The Dead Cannot Cry Out For Justice, Part 7

The Prophet’s Flower

Characters: Margaret Morgan, Tomás Darquin, Yoshino Marina

Morgan started back towards the shuttle, calling up to the Phoenix as she was walking. “Morgan to Phoenix.”

Phoenix — Yoshino here.”

“I have a science question. Am I out of luck?”

“Depends on the field. Anything to do with archaeology or cultural studies, I’d say yes. Otherwise, there’s a fair chance.”

“Xenobotany. A Markab plant, to be specific.”

There was a moment’s silence as Yoshino considered. “We could try Maiell in Science, or … you might try talking to Lazaret — I honestly don’t know what he did before he joined the Rangers, so he might know about his homeworld’s plants.”

“That is a good idea. I will speak to Lazaret first. Could you patch me through, please?”

“Certainly. Stand by.”

About fifteen long seconds passed before the Markab’s voice came over the connection. “Storm Three.”

“Lazaret. The Terrans have a phrase, ‘pick one’s brains’. Do you have a few moments you can spare so I can do that, in spite of the bad imagery?”

“You need some information from me, Shok’na-li? I’d be happy to help. What is it?”

“I need to know if you know anything about the plant your people call ‘prophet’s flower’, roughly.”

“Prophet’s flower …” There was a moment of silence as Lazaret considered. “It is a mostly decorative plant. We use … used … it to decorate churches and shrines, along with a few other kinds of plants.”

“Mostly, you say?”

“I have heard that in the distant past, holy men would eat the prophet’s flower and have visions, and this is how the plant got its name.”

Morgan was quiet for a few moments before responding. “Lazaret, thank you. I apologize for any discomfort this questioning causes you.”

“It is no trouble,” the Markab said quickly. “Though I confess to more than a little curiosity. How did you hear about the prophet’s flower? Have you seen one?”

“No, but a shopkeeper here in the Huka market had several, that have unfortunately been stolen.”

“That’s a pity. I would have enjoyed seeing one again. Are you looking for the thief, then?”

“Perhaps, I am not sure yet. But with luck, I will find them still intact, in which case, I would let you know.”

“Put me through to Chief Darquin, if you could. And thank you again.”

“You’re most welcome. I’ll patch this through to the Station House. Stand by.”

The comm let out a click as it switched to Darquin’s channel. “Darquin. ‘Sup?”

“I need to pick your brains for a few minutes. All quiet up there, I hope?”

“So far,” he said cautiously. “Enough time for a little data-crunching, anyway.”

Da. I seem to have gotten into a mess here. Daanike and I were looking for a Minbari plant in the market, and stumbled upon a murder.”

That stopped him short. “Major crime gang or…local trouble?”

“Unknown yet, for sure. Although we are following a lead on a Drazi who had been in the victim’s shop, Baz’hak.”

“Baz’hak… gotcha, I’ll scan the archives.” She could hear the ship’s computers chime as he went to work. “Any other leads?”

“Not pointing anywhere else, not yet. I just do not want to miss anything — this is your territory, not mine, as a rule.”

“If you mean trouble, it wouldn’t be the first time! Send up what you’ve got on this business, and I’ll run the info.”

Ie. I have done a quick search, but another pair of eyes is never amiss. Daanike is still performing the autopsy.”

“Any idea what set off the attack?”

“There was a theft of some plants, but I do not know if that was the cause, or an afterthought. Or even unrelated.”

“Plants.” Morgan thought she heard him bring another computer screen online. “What kind of plants?”

“One kind, a Markab plant called ‘prophet’s flower’. I have already asked Lazaret about it.”

After a short wait, Darquin sighed. “This might take a minute to get more info. I’ll see if any ships went out in the last hour, and how many are scheduled for departure. Even if the murderer’s already left, we can still catch him. The nearest jumpgate is a long way out. Maybe you guys can watch the spaceport. I can send some people down to set up checkpoints.”

“That would be good. I may need Mr Kreichbaum to do… leg work for us here. Do you think there is anything I have missed?”

“Not sure,” Darquin said. “Got any contacts down there? Someone’s gotta know who’s selling and who’s buying. A fixer or a go-between. I mean, how many people know where to find a flower like that?”

“Since it is an offworld plant, likely not many. I will look into it.” Morgan paused, thinking. “If there is nothing else, I shall sign off and see what progress has been made here. I will keep you informed.”

Copyright (c) 2004 Jamie Lawson, Leslie McBride and Joe Medina. All rights reserved.


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