“Sir? I have movement.”
“What do you mean, you have movement?”
“Wait, it’s gone.”
“Gone? What was it to begin with?”
“I don’t know, sir, I just had an alert of movement in the treeline. Near the wall- Look! There it is again! What was that?”
Yalin leaned towards the screen, his eyes squinting. There was movement, alright, but he couldn’t tell just what it was. Something in the trees, for sure. Birds? Butterflies? The oasis was known to have a bit of wildlife in the area, after all.
“Turn it to thermal sensors.” Better to be safe than sorry, he thought to himself as the young man at the controls pressed the appropriate buttons.
Yalin frowned deeply at what the reveal was, and the face of the young Civire at the screen went white. “S-sir…”
“Where is Avala-haani?”
“One moment…” Though it was a brief pause, it felt like ages. “She’s in her garden. Outside,” he finally replied, looking to his commanding officer.
“Get her a message to get inside immediately.” Yalin’s hand went to his ear piece. “Mazaki-haan, we have a situation here. I have slaver hounds at the Avala estate.”
The flight to Julianni’s home didn’t take long. Shiran Mazaki’s ship bursting through the atmosphere and speeding towards the coordinates was certain to turn some heads, but it didn’t matter. Yalin knew that time was of the essence, and he was certain by Shiran’s piloting that he was just as aware.
Now above the oasis, the glint of a reflection caught Yalin’s eye from the window near the seat he was strapped into. Was that a vehicle? His hand went to his earpiece again. “Mazaki-haan, I have a vehicle bearing approximately 45 degrees East. No movement.”
“I’ll check it out. You get to Avala. Keep your eyes open and watch the trees.”
The ship made it’s landing, a hard jolt from the rough landing jarring Yalin slightly. As quickly as he could, his hands fumbled with the straps at his shoulders, then reached for his pistol. Safety off.
He moved slowly, yet had just enough urgency in his step not to waste time searching for the woman. Whispering, he switched his comms to the emergency frequency of the home. “Director Avala, this is Yalin-haan. I’m on your property and am making my way to you for extraction. Please confirm your location.”
The answer was not quite what he expected, but it certainly helped pinpoint where he believed the woman was. A single shot of a pistol rang out from near the home. Muffled. She had to be inside.
His pace quickened, finding the gate to the estate still locked. A quick fix, of course, once the security system was overridden with the Internal Watch codes. The gate swung open, and the man pressed on with determination into the grounds proper.
“Avala-haani, I’m on my way to you. Respond.”
Still no response.
And then, he saw the blood.
A trail of droplets led towards the front door, a bloody print of a palm smearing itself across it. He cringed and raised his weapon, kicking the door open.
He jumped at the sight at first, firing his pistol into the beast that lay on the ground. But it was already dead, it seemed, a hole blown through the hound’s eye.
The room itself was a mess, furniture flung about the area with crimson spatters of life essence in what would surely have been a Blood Raider’s dream. He shuddered.
It was then that he heard the whimpering. Was it one of the hounds? No, it was a person. It had to be. Cautiously, doing his best not to slip on the blood, he found himself following the trail up to what was some sort of room with a circular window.
More blood decorated what he believed was once a prayer room of sorts. Smoke was rising into the air, a candle having began to catch fire of a rug towards the side. Yalin coughed, raising his arm to his mouth.
His eyes caught the second hound, dead as well. This one seemed to be laying over top of who he could hardly recognize as Director Julianni Avala.
Most of her body appeared to have been mauled by the creatures. Bite marks adorned her bare arms and legs. Even one looked to be around the woman’s neck. A pistol lay in her hand, gripped firmly as if it was all that kept her present.
“Director…” Yalin said softly, then turned his attention back to his earpiece. “I have Director Avala. Repeat, I have Director Avala. I need immediate medical response and evac at the IRV-Jussho’s location.”
“Copy that, we’re almost there.”
He nodded and put away his pistol, dropping down to his knees to put pressure on the woman’s neck wound. “Mazaki-haan, what’s your status.”
“In pursuit of a suspect. Get Avala safe, then meet at my coordinates. Mazaki out.”
“I need to get you out of the house. Just bear with me. Can you put your hands here?” He reached for her hand with the pistol, prying it out and guiding her hands to her neck. “Put pressure. I’m going to lift you, alright? We need to get out. There’s a fire.”
He didn’t even wait to see her acknowledgement, nor stopped lifting her over his shoulders when she cried out from pain.
“Arriving now on the vessel’s location. Standing by for extraction.”
Yalin sighed thankfully as he carried her out to safety. Ancestors, let the person who did this be caught, he thought.
And so Mazaki stopped, lowering his stun baton. “Stay where you are,” he told the Ni-kunni man curled into a ball in the sand. He had sure fought back, but ultimately, Shiran was able to overtake the snake-like man. Shiran wiped a bit of blood from the corner of his lip.
Retracting the stun baton, panting slightly, he pulled the electronic manacles from his pocket, approaching. “You are hereby to be in the custody of the Internal Watch for questioning rega-”
And then, a sharp jolt at his leg. The man had actually pulled a knife. The Ni-kunni man retracted the blade, then quickly plunged it into Shiran’s stomach, dropping the Calmatar to the ground. More stabs came, despite Shiran’s fighting back, the stun baton slowly becoming less of a weapon each moment.
As the darkness began to overtake him, Shiran Mazaki looked up at his murderer, coughing out blood. “Bastard.”