jumper?” Davies asked.

“No, sir. I searched every video we had from S&R to the Caverns and this was the only one that showed a face.”

Rourke clapped a hand over his mouth and swore. “Just what we need, bastardly Makaa running around on our Station!”

“Sirs, I found something else. Remember when you asked me to keep an eye on Marshall?”

“Yes, yes of course,” Rourke retorted, agitated.

“Well, sirs… he’s been sending messages to someone in Florida over the secure line.”

“Did you trace it?” Davies asked.

“It’s impossible to trace, sir. The secure line only gives a general location. It’s a failsafe mechanism built into the system.”

“Damn it!” Rourke yelled as he paced back and forth. He stopped in front of Davies. “You need men down in that bloody Cavern searching for those Makaa!”

Davies pulled Rourke over to a corner of the room. “Jeremy, why don’t you go take a shower and change. I’ve got this,” he said, whispering so that Kerchev couldn’t hear them.

Rourke nodded. “Okay, okay,” he said, allowing his anger to subside. He patted Davies on the shoulder and turned back to Kerchev. “Good work, Kerchev. Keep monitoring Marshall and keep checking security vids from around the Caverns in case any of those Makaa surface again.”

When Kerchev left the room, Rourke sat down and looked up at Davies. “Ambassador Amon arrives tomorrow. His people and the Makaa are enemies. You need to find them tonight.”

“Shit! I hope they aren’t here to cause trouble… or worse,” Davies said, standing near the Command Center entrance.

“Worse how?”

“An assassination attempt on the Ambassador’s life,” Davies proposed.

Rourke slumped back in his chair. “But only you and I, and of course, the Ambassador know about his visit.”

“I don’t think we can trust the usual channels anymore, Jeremy. If you need to contact anyone off-Station, you’d better use the secure line.”

Rourke sighed. “You are right. And I think from now on you need to call me directly on my link-in instead of the intercom in case it is compromised too.”

“Agreed,” Davies said. “I need to get my team down in the Caverns. You look like hell, Jeremy. Go get that shower.”

___________________________________

Davies assembled his team in the Security Office. He motioned for Bruin, Shannehey and Tomas to come to the front of the room with him. He tapped on his computer and pulled up the frozen frame of the Makaa individual.

“Listen, officers. We have three unauthorized Makaa down in the Caverns. I don’t need to tell you all how dangerous it is to have those insect-like aliens on board this Station. Some of you were in the war with me. You know the damage even a few of them can do. We need to do a full sweep of the place… tonight!” He turned to the three men standing beside him. “Bruin, Shannehey and Tomas, I want you each to take a team of ten officers and search that damn place from tent to tent. Find me those damn aliens!”

The three teams, all suited up and armed, filed out of the Security Center. Davies turned to his remaining officers. “As for the rest of you, you are all on security detail. I want every entrance in and out of the Caverns covered. Check every id. Anyone coming or going in that place is suspect. Anyone without an id, put them in interrogation. I will deal with them,” he said, his face angered. “Now, GO!” Davies yelled.

The officers hurried out of the room, scattering to their various posts. Davies went to his office and sat down in his chair. He pulled out the desk drawer and withdrew a bottle of whiskey. He took a couple of gulps and then put the bottle back in the drawer. It was going to be a long night.

(more to come in tomorrow’s challenge!)

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