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 Category:  Mystery and Crime Science Fiction
  Posted: September 23, 2020      Views: 24
Chapters:
 ...11 12 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22... 

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KRPRICE 
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Chapter 18 of the book Killer Candy
Keur rescues his aunt
"Kaskellian Rescue Run" by krprice
Background
Serria and Keur are trying to find out who is making candy that is killing kids.


After the shuttle landed, Serria wrinkled her nose as she wound her way through the acerbic stench of the ship’s fuel. She closed in on the promenade but only the floral scents and aromas coming from the restaurants offset that of unwashed people of various races whose chatter made her want to hold her hands up to her ears. Unfortunately, they were occupied with the boxes from Tandra and her painting.
 
She walked into the maze of desks at Thair and Thatt Travel Agency owned by Ben Thair and Dunn Thatt. Black-skinned, Alyci McCready sat at her desk tapping her epen on her teeth.
 
“Hey, gal, what’s got you so deep in thought?” Serria asked.
 
Alyci glanced up, set her pen down, and smiled. “Just trying to figure out some strange transfers people want.  Donnae know how I’m going to do it.”
 
Serria set the small box on the desk. “I brought you something.”
 
Alyci’s small black eyes gleamed as she opened the box. “Scherzai,” she exclaimed. “You’ve been to Tandra’s.”
 
“Obviously.” Serria grinned as she opened the larger box. “And you can have one of these voringas.”
 
Her friend grabbed a tissue from a nearby box on her desk and picked one out. “I’ll save it for breakfast. Thank you.” She moved the sweets aside and set it in with them then closed it.
 
“I bought this too.” Serria unwrapped the painting and showed it to Alyci.
 
“Oh my,” she cried. “What a gorgeous picture! And of a stripclaw too. Where did you get it?”
 
Serria told her what had happened and how she had acquired it.
 
“If those Fanghorn Brothers buy up all the others for Mel, there won’t be any left for the rest of us,” Alyci said.
 
“But Mr. Wilkerson said he’d been painting for three decades,” Serria said. “Bet he has more stashed away.”

“I’ll make a concerted effort to get down there soon,” Alyci said.
 
“I need to get to my room and hang this up,” Serria said.
 
“Thanks again.”
 
Serria waved as she worked her way back to the promenade, picked up her supper and eventually arrived at her room.
 
 She put the voringas in her fridge, wet a sponge, and wiped off the place in the wall where she could see it when she sat up in the morning. Once she dried it, she stuck the picture hanger on the wall and hung her stripeclaw. Then she walked back to her bed and lay down momentarily before sitting up. She grinned at the sight.
 
With that done, she ate, typed up her notes, and sent a report to Franz Henderson.
 
Serria plucked two voringas from the box and stuck them in a wrapper for such things. Then she left her room and strolled to Keur’s room, hitting the chime.
 
“Come,” he said.
 
She walked in and found him sitting as his computer. “I brought some goodies if you’ll make some tea.”
 
He rose. “Already was heating some water. Are those voringas?”
 
“Yes,”
 
Keur strode to the kitchen and returned shortly with a tray of steaming cups of tea.
 
“Don’t recognize that one,” Serria commented.
 
“It’s new,” he said. “From some berries she got from one of my cousins. She calls it genika.”
 
“Has a sweet taste,” Serria said.
 
As they drank their tea and ate the pastries, Serria told him of her adventures on Alosia.
 
“I’ll certainly snoop into the files of the disability office,” Keur promised.
 
They talked a while longer before Serria returned to her room and went to bed.
 
****
 Keur spent the next morning hacking into the disability files. Might as well as not had any firewall. He shook his head as he slipped in, creating a back door and password since he figured he’d have to get in there again.
 
Once he found one hundred and fifty thousand names of those receiving disability, the reason, and the amount they received each month, he copied it to his own machine before leaving the file.
 
He sat back and thought about what do to next. Those who served in the Alosian Armed Forces had to either have been born on Alosia, born to Alosian parents, or were naturalized citizens.
His next step was to gain illegal entry into the Bureau of Vital Statistics to find out who were born here or to Alosian citizens.
 
Chuckling at how easy it was to get access to that information, Keur compared the two lists and realized one hundred and forty thousand were citizens. He transferred the names of those not on the first list to another and visited the record of those who had died.
 
Keur gasped, widening his eyes. Two thousand people receiving disability were deceased. He made another file with only their names.
 
After leaving there, he checked the naturalization file and found five thousand had been naturalized.
 
With the file now whittled down to three thousand people, Keur sat back again. The main file of those deceased still could be a mistake, someone in the office didn’t get notified of someone’s death. However, three thousand names who were not on file as citizens sounds a bit add, if not downright illegal.
 
Every person who worked on the planet or paid taxes would be listed with the Tax Service Division. That one would not be so easy to get into.
 
Keur rose and walked over to his comlink and sent an innocuous message to an old friend who now worked in that division.
 
Before he could return to his computer, his comlink buzzed, and the red light flashed four times, indicating it was an emergency message.
 
Keur hit the button to hear it. “Keur, life has gotten intolerable here. Skerry and I must leave. Send help. Love, Aunt Lieu.”
 
Immediately he called Neu.
 
“Neu here.”
 
“Get the ship ready to go to Kaskellia to rescue Aunt Lieu,” Keur said.
 
“Be ready to leave in thirty minutes at bay thirteen. Neu out.”
 
“Keur out.”
 
He wrote up a message to Vik, Rogel, Shay, and Mike and sent it.
 
Before he could do anything else, his comlink buzzed again.
 
“On station. Meet in fifteen minutes at PPP. Bring list. Hugo out.”
 
Keur jumped up and dashed to his computer, made sure he had paper in his printer, and set about printing off the requested information. Once it was finished, he folded it up and stuck it in a satchel. He left his room and knocked on Serria’s door.
 
“Come in,” she invited, and the door slid open.
 
Keur entered and announced, “Aunt Lieu called. She and Skerry need to get off Kaskellia. I’ve sent off messages for help. Will you contact Alyci and help her get a bedroom set up for them? I’ve got another errand to run before Neu and I leave.”
 
“I’ll take care of that,” Serria said. “You do what you have to do.”
 
“Thanks,” Keur said and left.
 
Being half Alosian and half Crescenji, Hugo stood a foot and a half talker than Keur.
 
“Still haven’t grown up yet?” His friend grinned.
 
“Nor will I,” Keur said and smiled. “Check this list against your records. I think there’s something shady going on at Disability Services. Don’t have time to explain now. Got to rescue my aunt on Kaskellia.” He handed the papers to Hugo.
 
“Go,” Hugo said and accepted them. “I’ll send you the results when I get them.”
“Thanks,” Keur said and ran back to his room.
 
He quickly packed his travel bag and sprinted to the BRIGHT STAR.
 
Once they were strapped in, Keur and Neu took off for Kaskellia.
****
That evening Serria joined Alyci for supper.
 
“I don’t know how so few ships are going to bring all of Skerry and Aunt Lieu’s belongings here, not to mention where they’re going to put them,” Alyci said as she cut off a piece of redtail steak.
 
“I don’t expect them to bring much more than some clothes, important papers, valuables, and Aunt Lieu’s tea making equipment and supplies.” Serria drank some tea.
 
They continued talking until their finished eating and cleaned up the kitchen.
 
In the biggest spare bedroom, Serria handed Alyci box and box, and she left the room, returning with two sets of green sheets, blankets, pillows, and pillow cases. With nothing more than twin beds, a dresser, chair and desk, the duo made up the beds in silence.
 
Alyci left again and came back with yellow towels and washcloths which they set on the dresser.
“This move is really going to disrupt their lives, particularly Aunt Lieu’s business,” Serria said.
 
“We’ll all work together to get that restarted,” Alyci commented as they walked back into the living room.  “How about some Khavae Mint wine?”
 
“Sounds good.” Serria  dropped into a chair.
 
After having two glasses, Serria bid goodnight and left.
 
The red light on her comlink was blinking when she entered her room. She sat beside it and hit the green button to hear the message.
 
“Serria, this is Mel.”
 
As if I need him to identify himself with that booming voice.
 
“First, I’d like to thank you for saving my life,” he said in a humble tone, one Serria had rarely heard him use. “If you haven’t called Dr. Siltherspit and recognized the sweets, I would surely be dead or at least addicted to the stuff. Next, I want to thank you for realizing Mr. Wilkerson’s talents. The brothers bought everything he had displayed. They’ll do nicely decorating my new home.” He paused to take a breath. “I’m leaving Alosia since I believe I have outstayed my welcome. I bet Keur and Vik are going over to Kaskellia to rescue their families, so I’m going over to see what kind of mischief I can get into. My sources tell me security is tight, and they might need my help. I will contact you when I’m settled. I owe you a life debt. Mel out.”
While she changed for bed, Serria remembered what a life debt meant to Crescenji Warriors. Her cousin wouldn’t have made that comment without meaning it. And I certainly won’t take advantage of it either.
 
As soon as her head hit the pillow, she fell fast asleep.
 
****
The BRIGHT STAR and the RAINBOW DREAMS met up with Rogel in the LEGAL LMIT and the Brimsens in the SILVER MOON in orbit around Kaskellia. The quartet landed in bay right next to each other and met at Vik’s ship.
 
“Mom will be in the waiting room at the spaceport,” Vik said, her voice shaky, and she frowned.
 
They wound their way through the snaking hoses and gray metal carts until they reached the brown tile of the aforementioned place.
 
As soon as Skerry spotted them, she rushed up to her daughter, hugging her. “I’m so worried about Lieu. I barely got out alive,” she said in a shrill tone.
 
A loud boom erupted from outside the spaceport. Skerry jumped, her gaze darting around, as skittish as a newborn animal.
 
Skerry took a deep breath. “Lieu said she had almost a hundred boxes of tea making and supplies to be shipped. “So I reserved two airtrucks and an aircar. We won’t all be able to fit in the trucks.”
 
“And I’ll pay for it,” Rogel offered. “We need to get you two ladies to safety before this place blows apart.”
 
“They are in my name,” Skerry said. “But I won’t turn down your offer.”
 
As they exited the spaceport and walked to the vehicle rental, Keur said, “I’ll drive one airtruck since I know where Aunt Lieu lives. Neu can ride with me.”
 
“I’ll drive the other one,” Vik said. “For the same reason. Mom comes with me.”
 
“Shay and I know where she lives,” Mike said. “But, Rogel, you can drive.”
 
With that decided, they claimed the vehicles and headed for Lieu Kwan’s house.
 
Downtown Mokar resembled a war zone with roofs caved in or tumbled to the ground to keep company with other debris scattered over the streets like forgotten toys.
 
They wove their way around troubled spots until they reached the residential district.
 
“This here area doesn’t look too bad,” Neu said.
 
“At lease, none of the homes are on fire or blown up,” Keur said. “Let’s hope it stays that way.”

As soon as they pulled up in front of his aunt’s house, she opened the door.
 
Keur jumped from the truck and ran up to her, enveloping his favorite aunt in his arms.
 
“You’re squeezing me too much,” she said and laughed.
 
He let go. “I was afraid for you.”
 
“There’s a lot to load,” she said. “Who was the smart one to bring two trucks?”
 
“Skerry, but Rogel is paying for them,” Keur told her.
 
By now, both trucks were open, and they had formed a line to one.
 
Aunt Lieu handed a box to Keur, who passed it on to Neu until it reached Rogel who loaded it.
They kept at it until both airtrucks were full.
 
Aunt Lieu went back into the house and returned shortly with her purse. Keur and Neu climbed into the first airtruck, Vik and Skerry into the second, and the others got into the aircar.
 
The ride back was shorter than the one to his aunt’s house. Neu, Vik, Rogel, and Mike each grabbed a cart and pushed it to the first airtruck. They managed to fill up all four.
 
“Shay and I will take this to our ship,” Mike said. “Though we don’t know if all will fit.”
 
“Then I’ll go with you,” Neu said. “If it doesn’t, we can start loading my ship.”
 
“There is three of you and four carts,” Aunt Lieu said. “I’ll push the other one.”

“Then let’s go,” Mike said.
 
“Mom and I will hunt for more carts,” Vik said. “Keur and Rogel can move the other boxes to the front of the airtruck.”
 
“Keur can start that,” Rogel said. “I’ll turn in the empty airtruck then the aircar.”
 
With that all agreed, they split up.
 
Keur had just set the tenth box in the front when Vik and Skerry showed up each pushing two carts.
 
The trio filled one cart before Rogel came back for the aircar.
 
Shaylyne brought an empty cart back. “Our ship’s full. We managed to get thirty boxes on it.”
 
After Rogel returned, Mike and Neu arrived. The truck was emptied, and Rogel left with it.
 
“We’re full,” Neu told Keur.
 
“Hope we can get everything on Vik and Rogel’s ship,” Keur said as they pushed the heavy carts to the ships.
 
By the time the RAINBOW DREAMS was stuffed to capacity, Rogel popped up, and they managed to fit everything in his ship.
 
Everyone went to the respective ships, with Aunt Lieu joining her nephew and Neu. They all strapped in while Neu asked for clearance.
 
“This is Kaskellian Spaceport Security,” a male voice said. “Nobody will be allowed to leave until their ships are searched.”
 
Dramatis Personae of Deadly Sweets
 
Cultures of Deadly Sweets
Alosian—canary yellow skinned, Nordic culture
Crescenji—brown-skinned, warrior culture
Jetahn—white-skinned, Russian culture
Kaskellia—red/crimson skinned, Chinese culture
Muswella—black-skinned, Scottish culture
Muswella—desert, brown-skinned, Meiglan, Islamic culture
Muswella—desert, brown-skinned, Nutmeigs, Radical Islamic culture
 
Dramatis Personae
 
Serria Stripeclaw—Crescenji Warrior, private investigator, partnered with Keur
Keur Matiason— Half Alosian, half Kaskellian, computer expert, private investigator, partnered with Serria
Vik Juleskova—Half Jetahni, half Kaskellian, trader, owner of RAINBOW DREAMS
Mike Brimsen—Alosian, trader, co-owns the SILVER MOON
Shaylyne Brimsen—Alosian, trader, co-owns the SILVER MOON
Alyci McCready—Muswellan, black-skinned, agent at Thair and Thatt Agency
Lieu Kwan—Kaskellian, Keur’s aunt, famous for her teas
Skerry Royk—Kaskellian, Vik’s mother, bioengineering specialist
Rogel Irriksohn—Alosian, rich, owner of Irriksohn Corporation
Mak Redtail-- Crescenjian, doctor on Alosian Space Station, Serria’s boyfriend
Neu Knotts—Alosian, rich, trading partner with Keur Matiason, owner of BRIGHT STAR
 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 

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