Read The Domino Pattern Online

Authors: Timothy Zahn

Tags: #Fiction, #SciFi, #Quadrail

The Domino Pattern (31 page)

BOOK: The Domino Pattern
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Chapter Twenty-Three

We found Terese and the two Fillies waiting on the far edge of the Venidra Carvo Station, their luggage gathered in a pile around them. “Good day, Dr. Aronobal;
Logra
Emikai; Ms. German,” I greeted them as Bayta and I came up. “If I may say so, you all look a little lost.”

“Well, we’re not,” Terese spoke up, giving me one of those glares she did so well. “So go away.”

“Actually, I think you are,” I said. “I’m afraid the guide you’re expecting won’t be joining you.”

“What do you mean?” Aronobal asked, frowning down her long nose at me.

“I’m sure you heard that there were four final victims of the murderer Kennrick shortly before he himself was killed a couple of weeks ago,” I said.

“Yes, we heard,” Aronobal said darkly. “A tragic occurrence.”

“Very tragic,” I agreed. “Even more so as it turns out that one of them was supposed to contact you here and give you the tickets to your final destination. Specifically,
Asantra
Muzzfor.”

Aronobal jerked her head at that. “
Asantra
Muzzfor? Are you certain?”

“He told me so himself, before he died,” I assured her. “Here are your tickets.” I pulled out the tickets I’d gotten from Muzzfor’s folder and passed them out.

Aronobal peered at the destination on her ticket. “These are for
Kuzyatru
Station.”

“Never heard of it,” Terese said, frowning at hers.

“In English, it’s called Proteus,” I told the girl. “You may have heard of it by that name.”

“Well, I haven’t,” she growled. “No one said anything about going to a space station. I thought I was going to some big clinic on Dojussu Sefpra Major.”

“That was my understanding, as well,” Aronobal seconded.

“Maybe you’ll be going there after you visit Proteus,” I said. “All I know is that these tickets are made out in your names, and that I was asked to deliver them to you.”

“You were asked by
Asantra
Muzzfor?” Emikai asked, an odd expression on his face.

“Yes,” I confirmed, looking him straight in the eye. “I was with him when he died. He also asked me to accompany you to Proteus, to make sure you got there safely.”

“There is no need for that,” Emikai said firmly. “I will watch over them.”

“I’m sure you will,” I acknowledged. “And I certainly imply no slight on your capabilities. But I promised
Asantra
Muzzfor I would go with you, and I would ask that you permit me to honor that promise.”

“Of course,” Aronobal said distractedly, looking around. “Very well, then. Do you happen to know which track our new train will be taking?”

“Number Eighteen,” I said, pointing across the station. “Just follow us.”

With Bayta beside me, I started toward our new track. I’d gone only a couple of steps when I felt a soft but insistent grip on my upper arm. “Keep going,” I told Bayta as I allowed the hand to slow me down. Terese and Aronobal passed me by, Aronobal giving me barely a glance, Terese ignoring me completely. As their trailing luggage rolled past me I came to a halt. “You have a question?” I asked quietly, turning to face Emikai.

For a moment he didn’t speak, his hand still gripping my arm. “They will wish to know exactly how
Asantra
Muzzfor died,” he said at last. “Those who now employ me.”

“And I’ll be glad to tell them,” I assured him.

“Will you?” he countered. “Even if they assign a portion of the blame to you?”

“Why would they do that?” I asked, keeping my voice and expression calm. There was no way, after all, for Emikai to know the truth about what had happened to Muzzfor. “I had nothing to do with his death.”

“You are the same species as the killer,” Emikai pointed out. “That may be enough.” His eyes flicked ahead to Bayta and his two companions. “There is no need for you to escort us. It would perhaps be better for you to go about your own business.”

“My business is the protection of innocent people,” I said. “I have an obligation to see Ms. German safely to Proteus.”

Emikai’s eyes bored into mine. “Very well,” he said. “If you are truly determined, I will not forbid you to accompany us.”

“Thank you,” I said.

I started to turn away, turned back as his hand darted up again to grip my arm. “But remember,” he added. “I too am a protector of my people.”

“Indeed you are,” I said softly. “Don’t worry. I won’t forget.”

BOOK: The Domino Pattern
4.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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