She left the mansion of white marble and crystal spires deep in thought and one drink under her belt, walking to her transport out in the vast middle lawn. A landing lawn that could accommodate seventy or more ships when needed, she’d calculated upon arrival, though, hers was the only one hovering there above the short and very green grass at the moment. A butler or house servant of some kind stood awaiting her approach and bowed slightly as she drew close. Only meters away from the man now, she looked directly at him and then to a strategic spot on the outer polished metal of the ship’s hull. A sensor recognized her eye signature, reading their veins and unique color spread and automatically lowered the ramp for her.
The servant of the obscenely wealthy man and woman that had just hired her, removed a linen cover from a tall yet shallow crystal container on the silver tray and offered her the cold icy refreshment, one she and they obviously knew she liked, having just finished one. She shook her head silently and ever so slightly, and only once.
“For your journey, later then, mistress Ahrantha?” he suggested.
Even he knows my name, she thought--a bit surprised, and yet, not. But a servant? The household, under the direction of their masters, must have been monitoring my conversation with their people and passed the information along. But--to even their most basic of servants? That’s a bit extreme and I don’t appreciate that kind of sneaky intimacy--but its understandable, she thought with a sigh. How many times in the past has that happened dealing with the rich? Too many.
Ahrantha knew the numeral of the incidents, she was good with numbers, but it wasn’t worth thinking about it.
Wealthy people are always a bit paranoid, she knew from experience from past employments. They probably investigated me thoroughly before summoning me for hire.
“No thank you,” she replied, to the handsome, stylized, and uniformed servant, and walked past him without a second look, yet staying alert all the same. She was always alert around others, or even alone in diverse places. It was an old habit.
Proceeding up ramp, she looked at another censer on the bulkhead, at the top of the angled deck, and the ramp began to lift, closing the inner ship off to the outside world of this vast country estate, though not before the servant wished her well on her journey.
He probably knows why I was here, too, she thought, then dismissing all thoughts of him, she began to think of the job. Ahrantha had a destination in mind but she needed to consult her data base first and confirm a few things.
She walked to the control station, in the cockpit, and clouded the clear glass screens for privacy, even here, where she could normally look out, when needed, the world could look in on the dealings in the room. The composite glass and plastics changed the multiple glass panels to opaqueness before she turned to the comp-system. No one needed to know anymore about her ships functions than what the surface of her craft showed, which wasn’t much.
What little the wealthy older couple knew of their son and his past locations was extensive, but the information was not that detailed. They had provided Ahrantha a lot about his personality, interests and dislikes, however, and that would help pinpoint him, she hoped. The computer might give her clues, too, but her ideas and insight into human behavior were set in a certain direction with educated assumptions, already, but not specifically. Not yet.
Ahrantha took the info chip she’d been given and fed it into her data computer, then speaking aloud, gave the highly sophisticated and only computer of its kind, she having designed and built it from micro companies all over this and several other galaxies, entering voice command variables of her own suspecians, and listing numerous human interface hypothesis on character, the nature of men, as well as men’s interests, collectively, plus the boys interest, specifically, etc., etc., of what she knew of the wayward individual, to come up with his possible next destination(s) for this most recent target recovery.
I might have to change that, ‘target recovery’ wording for the adds, someday soon, she half smirked. It sounds a bit too aggressive and militaristic. My business is far too sensitive to mislead these kinds of overly fussy people that hire me. I find and recover them, not search and destroy people, although on very rare occasions in the past, her thoughts flashed back, that HAD happened, but only in the protection of my life, she defended her thinking.
The computer took thirteen micro tones to come forth with possible locations to begin her search. With what Ahrantha knew of Destin Orr, she rejected five out of eight possibles. She felt the planets and cities of some refinement and cultural developments were his kind of places, where he would most likely frequent, having been raised in affluence. He would want his comforts, the cultural background he was interested in, and used to, that was where she would find him. In spite of leaving no trail of his existence, or at least none that most people could follow or see easily, Ahrantha could. I’m good at this, she knew. She could see his next moves, probably. She’d been at this a long enough.
She chose one of the three remaining locations, choosing her first instinctual hunch, and quickly went about setting the charts and route to the planet, Diegos. She opened the glass screens to see through them again, for a clear view of the grounds and sky, then touched the green button on the drive wheel, maneuvering the ship nearly straight up into the cloud filled sky of this lovely blue world and angled her ships center beam to the exact rise over the middle of the central massive and hit the grave-drive button. There was a short roar from the engines since they were still in atmosphere and a hiss as the atmospheric gases passing briefly across the surface of the hull made noise, and then they were in the silence of space. The ship sensed the vacuum and accelerated into its limitless grav-phase of the drive system. Ahrantha touched the execute lever and adjusted the speed ever so lightly. They would arrive at the other end of this galaxy in five hours and her destination.
The slow approach will give me time to think, Ahrantha thought. I think I know where to look...
The sky was red for a flash and now blue, a brilliant blue of air heavy with concentrated oxygen and huge doses of green on the land mass below her ship. Ahrantha flipped her flight-to-ground com-switch, where the ship instantly found the frequency, and spoke into the control rooms empty, though electrically charged, air.
“Port control, this is Comis freighter out of Contrallis requesting landing at Two-Three-One, Baker-Field, Central.”
The electronic response was nearly immediate, most of these kinds of duties being fully automatic. She was going to let the ship land itself, at first, but quickly took over, loving the act of getting things more right than a mere computer could, or at least, wanted to think she could.
Following the trajectory through the busy air field, she touched down in her berthing spot, a physical landing being required by most fields over weather concerns, instead of a hover, and released the food requirements she needed through electronic means to the space ports supply department. It was robotic as well. Very few humans worked these areas anymore, not like the old days. A pallet would be waiting beneath her craft when she returned, she knew, as per usual.
Ahrantha disembarked the Comis and walked to a waiting area. A pilots shuttle would be arriving moments from now to take her to the main terminal. She could move their instantly, herself, but always felt it better not to show her ability if not needed. From there she could get an air sled into the heart of the city. If he’s here, I’ll find the little brat, she thought, her confidence high.
After securing a room in a very nice hotel, Ahrantha showered and dressed in something other than her flight suit, to blend in. Afterwards, she went to a com-store where there were no cameras and asked for a private booth. Inside the small room, she connected several small devices to the computer and hacked into several city surveillance systems. She fed the many images and videos of her target, her runaway man/boy, and son of those wealthy parents who had spoiled him rotten and wanted him back, into the system, hoping to find him with her software recognition programs.
She sighed. He was there. Great. It had been all too easy. Ahrantha typed ‘pursue’ into the system and the camera records followed him back, in small jumps, to a hotel. That was just yesterday, as time and dates applied to this planet.
She got the address and closed down the feed, disconnecting her devices, and left the store quickly, in case there might be a problem with the locals laws, and that could happen. Police could sometimes be a problem, getting in the way, if she wasn’t quick and careful enough.
She walked around the building where he obviously lived, which stood alone on the flower and tree lined block. This world, like some many new worlds, adopted rules of parks, fountains, recreational facilities, and minimum distances allowed, usually in the range of a block, between high rise buildings. It was easy to blend into the local human traffic in these permacrete and planted courts. She looked like any other woman there, without a child, or not accompanied by another adult, though far more beautiful, and her clothes hid her figure well, which was done on purpose. In big cities you could get lost in all sorts of ways. Nobody paid attention to anyone else they didn’t know unless you were showing-off.
She counted the exits, went inside, counted stairwells, lifts, floor level shops, etc. She thought to wait him out rather than ask about him from the shop keeps. She didn’t know what kind of connections he might have in the building. He would show his face, eventually, and then she would take him. Unlike humans, she didn’t mind waiting.
Ahrantha walked across the street to a lovely and exclusive eatery, where she tipped handsomely for a specific table and took a seat next to a tall gleaming window that looked out at the entrance, across the street. This was where Destin Orr had entered. It stood to reason he would enter or exit the place as he had yesterday. People were habitual.
Almost immediately a man approached her table. Not the waiter but a well dressed pimp. He didn’t look like one but she knew, scanning his mind quickly, he was a low-life piece of human trash. She read his thoughts and smelled his character’s stench as he sat across from her. She hadn’t the temperament or time for discussion or mind games with such a human creature and firmly kicked him hard between the legs without provocation, not wanting to hear his senseless pitch of lies and seeming friendliness. The man gasped and held his genitals, his face contorted in surprise and pain. Ahrantha hit him again but this time with her fist, on the side of the neck. The movement was less than a blur and no one noticed. “Leave this place,” she told him, with hardly a glance, though her eyes relaid a message of terror to him and the man complied, more than a little afraid, after a few moments of composing himself. She read his simple and small mind, knowing he would try something when she left. Vengence was so pathetic. These kinds of people were pests, though, to her, and had little sympathy regarding their problems.
It took nearly two and a half hours, a pittance of time, and she was almost disappointed that it hadn’t been longer for she’d been nibbling at three separate elaborate dinners she’d ordered, but Destin Orr had exited the multiple gold trimmed doors across the street and began walking to his left. Ahrantha floated several large bills on the table, more than enough for the food and a healthy tip, letting them drop on the linen table top as she left the fancy eatery and swept through the doors in a flash of movement. Even though it would seem a hurried walk to observers, it was quicker than most could move.