The descent down to the planet was painfully quiet. At least that is what Silvia thought. She sat between Jeran and Zolurious. They had to get adjacent seats because the shuttle was fairly packed. Silvia could feel the uneasy tension between the two of them and it was uncomfortable to sit between then. It was worse then it had been on the space ship because now they were getting closer to where Null was.
Even Silvia, who normally tried to make the tension by talking about something kept quiet. Instead she tried to pass the time by watching the planet approched through the window. Luckily it was Jeran who was sitting on that side of her so it was a little be less uncomfortable.
Eventually they reached the surface of the planet and Silvia could breath a sigh of relief. Even talking about the plan to find Null would be better then this eerie silence. They couldn’t talk about it on the shuttle flight because other people might be able to overhead them.
After going through the disembarking process they were finally able to step outside and breath the fresh planet air. Zolurious decided that they should set up their base of operations in a nearby hotel before starting the search attempt for Null.
After getting the hotel room they decided on how to search for Null.
“Malistar Friec owns a substantial about of property. I’m going to look into his different places and see if any off them is appropriate for keeping Null without being conspicuous. How are you going to look for Null?” Said Zolurious.
Jeran said, “This time I am not going to visit the bars and clubs, it is unlikely that the situation with Null will have chanced since she landed on the planet. I have a few different ideas about where to search for her but I frist need to get a feel for the city.”
“That sounds like you have no idea where to search and are just trying to cover that.” Said Zolurious skeptically.
“Either way,” Said Silvia, “I am going to try and pick up her trail from the shuttle stop and see if I can find where she went from there. Dad, might I suggest that you check illegal sources, since Null has forbidden technology the underground might have leads to her.”
“While I only have some knowledge of illegal works I think I will be able to find something. I must admin that most of my experience is from the other side of the law so I will do my best.” Said Jeran.
“Alright,” Said Silvia, who seemed to act as a coordinator between Jeran and Zolurious. “Let us each go looking and come back her in six hours. If you discover anything important before then contact the other two using your mini-terminal.” She smiled a little bit before continuing, “And if you find Null, only contact your allies.”
Then the three of the left the hotel to begin their separate searches for Null. Silvia returned to the shuttle stop and began questioning the employees about whether they had seen a rainbow haired woman about a week ago. However she only seemed to get lackluster results. Several of the employees remembered seeing her but they didn’t have any details about where she had gone. Her best report remembered that she got into a private vehicle with a tall man. However even learning that didn’t help her locate Null so Silvia decided that she needed a new method of search.
Meanwhile Jeran was looking for underground activity. For a stranger to the city this tended to be fairly hard, especially during the day. However Jeran did find someone who was willing to spill the beans, even though it did take the threat of bodily harm to convince them.
Once he had found several locations where illegal deals went down it was time to find an information seller. More of the deals took place in bars because it they were busy and tended to mind their business. He began visited the different places searching for information sellers, the people who’s business if was to buy and sell information. Aben was one of those people and he had given Jeran some advice about looking for people like him.
You never want to go to the one most people suggest. They are usually either corrupt or incompetent. The good information sellers like to keep hidden to prevent being found by the law. Eventually Jeran found somebody who fit the recommendations.
Before heading over there he jotted down a few test questions. Aben recommended having them the first time you went to a new information seller. They were usually questions that you already knew the answer to and you are testing the information seller to ensure that he is honest. Of course this costs more money so it also helps grease the social wheel to make the seller like you more.
He approached the store cautiously. Information dealers tended to work in stores because it gave them a place for people to visit them and provided some protection. Jeran walked in and began looking over the wears that were being sold. He picked out something that he thought Silvia might like before going over to the counter that the owner was at. “Is there anything else that you would like?” Asked the man. Jeran then began one of the standard rituals for dealing with information sellers.
“Yes, I was looking for some advice. I’m new to the city and was wondering if you knew anything about some of the interesting land marks.” Said Jeran and he paid for the item that he had purchases, he added a little bit extra to show that he was purchasing this information from the man.
The man nodded and began explaining a couple of things about the city. After a few more minutes of idle information exchange, Jeran began to press for more sensitive information. After around fifteen minutes of exchanging information and money Jeran finally began to move into the more pressing information, the stuff that he actually wanted to know.
“What do you know about Malistar Friec that he would want to hide?” Asked Jeran. It was the first step in learning about Null, something that other people might want to know.
The man paused for a second like he was considering the question, “That is dangerous information, I hope you know what you are getting yourself into.” Jeran furrowed his brow, he knew that Malistar must be doing something strange but he didn’t expect the dealer to be that worried. Information was normally a dangerous profession.
Jeran however just nodded, “I understand, you can add an extra fee.” It was common practice to add extra fees for dangerous or important information.
“Malistar Friec has a lot of secret holdings. He also has a hand in purchasing illegal weapons and supplies. He spends a lot of his money on constructing secret buildings and underground passageways.” Said the man.
“What has he been doing recently?” Asked Jeran. While what Malistar did previous be important to finding Null, Jeran cared about finding her more then what Malistar was planning to do with her.
“While it has been quite secret, Malistar has been off world recently. My informants says that he was fetching a scientist who knows forbidden technology. About a week ago they brought back a strange woman.”
“Forbidden technology?” Asked Jeran, who pretended to be surprised. “What does he plan to do with it and who is this woman he brought back.”
“I’m not exactly certain what he is planning to do with forbidden technology. His cleanup is quite thorough and those who would speak about it are silenced. However he is known to meet with a bunch of other people in some of his secret buildings. He as been doing so for many years and his father was doing it before him. As for the woman, not too much is known about her, my off world contacts have yet to give me any accurate reports about her. However I know she has strange rainbow hair and the servant who follows her calls her Lady Null.”
“I see. Since Malistar has several secret buildings, do you know which ones they are. Particularly where does he keep this woman?” Asked Jeran.
The old man smiled a little bit before punching in a number into the cash register. Jeran winced slightly when he saw it. It was large, really large, enough to pay for a lot of stuff. The man had figured out the information Jeran really cared about and was charging an arm and a leg for it. Jeran haggled over the price for a little bit before finally paying the slightly lower price.
Jeran left the shop with the information he was looking for, where Null was being kept. However his bank account was much emptier then it had been. Any ship he would have to get with his current amount would have to be older and smaller then he would have rather had.
Silvia decided to use the global network to look for information about Null. She found a quiet cyber cafe and began searching for information. While Silvia had been stuck in the hospital on Quill she had had plenty of time to learn the ins and outs of global networks. The one on Ongul was different then the one that she was used to but it didn’t take her very long to grow accustom to the differences.
Then she was able to start asking questions about the different things that have been happening on the planet. There was plenty of good information but Silvia wanted to find out specific information. She needed an inside source which usually took much longer to look for.
Several hours later Silvia stumbled upon something strange. An anonymous website that’s hosting was funded by the Friec Corporation. It had a completely blank page except for a login section and the words, ‘New World’. Silvia tried searching around for available credentials or a security weakness to the site, but there was nothing.
“Lady Null, there is something that I should tell you.” Said X through the door of Null’s room. Other then for the meetings that Lord Zero had called her too, Null had spent more of her time in that dark room.
When there was no answer from Null’s room so X opened the door and stepped into the room. It was dark in the room but Null was sitting on a chair reading a book. She seemed to have no problem reading the book in the dark. After a moment X finally asked, “Is the book interesting?”
Null shook her head, “I have no idea. It is in a language that I do not know. I am trying to figure out what it is saying but every word is mysterious. Just when I think I know something I learn that it isn’t true and just a trick of my imagination.”
“I see. I have come to tell you about a development. It seems that you have people that are following you.” Said X.
Null looked over at X, her eyes seemed to show emotion for the first time since he had meet her. However it soon died and Null returned to reading the book that she didn’t understand, “That doesn’t concern me any more. I joined you because this is the place that I really belong.”
“It seems that there are three people who are following you. A young girl and two men arrived on the planet today. Two of them seem to be the people who you left back in The End. The third however is somebody very interesting.”
“Oh.” Said Null who didn’t seem to be paying attention. She was already trying as hard as she could to stay silent and calm.
“The third person is the ANGEL Zolurious.” Null suddenly stiffened. X was somewhat happy to get a reaction out of her that was something more then indifference. She sat there staring at the page, not even her eyes were moving.
X spoke again, “We are uncertain why they are traveling together but they seem to be working together. Zolurious is also acting strangely. He has taken no measures to prevent us from discovering his identity and he is performing more standard investigation routines then is expected from an ANGEL.”
“He is probably being punished by ANGEL by not allowing him to use too much of his power. The fact that I managed to escape is probably a problem for ANGEL.” Said Null.
“Do you know why your friends are traveling with Zolurious,” Asked X. He didn’t know or care about the answer to that question but he wanted to see how Null would react.
“I could guess, but it shouldn’t matter to me anymore. ANGEL is my enemy, and that makes anyone who travels with them my enemy as well.” Said Null, however her declaration sounded half-hearted.
“Then do you want us to do anything about it? We would be able to deal with them swiftly if you wanted us to. Then you would never be bothered by them again.” Said X.
Null paused, “No,” She then continued to pause trying to think of a reason why that should be true that sounded logical. “Zolurious might be functioning at reduced power but if his life was in danger the he would almost certainly be able to use his full power. Maybe he is baiting us by not hiding his identity so that we attempt to attack him.”
“I see,” Said X. “That is an acceptable excuse. I will inform Lord Zero about your decision. Null looked at him, she seemed like she wanted to say something but she continued to delay and by the time she spoke the door had already shut and X was gone.
“Please don’t hurt them.”
X stood on the other side of the door. He was still able to hear the words, although Null didn’t know that. What was it about those two that made Lady Null like that, X did not understand. He had expected Lady Null to be more… aggressive, to be more of a leader. Was it those two that made Lady Null like that, that stole her fire, he had to know. So, for the first time even he decided to ignore his orders and find those that had done this to his lady and stop them, only he could keep Lady Null safe forever.
He began to leave the compound with a look of determination on his face, it was a look he had never had before. Many things had been new since he had met Lady Null and he would not let these people who were not good enough for her take it from him.