The Sword of Aranus Chapter 3 Part 2

The second part of chapter 3. Go here to read previous posts of this story. Again, please comment, any feedback is appreciated.

     As they walked back down the corridor towards the lift, Danyelle said nothing to Hot Rod. It slid open for them to enter and they began their decent down to the lobby. They then took a shuttle to the medical facility for a pre-mission physical which was mandatory.
     All the while Danyelle wondered how she would locate and convince him to come back to Moon Base. He had made it very clear when he left that he would never come back. She looked down and read her assignment papers as she waited for Hot Rod to get through his physical. His last known location was working security for Drabek Shipping. Of course, she had remembered that Wyn had promised him a job if he ever left Starfleet. Wyn has always supported his obsession for finding Klaw, even when they were both still in Starfleet. She knew, of course, that Wyn might not be so cooperative with them.
Hours later they left space dock in a small cruiser and headed toward Mars Base, where Drabek Shipping had their interplanetary office. Danyelle and Hot Rod both knew that it was the best place for them to start. If anyone knew where Aran was, it would be Wyn. To herself, Danyelle was glad it was a short trip. The sooner she could find Aran and be rid of him the better.
Mars Base was created as an early warning military base in case of invasion. It predated Moon Base by nearly fifty years. Although it was old, it had been continuously updated and was eventually opened up for colonists who worked the asteroid mines. When Starfleet was formed it became less important as a military base, though Starfleet kept it well fortified. It was during this period that Wyn’s grandfather started the shipping business on Mars that Wyn now ran.
As their star cruiser touched down on the landing platform, Danyelle and Hot Rod noticed Wyn standing waiting for them. Danyelle scowled in an undertone. Though she had contacted him before they left, she was not expecting him to be waiting for them.
As she made her way down to the down ramp, she was followed by Hot Rod. Wyn waved to them and began walking over to greet them.
     “Danyelle Hawkins!” He exclaimed as he clasped her right hand with his. “It’s been a very long time since I last saw you!” He then turned to Hot Rod. “And you’re here, too, my old friend. This is an even better surprise!”
     “How’s it going, Wyn?” Hot Rod asked as they shook hands.
     “Ha!!” Said Wyn with an infectious laugh. “Business is booming! It also doesn’t hurt when you have one of the best security officers around.”
     Wyn beamed with pride but Danyelle continued to scowl at him.
     “That’s why we’re here,” she told him. “Ramon needs Aran for a specific mission. Do you know where he is?”
     Wyn looked around. “Not here,” he said. “The walls around here gave eyes and ears.” He turned around and motioned for them to follow. “Let’s go to my hovercar. We won’t be overheard there.”
Hot Rod looked skeptical. “But this is Starfleet territory,” he said as both he and Danyelle followed Wyn.
     “You think that’ll keep Centrattian agents away?” Wyn asked incredulously. “You forget there are many off-worlders who work the mines and call Mars home.”
     They walked into a white circular building that glittered brightly. The inside atrium was what looked to be made of Martian marble and was very spacious, but Wyn did not linger. He kept on through the atrium until he exited the building through the front double doors, where a huge hovercar was waiting for them.
     “Nice car,” Hot Rod said as the driver of the car opened the door for them to enter.
     Wyn grinned as he took the seat facing Danyelle and Hot Rod, who had sat next to each other. The driver shut the door and waited outside as Wyn began to talk.
     “So you’re looking for Aran,” he said. “I gather it’s important?”

     Danyelle crossed her arms and gave Wyn a scathing look. “What’s that supposed to mean?” She asked, somewhat defensively.
     Wyn laughed. “Nothing at all,” he replied, though he did have the look of someone who was getting the joke. “I’m merely curious, that’s all.”
     “Curious of what?” Danyelle asked.
     Wyn again laughed. “I was wondering why they sent you to go look for him,” he said. “You two don’t see eye to eye exactly.”
     “Trust me, I did not beg for this mission,” Danyelle told him. “So can we please get on to why we’re here.”
     “Ah, yes,” Wyn said with a smile on his face. He looked at Hot Rod and then back to Danyelle. “ I take it that if he accepts this mission, he probably won’t be back?”
     “Couldn’t tell ya,” Hot Rod replied. “You remember what he said when he left.”
     Wyn became silent and his smile faded a bit. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat before he began talking again.
     “I see,” he said. “Well, he’s kind of on vacation, I guess you could call it. You’re aware of his um….obsession with Raf Zarden.” Both   Danyelle and Hot Rod nodded. “ Well, he heard a rumor that Klaw was on Tolossia IV, so he took some time off to do some investigating. He’s due to be picked up soon.”
     “You just dropped him off?” Danyelle asked angrily. “You left him there? Tolossia IV is not what you call a paradise for vacationers!”
     Again Wyn adjusted himself in his seat rather uncomfortably. His once infectious smile had faded entirely as he began to fidget around with his hands. He clenched his fist to try and regain some of his composure.
     “It’s what he wanted,” he replied, trying to defend both his and Aran’s decision. “You know how gets at times. And besides, it‘s not like he‘s alone.”
     “What do you mean?” Danyelle asked suspiciously.
     “Av’s with him.”
     “Av is with him? That rabid piece of…”
     Danyelle caught herself and didn’t finish what was on her mind. Out of all of Aran’s friends, she hated Av the most. It stretched back to their Academy days.
     “Well, it was the only way Aran would come work here,” Wyn told them. “I know he’s a bit of a prat but he is a genius when it comes to engineering and such.”
     An uncomfortable, awkward silence came over them as none of them spoke for several minutes. The infectious, happy demeanor that Wyn had displayed earlier was now all but gone. He sat nervously, unsure what to do or say next.  Hot Rod, noticing that Danyelle was on the verge of a rant, decided it was time for them to go.
     “Thanks, Wyn,” he said as he shook Wyn’s hand and reopened the door to get out. He turned to Danyelle who was still staring out the window behind Wyn. “Are you coming or are you gonna stay in here all day and fume?”
     “Let’s go,” she said as they both got out of the hovercar. “Thanks for your help, Wyn.”
     “Not at all,” Wyn said as he waved them on, his smile back in place. “My only regret is losing his services, but he is meant for greater things than being a security officer.”
     They watched Wyn’s hovercar take off for his offices. Danyelle turned and began walking back into the building, through the atrium, and back out onto the landing platform where their star cruiser awaited them. She didn’t say a word to Hot Rod the whole time, but he expected that. It came with the territory when it involved both her and Aran.
     The star cruiser gained it’s clearance and took off from the platform with a course for Tolossia IV set. As Danyelle was still quiet, Hot Rod sighed and tried to make conversation.
     “Tolossia IV, isn’t that where Camus Zampano is rumored to be hiding out?” he asked her.
     “Yeah,” she said. “Not that Aran would ever be worried, that egotistical blowhard.”
     “It’s been almost three years, Danyelle,” he said to her. “You still can’t be that mad at him”
     “Oh yes I am,” she said with an apparent edge in her voice. “Course set. Impart jump to lightspeed.”
     Hot Rod nodded and gave a small hint of a grin as he turned back toward the controls. Seconds later, the starcruiser made it’s jump and shot through the stars.


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