“Keep watch,” Lucy said. “I’ll take the scans.”
“Sure,” Farah said. She took her post while Lucy climbed over the portable railing that had been thrown up to mark the zone as an investigation site.
It didn’t take long for zoilun authorities to hurry over.
“Lucy,” Farah called. “They’re coming over.”
“Try chatting with them,” Lucy said.
“Excuse me,” One said. “You can’t be in there.”
“Oh,” Farah said. “Sorry, we’re not from around here and we just wanted to look around. Are you peace keepers?”
“Ma’am, your friend is going to have to get out of there,” the officer insisted. His companion moved towards Lucy.
“Hey, that’s a crime zone!” she said. She moved to grab Lucy.
“Quiet!” Lucy ordered. “I’m almost done with my investigation here.” Her voice was imperious and commanding.
The zoilun officer stepped back, startled. “The akumillian voice,” her partner muttered. “You still have to leave.”
Lucy stood up. “All right, I got what I needed. Let’s go.”
Farah hurried to follow her, nodding at the authorities.
“Please tell me you found something and we didn’t create a scene for nothing,” Farah said.
“Who do you think you’re talking to?” Lucy asked, smirking. “Of course I found something.”
“Really?” Farah asked. “Something they missed?”
“Something they have no way of knowing,” Lucy corrected. “The bomb’s composition was odd, inefficient. If the maker has access to certain materials, materials any akumillian could get from home, they could’ve caused more destruction.”
“Are you talking about Dodonlium?” Farah asked.
Lucy nodded. “From the traces I found, the bomb was made up of elements that can be readily found on Earth.”
“You think it was the alliance?” Farah asked.
“It would make sense,” Lucy said. “They are close to all out war with Akumil. They’d love to see Gauriel Prime turned into a battle zone.”
“So we tell the zoiluns,” Farah said. “They’ll understand.”
“Perhaps,” Lucy said. “But I’d like to contact Mestofilius first. See if we can find the real saboteurs.”
“Done with your call?” Farah asked.
Lucy nodded. “According to Mestofilius, the only ship that’s left planet since the bombing has been our own shuttle.”
“Which means they’re still on the planet!” Farah declared. “We just have to find them.”
“Tell me,” Lucy said. “If you were sent to try and sow discord like this, how would you try to escape?”
“Well, you wouldn’t want to leave on an akumillian craft,” Farah said. “I guess I’d try to hitch a ride with off-worlders.”
“Precisely,” Lucy said. “Right now, that means us.”
“You think they’ll contact the Cerberus?” Farah asked.
“No,” Lucy answered. “I think they’ll know who we are and won’t trust us. Plus our ship is still in orbit and they’d be noticed if they approached the shuttle. They’ll wait until someone else shows up.”
“Well, we can always alert the akumillian authorities to keep watch,” Farah suggested.
“Or we can catch them,” Lucy said. “We know they’ll be somewhere where they can monitor space port activity in secret. Which narrows down our options considerably.”
“You probably already have a map of the area,” Farah said.
“Had it loaded to my hand held,” Lucy said. “Cursory glance suggests three likely areas.”
“Then let’s roll!” Farah exclaimed.
“Nothing,” Lucy muttered. She and Farah had just finished checking the third place. “I don’t understand. Where could they be hiding?” She brought up the map and studied it, closely. Her yellow eyes wide open.
“Can I see?” Farah asked.
“I don’t think you’ll notice anything I missed,” Lucy said.
“But would it hurt to let me try?” Farah asked.
“Knock yourself out,” Lucy said. She handed the hand held to Farah.
“Maybe they’re in the mountain,” Farah suggested. “It has caves and it’s overlooking the port.”
“Not a chance,” Lucy said. “Any equipment they had would be readily detected.”
“Not if they’re using a battery-powered heating unit and observing traffic with a telescope or high-powered binoculars,” Farah argued.
“But they wouldn’t be able to look up information on the ships and their crews,” Lucy said.
“Maybe they don’t have to,” Farah suggested. “Maybe they’re waiting for someone specific.”
Lucy scratched her chin. “Why didn’t I consider that?” She reached up and gently tapped Farah’s shoulder. “Let’s check it out.”
“Four of them,” Lucy said. “You shoot the sentry, I’ll toss in a smoke bomb. After that, I’ll run in. You wait out here and take fire at any who try to escape.”
“Understood,” Farah agreed. She took aim.
“Go,” Lucy whispered.
Farah fired, hitting the mark directly in the forehead. Lucy ran in under the cover of the smoke. Farah could hear blaster fire and a rush. She watched and waited. Then, everything went silent. Lucy walked out, dragging a woman who was quite short for a human, but still a bit taller than Lucy.
“We need a survivor to answer questions,” Lucy explained. “You tie her up. I’ll contact Mestofilius to come and get her. And then this little mission will be over.”