Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
I looked up from the stack of reports I was going through and marshal Edwards grinned. He was a short stocky man with grey hair and a wicked sense of humor. I glanced at Dragon as she looked up expectantly and sighed as he slipped her a small piece of sweet meat, “What now?”
He laughed, “The boss wants you.”
I looked at him closely and then stood, “Dragon, guard my desk.”
Edwards shook his head in mock sadness as I headed towards the commander’s office. A few of the others looked up but most ignored me. I knocked and then opened the door and walked in, “You wanted me?”
Commander Tosin turned from her terminal, “Yes. The planetary constables on Garfield have requested our assistance in hunting down a criminal.”
I moved to one of her chairs, “What makes it one of ours?”
She smiled absently, “The wanted man was a trained commando.”
I thought about it and nodded, “Do we have a file on him?”
Commander Tosin slid a tiny disk across her desk, “classified so a lot is missing.”
I nodded and slipped the disk into my jacket, “Limits?”
She actually sighed, “Alive if possible, dead if necessary. The constables would prefer him dead.”
I shook my head as I stood, “They never learn. Okay, I’ll see what I can do.”
I headed back to my desk, “Time to go Dragon.”
She stood and stretched before leaping and spreading her wings. I let her land on my shoulder as I headed towards the lifts. I went up to the living quarters and walked to mine. I pulled my ready bag down and left. I took the lift down to dispersing and then headed to the port. This time I was traveling aboard a passenger cargo ship.
Three weeks later I grinned at the XO as I approached the shuttle down to Garfield, “I’ll miss our games of chance Tony.”
He grinned, “Only because you never lose.”
He took my hand and then reached up to scratch Dragon’s chin, “Watch his back Dragon.”
She yawned showing her needle like teeth and he laughed, “Take care Morpheus.”
I nodded and boarded the shuttle, when I walked out of the terminal I knew something was wrong. Dragon still rode my shoulder and leaped into the air. I headed towards the slide to the transportation area with Dragon soaring above. I was halfway there when a constable stepped onto the slide in front of me. He walked against the slide to approach me and stopped a few feet away, “Marshal Morpheus?”
I looked him over, “Yes.”
He nodded, “I’m Constable Commander George.”
I waited and his face reddened, “I came to meet you because it is important that we talk.”
I continued to wait as we drew nearer to the end of the slide and the restricted parking area reserved for marshals. He looked around, “Samuel De Varga is a dangerous criminal. We have a shoot on sight order for him. To be blunt, we do not want him taken alive.”
I smiled, “The Imperial Marshals are not hired killers. We take our man alive and only kill when necessary.”
He looked into my face, “Here on Garfield you will do as we tell you.”
I laughed and stepped off the stopped slide, “Constable, I am a deputy Imperial Marshal. I do not take orders from any local system. Now, you asked for our help, if you don’t want it I will go back to headquarters.”
He stepped closer and snarled, “Listen you young…”
He gasped as my weapon was suddenly touching his chest. I pushed until he stepped back, “I suggest you listen constable. If you interfere with me again or threaten me, I will place you in custody and have you taken to Canis VI. The sentence for interfering with a marshal can be severe.”
I looked at his white face, “Now, once I check in with the governor I will start looking for your man.”
He backed up and I stepped off the slide and headed towards the lone vehicle in the marshals parking area. I did a walk around as I checked the vehicle. When I opened the door Dragon dropped down to fly through and land on the far seat, I set my bag in back and climbed in. I started the vehicle and turned it towards the capital as I lifted. I thought about constable commander George and the way he acted which wasn’t like any law enforcement agent should.
It was an hour’s flight to the government center, by the time I reached it I had come to a decision. I would stay and regardless of the system request, I would find Samuel De Varga to hear what he had to say. I parked the car in front of the building and opened the door. Dragon leaped to grab on and climb to my shoulder as I got out.
I headed towards the ornate doors and paused only to silence the alarm with my badge. I hit the lift button for the governor’s floor and got off to walk through a huge plush lobby. I stopped at a wide desk with three assistants, “I need to see the governor.”
The young man looked up at me and frowned, “The governor is in a conference and can not be disturbed.”
I looked at him calmly, “Do I look like a politico or someone else she would normally see? My name is marshal Morpheus and I am here at her request.”
He snorted, “You can wait like everyone else.”
I shook my head, “What is it with this planet. Let me explain something to you. If I even think you are obstructing me, I can shoot you. Now where is the governor?”
His eyes had widened slightly but I guess because I wasn’t yelling at him, he thought he was safe. He stood and leaned on the desk facing me, “I said…”
I grabbed him by the throat and yanked him over the desk before dropping him to the floor. I looked at the two women moving back from the desk and snarled, “The governor… now!”
One pointed to a large set of double doors and I turned and started walking towards the doors while looking at the two guards headed towards me, “get in my way and I will shoot you.”
I opened the doors and walked into a huge office. A tall grey haired woman looked up as I walked in and frowned. I crossed to her desk as she reached for her intercom. I cleared my throat, “I am marshal Morpheus. I don’t sit around waiting for anyone. You wanted our help, since I have been on your planet I have been slighted, threatened and dismissed. Now, either you want our help or I take the next ship back to Canis VI.”
She sat back and just looked at me. Finally she leaned forward, “You’re a little younger than I expected.”
I just looked at her waiting and she turned to reach for a chip on the corner of her desk. She slid it across, “You will report to me when you kill him.”
I took the chip and glanced at her, “When I Capture him, I will turn him over to the courts.”
She stood quickly and snarled, “Listen to me Marshal! You will kill him on sight!”
I smiled as I turned towards the door, “If you can get the Emperor to give that order I might consider it.”
I crossed to the door and walked out. By the time I reached the ground floor there were a dozen constables waiting just outside. They blocked my way to the car and I shrugged to let Dragon know to fly. A few watched her take off but most just looked at me as one of the constables stepped forward, “You’re an arrogant bastard.”
I smiled thinly, “I’ve been told that.”
He leaned closer and snarled, “If you want to live to…”
He didn’t even see the blow that struck his throat. As he fell to the ground choking I drew my weapon, “Listen very close. I am a deputy of the Imperial Marshals. You will move out of my way and stay out of my way.”
They were stunned and backed away with hands raised. I waited until the way was clear and started for my vehicle as I holstered my pistol. Dragon dropped out of the sky to fly through the open door. I slid in and closed the door before raising the vehicle and turning to head for the system fleet headquarters. I spent the time thinking about the way everyone was behaving.
I slowed and dropped to the ground beside the guard building that was flashing red alarm lights across the fleet boundary markers. I opened the window and held up my badge, at first the guards had an angry belligerent look until my ID flashed green on the gate scanner. He looked at it in surprise and then at me as I shrugged, “Notify the commander I am on my way in.”
I lifted the vehicle and headed for the distant set of buildings. Fleet bases were always laid out the same so I headed for the tall tower in the center. I dropped closer to the ground as I entered the cluster of buildings and slowed to a stop at the front steps of the tower. Dragon climbed my shoulder as I stepped out and headed for the front doors.
The two fleet commandos on each side of the door stared ahead and ignored me as I approached. The doors remained closed and locked and I shook my head, “I am getting tired of this game.”
The two were still reacting as the huge glass doors shattered and I slipped the small tube back into my sleeve. I headed through the shattered glass ignoring the weapons they held. I walked straight to the lifts as a dozen commandoes burst through a side door and entered the lobby. I touched my badge to the red glow on the lift controls and pressed the top floor.
When the lift stopped and I stepped out there were six commandoes blocking my way to the commander’s office. I looked at them, “I am marshal Morpheus. Move or I will move you.”
They glanced at each other and then opened a hole. I ignored everyone as I headed straight for the large double doors. I pushed them open and stepped into the huge office. The commander looked back from the window he was looking out of, “So the marshals are going to do their dirty work.”
I smiled as I crossed the office and sat in a comfortable chair, “If you mean capture and bring him before a Judge than yes.”
He turned to face me, “The governor hasn’t told you…”
I held up my hand, “Commander, you of all people know the Imperial Marshals don’t take orders from locals and we don’t do kill missions. Now, I came to you for a brief on Samuel De Varga. What is the fleet impression of him and what do you know about the charges against him?”
He looked surprised and then grinned as he walked to sit in another chair, “I should have known you marshals wouldn’t take their crap.”
I nodded and sat back to listen. We were interrupted a few times before he was finished. I stood to cross to the window as Dragon glided from my shoulder to the commander’s desk and the small bowl of salted fish and crackers. I looked out not really seeing the base below us, “So you think they assassinated the previous governor and are using De Varga as the scapegoat?”
He sighed, “Yes. De Varga was a good man and as far as I know never left his homestead.”
I turned, “You haven’t said and the record didn’t hint at a wife or mate.”
The commander looked away, “I haven’t passed this along to the locals. De Varga pledged marriage to a local woman named Sintha Mathison.”
I nodded, “A Mathison is listed as a distant neighbor.”
He nodded and absently picked Dragon up and scratched under her jaw, “That was why he accepted colony credit to settle here.”
I sighed and headed for the door, “Come on Dragon.”
She leaped from his arms and flew towards me as I pulled the door open and looked back, “I’ll see what I can do commander. Try to keep your personal from doing anything… violent.”
He grinned as Dragon landed and climbed onto my shoulder, “I’ll try.”
I headed towards the lift as several commandos rose to their feet. I walked through the busy lobby and stepped out the opened door and walk around the maintenance men replacing the shattered glass. As I left the base I noticed a vehicle in the distance to one side. It seemed to keep pace with me and I sighed knowing it was probable someone trying to follow me.
Halfway to De Varga’s steading I settled to the ground in a small patch of woods and opened the door for Dragon, “Guard. Put anyone that comes in stasis.”
She leaped away and flew up into the trees. I settled back waiting and I wasn’t disappointed. Fifteen minutes later two men entered the patch of woods moving towards my vehicle with drawn weapons. I watched as they split up and came up on each side of the car.
The man on the far side of the vehicle suddenly jerked and frozen with his mouth open before falling straight back. The other man froze and pointed his weapon at me, “Where’s De Varga?”
I returned his look and smiled, “I would drop that weapon if I were you.”
He snarled, “De Varga, Asshole!”
Dragon landed between his shoulder blades and bit. He jerked and stopped moving with a look of shock on his face. I shrugged and held out my arm, “Thank you Dragon.”
As the man fell, she leaped and flapped to me. I closed the door as she slipped onto my lap and I lifted the vehicle to resume our trip. I stopped in the yard of a neat looking ranch house and I got out and walked around with a feeling of being watched. Dragon shifted a few times on my shoulder but I only reached up to reassure her. The few pieces of equipment were well cared for and seemed in good condition.
I finally turned to the house and walked to the front door. I didn’t knock, I placed my badge against the lock and then opened the door. I stepped in and smiled at the young woman staring back wide eyed from the front window, “My name is marshal Morpheus. I’m an Imperial Marshal looking for Samuel De Varga, you would be Sintha Mathison. If Samuel surrenders to me, I will bring him before an Imperial Judge and he can defend himself against these charges.”
She glared, “You’re here to kill him!”
I shook my head, “Imperial Marshals do not kill unless we have too. I will find your fiancee and I will bring him before a judge.”
She spun and ran out of the room and a moment later I heard the back door. I nodded to myself and started a slow and careful search. I didn’t find much but I didn’t expect to, not with a commando. I walked out the back door and slowly looked around before heading for a distant tree line. I found the hidden watch post quickly and then let Dragon fly as I started the slow work of trying to follow De Varga.
Just from the tracks or lack of tracks I could tell a lot. Dragon sent a warning of a hidden man ahead and I slipped off the trail I was following to silently move closer to the waiting man. As soon as I saw him I knew it wasn’t De Varga. I cleared my throat and he spun quickly bringing the long barreled rifle around.
The cocking of my pistol made him stop moving. His eyes were wide as I looked back calmly, “Now why would a neighbor lay in wait on Samuel De Varga’s back trail?”
He only looked back at me and I sighed, “Drop the rifle.”
It hit the ground and I holstered my weapon, “Now, why were you laying in wait for me?”
He shifted and glared, “Damn hired killer.”
I smiled, “Imperial Marshals only kill when defending themselves.”
His eyes narrowed, “That isn’t what the constables say.”
I shrugged, “They can say whatever they like. I will bring De Varga before a Judge to defend himself against the charges.”
He looked at me for a long time and finally nodded. I turned and went back to following the trail only to have it stop in a stream. I glanced up at Dragon and she started a slow spiral out. Finally she called and I headed towards her, I found his trail and started following it again with Dragon above me.
I knew seconds before he fired and spun and dropped. The forest echoed with the shot as I moved quickly into cover. I shifted and then began to move around the shooter. I knew Dragon was looking and hadn’t found the sniper, it was more of a stalking game than hunting. It was a long twenty minutes before I found him. I cleared my throat, “Do you want to play it out or surrender?”
There was silence and then, “You’re just going to kill me.”
I smiled and put my weapon away, “If I wanted you dead we wouldn’t be talking.”
It was a moment before the clump of low brush moved and De Varga stood up. I nodded and walked forward, “Samuel De Varga, I am marshal Morpheus and you are under arrest.”
He actually grinned, “Morpheus?”
I nodded and he turned placing his hands behind his back. I turned him back around and locked his wrists together in front of him, I knelt as Dragon dropped onto his shoulder. When I stood with his rifle he was grinning, “I saw your pet, but couldn’t believe it was what I saw.”
I smiled at Dragon, “She is more than a pet. If you try to escape…”
He nodded, “I thought as much.”
I turned and we started the long walk back to his homestead. It was getting dark when we got close and I sent Dragon ahead. The warning she sent was enough to make me pull De Varga back, “Wait.”
It took a few minute for Dragon to finish her scout and then I was pulling De Varga sideways and around the homestead. He glanced at me, his voice low, “Watchers?”
I shrugged, “constables with sniper rifles.”
I moved slowly so we wouldn’t draw attention. Dragon dropped down onto the back of the first and bit his neck as he jerked. I nodded to the image she sent and squatted, pulling De Varga down. A moment later the other man was down and in stasis. I stood pulling De Varga up and behind me as I walked towards my vehicle. Dragon dropped down onto his shoulder as I stopped beside the door.
I dropped to the ground and looked under the vehicle before sighing and reaching under. I carefully pushed a needle through a small hole in the side of the pressure bomb and pulled the release. I turned and stood as De Varga looked at the bomb. He looked up into my face, “I don’t think they like you.”
I smiled and opened the vehicle after setting the bomb down. He sat in the seat and then stiffened as I turned the pressor field on. I shrugged, “sorry.”
I lifted Dragon off his shoulder and let her hop across to the other seat. I sat De Varga’s rifle on the floor under the front seat and climbed in. A minute later I lifted and turned to head away from the city or base and accelerated. When I entered the city much later it was from a different direction.
I didn’t bother with the street entrance to the central marshals building, I landed on the roof pad. I got out and Dragon clung to my jacket as I opened the back door and shut the pressor field off. I waited and De Varga climbed out, “Not taking any chances.”
I gestured before grabbing my bag and he started for the roof door. There were two doors and I used the one that had a blue badge on the lock plate. My badge unlocked the door and opened it. I let De Varga enter and I followed to close and lock the door behind us. Five floors down the stairwell stopped and I unlocked and opened the detention level door.
After I had checked De Varga for weapons, I placed him in a cell. I locked out the floor lift to the marshal detention level and logged in my prisoner with the marshal’s computer before I logged into the court database and scheduled a morning hearing with an available judge and closed the database.
It wasn’t long before the calls started. I had them all dumped into the marshal’s message bin and went to wash and relax in the lounge. When I got out of the shower I dried off and then held the towel out. Dragon came out all bouncy and happy, I dried her and then changed into a clean suit.
I relaxed in the lounge and watched Dragon play a game of pounce. I stilled when the alarm pinged and moved quickly to the cell hall and the entryway. The four man response team stood frozen in the stasis field and I shook my head and moved down the hall. I moved through the field easily taking weapons.
When I turned the stasis field off the four constables started to move and I drew my weapon. I gestured and they hesitated before doing what I told them. I locked them in a cell and headed to the stairwell door. The four man team there was as cooperative as the other team and I locked them up and decided a call to the commissioner would be in order.
I sent a short brief on my arrest and the actions of the local law enforcement officers. I lay back on a couch with Dragon on my lap. The comm chime sounded a few hours later and I turned my head to see the holographic image of the commissioner. I smiled, “Good morning sir.”
He grumped, “It’s night here.”
I grinned, “That’s a marshal for you.”
He smiled slightly, “I was reviewing the Fleet Base Commander’s report when your report came in. The Emperor has decided to let the locals know they are still part of the empire. I know you didn’t ask for help but the base commander will be sending a few people to escort you and your prisoner to the courthouse.”
I shrugged, “I was tired of playing nice. His nibs should have finished adding the courts to our building. It would save a lot of time.”
The commissioner smiled, “Then I guess the commandoes will save a lot of lives.”
I returned his smile, “Actually I was thinking of just inflicting a lot of pain and suffering.”
He laughed, “That’s much better and drives the point across to not fuck with a marshal. His Majesty has been worried that you have been damaged and won’t use the proper amount of force.”
I grinned, “I only use force when necessary, although lately the locals are trying my patients.”
He nodded, “From your report, I can understand that. Anyway, deliver De Varga to the courthouse and let the judge decide, that’s what the emperor is paying her for.”
I nodded, “will do.”
He smiled and the holographic image shut off, I checked the time and relaxed. I was up a few hours later and ate before heading to the cells. I fed the prisoners and checked the roof cameras to see the two fleet sting ships floating above my vehicle. An eight man security team squatted on their heels waiting beside the door.
I gestured to Dragon and she leaped into the air before gliding across to land in my arms and climb to my shoulder. I opened De Varga’s cell and held out the wrist restraints, “Its time.”
He smiled, “And I’m still alive.”
He put his wrists into the restraints and I stepped back. As he passed me Dragon leaped and landed on his shoulder. He smiled and glanced at Dragon before heading toward the stairway door. I checked the vision plate and then opened the door, when we came out onto the roof the commandoes stood.
I saw the looks towards De Varga and gestured towards my vehicle, “Two man teams in a diamond. Never get between me and my prisoner. Maintain a sniper alert and if the locals get in the way let me deal with it.”
I looked at each of them, “Questions?”
The Sergeant grinned, “The commander said your name is Morpheus?”
I nodded and he looked at the others, “well, in that case lead the way.”
When I set my vehicle down in front of the system court building a crowd of constables were waiting. The commandoes moved out of the vehicle and I pulled De Varga out. As I headed towards the front doors constable commander George stepped in front of the other constables and drew his weapon.
A single flick of my wrist made him jerk and then start screaming as he fell to the ground. Several constables reached for weapons only to be hit by my small darts. I pulled De Varga to a stop as they lay screaming on the ground, “You men are supposed to be law enforcement officers. This man is in custody, killing him now would be murder…”
“Not if I say different.”
I turned to see the governor walking towards me as she reached into her jacket. My hand flicked as Dragon struck. The governor stood frozen with her mouth open in a scream. I turned back to the constables, “It’s over. Let the judge decide his fate.”
They hesitated and then several nodded and moved sideways opening a way. I glanced at the commandoes, “One of you grab Commander George and someone else get the Governor. The judge can decide their fate too.”
I glanced at the other constables squirming around and whimpering, “The others should be fine in another ten minutes.”
Dragon leaped from the governor’s body as a commando bent and grabbed her by the suit. Another moved to get commander George as I started forward. Dragon landed on De Varga’s shoulder as we went through the wide doors. I led the way across the elaborate lobby and the tall doors to the courtroom opened. I walked down the aisle and stopped beside a short pillar with a glowing blue top.
The bench was empty until I placed my badge on the top of the pillar. A middle aged woman appeared in a holograph behind the raised bench, “What do you have Marshal?”
I gestured to De Varga, “This is Samuel De Varga. The planetary government requested our intervention in his arrest. I have several constables in custody for assaulting the marshals detention level. I also have constable commander George in custody for attempted murder of my prisoner as well as Governor Davis for the same offense.”
The judge sighed, “Very well, Samuel De Varga place your hand on the witness scan.”
He glanced at me and then stepped up to place one hand on the top of the pillar where my badge had been. A shimmer appeared beside the judge and seemed to flicker before she was looking at De Varga, “This report tells me you were seen firing the weapon that killed Governor Peters. The witness is constable commander George. Your service rifle was recovered at the scene with your prints and DNA. What do you have to say?”
De Varga’s face had darkened, “My service rifle was destroyed upon my retirement from service. Its destruction was witnessed by my company commander and attested to by the company armorer. At the time of the assassination, I was on base meeting with my retirement councilor. (I heard a hiss of indrawn breath from the commandoes and ignored it). The base security log will show this. I had a meeting that afternoon with constable commander George at his request. When I arrived he tried to shoot me and I escaped.”
The judge nodded and glanced to the side as the holo screen flickered. She looked back at De Varga, “The security logs confirm you were on base but the councilor has not filed the appointment with the base computers. The fleet armory record confirms that your weapons was destroyed.”
The judge looked past De Varga at the commandoes and the two prisoners, “One of you bring constable George to the witness scan.”
I pulled De Varga to the side and commander George resisted, making one of the commandoes slam his hand down onto the scan. After George it was the Governor’s turn since he claimed she was the one to order the assassination. Like all imperial court trails it was recorded and played on the planetary comm net.
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