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A-to-Z Challenge — Letter W

April 26, 2015

(NOTE: Sundays are normally days off in this challenge, but this section will be in two parts, as it will be long. So I decided to post half tonight and half tomorrow night. Enjoy!)

Wedding Plans and Funerals: Part One

Astraeus Earth Force Station, 2115 A.D.

“Daddy!” Katie Rourke ran across the docking bay and into her father’s outstretched arms. They embraced and Rourke kissed her on the forehead. As she pulled away, she stared at him for a moment. “Daddy, you look so tired. Has this whole thing with Dalia worn you down?”

Rourke wrapped his arms around his daughter’s waist and led her away from Docking and toward the main center of Astraeus. “My sweet, don’t you worry about what has your father so worn out. It’s part of the job description,” he chided.

They continued to walk toward the Galley, chatting away about Dalia and Katie’s life back in New York. As they entered, Rourke led her to a table by the Gardens. Dr. Agarwal stood from her seat and smiled up at Rourke.

“Katie,” he began as he motioned toward the doctor, “You remember, Dr. Ananda Agarwal, I am sure. We are engaged.”

Katie looked back and forth between her father and the doctor, her mouth agape. “You are getting married?” she asked with excitement in her voice.

“We are!” Dr. Agarwal said as she embraced Katie. She let the young girl loose and stepped back. “We haven’t officially announced it yet. There’s just been too much going on.”

Katie was excited for them, but she couldn’t help but think that her best friend wouldn’t be there to help them celebrate. A frown creased her face and she sat down at a table.

“What is it, Katie?” Rourke asked as he sat down beside her and took one of her hands in his.

“Dalia… she would have been so happy for you two,” Katie whispered as she looked up at her father.

Dr. Agarwal squatted down between Rourke and Katie. She placed her hand over theirs and smiled at Katie. “She knows, Katie. You must believe that she is still with us.”

Katie gave the doctor a slight smile. “I do. I just wish…” her voice trailed off.

“We all do, my sweet,” Rourke said as he squeezed her hand. “We will have a proper funeral for her and then you can help Ananda plan the wedding. What do you say?”

Katie nodded and returned her father’s squeeze. “Okay.”

“Good, that’s settled. Do you want to eat or go to your quarters?”

“I am tired. I think I will just take a nap,” Katie decided.

“Okay, Katie. I have some business to attend with Uncle Charles. Ananda is going to show you to your quarters,” he said as he stood up and released both of their hands.

Dr. Agarwal stood up too and offered her hand to Katie. She took it and the two women took turns kissing Rourke on the cheek. Rourke watched as they walked away and then tapped on his link-in.

“Charles, meet me in Command,” he said.

“On my way,” Davies replied.

Rourke left the Galley and made his way through the crowd of people to the secure lift. He got in, punched the button to Command, leaned against the far wall and sighed. He was happy that Katie had finally arrived. He had missed her and even more so now that he’d seen her. He wanted nothing more than to focus solely on her and Ananda, but the business with Murphy and his father Lt. Danton kept eating away at him. He’d been the one to uncover Danton’s alliance with the Makaa. He’d testified at his court martial. He remembered Danton’s two boys sitting in the court room the day they charged their father with high treason. After that, he never heard any more about them or their father. He had a war to fight and no time for sympathy for a trader.

The lift opened and Rourke stepped out and into Command. He went to his desk and sat down. As he turned on his computer, the lift opened again and Davies came in. He crossed the room and sat down across from Rourke.

“What’s up, boss?” Davies asked.

“Katie made it in. Ananda is with her,” Rourke reported. “How are the security plans for the funeral coming along?”

“We are all set. Tomas will led the team. Don’t worry,” Davies said as he watched his friend’s face grow grim.

“I don’t like Murphy running loose on the Station with my daughter here,” Rourke stated.

Davies nodded in agreement. “I don’t like it either, but Tomas won’t let anything happen to any of you. And in two days, that shipment will come in and we will get Murphy.”

Rourke was about to speak again when Shannehey called over Davies link-in. “What is it, Shannehey?” Davies inquired.

“Sir, Jason Murphy just entered Docking Bay 2. I thought you would want to know right away.”

“Follow him, but do not engage!” Davies ordered, then added, “Report back to me if he does anything suspicious.” He ended the call.

Rourke raked his hands through his hair. “This is a mess!” he exclaimed as he looked over at Davies.

“I’ve got Alex Murphy watched, too. If either of them make a move, we will know it,” Davies assured Rourke as he stood up. “I’d better get over to Security and monitor the situation.”

“Okay, keep me posted,” Rourke said. “I have to see about those funeral plans.”

_____________________________________

Shannehey followed Jason Murphy from Docking through Center Square, keeping his distance. The husky-built redhead didn’t seem suspicious as he wandered from shop to shop, sifting through miscellaneous items from the different vendors. He stopped once and chatted with a girl whose father owned a leather goods shop. He picked up a belt, then a key card holder, chatted some more and then went on his way. Shannehey weaved his way through the crowd and almost lost the man, but spotted him again as he turned down a corridor toward the Galley. The man stood at a Welcome Center box flipping through channels and then placed a call. Shannehey clicked on his link-in and entered a code. Alex Murphy’s id showed up on his screen. He wished he could get closer to hear the conversation, but that would probably alert the brother, so he held back behind a large reader board.

Jason Murphy ended the call and headed toward the Galley. Shannehey waited a few moments, then proceeded to follow. As he entered the large cafeteria, he spotted the two brothers sitting at an isolated table to the far right. He got in line at the food bar, purchased a sandwich and a drink, walked left to a table and sat down. He spotted the officer who was assigned to Alex Murphy sitting two tables away, dressed in civilian clothes, but he didn’t acknowledge him. Shannehey wasn’t really interested in the sandwich, but ate it as he kept the brothers in his view. The two men laughed and slapped each other on the shoulders a couple of times and then began talking, their bodies leaned in and their heads nearly touching.

Neither of the two men seemed worried about anyone else around them. Even from his distance across the room, Shannehey could make out hints of the conversation as their voices rose above the other noise in the room.

“You should have seen their faces when the power went out,” Alex laughed.

Jason gave a hearty laugh and Shannehey heard him reply, “I bet they were scared shitless!”

“You think that was something, wait until the funeral….” Alex’s voice trailed off as his voice lowered too much for Shannehey to hear.

Shannehey made eye contact with the other officer and gave a slight nod of his head. He picked up his tray and walked over to the trash center, and then walked out of the Galley. Luckily, there was only one way in and one way out of that place, so he took position behind the same reader board as before and tapped on his link-in. When Davies answered, he stated, “Sir, the brothers are planning something for the funeral tomorrow. I didn’t hear what though.”

“Good job, Shannehey. As long as they are planning, that means they aren’t on to us. Stick with the detail and keep me informed,” Davies remarked and then the call ended.

Moments later, the two brothers walked out of the Galley, laughing and poking one another. The other officer followed behind them, lost in the crowd of people coming and going. When the two men were almost out of sight, Shannehey moved from behind the reader board and picked up surveillance. He spotted the two men as they stepped into a lift along with the other officer. The lift registered Black Sector 5 and Shannehey took the other lift to the same sector. As he got off of the lift, the three men were just entering the Caverns.

Shannehey took off his uniform jacket and undid his undershirt from his pants to hide his laser. He unbuttoned the top two buttons of the shirt and mussed up his hair a bit. He went over to a security locker by the lifts and entered a code. When the door opened, he stuffed his jacket inside. He walked through the Caverns and noticed the three men entering Sparks’ casino. He wasn’t a regular gambler, but Shannehey did play the roulette tables now and again. Hopefully no one would recognize him. He entered the casino, went to the bar and ordered a drink. The other officer sat a poker table and the two brothers were betting on robot boxers near the bar. Shannehey took his drink to the roulette table, and positioned himself with a clear view of the two men. He had a feeling it was going to be a long night.

_______________________________________________

Rourke took his two favorite ladies to an Indian restaurant in Blue Sector 7. His daughter looked rested and relaxed as she sat across from him, dolled up in a lavender dress with her long brown hair falling in ringlets about her shoulders. Ananda was dressed in a turquoise sari that caught the glitter of light with her every movement. Most of her hair was in a tight bun with the exception of one long strand that slid down to her breasts. The two women were stunning and Rourke was the luckiest man in the room. They ordered several vegetarian curry dishes, rice dishes and naan, and then some wine. As they waited for their dinner to arrive, Katie and Ananda chatted away about wedding plans.

“Are you sure you don’t want a traditional wedding?” Katie asked as she lifted her wine glass to take a drink.

“My parents would want one, but Rourke isn’t Hindu and really, I am in name only,” Ananda replied. “My family hasn’t practiced Hindu in decades. We are all scientists and too practical,” she said, laughing.

“But the costumes, the decorations, and the music and dancing!” Katie exclaimed, her voice rising in excitement. “What do you think, Daddy?”

Rourke was lost in thought and only have heard the conversation between the two women. He nearly spilt his wine when Katie addressed him. “Anything is fine with me,” he insisted.

“Oh Daddy! Surely you have some ideas,” Katie prodded.

“You know I am not very traditional, Katie,” Rourke said, then took a sip of his wine.

“But Daddy!”

Ananda chuckled and came to Rourke’s defense. “We just want something simple and quiet with family, Katie.”

“Don’t worry, daughter of mine, you can still have a beautiful dress,” Rourke chided his daughter.

Katie crossed her arms and huffed. “I still want flowers, music and dancing!”

Rourke leaned forward and smiled. “Then you shall have flowers, music and dancing!”

Their food arrived and they continued their light-hearted banter as they ate their curry. Rourke watched the two women intently as he chewed on a piece of naan and grinned. He was grateful that his daughter approved of Ananda. The two women would be good company for one another. They finished their dinner and ordered dessert. When it arrived, Rourke got a call on his link-in.

“Oh no, not tonight, Jeremy,” Ananda said as she placed a hand on his arm.

“It will just be a minute, dear. I am expecting an update. Excuse me, ladies,” he apologized as he rose to his feet. “I will take the call by the door.”

Rourke walked to the restaurant’s entrance and clicked on his link-in. “What’s the update, Charles?”

“Sorry to interrupt your dinner, Jeremy,” Davies said and then gave Rourke his report. “The brothers are tucked in for the night. Apparently they are both drunk and have passed out. Shannehey and Erickson will keep an eye on them until morning.”

“Great… thanks, Charles. See you in the morning then,” Rourke said and ended the call.

He returned to the two women and sat down. “Well, then… where were we?” he asked as he lifted his wine and saluted them.

(Part Two is coming in tomorrow’s challenge!)

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