Friday, September 25, 2015

The Fugitive Pair - Chapter 27

< Chapter 26                                                                                                       Chapter 28 >
Matt’s uncle agrees to help our heroes rescue Zav and the kids.

“We get started on the rescue right now,” I reply to my uncle, “but I have no idea what I need you to do.”

Uncle Gunther’s eyes narrowed. “You don’t have a plan? Why the hell did you come to me, then?”

“I came to you because an eleven-year-old girl told me to,” I said. “I didn’t even know I needed help until four hours ago!”

Gunther nodded as if he comprehended the situation. He leaned against a bulkhead, folded his arms, and asked, “So what happened? Did these friends of yours get caught stealing from a shopkeeper?”

“You saw the kind of money we’ve got. Do you really think a friend of mine would have to steal? More, do you honestly think I’d pay you sixty million credits to break my friends out when they only faced a fine of a few hundred credits?” My uncle shrugged, conceding my point, so I continued, “Our friends are rogue psychics who have been on the run from Psi Corps for five or six years.”

That shocked Gunther out of his studied uncaring pose. “God in heaven, boy, are you out of your mind? Those friends of yours are already in the Psi Corps office on the station by now! That’s a whole different level of trouble you’re talking about!”

Michelle snorted in derision. “Yes, it’s a dangerous situation. No, we don’t have a rescue plan. Yes, we have to act very fast. All of this should have been obvious when Matt offered you sixty million credits to help us.”

“Psi Corps has an office on the station?” I asked.

“Yes, and it’s a big one with quite a few psychics assigned to it,” Gunther replied. “Psi Corps likes it in the Piscain Hub for the same reason shipping firms like it here—they can easily send psychics in a dozen different directions with minimal fuss.”

“Why weren’t those psychics assigned to the search teams?” I asked. All it would have taken was a telepath or maybe another empath joining the search team and they’d have found Michelle and me easily.

Gunther actually laughed in response to my question. “For one of the oldest reasons known to man—inter-service rivalry. You crossed the navy, first, so they got first shot at capturing you. They’d no more have asked Psi Corps for help than they would ask a pirate gang. And if your friends are as high-profile as you say they are, you can bet the naval brass will lord their discovery over Psi Corps for years to come. And you can bet Psi Corps administrators will be scrambling to explain how those rogue psychics could stay hidden in the same space station as one of their larger offices.”

“Thank God for small favors, I guess,” Michelle murmured. “But our rescue just got a lot harder.”

“Why even bother with the rescue?” Gunther asked. “Chances are the navy will be happy with their find. Sure, they’ll go through the motions of searching the rest of the station, but they’ve successfully deflected embarrassing attention from them and onto Psi Corps, but all you have to do is wait for them to lift the travel restrictions. I’ll take you out of here myself, once I’m free to leave.”

“Unlike your old pirate gang, Michelle and I don’t leave our friends behind just so we can get away safely,” I said, a hint of a sneer slipping into my tone.

“Really, lad? And have you asked the love of your life what she thinks about that?” Gunther drawled.

“He doesn’t have to ask me,” Michelle said. “Our friends risked everything to help us. There is no way in hell we’re going to abandon them when they need our help in return!”

“That’s very noble of you both,” Gunther replied, “but you still don’t have a plan and don’t have much time to come up with one.”

“I don’t know, we’re in better shape than Michelle and I were when we set off to rescue my parents,” I said. “Then we only knew they were alive somewhere in the galaxy. Hell, we don’t even have to search Piscain Station to find our friends! And even when we found my parents and your hidden pirate base, we didn’t have a plan. We just made it up as we went along.”

“But if outside help hadn’t shown up, you’d have been captured or killed by those same pirates,” my uncle countered. “No one on Piscain Station is going to lift a finger to help you.”

Michelle and I exchanged looks and it didn’t take my empathic powers to read her resignation. I nodded in agreement and the two of us turned away from Gunther and headed up the corridor toward the airlock.

“I trust you won’t turn us in, Uncle,” I called over my shoulder, “because we’ll return the favor if we’re picked up. Leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone.”

“And just where do you think you’re going, young man?” Gunther demanded.

I didn’t even bother turning around. “That worked when I was a minor living with you, but it won’t work now.”

“We’re not going to concoct some hare-brained scheme to rescue your friends?” Gunther asked.

Michelle fielded this question. “You’ve made your position very clear. We won’t trouble you again.”

“You’ve got it wrong. I’ve gotten you to make your position very clear,” Gunther said. “I don’t have psychic powers and must rely on words and wit to learn these things. And you have convinced me that you are definitely going through with this rescue attempt.”

I stopped and turned back to face my uncle. “Are you saying you were simply testing our resolve with your negative attitude?”

“Yes.”

“And you’re telling us you’re actually willing to help us?”

“Yes—though I still want the sixty million credits.” My uncle tilted his head slightly. “Couldn’t you read that with those amazing psychic powers?”

“I could, but I didn’t. Everyone deserves privacy in their own mind.”

“You truly are an exceptional young man, Matt.” Gunther smiled sheepishly, “Perhaps I have no reason to lay claim to pride, but I am quite proud of the man you’ve become.” His sheepish smile transformed into a grin. “Also, while we were talking I had an idea or two for rescuing your friends!”


What ideas does Gunther have? Find out in Chapter 28, coming Monday!