Agent of Chaos
by Kris Barton
“Agent of Chaos” began in issue 116.
The Indictor smiled wryly. “You may continue.”
“We made all preparations possible, the Chief of Security made sure that everyone who would attend the peace negations was essential personnel and were clean... ”
“I don’t understand the use of the word ‘clean’ in this application. Could please explain?” the Indictor interrupted again. “Of course, I apologise. In this application it is used to indicate that everybody at the meeting did not have any kind of criminal record previous to the event in question.”
“Ah, I see” the Indictor said. “You may continue.”
“The Chief of Security checked the background of everybody in attendance thoroughly. Even if a member the crew had as a much as a parking ticket, Chief Howlett made sure that they were excluded from the conference room...”
“The conference room?”
“Yes,” Ziekiel said. “It is one the largest rooms available on our ship and one of the most secure. It is the traditional designation for important meetings and events. It is also very secure. There is no foreseeable way that any type of assassin could enter without the security team knowing about it.”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand. If nobody was able to gain entrance to the room without the security team knowing about it,” the Indictor paused. “Then how did this assassin gain entrance to this conference room?”
“The assassin was already in the room when the peace negations took place.”
“But you said all of those people who were present had their backgrounds checked thoroughly.”
“I said all of the crew members, yes. But the assassin wasn’t a member of the crew.”
“Then, who was the assassin?”
“The assassin was one of General Kolash’s bodyguards.”
There was a brief gasp of shock from the civilians in attendance and as a resultant; the Arbitrator slammed his fist down unnecessarily hard upon the edge of his carved seat.
“There will be silence at this Tribunal!” he commanded.
The civilian audience immediately became quiet, whilst the Indictor simply stared at Ziekiel with great indifference. “Are you trying to tell us that the perpetrator of the assassination was not only a Lyzarian, but one of the General’s own bodyguards?” the Indictor asked.
“That is correct,” Ziekiel promptly replied.
The Indictor made a note of this upon his portable data terminal. “I would like you to begin at the actual meeting, Mr. Walters, and describe the events exactly the way they occurred.”
“Yes, Indictor,” Ziekiel replied. “The meeting was attended by several Humans and three Lyzarians.”
The Indictor developed a puzzled expression. “Could you please explain to me the need for all of the Humans in attendance?”
“To what end, Indictor?” the Arbitrator interrupted.
The Indictor shot the Arbitrator a rather disrespectful look. “I believe it would be prudent to illustrate the need for their presence in the peace negotiations, honourable Arbitrator.”
The Arbitrator nodded. “I agree, Indictor. Mr. Walters, would you kindly answer the Indictor’s question?”
“Of course, Arbitrator,” Ziekiel replied. “The Human officers consisted of Captain Naylor, his two senior officers, Security Chief Howlett and three of his most trusted security officers; one of whom was me.”
The Indictor added this information to his data terminal, and then looked up at him, wearing yet another deceptively pleasant smile.
“Why was there a need to include four security officers for the meeting?”
A similar smile lit up Ziekiel‘s face. “To ensure the safety of General Kolash.”
“But General Kolash wasn’t safe though,” the Indictor replied. “Was he?”
“As I stipulated earlier, the perpetrator of the crime was not under our control. We asked the Lyzarian ruling body to run a detailed check into the backgrounds of every Lyzarian that was to be brought aboard our ship, for our safety as much as your own.
“Earth Gov cannot be held responsible for your incompetence in this matter. Incompetence that cost the life of your beloved General Kolash.”
The Indictor nodded grimly. “I am well fully aware of your feelings about the crime, and I mourn the Human loss of life, but you must understand we only have your word on this. There is no proof that would suggest that you didn‘t commit the crime.”
“There is also no proof that I did commit the crime...” Ziekiel trailed off.
“And that is why the Indictor must continue with his questioning, Mr. Walters. He needs to determine what really happened,” the Arbitrator added.
“Yes, I do understand that, Arbitrator! That is why I submitted to the Lyzarian starship that brought me here, without hesitation and without complaint.” The Arbitrator grew visibly impatient. “Thank you, Mr. Walters. We both appreciate and recognise your cooperation, but still we must determine the guilty from the innocent in order to maintain at least a little hope of peace.
“This is your time to tell your side of the story! So ignore the Indictor’s invasive nature and continue with your account.”
“Of course, Arbitrator,” Ziekiel finally replied. “Initially the peace negotiations were going well. Captain Naylor and General Kolash had found some common ground over the recent space scavenger attacks and the discussions went from there.”
The Indictor developed a thoughtful look. “And was any blame issued over the origins of these scavenger attacks? I mean, it was a rogue band of Humans who started it after all, the opportunistic Lyzarians only joined later on in the movement.”
Ziekiel smiled. “The talks were civilised, Indictor. Earth Gov has accepted blame for this long ago, so there was no need to bring up that issue. However, Captain Naylor and General Kolash did begin to produce an appropriate plan of action to deal with these scavengers.”
“I see,” the Indictor said. “Does this mean that the negotiations were going well?”
“Indeed, they were.”
The Indictor paced back and forth in front of Ziekiel’s balcony, still wearing the same thoughtful look. “Do you think that this Lyzarian, the one you claimed was the one responsible, committed this heinous crime because the negotiations were faring well?”
Ziekiel thought about this question for a second “That is not a certainty, but the crime was committed soon after both parties made firm ground on the scavenger issue.” He paused. “So there could be some truth behind this motive.”
“I see,” the Indictor responded. “I know this will not be easy for you, but could you please explain the horrendous incident in detail?”
Ziekiel shuffled uncomfortably in his seat. “General Kolash and Captain Naylor had just finished discussing possible actions to deal with the scavengers, when one of the Generals personal bodyguards, extracted his ceremonial sabre from its sheath and swiftly slit General Kolash’s throat...”
The Indictor rose from his seat. “And why exactly wasn‘t this treacherous act quelled by the vast number of Humans in attendance?”
“It happened to fast that none of us could react in time.” Ziekiel said. “I’ve never seen anything so fast! By the time anyone could react, the General was dead and the treacherous Lyzarian had killed the other bodyguard.”
“I see,” the Indictor said. “Initial reports, however, state that the whole room was decimated, all bodies were completely destroyed, apart from you, of course. How, exactly, did this occur?”
“The Captain and some of the other security officers tried to disarm him after he‘d killed the General, but the strength of the Lyzarian was too much for them and they were simply shrugged away. Realising that there was no escape, the assassin unleashed the bomb.”
“You said that some of the other officer’s tried to stop him, where were you when this occurred?”
“I was still over at the other side of the conference room. I... I... I couldn’t move. It was as though I was stuck to the spot. It all just happened so fast...”
“I see,” the Indictor replied, revealing no detectable signs of sympathy. “And what kind of bomb did the Lyzarian have?”
“I’m not sure. I haven’t seen that kind of technology before, but the bomb appeared to engulf the immediate area in a brief , but intense, flame... the bodies were destroyed instantly.”
“And how was it that this bomb didn’t reach you?”
“Once I saw the Lyzarian pull out the bomb, I dived behind a large data console on the far side of the room. The fire didn’t extend that far.”
“But I thought you were fixed to the spot?” the Indictor said, producing another smug smile. “Surely...”
“That is enough, Indictor!” the Arbitrator bellowed from his high balcony, breaking the Indictor off mid-sentence. “I have heard all that I need to hear. I have made my decision.”
To be continued...
Copyright © 2004 by Kris Barton