Calling In Markers
Characters: Margaret Morgan, Eddie Kriechbaum
As Morgan closed the channel and looked up, she saw the Macklin only a few steps ahead, and Eddie Kriechbaum sitting on the ground, his back against one of the landing struts. He was apparently finishing his lunch, munching his way through fist-sized balls of something. She thought too that she could pick out the lavender-like scent of lapono brew. She smiled and approached him.
He stuffed the last of the ball into his mouth and scrambled to his feet, offering her a closed-mouth smile while still chewing. After a swallow, he said, “Hi, Boss. Just taking care of your suggestion — the ground crew here shared lunch with me. Real nice of ’em.”
“You are fine – I had the same about an hour ago.”
“This lapono brew is nice stuff,” he said, reaching down for his cup. “So, what’s happening? Need some more help? Come to think, where’s the doc?”
“Healer Daanike is still helping with the autopsy, I believe. When you are done, I need you to assist.”
Kriechbaum’s eyes widened. “Autopsy? Good grief, you didn’t say anything about someone dying.” He steadied himself before she could answer. “Anyway, sure. Just tell me where to go and what you need me to do.”
She had to think back. “I am sorry. I was speaking quickly and… politely. I should give you full details first.”
He grinned. “At least that way, I’ll be a lot less likely to put my foot in my mouth when I go see the doc. So what’s the story?”
Quickly, Morgan outlined the day for him, trying to give as much detail as she could without getting bogged down.
He paid careful attention, interrupting only once or twice to make sure he hadn’t missed a point. “What a mess,” he said when she had finished. “I mean, these Huka are like the monks in Shangri-La, the way they treat each other. Sad that someone’s killed one. What do you need me to do? Any idea where we might find that Drazi?”
“Not for certain. But it would be a good idea to check out the spaceport, according to Mr Darquin. If he has not left yet, you could catch him coming through. If he has, he should be easy to trace still.”
“That should be easy — the ground crew and I are pretty good friends now. Nice girls, all of them.” He grinned.
“Ie, I am sure,” she answered blandly, but smiling. “Report in as soon as you can, whether or not you have found him.”
“You got it, boss.” Picking up the remains of his lunch, he headed toward the spaceport’s control building.
Copyright (c) 2004 Jamie Lawson and Leslie McBride. All rights reserved.