Monday, January 19, 2015
April 17, part 1
Betra and I caught a ghost. The mysterious haunting is over.
Betra was late showing up at my quarters last night. I’d gotten the crazy idea he was avoiding me because he somehow knew I was going to interrogate him. The moment he stepped in my sitting room, I bombarded him with questions: “Where have you been? Why are you late? What do you know about that scrap of material you found? Does it belong to the ghost? Why aren’t you telling me anything?”
He stared at me like I’d been yelling at him in Tragoom. Then he put his hands on my shoulders and eased me towards my lounger. “Why are you so upset? What’s happened?”
“What’s happened?” I could have cheerfully strangled the big lug. “You tell me! You found that bit of someone’s insignia and then became all mysterious and shit. You’ve been out of your office for most of the day. What’s going on?”
Betra took a breath and nodded. “What’s been going on. That’s an excellent question, Shalia. I believe that tonight we will have our answer.”
“Really?” I stopped acting like a nag in my excitement. “You know who the ghost is?”
“I think so.” A shadow of worry crossed Betra’s face. “Only it’s no ghost. The person who has been stalking you is flesh and blood and very much alive.”
My heart nearly jumped out of my chest at his words. “Tell me,” I begged.
The Imdiko considered. “We’ve got other things to do first. Get your stuff together to spend the night with me. For my plan to work, we need to move fast. Dinner has already begun.”
“Dinner?” I was completely flummoxed. “What does dinner have to do with anything?”
Betra shooed me towards my bedroom. “Almost everyone will be in the dining hall. The security guards switch out about now too. We may be able to get from here to my quarters with no one seeing us. Get a move on, Shalia. Figure out what you want so I can pack it.”
He was a man on a mission, and I could tell I wasn’t going to get anything out of him until I did what he wanted. So we packed me a little overnight bag. Betra already knew a lot of what I would choose to bring, so it was done pretty quickly.
Minutes after his arrival, Betra poked his head out of my door to check and see if anyone roamed the hall. The coast was clear, so we hightailed it to his quarters. He gave the surveillance vid recorder a little scowl as we went, and I wondered what the problem was. I was even more confused when I heard him mutter, “Well, there’s no help for it.”
We met no one on our way to Betra’s quarters. I guess we timed it just right on the guard change. Security in the Matara area had been enhanced since our ghost had started roaming about. Still, for those few seconds we were in the hall, no one was around.
Betra grinned at me once we were in his quarters, looking like he’d won a victory. “Great. I think everything should work out if I’m right about what is going on.”
“Have you informed Oses?” I asked. “Is he part of this?”
Betra shook his head as he set my bag on the bed. “Oses is working another double. Don’t worry, Shalia, I’ve got this handled. I think.”
I folded my arms over my chest. “Enough of this nonsense, already. What is it that you think you know?”
“Sit down and I’ll tell you.” He handed me a takeout container. “Eat your dinner while I talk.”
I perched on his bed, opening the container. I didn’t remember Betra promising me a special meal until just then. Even though we ended up eating in his room, my liaison made good on that promise. Ronka strips roasted to perfection, the most tender, flakiest pilchok ever to grace a tray, and chocolate cake with fudge and nuts were my reward.
It’s just too bad that Betra’s news was so shocking that I barely tasted any of it.