Hunting the Hunter Part 3

"How are things with you, anyway?" Ciarente asked.

An indicator blinked at the edge of Amieta's vision.

"Busy." Amieta was leaning against the black crystal bar of the Last Gate. "We - you remember when we were losing crewmen? A couple months ago?"

Amieta made the connection with a thought. Sarakai's voice spoke as if she was right there, whispering,"Good news. Rask has accepted the delivery of the first shipment."

Ciarente Roth nodded. She and Amieta usually met a few times a week at the Gate for a drink or two in the evening.

"Great work. You're confident she doesn't suspect anything about Tragenne? If you get even a-" Amieta cut off as she realized she had paused in her conversation with Ciarente.

"I don't know how much I told you about that," Amieta continued, expression a bit grim, "but it ended up being a blooder related slaving operation. They were using TCMCs. In any case, we got most of our people back."

"Nothing beyond the usual paranoia. She's run all the usual checks, his story held up just fine." Sarakai answered, "As far as she can tell, he is exactly what he appears to be. We even fed her a 'real' name, since no self respecting smuggler would operate under anything other than an alias."

Ciarente looked shocked. "A blooder - oh, how awful."

"The doctor? Has he given you anything else useful?" Amieta shot off the query and focused back on Ciarente again. Carrying on simultaneous conversations still gave her a headache, but it was better than when she used to zone out completely she reflected.

"When we hit their operation, there was one odd bit. A doctor - name of Rolasque - who was a known Angel affiliate. He was one of the ones perform the implantation surgeries." Amieta sipped her drink, "Yeah, I'm just glad we managed to get our people back. Anyway, someone sprung this doctor. After we got back to Ennur."

"Not so far, I might arrange for him to take a vacation. He's too jumpy, and the weak link in Tragenne's cover. If Rask decided to lean on him, he wouldn't hold up."

"Oh." Ciarente hesitated. "Like, someone on your crew?"

"What about our turncoat sensor tech, what was the name?"

"Gazal." Even through the com-link Sarakai's fury was evident. She took a traitor among the crew personally, "He is being dealt with. Whatever he knows, we will find out."

"Yeah, looks like there was an inside guy, who we have in custody now too." Amieta Invelen glanced around the bar, eyeing a couple of nearby patrons disinterestedly and shrugged, turning back to Ciarente, "We know who the doctor is working for, and it is a local boss. In Ennur. Strange, right? We're planning on wrapping the whole thing up. We knew when they were trying to break him out, and we tracked what they did and where he went."


Jorion tapped the screen with one finger. Mighty active for a dead woman, Commander Invelen.

He knew he could be wrong, but instinct told him otherwise.

Two records blinked on the screen below the image.

Ishukone Corporation Record of Birth: Amieta Invelen, 10-04-74.


Jorion brought up a surveillance file: both his former daughters, followed by a crew-member wheeling a trolley which held a large, irregular shape wrapped up like a present. The date-stamp on the file read 23-04-11.

Wrapped up like a present.

Like a birthday present.

He studied the second blinking record. Captain Amieta Invelen, M.I.A on 23-09-00. Presumed dead.

Is that how you ended up in the Sansha Nation? Jorion wondered. Captured? Converted? Rewired?

And then passing on the favour? To my daughters?

And how many more in the future?

Jorion could feel sorry for the long-gone Captain Amieta Invelen. Presumed dead. And that presumption was right, as far as the real, original woman was concerned, even if her body walked around under Sansha control.

A keystroke brought up another file of images. Invelen with her metal hand on Camille's tiny shoulder. Invelen side-by-side with Cia, leaving the Last Gate. Invelen walking into Cia's cargo hanger. No doubt about it. She's the one, the one we'd call Cia's 'handler' in the FIO. In Sansha terms? Controller maybe.

Captain Amieta Invelen.

They didn't even have the decency to let you rest in peace

But I can help you with that.

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