“Him, I don’t need. Throw him in the brig with the others. Her? Yes, her I want. Detain her in holding unit A34, and await my instructions for interrogation. Also, get me a report on the prisoner in C29 – he’s refusing to eat his rations.”
Allarias sighed as she blazed her way through processing. “Place is a goddamn mess,” she muttered to herself. The walls of her starship might have constituted an immaculate, pristinely white environment, but the people inside it were awash from all the shores of thuggery and ill breeding in the galaxy.
Her communicator began to chime. Great, just the thing she needed.
“This is Allarias. Go ahead.”
“Captain, we are being hailed.”
Allarias raised her eyebrows at the thought of another ship in the sector. “By whom, lieutenant?”
“A modified CFS Volk II, Captain. Callsign Outreach.”
She closed her eyes in frustration.
“I’ll be on the bridge shortly. Lieutenant, I’ll leave you to finish with these prisoners. Standard operational protocol.”
The captain straightened out her uniform and brushed off her chevrons. What was the Outreach doing here?
The atmosphere on the bridge was one of chaos. Prisoner transfer was always a hectic process, with more room for error than Allarias liked, but the UEEF always insisted on doing things by the book.
She took a deep breath and gave the order.
“Open a channel to the Outreach.”
The vidscreen crackled to life. Swoob’s hamfistedly cheery countenance greeted the captain.
“Captain Allarias! So, er, good to see you again!”
A pall of silence fell over the comms channel.
“Are you ready to turn yourselves in, Swoob?”
“Turn ourselves in? Why, what for, Captain?”
“Let me think. Violations of interplanetary borders, galactic larceny, dealings with known criminals…”
Swoob’s face began to sink. His false smile was eroding ever-faster into a dismal frown.
“…ownership of false docking permits, illegal vessel modifications, illegal possession, intent to buy, intent to sell…”
She paused as Swoob’s pleasant composure all but evaporated.
“…shall I go on?”
“No, captain, I think you’ve made yourself very clear…”
“Good, because in five minutes, my runabouts will be on their way back to my ship, with you and your vessel in tow. Do you know where you’ll be headed after that?”
Swoob opened his mouth to speak, but words were not forthcoming.
“Well, I suppose you do. Commander An’adu, prepare to – ”
“Captain, wait,” Swoob interjected.
Allarias glared at him.
“Last words, perhaps?”
“No, captain. We have Kalthrax.”
Allarias shot a glance towards her commander. Kalthrax? How did Swoob manage to wrangle him? She gave Commander An’adu a clandestine nod.
“Captain… the Remian isn’t here on the Outreach. You know there’s only one person who could deliver him to you.”
An’adu covertly asked for new orders, but Allarias had none.
“Cunning, Swoob,” she chided. “And I suppose because you know something, you expect me not to arrest you on the spot?”
“Well that depends, doesn’t it, captain?” Swoob slouched backwards in his chair, prepping his legs up on the base of the holocomm. “Which would help you sleep better – knowing we were behind bars, or Kalthrax?”
Allarias gritted her teeth. “Close the channel, ensign.”
The captain stood up from her chair and stormed her way past her fellow officers. “Commander, meet me in my office in five minutes. There is something we need to discuss.”