Nothing is given for free, there is always a price. Even if someone does give you something, they expect something in return. If you do not give something in return, you instead default to giving away your reputation. Such is this life. In this case, Thiol had to oblige and give up front. The Yvnivians had information they needed.
Thiol was now sitting on a rug, and the biped sat on the other end. The bipeds accompanying him stood a respectful distance away, but looked on in interest. This was likely due to the fact that, unless Thiol was misinformed, they were likely the first outworlder these people had seen. Their lifespans usually ran about thirty years, and thiol hadn’t been here in two hundred, so outworlders were likely talked about as myth by this point.
The biped took off his helmet, and sat it in front of him. “For seven generations, our people have lived here undisturbed. Now, our method of concealment is beginning to fail us. How did you come to find us?”
“Word of mouth. I needed information about your founder, and I asked around.”
“So our whereabouts are known, then?” He looked deeply troubled.
“So it would seem.” Thiol looked around at the plants surrounding the rug. Yuri. A plant commonly smoked for its narcotic properties. They reached into the interior of their coat, pulled out a collapsable pipe, and set about packing and lighting it. While they were unsure about the habits of present day Yvnivians, this was common practice amongst the founders.
The biped furrowed his brow for a moment, before continuing to speak. “It seems our cloaking device is failing us. It has begun to make strange noises, and flicker on and off for hours at a time.”
They were silent for a moment, focused on packing the pipe. Once it was packed, they lit it, and turned back to the biped. “And you want me to fix it?”
“None of my people have any skill in the repair of devices so advanced as this. It is effectively sorcery.” He shook his head.
“Very well. First, I will grab my tools, then you will take me to it.” Thiol stood up, took a puff, and went into their ship. They grabbed a multitool, a sack of miscellaneous parts, and a cooling rod. When they returned, they found a mount waiting for them, directly adjacent to the biped leader, who was wearing his helmet again. They jumped onto the mound, and went into town.
The town had grown less than Thiol had expected in these years. If the size and number of residences indicated correctly, there were only approximately 500 residents, compared to the 238 residents that began the town. The buildings were simple hexagonal cabins with domed clay roofs.
The leader took Thiol to a large metal building. It stood in sharp contrast to everything else in the town. This was likely what remained of the original vessel that had brought the founders here. They dismounted, and walked inside, with the biped in the lead. They walked down a long corridor and went into a room on the side. Inside the room sat an enormous peacefully humming machine. It emitted a bright light from slits in the sides of it. Its rhythmic humming was interrupted by a loud clank, which was followed by a wheeze. The machine then resumed its humming.
“I can likely repair this.” Thiol turned back to the leader. “I will need fifteen minutes of solitude.”
The leader nodded, and exited the room, pulling a door shut behind him.
Thiol did not, however, operate under the illusion that he was unwatched. They dismantled the machine, swapped some exchangeable parts out, and reassembled it. Lastly they stood back, and typed a command into their tablet. The machine returned to its rhythmic humming. Thiol exited the room.
Outside, the leader stood in wait. “Have you done it?”
“Yes. I assume this building is also the hall of histories?”
“We owe you an eternal debt of gratitude.” The leader bowed for a moment, before noticing Thiol was not reciprocating. “Ah, yes, this is the hall of histories. I have people that can help you find what it is you need, if you require.”
“I am fine, I will vacate your settlement before sundown.” Thiol nodded and walked off.
“Oh, we do have one more thing we would ask of you.” The biped called after Thiol. “Please tell the people who sent you here that their information is incorrect.”
“Very well.” Thiol did not pause their stride.
Thiol scanned the old ship, opening up every compartment, and checking every orifice. They stumbled over many images of the founders, along with the outworlders who assisted them. They took a photo of each one of them with their tablet. They then found a dust covered data stick, and placed it in their pocket for later viewing. None of the equipment here was likely to work at all, and if it did, it was likely unsecured.
Thiol having examined everything, returned to their ship, without a word.
Everything has a price, especially knowledge. That is why it is best to create a need in the other party that is extremely easy for you to provide for. That is why Thiol used his tablet to sabotage the cloaking device remotely.
Thiol reclined in their chair in the bridge of their ship. Their ship was safely in orbit of the planet Jupiter, and it was now time to dig through Uku’s private files. Thiol pulled out a spare tablet, disconnected completely from any of his ships systems, and inserted the data stick.
On it, were mostly routine and uninteresting files, as could be expected. There was one file of interest, though. It was a text file, entitled, Kukoum. From their years of digging, Thiol had gathered that Kukoum was likely either an alias they had used in the past, or someone involved with what they were looking for. Either way, Kukoum appeared to have met a grizzly end at the hands of what appeared to be his friends.
The text file read as follows:
Regarding the matter of Kukoum: I write this log in fear that it one day may be needed for the survival of the settlement. In the founding of Yvan, and the exodus of the Yvnivians from the Klaxx-on oppressors, I utilized many contractors. They were recruited for me by a sympathizer in the Klaxx-on government, known to me simply as Syn. I wired him the necessary funds, and that was that. Kukoum was one of those contractors. Kukoum was very private, which is to be expected from contractors, but I received a dossier from him, regarding his strengths. I also received a method to contact him if things were to go awry. He said he didn’t consider this contract to be one and done, he preferred to ensure the prolonged success of those involved. I am unsure if this is typical of him or if he just had a special interest in my case.
Many years later, once the settlement had been founded, I received a message from Syn. He instructed me to summon Kukoum here, or else he would reveal my location to the Klaxx-on government. He said to summon him to arrive at 18:50:01:02:19as. That date was two days after I received the message. He didn’t say what was going to happen, nor did he provide any other details. I had a great deal of respect for Kukoum, but this was something I simply could not risk. I informed Kukoum of when I needed him to arrive, and that was that. Two days later, many Klaxx-on ships appeared in orbit, and I thought Syn had sold us out. Syn, however, beamed down to the planet to speak to me. He told me that as long as I had held up my end of the bargain, my people were in no danger. The force was here to draw Kukoum in, and to subdue him. He said this was a completely off the books operation, and as long as I cooperated, my people would remain unharmed. I ushered them all inside the hall of histories for shelter, and I waited. I did not see what happened to Kukoum, but I imagine he is dead now. This is all I know.
Attached to the document, was a Klaxx-on communication ID, labelled Syn. Thiol typed it into their database, and found it traced to a home on Klaxx-on 2, the capitol planet.
Hey everyone! This is where this story ends for now, but I may come back to it later. If you enjoyed it and want to read more, please let me know!
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