NB: Those who like stories to be complete before they read them might want to wait until I post the next story in this series before reading this epilogue. That story should be posted sometime later this year, unless I throw a complete wobbly. It's written, I'm just trying to get it to a state where I'm happy to post it.
It was late at night when Grayza's charred remains finally arrived in Moya's medical bay. Chief Med Tech Jadim sighed as he powered up the medical scanner to confirm the identity of the corpse. He was only half paying attention: It had been a long day and he was itching to get to bed to sleep, just as he knew most of the rest of the crew were already. However, duty called, and like the good Peacekeeper that he was, Jadim always put duty first.
He pulled the bag open at the head end, detaching his emotions from the gruesome sight so revealed as he had done a thousand times in his career as a med tech. The scanner was now powered up, and he passed it over the ball of blackened and broken tissue that had once been a head before turning to check the readout on the larger terminal beside the body. The DNA and all other biometrics, such as they were, all matched Peacekeeper records. The corpse was definitely Mele-On Grayza's. But something else on the readout caught Jadim's attention. There was some sort of unexpected technology at the base of the neck, something not immediately identified by the scanner. Something not on Grayza's file.
Curious and alert now, Jadim lifted a scalpel and returned to the body. A macrot or two later he was squinting down at the strange object, still slick with gore, which he had dug out from the base of Grayza's neck. Jadim frowned and turned it over and over in his fingers, trying to make sense of it. Finally coming to a decision, he washed his hands before tapping his comms badge.
"Yes…?" came the weary, semi-detached reply. "It's late. I'm tired. What is it?"
"It's Jadim. I'm down in the med bay."
"I'm very pleased for you," Sikozu acidly replied. "I'm in bed."
"I've found something very odd embedded in Grayza's neck," Jadim continued, trying to ignore the Kalish's infamously barbed tongue.
"Odd? In what way odd?"
"Umm," Jadim equivocated, trying and failing to find the right words. "Odd as in I think you should come and take a look…"
"I'll be there shortly…" Sikozu sighed, cutting the transmission as she resignedly climbed out from under the covers and began to dress.
"Oh, it's you," the man said, looking up from the computer on which he was looking up stories about Grayza's demise. The woman pulled up a chair and sat next to him, peering over his shoulder.
"Who did you expect?" she responded. He shrugged. It was not an unreasonable question, after all. This place must be rubbing off on him, making him think illogically.
He grunted in reply, not wishing to give his companion the satisfaction of hearing him concede her point.
"So, what is your assessment?" She asked when it was clear he wasn't going to speak without further prompting. "So far?"
The man shrugged. "Partial success. I don't think we're going to get everything we hoped for…"
"I always had my doubts that things would happen exactly the way you hoped," she crowed. He ignored the insult. He knew that of course things would not go as he planned. There were too many variables. But overall, the results had been satisfactory.
"I think we achieved enough to justify the loss of an asset like Grayza." He tapped away, pulling up a couple of pages to prove his next point. "Neither side has come out of this well, or trusting the other. The Peacekeepers are currently not cooperating with the US government. However, the coverage of Yvonne Gray condemning her mother's murderers and complaining about a lack of justice for them is particularly gratifying and effective. Public opinion is everything to these people."
"And there is nothing linking to us…?"
"It would seem not." He turned and smiled. "I cannot foresee a more opportune moment to proceed to the next phase."
"Excellent," she replied, standing. "Then let us do so. This should prove most…. Gratifying. Call the ship. I want them ready to launch an attack at the first suitable opportunity."
To be continued.