Okay, this is part two of the little fanfic I've been kinda working on. If you haven't read part 1, i'd suggest doing so or this isn't going to make much sense. Go here, ya damn dirty junkie:
LOYALTY - Part Two
By Renee Jordan
An alternative future-history of The Rookie by Scott Sigler
Dateline: Ionath City, Planet Ionath
Krakens Quarterback found dead in apartment, authorities suspect foul play.
By Pilar the Quickfingered
Quentin Barnes, starting quarterback for the Ionath Krakens, was found dead in his apartment in Ionath City today. Officials are conducting an investigation and have indicated that a preliminary toxicology report suggests foul play was involved. Krakens team owner Gredok the Splithead held a brief press conference, in which he stated “We are all stunned at the untimely death of such a talented football player. Krakens fans can rest assured that I and my organization will do everything within our power to assist in the investigation and bring the responsible party to justice. Everything!”
Gredok the Splithead tossed the Ionath Gazette messageboard onto the large ornate desk in his office at Ionath Stadium. It had been a busy morning, and looked to be an even busier afternoon.
“What are we going to do without Barnes?!” exclaimed Hokor the Hookchest, his large eye swirling with pinks and reds. He was pacing rapidly in front of Gredok’s desk, clearly upset beyond rational thought. “Without him, we don’t stand a chance at winning the Championship next season! Where are we going to find another quarterback with his skill by then?!”
Gredok shot Hokor a baleful glance that served to snap the Kraken’s head coach out of his hysteria. Gredok glared at him a moment longer and said “No, we won’t, but it does not matter.”
Hokor, surprised and confused by the response, smoothed his antennae back with one pedipalp. Wisps of confused purple now joined the pinks and reds in Hokor’s eye.
“Apologies Shamakath, but I’m not sure I understand.”
“Of course you don’t, old friend” Gredok replied. “And that is why I get to sit behind the big desk. Barnes served his purpose, he got the team into Tier 1. Anything beyond that was merely added-value. While we have lost his considerable talent, the upshot is that no one else can have him either. Try to see the positive side of this… development.”
“The positive side, yes of course Shamakath.” Hokor had stopped pacing as Gredok motioned for him to take a seat in front of the desk. “Does this mean that we… I mean you, will not be launching an independent investigation?”
Gredok leaned forward and put his fingers on the desktop. “Absolutely not. I was hoping to get many profitable seasons out of Barnes’ talent and that advantage has been taken from me. Nobody takes from me. I meant what I said in that press conference. I will find out who did this and they will pay dearly!” Gredok’s eye briefly went from clear to jet black, then back to clear.
“In the meantime Coach Hokor, you should begin looking for a replacement to back up Don Pine. He has a few good years left and he’s won two Tier 1 Championships. His waning skills should be enough to keep us in Tier 1 next season, and protecting my trade route immunity means more to me right now than winning the title.”
“Do you really trust Pine after his betrayal?”
“Not in the slightest, but he knows that if I even suspect he is allowing outside entities to impact his performance, I will have him thrown out the Touchback’s shuttle bay airlock while we’re in Punchspace.”
Hokor shivered a bit at the threat and his eye turned solid pink in sympathetic fear of the prospect. There are many horrible ways in the universe to die, but being tossed out an airlock while in Punchspace was particularly brutal if the scientists were accurate about the effects on organic material.
“Is Messal still being questioned by the police?” Gredok asked, leaning back in his chair once again.
Hokor regained his composure once again. “Yes Shamakath. He has been down there for a few hours, but I expect they will be done with him soon.”
The phone on Gredok’s desk began to chime with the tone that indicated an incoming call on his personal, secured line. “Excellent. Send him to me as soon as he returns. Now if you’ll excuse me Coach, I must take this call.”
“Of course, Shamakath” Hokor replied as he stood. He swept his antennae back once more, bowed, then left the office quickly.
Messal the Efficient was tired. Tired and angry at the death – no, murder – of Quentin Barnes. He knew of Quentin’s Purist Nation background, new that he had been raised in a society that hated, well, pretty much everyone else in the universe. But he also watched Quentin rise above his upbringing, and he respected him for that. Now was not the time for sentiment though. Gredok wanted to see him, to find out what he had said to the police. He had come straight from the police station to the Krakens Stadium office annex.
“Messal the Efficient at your door” chimed the building AI.
“Enter” Gredok replied.
The office door slid open and Messal the Efficient stepped in. Gredok’s office was rather large and ornate by Quyth standards, but Messal crossed the ten meters from the threshold to Gredoks desk with his usual alacrity, then swept a pedipalp across his short antennae.
“You wanted to see me Shamakath?” Messal said.
“Sit” Gredok replied, gesturing to one of the chairs in front of his desk.
Messal chose to sit in the human chair rather than the one designed for Quyth leaders, but only because it accommodated his larger size better.
“I need you to tell me exactly what you told the police” Gredok said.
Messal recited the exact same story he’d told the police, line for line.
“You’re sure you are not leaving anything out, perhaps some detail that you failed to remember during your interrogation?” Gredok asked.
“No Shamakath, it is exactly as I told the investigating officer.” Messal’s small eye gave no indication of betrayal, though it was tinged with the colors of nervousness.
“Well clearly there is something on your mind. Out with it, Messal. I don’t have time for games today” Gredok said with just the barest hint of frustration in his voice.
Messal stood, swept his antennae back again, and bowed respectfully. “You tasked me with getting Mr. Barnes back to his apartment safely Shamakath, and I failed. I am prepared to accept whatever punishment you have in mind”
Gredok tapped the fingers of his right pedipalp rhythmically on the desktop a few times before responding. “No Messal, you did not fail. Barnes was alive and well when you left him, and based on what I have learned from my source in the Investigation Division, you had no reason to suspect that he would not remain that way. I do not hold you responsible for his death.”
Messal bowed again. “Yes, Sir” he replied.
Gredok stared at him for a few moments more, considering his next move. “You may go, Messal” he said, waving a pedipalp dismissively.
“Yes, Sir” Messal replied once more. He bowed again, but paused before leaving. “Shamakath, if I may be so bold…”
Gredok gestured for him to continue.
“Mr. Barnes was… nice to me. He appreciated my service. It was the last thing he said to me before I left. Is there is any way in which I can assist with your plan to deal with his murder?”
“I will let you know if I have need of your… skills. Just continue to be available on a moment’s notice” Gredok replied.