Sunar sat in the medbay of the ship he’d served on for the last few months and relayed the story of his run-in with Bobby Finkle, his gang, the police chief, how that led him to her door, and rounded the story out with the thugs sent to eliminate him. It didn’t take long for him – with the Captain’s help – to tend his wounds, and they finished well before he finished talking. The only reaction he got from her was a raised eyebrow at the Police Chief’s rule against him writing home.
When he finished he shook his head slightly. “The timing of Master Ikthan’s call and the attack today are too convenient, they have to be related. I keep thinking that care package I sent might have something to do with it, but I just don’t see how.”
The Captain shook her head and looked at him with an expression that seemed both a bit acerbic and amused. “Oh you Sweet Summer Child… you really didn’t know that those two thugs who brought you to the ship my brother serves on were dirty as week-old dishes.” She rolled her eyes as she shook her head at him again. “Even that braggart of a captain my brother serves with could see it, and I just assumed – with the way my brother talked and the general perceptiveness you usually show – that you knew.” She chuckled softly, but he sensed she was laughing at herself. “Sometimes I forget how sheltered life in a little community like your monastery can be. I have to hand it to you Sunar, it is rare that I miss something like that, but you managed to get me to partially mis-read you.”
She then sighed heavily and her face hardened. “That idiot captain has a heart as soft as his head is hard, but at least he knew not to keep you on his ship after they dropped you off. No doubt that gangster had someone waiting for you at their next stop. My guess is that they used the mail you sent to figure out what ship you actually ended up on.”
Sunar’s eyebrows lowered and he looked at the decking to think. “Wait, if the cops were dirty then the police chief probably was too?” He turned a speculative eye on her and she nodded. How does she manage to make a nod look sarcastic? “Then why would she tell me not to write home, if that is how they found me? Wait, no, she was expecting to be able to track the ship that her cops put me on, but a letter home just before we took off, or while I was in transit, would have revealed my ship and made piecing things together easier if someone from home came chasing after me.”
He thought about that for a moment, then shook his head. “Still, why would they be so concerned about that? I mean, we do train in combat at the monastery, but martial arts have been made far less useful since the advent of guns, and it is not like any of us go out much.”
The Captain barked a short laugh and gave him a half-smirk before she answered. “After the way you extricated yourself – at least half drunk, I am sure – from that bar fight, the story you just told me about how you escaped four killers who had firearms when you didn’t, and you are going to sit there and convince me those fighting skills useless? Never mind, don’t answer that. You haven’t trained with or against guns much, obviously. Hand-to-hand skills are still dangerous, and knowing how to learn new skills can be even more dangerous. Also, those monasteries like you grew up in? There is a saying I can never quite remember about monasteries and poking beehives and which hurts more. It may or may not be as true for the one you grew up in, but I have heard stories of places like yours wiping entire gangs completely off the map.
Sunar started to reply that his people would never be so violent, then he thought about a certain dark-elf born-zero and Master Ikthan’s resolve in dealing with him. The Captain noticed his contemplative stare and lifted an eyebrow in unspoken question, but he chose not to share.
After a few moments she spoke. “I am guessing you are re-thinking what your people might or might not be willing to do, that is good.” She hopped to the floor and started out of the medbay, motioning for him to come along. “Your friend should be here momentarily, and I’d prefer to meet him in the cargo bay than having him start looking for us. Just remember that these people have already tried to kill you once, and will be likely to try again. Watch yourself Sunar, I’d like to have you back with us for a while, and I would really hate to have to tell the crew you’d gone and gotten your fool head shot off.”
A smile took the sting out of her comment, but he did his best to take her words to heart. He did hate to let people down, after all.