Sunar crossed his arms and quirked an eyebrow at the Chief of Police. “I am sure that your help in keeping me alive will come with a cost of some sort.” He drew his eyebrows together and leaned forward slightly. “I suppose the cost is that I hand over my evidence and refuse to testify?”
The Captain made a face as if she had tasted something terribly sour, then spoke. “Oh, no, I want you to testify, and to live to do it.” Her eyes flickered to the side for a microsecond.
He stared at her, chin slightly down and one eye towards her in his best sarcastic look. That sideways look often indicates lies…
She put a hand on her hip and seemed to be trying to drill a hole in him with her stare. “Ok, fine: I don’t want you to die on my watch, and I want you out of my hair: you living to testify would just be a bonus. To put it simply, mi’lord, I want you off my planet. If you…,” she jabbed her finger in Sunar’s direction, “… a half-dragon who brought in a suspected criminal underboss – walk out there,” she waved her hand in a vague direction of the street, “and get killed I wind up with thousands of pages of paperwork and possibly months of inquiries to deal with.” Her tone of voice turned sarcastic. “I could try to keep you under wraps,” her tone changed back to irritated and she shook her head, “though you’ve already shown that’s probably a waste of my time, until the trial. It might work, but it’s far more likely you’ll do something stupid and get yourself killed – which has happened to other witnesses already with these guys – and then I’ll lose more good cops and have even more paperwork to deal with.”
She threw up her hands and started to pace. “You disappear, however?” She spun back around and made a sweeping gesture. “Then I can tell Bobby Finkle some convenient lies, get him to walk into the courtroom under his own power in a few months – or years – with a promise that the prosecution has nothing and the trial will clear his name, and then surprise him when you show up. I still won’t get the bigger fish I was after, but at least I can take the smug little punk down.” She set her jaw and made another attempt to pin him to the wall with her stare. “So, there are your choices, young mi’lord. I can have some men sneak you out of here, escort you to the spaceport and slip you onto the first convenient ship going anywhere-but-here, or you walk out that door yourself and die within seconds.” She crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes at him.
Sunar allowed his skepticism to show on his face. There! That eye-flick again. I can’t decide if she is lying or worried about something…
She gave him a few moments before heaving a frustrated sigh. Her tone of voice dripped exasperation. “Oh, come on! You don’t strike me as being a complete idiot, just young and foolish. Please show me that foolishness has limits, the choice is not that hard.”
He locked eyes with her for a few more moments, weighing his options. Something about all of this feels off. Decidedly off. Still, it is not like I can do anything if a sniper puts a bullet through my head, and I did want to go off-world at some point anyway. At length he nodded and unfolded his arms, then gestured at the door. “Very well, ma’am. I will do as you ask, and await your summons to return and testify. If you will give me a way to contact you…”
She rolled her eyes, shook her head emphatically, and spoke as a parent to a particularly recalcitrant child. “What part of disappear do you not understand? Keep quiet, and do not communicate with this precinct, or – better – anyone on this planet, until we send for you. I am banking on the hope that the people your scumbag answers to are willing to hang him out to dry, but I wouldn’t put it past them to start monitoring communications to try and find out if you plan to come back. Lay low, stay quiet, and wait. At some point you will receive a message from me. Don’t worry about the content of the message, all you care about is the date that will be mentioned in it. Get yourself back here no more than two days before that date, and do not make contact with anyone. The first time anyone, including me, is to know you are back on this planet is when you walk into the courtroom.
Sunar shook his head, but proceeded to the door. No, something about this is not right. How could a small planetary police force in a not-that-large of a city have a reach that extensive? She’s either not who she says she is, she’s delusional, or something else is going on. No matter: Best to get away from all of this and then see if I can get more information. I don’t trust this woman to let me just walk out that door if I balk. Once I’m away from her, however, that’s another matter. He opened the door and stepped into the hall.
Two plain-clothes cops with police badges hanging out of their business suits pushed off the wall they’d been leaning on and moved towards him, their hands slightly away from their sides and hard looks on their faces
Sunar stopped and let himself rise, slightly, to the balls of his feet and both men stopped moving.
The Chief spoke up from behind him in clipped tones. “Our new ‘friend’ here has agreed to get off this world. Grab one of the unmarked cars and get him into it without being seen, take him to wherever he is staying, let him collect his things, then take him to the space port and make sure he gets on the first ship out. And, make sure no one notices. Pay for the ticket if you have to, I don’t care, just get him off this rock.”
One of the cops pushed his glasses up on his nose and nodded. “Right chief.” He gestured down the hall while giving Sunar an unfriendly look. “Let’s go.”
Sunar stared at him for a moment, then shrugged and started walking.