Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Ghosts (Part 12)

His dinner reservations were off. For at least the next month. At a minimum. In all likelihood, his dinner plans were off for the next few years. If he was lucky. Other possibilities were that he may never have dinner again, soon. Perhaps he would get dinner, from the bad side of a jail cell. Which, given the other things that could happen to him, didn't seem all that bad. There was the chance that, if things turned out bad enough, he could just be executed.

These thoughts were what ran through his head as he vaguely listened to his superior. Back stiff, and arms folded behind it, he was doing his best to nod at all the right moments, and apologize where it was appropriate. The entire conversation had probably been going on for nearly half an hour now, and Gideon wasn't entirely sure that he was going to hear the end of it.

Of course, had their positions been reversed, he would have been doing the same to the Moff. Individuals of such power were entitled to such moments of shaming, especially with a mistake so large as this. A Hutt dying was one thing, a thing that was bound to send the region into chaos for at least a few weeks while the cartels settled everything. But one being killed in such a way that shifted blame onto the Galactic Empire, while said Empire was trying to make a deal with them no less, was much worse.

It made their operations less safe, less efficient, and was bound to slow their supply lines until the Hutts were appeased again. So now he was going to be read the riot act until his superior was pleased. After that, depending on how poorly this shook out, he might be lucky to see the Core Worlds again. If anything, he best get used to these slums.

"And all crew and soldiers in the area have been properly vetted," the Moff was asking.

He nodded, making a motion with his hands to produce the files documenting such on her end of the line, "All accounted for, and none considered to be forming falsehoods. It is obviously an attempt at slandering the Empire, sir."

The Moff scoffed, "It was no 'attempt', Captain. This was a rather successful pursuit." He brought a hand up, forcing a number of filed complaints onto Gideon's screen. As though Gideon hadn't read them all five times by this point.

"We have the spaceport locked down, sir. Our investigation will need time to see if we cannot work something out," he muttered blandly, staring blankly through the flickering hologram.

"I expect to hear reports within the next few days then, Captain," the Moff said flatly, "If I do not, then I assure you the consequences will be dire."

"Of course sir."

With another small wave, the Moff ended the call, and Gideon let out a sigh of relief, dropping from his stiff position into a more slouched one. His search for a chair ended quickly, and he soon was slumped back, staring up at the ceiling, trying to determine if he could burn a hole into it. He couldn't. Spinning the chair around, he stared about the ship, letting out a long sigh as the once glistening panels had lost their sheen. Due in part to the fact that those assigned to clean them had been forced into helping with their search. A search that thus far had turned up nothing.

Off to his left a door opened, and a soldier dressed in the usual white armor approached. First they stopped, standing stiff to salute, before offering a datapad to him. He swiped the thing in one quick motion, slowly skimming through it, before looking up at the soldier, waiting for an explanation.

"Our assessment of the spaceport's recent landings, sir," she stared, "At present nothing appears to match the description of the killers."

He nodded idly, slowly skimming the pictures. She wasn't lying. Based on their assessment of those present, the one's responsible were two rather bulky, but agile, men, who wore all dark clothing. Which was none of these. Going through the security came footage revealed rather the exact opposite. One ship appeared to contain a crew full of jawas. Another was filled to the brim with rodians. And this one...

His eyes narrowed as he stopped, slowly scrolling back up. Tapping the image to zoom it in, he slowly panned through it, peering at the faces it held. On the far right were three men, muscly, but not bulky enough to match their killers. Some grey faced woman was to the far left. Yet straight in the middle, in some worn out brown jacket, was a pale, blonde woman.

Turning the pad around, he held it up to the soldier, voice terse, "What are the registered names of this crew?"

She blinked, taking the device to find them, "We have an unnamed passenger, one Martin Breen, Floyd Garth, Prelen Nek, and Verna Allerson."

Gideon nodded slowly, fingers tapping against the arm of his chair, "Verna."

The soldier nodded, "Y-Yes sir."

He slowly stood, turning to stare at the soldier, "I want two more soldiers, including yourself. You will meet me in front of that hangar. It is not to leave."

"Is there a problem, Captain Grell?" there was a small amount of panic in her voice.

"There will be," he said, pushing past the soldier to go fetch his pistol.

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