Syndicate Files: The Sister - Part 8

"She didn't mean it," Siarente said.

"She sounded a lot like she meant it," I said cautiously. True, she'd killed her buddies when she saw it was Sia she'd been sent to 'educate'. I wasn't sure much weight could be put behind a bit of casually fatal violence from someone who was working as an enforcer for 'Knuckles' Inheras though. My impression of Envelan so far was that she was a tail and set of teeth away from being a rabid slaver hound.

Auvy patted Siarente's shoulder and gave me a glare. "Of course she didn't mean it," she told the pilot soothingly.

I sighed, although since I have a certain rudimentary sense of self-preservation I did so silently.

I'd called Auvy because leaving a white-faced and shaking Siarente with no-one but her crew for company hadn't seemed like a terrific idea. Not that Auvy was the comforting, maternal type, but if I was going to stick around until Sia recovered her composure it seemed smart to make sure Auvy knew that's all there was to it.

For some reason, she doesn't always take my word about these things.

So I'd called her, explained what happened. By the time she'd got down to the hangar Siarente had moved on from shock straight into denial.

"Ani would never - she would never mean something like that," she said now.

"Whether she meant it or not," I said, "She seemed pretty clear that she wanted you to leave her alone."

"You don't know her," Siarente said. "She must have - I told you, she's in trouble. And she - Ani always wants to protect me."

I looked at her arm, the four-fingers-and-a-thumb bruise blooming up nicely. "It seems to me that you might not know her either. Killing someone's bodyguard is a funny way to protect them, where I come from."

Siarente looked down. "I told you she was in trouble," she said quietly. "She's - not quite herself."

The story came out in fits and starts, interrupted by tears. Unspecified 'difficulties', an old booster habit, erratic behavior and a vanishing act. Not a new story, although I guessed maybe it was new to her.

I didn't know whether to be mad at her for not telling me sooner that the missing sister was a one-woman-killing-machine with a taste for mind-altering, judgement-destroying substances, or mad at myself for not asking.

Auvy and I exchanged glances, and Auvy said: "Maybe you need to give her a bit of time. Things like this, you can't force people - "

"No," Sia said, firmly, and then ruined the effect with a hiccuping sob. "I have to find her. She wouldn't - she would never have said those things to me unless - unless she's in real trouble."

I didn't say it to Sia, but Envelan was bound to be in 'real trouble' now, if she hadn't been before. You don't kill 'ristas without it coming back on you, not here, not anywhere. "Look," I started. "You can't- "

"Get your ring back, Mr Tarva?" Sia said. Her voice was soft and even, her expression mild, but right at that moment I remembered I was dealing with a podder here, with the kind of clout to have me and Auvy pushed out and airlock in front of a hundred witnesses and never have to answer for it.

And the theoretically immortal have a lot of time to hold grudges.

Besides, a deal was a deal. In my line of work, if you can't stick to your deals you better find another line of work.

"All right," I said. "But you let me - or Sami - track her down. No more adventures, Captain Ross." I glanced around the hangar. "I'd hate for you to run out of bodyguards."

No comments:

Post a Comment