Star Crossed, Part 7

Characters: Margaret Morgan

Twilight was falling over the city of Do’Retal as Margaret Morgan followed the Minbari Kylinn out of the marketplace, into a large plaza filled with traffic of all kinds. Kylinn waved down a pedal-cab, and spoke to the driver in Interlac as they boarded. “The Resettlement Agency. The faster you get there, the more I pay.” The Narn simply nodded, stomped down on the pedals and pulled away like a shot.

“Not the most technologically advanced form of transport,” Kylinn said in Lenn-ah to Morgan as they nearly fell into their seats, “but under the circumstances, the most efficient. And circumspect.”

“I understand,” Morgan said.

“How do things stand with the Anla’shok these days? I have heard so much in the past few years, more changes than there had ever been.” Kylinn’s voice sounded almost wistful.

Morgan was a little nonplussed, not sure what to say. “Um. We are… busy. And many recruits from different places.”

“Yes. When I was growing up, the Anla’shok were my heroes,” Kylinn explained. “But in those days, worker caste Minbari could not join. And when Entil’zha Sinclair opened membership to us as well as humans, I … well, the course of my life had been set for a long time by then.”

“One can still change it,” she said mildly. “I did.”

“Really?”

“I had a career in EarthForce before… things changed. The Anla’shok took me.”

“Well … perhaps there is hope for me yet,” Kylinn said thoughtfully.

“Often, yes.”

Kylinn smiled, then rose slightly in her seat to point out a large building ahead of them. It had the look of a structure intended to be temporary that had been made a permanent fixture. “There’s the Resettlement Agency. Probably the single busiest place on all of Dra’Shu.”

Nodding, Morgan looked it over. It was two stories high, a relative rarity for Narn construction, and despite the advancing evening, most of its windows were still lit. Many people were streaming in and out, and even more waited in groups near the front entrance.

Kylinn stood up, scanning the crowd as the pedal-cab came to a stop. “There!” she said suddenly, pointing out a young Narn who was talking animatedly to a family group.

Morgan stood quickly, eyes narrowing as she followed Kylinn’s direction and explanation. “I recognize that one as a runner for the gang who handles refugee movement. He should know where their base of operations is, at the least.”

“Then we should… discuss things with him.”

Kylinn nodded, handing a fistful of coins to the cab driver, then jumping to the ground. Morgan followed her out and shifted to approach the young Narn from behind. Kylinn followed her lead, doing her best to keep out of their target’s line of sight as he walked away from the group he had been talking to and moved toward the main street.

Finally, judging their target far enough away from the Center, Morgan quickened her step, then tapped him on the shoulder to get attention. He turned around, and whatever he wanted to say was silenced as he saw Morgan. Kylinn moved to cut off his retreat, her staff held low in both hands.

“You will tell us what we want to know,” Morgan told him. Direct always seemed best to her.

“What would that be?” He tried to sound casual, but the tone was just a bit off, betraying his nervousness.

“I have a friend missing. If you do not know where, you know someone that will.”

“How would I know where any of your friends are?”

Her eyes narrowed, and she grabbed him by the front of his shirt. “Try.”

The young Narn gasped audibly, and his mouth worked once or twice before words came out. “Okay. Maybe I can help. I’m good at helping people. Who’s your friend?”

“Another Ranger.”

“Dressed like you? Who would have a Centauri for a friend?”

Morgan began to scowl, at both implications. “The same has been said of Humans. Or Narn,” was all she said, pointedly.

“Well, I thought he was pretty stupid, to be here at all, but if those are the kind of friends you want, okay. They took him to Tor’Kulu’s place, for a present.”

“Show me this Tor’Kulu’s place. Now.”

“I … ” he struggled in Morgan’s grip, looking around desperately for help which wasn’t there.

She tightened her grip. “I am already displeased that I have to find my friend.”

Kylinn gave him a poke with her staff. “The authorities take a dim view of what you and Tor’Kulu do,” she said quietly.

“And if it’s put right in front of their faces, they will not look the other way.”

“Okay,” the Narn said at last. “I can tell you where. But they can’t know it came from me.”

“If you speak the truth,” Morgan agreed. “If not, though…”

“All right. Tor’Kulu has a safehouse on the edge of town. Old style Narn, mostly underground.” He rattled off an address. “I don’t know where else they would go.”

Morgan glanced at Kylinn. “I can find it,” the Minbari said.

With a nod, Morgan accepted the assurance. Then, looking squarely back to the young Narn, she did her best to make her point absolutely clear. “If he is not there, I shall find you again.” He nodded emphatically. Finally, she released him. Kylinn stepped aside, and the Narn fled. “They think he’s Centauri,” Morgan said after he was gone, acknowledging worry.

“And not apt to take his word that he is not,” Kylinn said soberly. “I’ve always presumed there were differences, but certainly not obvious to a casual eye.”

“Human hairstyles tend to be… less extreme.” It was said more lightly than she felt.

“He will try to warn them, I’m sure,” Kylinn said, tilting her head in the direction the young Narn had fled. “It is a fair distance from here. We need faster transport than a pedal cab, I think, but I’m not sure what would be best.”

“It should be quick, but otherwise unremarkable.”

“Do we want to risk involving anyone else?”

“I do not know if we should.” They had begun walking back toward the street. Several different types of vehicles, both ground and hovercars, were parked bumper to bumper along the edge. Morgan started to look at the vehicles, speculatively. Kylinn seemed about to ask something, but then her eyes widened in comprehension and she nodded appreciatively.

An open cockpit hovercar was parked almost directly across the street, conveniently far from the nearest lamp. “Keep an eye out,” Morgan requested. She hopped in, accessing the drive computer quickly. Kylinn nodded, setting herself where she could watch the widest swath of street and sidewalk possible.

Morgan had picked up more than a few computer tricks, official and otherwise. Reading the output was harder than getting the engine to start. When it fired, Kylinn turned and jumped into the passenger seat, looking over the now brightly lit control console. “That was quick,” she said.

Morgan shrugged a little. “One learns things. Now, which way?”

Kylinn closed her eyes for a moment, then said, “Hard to your left — that should be south — and then bear southwest.”

Ie, thank you.” She headed away quickly, before the owner caught on.