“Hans? Are you in there?” A familiar voice drifted through the door. Rolling out of bed, Hans wrapped the blanket around his waist and stumbled to the door.“What is it, Nance?” Hans asked.
“Ah, um, I…” Nance couldn’t seem to form a coherent sentence as her face went from its normally ruddy colour to a deep scarlet. She closed her eyes and shook her head before looking him straight in the eyes. “I was just concerned about you. I haven’t seen you around in a few days and when I asked around I found out that no one has seen you since you arrived.”“I just needed a little rest is all. My mechanic Duke and the junior pilot, Honora, have been taking care of everything. I figured I deserved a break.” Hans shrugged and tried to act as though it was nothing. He had been worried about Nance the most. Even though he had bought them a few days he had known that she would still be keeping an eye on things.
“I hadn’t seen them either, although I’m not as familiar with them.” Nance took a step back from the door. “I’ll get going now. Sorry to bother you.”“No worries.” Hans watched her as she made a quick escape down the hallway and tried not to chuckle. He had never seen the normally tough hangar managed so flustered before.
With a sigh, he started getting his stuff together. They had wasted enough time sleeping and now they needed to get back to the mainland and figure out what to do. There were a lot of decisions that needed to be made and they needed to be made quickly.Dressed and awake, he headed over to Duke’s room to wake him up. To his surprise, Duke answered the door already showered, dressed and ready to go.
“Never been much of a sleeper.” Was all he had to say to the surprised look on Hans’ face. “I’ll go make sure Honey is ready to go.”“Yeah, thanks. I’ll settle the bill for the rooms and I’ll meet you downstairs.” Hans went back to his room, grabbed his gear and headed downstairs. He had just finished paying for everything when Duke appeared downstairs with a very groggy Honora in tow.
“Bill is settled. Let’s go.” Hans grabbed his stuff and lead the way back to the hangar. Nance was already there by the time they arrived. She looked Hans’ straight in the eye when they arrived. “About time you guys came back to pick up the hunk of metal. Gonna have a shipment of mining equipment from off planet coming in this afternoon. Everything fixed up then?”“Right as rain Nance.” Hans gave her a wicked grin and she turned away, but not before he caught a hint of her smile. He had to admit that she was a good looking woman, but it wasn’t something he could focus on right now. He had far more important things to think about than trysts.
Once they were safely in the air, Hans turned his attention back to the big question at hand that none of them had yet brought up. “So how are we going to do this?”“Good question. I’ve been thinking about it and I’m pretty sure the only way for us to be successful is for you to go in person.” Duke said.
“But…” Hans already knew the arguments against it, but he wanted to hear someone else say it.“It’s risky, it’ll set off red flags if you really are being watched and I don’t think the company will be impressed with you taking that much time off. Plus, I don’t think you should go by yourself which will look even more suspicious and be harder to accomplish.” Duke leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms. “I just don’t see how we’re going to make this work.”
“You’re good at point out the flaws in a plan Duke, but we need to find a way to make this possible.” Hans looked to Honora who just shrugged in response.“Well, you’re the mastermind.” Duke glanced at his hand and frowned. “You’re going to have to do something about that.”
Hans looked down at his hand; he had already forgotten about it. “Gloves, spray skin maybe?”“I don’t think the spray skin will stay on well enough, but you can give it a try. Not to mention it’ll be noticeable. People will ask questions.” Duke, once again, was quick to point out the flaws in his suggestion.
“Gloves it is then, but that’s going to bring up some questions sooner or later as well.” Hans sighed and closed his eyes. There was too much that needed to considered, too much to be done that it was starting to seem a little overwhelming.“So, who’s going to go with you then?” Honora asked.
“Duke.” Hans said. “He may be good at poking holes in ideas, but I think that his inclination towards pessimism will be more likely to make the Admiral believe my story. Then again, I could probably pull it off just by showing him all the tricks my new hand can do.”“Point.” Duke smiled and nodded. “So, you are the man with the plan, what do you think we should do?”
“Honestly?” Hans asked. He had an idea, but he was worried that it might be too bold a move for Duke to agree to.“I’m not sure I want to hear this, but yeah.” Duke said.
“We just go and not tell anyone. I can pull in a few favours to get us undocumented passage to wherever Admiral Falun is right now. So long as it’s not Earth, we should be able to get in without anyone knowing.” Hans frowned. “And if he is on Earth right now, we’re screwed.”“Then you better find out where he is and if he’s on Earth than we’re going to have to figure out how to get there without anyone finding out. Or we can get fake identities.” Duke scratched at his chin. “I do know people who’d be able to help us out, but that won’t be a for sure thing. Identity altering is never a sure thing though.”
“It would need to be fool proof to get us onto Earth.” Hans shook his head. “No, we can’t go to that sort of extreme.”“Let us just hope that he’s not on Earth right now then. Actually, what are the chances of him being on Earth?” Duke asked.
“Unfortunately, there is a pretty good chance of him being there. It is where the Armed Forces is based, including E&E. However, he does travel a lot from what I understand.” Hans glanced down at the floor as he tried to gather his thoughts. “Of course, finding out where he is might raise a red flag or two as well, but I think I can cover that.”“How?” Duke asked.
“He offered me a job once, I can say that I’m thinking of coming out of retirement and wanted to see if the offer for a position on his staff was still available. However, even that will be of interest to certain parties, but I don’t think anyone will suspect that we’d be going to see him.”“Do you have a backup plan if something does happen?” Honora asked, a small line appearing between her eyebrows as she spoke.
“If the people we don’t want to know find out and catch up with us then I don’t think we’ll need a backup plan Honey.” Duke said and reached out to pat her hand. “But no worries, better people have tried to hurt me before and failed.”“I don’t think you quite understand the extent to which the government is willing to go to keep things quiet.” Hans said; his voice quiet and grave. “We are talking about people that mind wiped on of their own.”
Duke shrugged and grinned. “Bring it on.”