Serria and Keur hunt for the person making candy that is killing kids.
With three of them tied up, Josin had sidled his way around the desk and moved closer to Serria. He probably figured she was the greatest threat, she thought, and he was right. Time passed in silence until a Kaskellian man strode in, holding a satchel to his chest. A mantle of authority wrapped around him like a cloak.
“What kind of trouble have you gotten yourself into now?” the man asked.
“Shut up, Wilfur,” Josin growled, marched over, and tried to seize the satchel. “Just give me the money and tell me how we’re to get off planet.”
“I am Wilfur Renn,” he said to all. “Kaskellian Ambassador.” Then he turned to Josin. “I want an explanation of your actions before you get anything.”
Josin scowled and then shrugged. “The Syndicate got the idea to addict as many people as possible so they can sway them to their cause, whatever that is. They caught Rohn stealing from Bethany. So we decided to use his knowledge of chemistry to create candy with some addictive substance and wrap it in green paper. However, I decided to use this opportunity to get rid of kids since I hate the little brats.” He paused and took a breath.
Both Serria and Wilfur scowled at him, and Georg’s eyes widened.
“Anyway, I got help from another scientist, and he suggested putting some heart medicine into candy. That would surely kill a bunch of kids. We did that and shipped it through Tandra’s shop.”
Before anyone else got to say anything, someone flung open the door, and Gwyn Prequin barged in. “What’s agoing on?”
Josin’s gaze focused on the newcomer, so Serria kicked out and knocked the gun from his hand, and then wrapped her arm around his neck. He lifted his foot backward to try to hit her groin.
“Don’t even try it,” she snarled. “I could snap your neck before you could do anything about it.”
“I’ve got immunity,” Josin pleaded. “I work for the embassy.”
“Not anymore,” Wilfur said. “You’re fired.”
Rohn scrambled to the door just as Detective Danforth and his team entered.
“Rohn Gossen and Josin Chen, you’re both under arrest for murder not just on Alosia, but multiple other planets,” the detective said.
Serria let Josin go as two officers surround him, but he spun around to her. “You’d better watch your back all the time. The Syndicate will get you.”
“Not if we get them first,” Serria snapped.
While the duo was carted away, Wilfur released the president. Serria untied her partner and Bethany.
“So, Serria, what’s going on?” Gwyn asked, tablet in hand.
“Talk to Detective Dansforth,” Serria told her. “We have no comment here.”
Another officer pushed Gwyn from the office and shut the door.
President Ahlberg hugged everyone. “Thank you.”
“All right,” Detective Dansforth said and perched on the president’s desk. “I want to hear everyone’s statement.”
Once that was done, Serria, Keur, and Bethany left the building with the assemblywoman heading for her office.
On their way to the shuttle station, Serria’s comlink chimed.
“This is Walter Langendorfer,” he said. I just want you to know an investigation has been started into the Disability Services. It seems like someone has uncovered major fraud there and has been going on for five years. It seems like your looking into the situation prompted it.”
“Well, I wouldn’t have started it without your hiring of us,” she said. “And Keur deserves more of the credit than me.”
“Thank you to both of you.”
Once she hung up, she told Keur the news. By then they were seated on the shuttle.
“Good to know those men who served Alosia are taken care of.”
“Yes, I agree.”
Fourteen days later, Serria, Keur, Vik, Rogel, Shaylyne, Mike, Skerry, Aunt Lieu, Tandra, and her attorney, Franz Henderson gathered in the Pretentious Purple Prequin meeting room. Platters of pastries both from the Prequin’s kitchen and Clincy’s, which Tandra supplied, filled the table along with bright blue teapots full of tea, matching cups, saucers, plates, silver and other necessities for eating breakfast.
Once everyone had settled with their drinks and food, Serria stood. “This tale starts with grief of several parents suing Tandra over the deaths of their children. But it concludes with the perpetrators arrested. They still have to go to trial on several planets, but Rohn is telling his side to anyone who will listen.” She paused to sip some citrusy tea. “While he never made any of the deadly candy, he did help Josin by hacking into Tandra’s website and telling him of her delivery schedule. And he was making addictive goodies. With Jetahn and Kaskellia in chaos, I doubt those two will go to trial there. While Alosia and Muswella do not have the death penalty, Crescenji does. I expect Josin will get that, and Rohn will be spending the rest of his life in prison on some world, probably on my homeworld.” She finished off her tea, refilled her cup, and drank more. “If it wasn’t for Skerry’s and Aunt Lieu’s fortunate discovery of Rohn, I doubt Keur and I would have solved it. Thanks to all who helped.”
She sat but Tandra stood. “I also want to thank everyone. Because of their hard work and assistance, I am giving Serria, Keur, Skerry, and Lieu a lifetime of unlimited supply of products from my shop. Just don’t rob me blind, you two.” Tandra pointed to Serria and Keur then plopped.
“No, we won’t,” Keur said. “If we did that, where would we get all our sweets?”
They laughed again and chatted as they enjoyed their morning meal.
Rogel and Vik adjourned to her ship after their meal and relaxed on two chairs.
“I had several of my men examine those ketones you gave, me,” Rogel said. “They put them through every test they could think of short of destroying them.” He held out the three, round, silverish, metal disks. “They are very light, and they appear to be indestructible. I would bet Knotts Shipyard would be interested in a large quantity of them to build ships. Not to mention the military. They weighed them against the metals used to make aircars and anything else they could think of, and they came up half the weight.”
“Sounds like the Relonquins could become very rich from mining this stuff,” Vik said.
“They sure could,” Rogel said. “And I’m more than willing to help them.” He grinned.
“Oh, I’m sure you are.”
He handed her the ketones, and she rose, heading to the back and securing them.
Once she returned, they found something more pleasurable to occupy their time.
After everyone but Serria, Keur, and Neu had left, they sat closer together.
“I will buy into that new ship you want, and become a partner,” Serria announced.
“Thank you,” the two men said.
“You won’t be sorry,” Keur commented.
“This here new trading company needs a name,” Neu said. “But I don’t have any ideas.”
“We’ll have to think on that,” Serria said.
“Well, I’ll go talk to grandpappy and arrange to have one built,” Neu said, stood, and left.
“I have been jealous of you and Neu,” Keur said. “You both have companions, and I don’t. I was immature, and I apologize.”
“We need to find you a girlfriend,” Serria said. And I have someone in mind.
They stood, hugged, and strode from the room at peace with each other.
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
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
Hans Dansforth—Alosian, detective on Kondreal Police Force