Chapter 17

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Dall tried to keep up with the detective and the girl who he recognized from the comms panel before she towed his shuttle off to the authorities. Tauri was her name. He wanted to thank her. It was her actions that resulted in liberating him from those bastards that kidnapped him. She was even more impressive in person. Not tall, but her figure and the clothes she wore made her look longer than she was. Tauri moved with finesse, her outfit accentuating her well-toned body.

After they fled the CSF building, they followed detective Fackel down from the top level. He took them to a coffee spot where they could stop and talk. Once they reached the tiny place, they sat at one of only two small round tables present. The detective ordered three regular coffees and brought them over to the table. He had a stubby beard, overdue for a trimming. He seemed a lot more worn-out than Dall remembered. Hor pushed the cups at them and took a long gulp from his.

"Shit. What a morning," Fackel said, taking another deep sip. He looked at the girl and then at Dall, considering something he wasn't sharing. Dall used the lull - "I'm Dall."

"Tauri. Nice to meet you." She smiled at him with pity in her eyes. "I'm sorry about your mother."

"Oh, th... thanks." He mumbled. "I guess I should say thank you. Because of you, I'm free from those people that took me. So... thanks." he tried to smile, but didn't think it worked. "You're welcome," she perked up. "So? What made them interested in you, specifically?"

Before he could answer, the detective intervened. "So sorry to interrupt this lovely chat of yours, but we're pressed for time, Wendall. I need to get you off this Cloud and hide you without too many questions. I'm gonna make a few calls. In the meantime, Miss Long. Thank you for warning me about those agents, but this is where we part ways." He said coldly.

"I can help you. I'm a pilot; I got a ship. Well, my father's but -"
"Would you be willing to take me off Cloud?" Dall asked, remembering what happened to the last person who tried to do just that. "I have no clue who's after me and what they want. They have a lot of power, though. It's dangerous."
"Hey, I don't scare that easily. I wouldn't have been out there towing your ass and getting those bastards incarcerated if I was!"

"That's all nice, but I don't know you, so can't trust you. Maybe you've put yourself in this position to grab young Wendall here for whoever you're working for." Fackel interjected. He placed his hand on his hip below his jacket, his holstered gun showing. "Wow! Suspicious much? Listen, man. I'm just trying to help. I have the skills and ship to get your friend out of this place. If you don't want my help, I'm outa here." She spat out the last words. Dall didn't appreciate the two talking over his head like he wasn't there.

"Good. Goodbye, Miss Long."

"Whatever. Wendall, I hope you'll be Ok. Watch your back." Tauri said as she got up, shooting an angry look at the detective and leaving her coffee untouched. "Thanks. Thank you, Tauri." Dall said. He didn't like the tone Fackel used with her but had to admit they couldn't trust her. And if she wasn't dangerous herself, then any minute longer in his company would put her in danger. It was for the best.

They both watched her leave. "Ok, good. Now hold on for a while, I'll check our options for getting you off this Cloud. I should be able to pull a few wires." The detective's eyes turned into gazing rather than seeing. Wendall sipped from his coffee. It tasted wonderful after only tepid water for the last few weeks.

After a while, Dall got restless. Still engrossed in whatever his PL was showing him, the detective allowed his coffee to grow cold. Dall got up and stepped out of the small café. There were two large trees planted nearby with colorful solid square blocks scattered around them.

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