Tager’s eyes swam in the darkness; slowly they translated dim ambiance from holes in the ratty corners of the room into dim illumination. Dark blobs moved towards him.
“Tager!” Jumondo’s big, thick voice interrupted the stream of unlucky events. “You made it!” A furry hand bumped his arm, found his shoulder, and gave it a friendly shake.
Tager smirked, and imagined it translated into his voice. “Success. Is Olper here?”
“Yes,” came the tribesman’s response.
“And others,” Jumondo explained.
Tager again swept the room with his eyes; the darkness harbored three or four other shadows that could have been humanoids. “What is this place?”
“Waiting room,” Jumondo answered.
“Should’ve brought a magazine.” Tager twisted around, bringing his head as close to his bottom as possible, relieved the darkness shrouded his ludicrous activity. “At least we’re all here!” Hopefully Gator could pick that up. “No sign of a doctor, though.”
They’d have to wait if they wanted to catch the big fish.
It was a whole other day before the homing beacon moved. So much for being in a rush.
After some deliberation, Crimson had called her crew back together. They couldn’t storm in and rescue the others without alerting Lomblurrg that something was awry. According to Gator’s reading of the conversation in the slaver’s building, it seemed they were waiting to be transferred to another facility, probably off world. Micron was assigned to discover whatever he could about the building. The old police android nodded, doubled over, and skidded away on his retractable wheels. Rival’s sensors indicated the credentials had also been stored somewhere nearby and they hadn’t moved either.
Crimson’s leaking dread, turned to frustration as time dragged on. Unsure of the slaver’s move she risked splitting her own meager ground force, sending Andross and Clidjitt back with Gator. The Megladyte and the Brev would be needed on the seedship if anything crazy took place, between the sensor readings or the prisoner transfers. Andross was to come back ASAP. If they needed to perform a high speed vehicle chase, she wanted the Boatman and the MiPie flying it.
In the end they had plenty of time.
Micron reported that the prisoners were likely stowed in a container pod on the building’s west side. A freight skiff would likely carry the pod off to its next destination. It didn’t look space-proof.
Micron saw the freight skiff first.
“I have a possible container carrier inbound,” reported the android, his voice crackling through the voicechip—the constant snow storms wreaked havoc with the ‘chip connections.
Crimson was seated in the cockpit of the Boatman. She ‘burst the Rival. “Look alive. Seems like we have movement.”
Clidjitt’s voice came back. “Prepped and ready.”
“Have a look at shipping schedules. See if you can spot any transport launches coming up.”
She ‘chipped the rest of the ground crew. “Be ready.”
Micron had a calm voice. Android’s didn’t tend to come high-strung. For a sentient synthetic lifeform he’d chosen an interesting life. Probably a century or two old, she couldn’t guess his motivations. But as the matter-of-fact reports rolled in, she was stoically glad the camouflaged reconnaissance droid was their eye-on-the-ground.
He ‘chipped, “It’s definitely our carrier: short range zero-g freight skiff; a Tivan 4-7. We’re probably looking for a transport or cargo pad with 25 kilometers.”
Crimson grit her teeth.
Micron confirmed, “They have the pod. They’re moving.”
“Get back here, everyone. They’re going off-world. We’ll track them from the Rival.”