"We are still looking for any clues about who took your husband, but we already know that they are not from Nezdaro", Headman Frath looked relieved by that knowledge. He continued, "The aids were not taken and gave us an idea of what the men looked like. Everyone that works for me is being alerted to watch for them." Shelby stared at him and said, "Do you really expect them to eat dinner at Leda's? I think they'll be laying low right now, don't you?" Frath replied, "Perhaps. Still, we'll watch for them." "What else are you planning to do? I mean, you're not planning on just waiting for them to call us. Are you?" Shelby was getting annoyed, this was not a good night to be obtuse around her. "No, of course not" Frath spoke quickly, "We will start looking for tracks as soon as the sun comes up. Also, we have contacted Pont and are waiting to hear their explanation for this." Frath leaned in and dropped his voice, "Personally, I think the leadership of Pont is responsible. They know we are getting the better end of the trade agreement and they are jealous." "Then why would they take Mac too?" Shelby asked. "Well, perhaps they made a mistake. But don't worry, they are not the sort to harm a captive, they are much more likely to talk them to death than even think of real harm. Your husband will be fine." Frath looked more and more confident as he spoke, he was convincing himself far better than he was Shelby. Annoyed, she said, "Look, that may be true. However, it's still a Federation crime to kidnap a StarFleet officer. Plus, we don't know that it was Pont, or that they are even still alive. I'm going to the meeting center now, with or without you, and looking for evidence before any more time passes." She paused and continued, "If any harm as come to him because you delayed…." Trailing off she watched Frath's adam's apple bob before he spoke, "Of course, of course. I think that's a wonderful idea. I'll have a vehicle brought around immediately."

The meeting center was almost 15 blissfully warm minutes always by hovercraft. Shelby was still damp, beyond hungry, and ready for some quiet. Frath was more than eager to tell her everything he had learned, even though he had just told her the very same thing less than a minute before. As she opened the door and stepped out she wanted nothing more than to shut it firmly behind her and allow the vehicle the leave with Frath still inside. Unfortunately, he was right behind her.

Between the rain and the lack of lighting Shelby had only a glance at the center. It appeared to be a squat stone building with an assortment of shrubbery arrayed around the front. The large, carved stone door was being held open by a wooden chair that had seen better days. Frath walked past her and towards a flight of stairs in the center of the entrance hall, gesturing that she should follow him. He said, "Behind this main room is the security room, kitchen, and offices. Up these stairs is the main meeting hall". At the top Shelby paused and looked at the room around her. It was large, with a low ceiling and dim lighting. A handful of people, mostly wearing the same gray uniform as Frath, were milling about and muttering to one another. A few in uniforms of pasty mint green were straightening stacks of papers and taping on holopads. Shelby pointed at one of the second group, "Are the ones in green the aides?" Frath answered, "Yes. Several of them were so upset that they are downstairs resting, but the rest have been helping by answering questions and cleaning up the mess. Apparently the kidnappers made quite a mess. Papers everywhere." Shelby looked at him and said, "I want to talk to one of them. Now."


Shelby threw herself down on her bed back at Bangi's just as the sky started to lighten. She was exhausted, had blisters on her feet from wearing wet shoes all night, and had sneezed twice on the ride back to the inn. The aides from upstairs had been useless. None of them in the room had seen anything, one stating that "there was a terrible rush of wind that blow my thoughts away" and another arguing that it wasn't wind at all, but the breath of the rain god as he devoured those who failed to honor his might. The aides from downstairs were a bit more helpful. Several had seen tall men with red or gold skin and dark hair appear in the offices where they were working. Then a tingly sensation, followed by waking up with a headache a couple of hours later. They described their clothes as mostly dark reds and browns, long-sleeved and covering.

The description was vauge enough to fit more worlds than Shelby could count, but none within any neighboring system. And definitely not the natives of Pont; the harsh sun on that world had left the locals with deep brown skin and pale, creamy hair. And they were short, the tallest rarely reached one and a half meters. However, Frath could not be swayed from his belief that Pont was behind the attack.

As for other evidence, there wasn't any. No one knew if any papers had been taken, because no one knew what papers were in the room to begin with. There were no footprints, no blood drops, nothing. And Shelby had a feeling that Frath's plan to look for tracks in the morning wasn't going to get him very far considering that they "appeared from nothing". Transporters were not known for leaving a path in the mud. Her next idea was to try and get a log of all space trafiic in the area, but first she needed a shower and a few hours of sleep.

A knock of the door startled Shelby. Groaning, she stood back up and swung it open. A boy stood before her with a plate of food and a pottery jug. He said, "Mister Bangi says you've had a bad time and sent me to bring you something saved from dinner." Shelby waved him in, "Just set it on the desk." She walked over and eyed it, truth be told, it smelled rather good. She turned to the boy, "Tell Bangi thanks for me, this was a nice thing for him to do." The boy nodded and ran from the room, slamming the door on his way out. Which shook the floor. Which made Calhoun's sword, leaning against the desk, topple over and hit Shelby in the back of the legs. After the crash there was silence in the room for a moment, then the quiet thumping of a forehead against the floor.