Friday, March 25, 2011

An Unexpscted Trace - Part 2.

The walk to the confinement area was never a long one, but as Erael's pace settled into it's familiar clanky rhythm against the deck plates it afforded him a few precious moments. Moments he always used to review his quarry and the details of their capture. It helped him stay sharp and consider possible angles his captives might try.

Collins' capture hadn't been all that complicated as most go. Erael had traced him down to a back-water hub that served as the nearest thing to a space port it could manage. Collins had managed to beg and sometimes stow aboard various freight runners and cargo vessels in his attempt to elude capture. But when Erael found him he was penniless and starving. The young fugitive didn't even attempt to put up a fight, or even try to run. Not that he could have, Erael had already established an active perimeter of contingency traps and  blocked exists. So what did the young Terran on run from a nameless colony, barely even beginning to implement terraforming, have planed?

Erael came to a precisely timed stop in his stride to stand a few feet from a thick pair of blast doors that remained sealed. "MIRV, deactivate security doors on confinement, but maintain inner force barriers." Even with the security doors open, inner shielded barriers of solid force prevented anyone from entering into the area or from leaving it. Not even a fusion torch could breach it's barriers. Erael knew, he had tested them himself to ensure it. This way his captives at least had the feeling of being able to attempt their desperate gambits but as many soon learned, Erael Rynn was always in control, and always a step ahead.

With a his of air the doors slid apart to reveal a small chamber that was easily capable of housing close to a dozen fugitives. At present however only one graced it’s confines, a single thin and haggard young man with scruffy blonde hair and dirt-stained tan skin. Collins was easily only a couple inches shorter than Erael but the tired Terran had to be at least 50 pounds lighter. The harsh life of a colonist hadn’t been too kind to him, and coupled with malnutrition from his time on the run had worn the young man down.

“MIRV, recall profile of one Collins, case number 5234-b. Cross reference with anything our fugitive says and alert me.” Erael always like to use this procedure to let his captives know that if they tried to lie, he would know. It was best, he thought, to be blatantly up front. They were caught, and he would not allow any conceived notions that he would be a push over, even if he often used non-lethal force. After a short pause, Erael looked the fugitive in the eyes, “alright Collins, go ahead.”

Nervously Collins fiddled with his fingers, his eyes darting around, unable to conceal fear. “You have to believe me, I never did it. See, I had just arrived a couple months back and shortly after I lost my wife and our newborn infant. We we’re trying to make a start and thought joining the colony would allow us to not only do that but also have a hand in building not just home but something more. Something we would know our kids and grandkids could live, and grow to add to and appreciate what we had started for them.” Collins paused to repress tears and then shook his head, trying to continue. “But without them, well I got behind, debts mounted and I started to isolate myself. When the supply depot was destroyed, they immediately presumed it had been robbed and that I must have been a part of it. They cited my debts and less than friendly demeanor and before I knew it everyone was hunting me. I barely made it off world. Please, you have to believe me. If you take me back there I am a dead man, they already decided it.”

Not completely heartless, Erael measured a momentary pause, then broke the silence. “Sorry, Collins, none of my affair. What goes on between you and them is just that; between you and them. My job is to bring you in and I’ll do just that. You might want to get yourself ready, we should be back to your colony site within a few hours.”

Jumping from his seat Collins exploded; “that’s impossible! It should take most of a day, or more to make it back!”

“Not for me.” Erael replied as he turned back to face MIRV. “Make the preparations MIRV, let’s shut these doors and get back to work.” After the doors were safely closed again, the Vel-Teh tracer looked up at his floating friend. “He never lied did he?”

“No, sir. He did not. According to all records and accounts he told the truth as best we can tell.”

“Alright, it’s their business. Let’s leave to them to sort it out.”