The runabout had not landed far from Jazo’s location. Jazo turned to Kalthrax and his cronies, who were sitting restrained in the adjoining engineering chamber. The Remians met his glance with loathsome scowls. In that instant, Jazo knew he had all the friends in the world.
Kalthrax was red in the face. He was no longer in any mood to mince words.
“You are going to die. I am going to kill you.”
Jazo calmly sealed the hatch to the engineering chamber, muffling the rough voice of his antagonist. An ineffable tranquility fell over docking bay 94 of the Mu’azadi.
He knew that there was only one person that could have been piloting the nearby shuttle. The hull was PFIA, the engine signature was PFIA, the markings were PFIA – there was no mistaking it. It was Captain Allarias of the Protectorate for the Federation of Intergalactic Alliances, and she would have Jazo to thank for bringing three of the most notorious criminals in the inner rim galaxies to justice.
Though, if Allarias had her way, she’d be turning in more than just the three Remians.
The clack of a uniformed PFIA officer’s footwear echoed throughout the whitewashed corridors of the Mu’azadi, and it seemed as though the entire station fell silent in reaction. Jazo felt the air around him begin to still, and the footsteps soon ceased as quickly as they had come. A rush of cold air washed over him as the access port to docking bay 94 flew open. The propulsion system of the Mu’azadi let out a low hum as the space station engaged its autonomous orbital self-correction subroutine.
Captain Allarias stepped forward, clasping her hands behind her back. Every step she took, she took with measured precision. The plasmolescent lights bathed the chevrons on her neatly pressed command suit in a rutilant glow.
Jazo cocked his head to one side and put his left hand on his hip, casually slacking his weight as he idly grasped the threads of his fraying jumpsuit.
The two spacers stood silently on the docking platform.
She was carrying a single particle blaster at her side. It was holstered – safe and out of the way. Suddenly, Swoob’s arsenal didn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.
“Where is he, Jazo? Allarias asked.
Jazo’s eyes widened in disbelief. “‘Where is he,’ you ask?”
Allarias sighed. “Yes, Jazo. That’s what I’m asking. Tell me where he is.”
“Where is he…”
“Damnit, Jazo. Am I talking to the wall? I’m not here to play games.”
“No, of course not. It’s just, all this time, and that’s the first thing you could think of to say to me, Allari?”
“Very funny, Klar.” She reached into her utility belt and pulled out a small credit chit, holding it up for Jazo to see. “Let’s just get this over with.”
“What, and take off so soon after you came all this way to see me?”
She folded her arms. “Right, how could I forget? I took sixteen billion quinlars’ worth of PFIA property and labor to an out-of-the-way space station just to meet with you.”
Jazo smiled. “There she is!”
Allarias gave him a sarcastically sheepish grin. “Yes, and you’ll get to see her a lot more when you’re behind a set of duro-meteorium bars.”
Jazo began to walk over to the engineering chamber. “That just might be worth it, you know…”
He stopped as he looked back at the Captain, shaking his head.
“But it won’t be today.”
With a few clicks on the keypad, the hatch to the engineering chamber flew open. Jazo outstreached his arm, framing the small enclosure with a grandiose gesture.
Allarias intently looked inside the chamber. Several seconds passed before she spoke.
“Jazo, I’m getting tired of asking this…”
“Where is Kalthrax?”