Join Date: Jun 2007
(Joint post with Writer)
Joran nodded at Tarek. "Actually, I was thinking something like that. Good luck with him. Forensics is trying to trace the Glitterstim type, we might be able to figure out which mining facility it was diverted from. In the meantime, the rest of us should probably try to trace these diffusers."
Tarek nodded and stood. Darja was just a fraction of a second behind him and she said, "I guess we'll get started then." The duo left the room and headed off to find the prisoner.
The teen was seated in a chilly room with off-white walls, shackled to a metal table that filled the center of the room and seated behind it. He winced as the two detectives entered, flinching away.
Tarek chuckled at the kid's motion and glanced at Darja. "Kid's nervous," he told her, just loud enough that the kid could hear as well. Darja rolled her eyes.
"I'd be too if you came in all big and imposing," she retorted. She turned a kind smile on the teen. "Hey, kid," she said quietly. Immediately, she was interrupted by Tarek.
"Like spice, huh?" he asked bluntly.
"Look, I told the customs guys, I don't know how those two bags got there!" He was panicky and shrill, his fingers playing a rapid rhythm. He also seemed to wince as he spoke.
Tarek laughed loudly. "O ho!" he exclaimed, cocking a sideways glance at Darja. "He don't know how two kilos o' glitterstim ended up on his person?" He turned fully back to the kid. "Now, this I gotta hear... how's anyone manage to pull that off?"
The kid leaned over, putting his head down on the table. He straightened, tears running down his face. "I didn't know what was in the bags, okay? They were sealed up and he told me not to open them!"
Tarek sneered. "Who's 'he'?" the detective demanded, his piercing eyes boring into the kid. "Someone you know? Someone you trust?" He straightened up. "'Cuz here's what I see... poor, terrified kid, small-time crook. This stuff's way above him, you know?"
"That's enough, Tarek," Darja ordered, her voice quiet, but firm. She put a hand on his arm and he glowered at her for a moment
before withdrawing and leaning against the opposite wall. Darja smiled apologetically.
"He gets a little carried away with himself sometimes," she told the kid kindly. "I think he likes the sound of his own voice..."
The kid sighed. "I tried to get away from it, but I needed the credits. I'm going back to prison, aren't I? Oh, please, don't send me back there..."
Darja nodded thoughtfully. "I've been to prison, too," she told the kid. "Twice. Believe me when I say I know how ugly it can get." Tarek snickered and Darja shot him a glare before continuing. "I'll do everything I can to keep you out of there, but you have to do something for me... can you do just one little thing for me?"
He brightened up, almost smiled through the fear and tears. "You can keep me off Kessel? Alright, what do you need?"
A violent shudder ran through Darja at the mention of Kessel. But then, she smiled faintly and said quietly, "I need to know who 'he' is... this man you kept mentioning."
"I don't know his name. I came home from my job one day and found a message on my comlink, offering a lot of credits if I'd do a simple task, and a comlink frequency. When I called it, I got no response, but the next day I had another message with instructions on what to do. The voice was really distorted, I couldn't tell you if it was a Hutt or a Human."
Tarek snickered. "I been around the galaxy a bit and I ain't never heard a Hutt that spoke Basic..."
Darja rolled her eyes and grinned at the kid. "Thinks he's funny..." She shrugged. "So what did the message tell you to do?"
"He made some threats about where my head would end up if I told anyone about this, then sent me to some hole near the bottom of Coruscant. When I got there, there was a plasteel case with those bags and a note with further instructions, to hide these somehow and smuggle them into Corellia."
His voice seemed to catch at the end, like he was leaving something out.
Tarek grimaced. "First mistake. You, a kid, tried to smuggle spice onto a planet with expert eyes lookin' for people just like you?" He shook his head. "Second mistake. Catch in the voice, kid." He strode forward and pressed his hands against the table, leaning forward. "What aren't you saying?"
He glanced around nervously, studying the walls. "I can't! If I tell you, he'll know!"
Tarek grinned and leaned closer, trying to get the kid to look at him. "You tell us, and we'll maybe find him before he finds you."
Darja elbowed Tarek in the gut and he withdrew once more. "I understand, you're terrified. Whoever this is threatened you, and it's not someone you know, but it's someone who clearly knows you... or at least knows who you are." She paused.
"What were the threats?"
He glanced at the walls. "I suppose this is secure...alright, he basically noted that if I went to the Coruscant Police Forces or CorSec, that he'd make sure that I died screaming. And I don't doubt that he'd do it."
Darja nodded. "Neither do I," she said. "So despite my partner's... rudeness, we'll let you keep your secrets. Death threats are a serious matter." She stood and smiled at him. "I'm sure we'll be back later to tell you of our success."
With that, she left the room, gesturing for Tarek to follow. He made a move to, but instead, he snapped the door shut and disabled the opening mechanism.
Then, he turned to the kid and said with a quiet edge to his voice, "Now you'll talk."
On the other side of the door, Darja's knocking and frustrated shouts bled through faintly. Tarek drew a knife from his left boot and grinned wickedly, "This may be enough..."
The kid lurched against the binders holding him onto the desk. "What the hell are you doing? I've told you everything I know!"
"No you didn't," Tarek shot back, dropping into the seat across from the kid, the knife plainly visible. "If you told me everything, you wouldn't be so panicked right now..."
"No, I'm panicking because you're threatening me with a knife! I don't know anything else!"
Tarek grinned. "Good, you're logical. Just the sort of person I like to deal with. See, someone who's not logical would freak and say anything to get out of this..." He waved the knife about a little. "But you... you've got your mind in you still. And that means, maybe there's some hope for you..."
"Okay, okay, there was something else. But...if I tell you and you act on it, he'll find out. You've got to get me into that witness protection thing."
Tarek smirked. "Now, we're getting somewhere." He began tapping the flat side of his knife against his leg. "Witness protection. We can arrange that."
"And I want a new identity, clean record, and no prison time."
"In order for that to work, it'll take some clean-ness on your part too," Tarek countered. "Can't jus' go on like you been doin', petty thieving an' whatnot..."
"Alright, I can work with that." He let out a sigh. "The last part of the note was where to take the bags after I got them past customs, to a, well, a bar off Treasure Ship Row, the Howling Mistress."
Tarek nodded. "Well, I suspect, if he intended to give you a death full o' screamin', he'd know if you got 'em past customs or not... so we'll do all we can to keep you from that." He stood. "For now, I think you're safest here." He shoved his knife back into his boot and opened the door.
Darja almost fell inward. She shot a glare at Tarek, an apologetic smile to the kid, and shoved Tarek out.
The door sealed behind them and Tarek grinned. "Nice one, pretending you couldn't get the door open..." He strolled off down the hall, grinning in self-confidence. Darja rolled her eyes.
"Why is it that violence always gets the information?" she muttered to herself.