Theodat and Hem catch up in a hospital ward after the Prynn Tower bombing. Time is running out, and they have a team to assemble.
Theodat was reclining on the hospital bed, propped up by some pillows. His face possessed a sickly pallor, one that accentuated the scars that traced their way across the top right of his forehead, across his nose, upper-lip, and then lower cheek. He looked away from the datapad in his lap upon seeing Hem enter and gave him a weak smile. “Glad to see you in once piece.”
“I can say the same to you, cousin.” Hem replied. He searched the room for a chair, settling on one that was near what looked to be a cards table. Why that was in a hospital room for one person, he’d never know.
“Just finished briefing your family.” He hadn’t actually seen the family in years, so it was a surprise to see kids he hardly knew already in basic military command training.
“I think I saw your wife too, or was that just your niece?” the major said, realizing that he didn’t even know if the man was married. “Ah, I don’t know. How are you doing?”
“I’ve been better.” Theo attempted to laugh but after feeling a pulse of pain rippling through the painkiller induced daze he decided against it. “Lady Kailea, my wife, is beside herself with worry. I’ve had to spend the last 30 minutes talking her into leaving the planet. She doesn’t want to leave my bedside, you see.” He gestured to the holoscreen mounted on the wall. "News is saying it’s a terror attack.
Possibly the Confederacy.
Security footage identified the bomber – Our’ethan. Same one who was eyeing me in the bar."
“Y’know. Part of me hopes it was a terror attack. The casualty count is in the hundreds and rising. I don’t want to think that I was the cause of that.”
“The Traxsies like to play it dirty, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was them.” Hem mused. Their renowed stealth attacks had killed scores of his best men, and he hated it, admitting that the Confederacy had their strengths.
“The fact that we’re even alive right now is proof that if there was some sort of agenda, it wasn’t aimed towards us, I hope.”
Theodat rubbed his eyes tiredly. “I don’t know.”
“Hem, we need to keep moving forward.” Theodat’s voice acquired a new level of urgency. “I’m in this bed for the next two weeks – maximum they can push the QuickHeal without causing too much damage.”
“I can’t spare those two weeks.” He offered his datapad to Hem. “Can you do something for me?”
Hem grabbed the datapad, setting it down on the table. “Of course, the mission needs to continue no matter what.”
He spoke with dedication, “Our enemies are probably thinking we’ll settle down and lick our wounds, but we have to go on the offensive, show them we’re not backing down.”
“Y’know. I’m glad to hear you say that….” Theodat replied. “Because, you’ll have to be going on the offensive to get our tech specialist”
Hem grunted. Way to bring down the whole motivational speech. “Fine, I’ll get all the specialists. Just point me to the right people, and I can get it done.”
Theodat nodded. “First up is our tech specialist”
“She’s got a long criminal record, diagnosed with all sorts of anti-social personality disorders, and doesn’t turn down good money, regardless of what the job is. She’s also one of the best in the field. And she may or may not be on a prison transport to Lockdown.”
Lockdown was one of the highest security prisons in the Empire. Theodat knew that if the person he wanted reached that prison, there’d be no getting her out.
Hem was familiar with Lockdown even more so than most civilians in the Empire. He knew that high ranking war prisoners that were awaiting ransom were holed up there.
“Fine, I can handle that. I’ve had former criminals in my regiment before.” He explained. “Although if she really is on a prison transport ship, I’ll have to get crafty.” If her crime wasn’t bad enough, he could “temporarily” pay for her bail.
“If you’re thinking of any weapons specialists, I’m already one step ahead of you. There’s a Drr’athan that I served with when I was just a colonel. He got dishonorably discharged for selling plasma ammunition to various criminal syndicates. I hear he’s in the capitol now, and he’ll know where to find cheap weapons.”
“What’d you expect from a dwarf, anyway?” He said, chuckling. Everyone knew Drr’athan were cheaper then debt collectors
“Good. That’s good.” Theodat coughed and grimaced. “My sources tell me the prison transport is going to make a stop off at an orbital station to pick up some more prisoners before heading towards ”/wikis/lockdown" class=“wiki-page-link”> Lockdown. You have a narrow window of opportunity. Find some way to spring her."
He grabbed his datapad and then showed the screen to Hem. On it was a picture of an Our’ethan with high cheekbones and straw yellow hair, messily cut. One eye was clearly bionic – all chrome and glass. “That’s her – Tula Ly’alle”
Hem shrugged. “Sounds doable. The trouble with freeing her is that she’s in stasis; it’ll take time to thaw her out.”
“I’ll find you a picture of the Drr’athan soon enough, although I can’t find him through the datapad network, I never really knew his name….” Hem trailed off. “We just called him Testy. It was the perfect name for a guy like him. None of us really knew what it meant, although it fit a bland guy like him.”
“Glad to hear it. Now….You’ll want to be on your way.” Theodat dropped a small sphere into Hem’s hands. “Don’t ask how I got this. It contains a very potent compound that can induce unconsciousness. If you ever need to do something drastic, drop it into an airvent and then inject yourself with this.” He handed Hem a syringe.
Hem grabbed the sphere and syringe, placing them into the front pocket of his city coat. No questions asked. “Now, where do you want me to take Tula once I get ahold of her?” he asked.
“My penthouse suite. On the Draskin Tower. I’ve had the palm-key programmed to let you in, so you shouldn’t have any problems.”
“Fair enough.” Hem nodded. Now it was time to put things in motion. “I’ll head off to the station as soon as I can.”
Theodat nodded. “Good luck.”