Alien Relations - Part V

August 2942
Sedux Hal Commerce Zone
Virtus System

Photeus hated when he was in the Xi'an Trading Zone and he'd be approached by random people. It was the worst when one of those people would start the conversation by asking, "Security told me they are checking into my friend's disappearance. Can I ask if you've heard or seen anything?" Disappearances in this area were mostly law enforcement related, or that's at least what Photeus assumed. He never had information for these folks and always wanted to tell them, "Your friend is dead. Deal with it." It was a mean thing to say, even if it was true. And now Photeus knew first hand it wasn't pleasant to hear either.

"What do you mean 'he's dead'? What do you know?" Photeus demanded of the human trader.

The trader sighed as he was loading wares into a trunk in his stall, pottery of beautiful design. It looked like they were made on Terra. Photeus beat back old memories and focused.

"You know as well as I do, that's what happens around here. He probably got involved in a black market deal that went bad or he got caught. It's what happens to most that think they can game the system. System games them back," the trader continued, "Usually it wins too. You gotta admit it helps keeps the trade zone clean."

"Yeah, I guess so. Thanks." The trader nodded to Photeus and he moved on. Photeus worked through a few booths, but there was no new information. He felt like he was missing something, a key detail or information. Then again, maybe he wasn't looking in the right place. He was missing something. He sat down at a table set up for a nearby food stand. Reef sat the other side of the table, facing away, appearing to study the news on his mobi-glass. Photeus awaited the 'I told you so.'

"You are wasting time. I told you I checked everything already. Find a way into his warehouse. Now," Reef shut down his mobi-glass, shaking his head. He stood up a walked away.

Photeus yelled silent curses at Reef in the back of his mind. He had already tried that option. The defense fields showed no weaknesses and he knew the gate guards would deny entry immediately if he didn't have ID. He was less worried now about being shot on sight while in the Xi'an quarter, but more worried about simply gaining access.

Photeus was lost in thought when a Xi'an civilian sat down next to him and started speaking.

"You ask for Wohevt? I am friend. I acquired this. Please check his warehouses and tell me news." The speaking was a bit harsh, but serviceable.

Before Photeus could respond, the Xi'an set a small card down on the table, and stood up. Photeus asked, "Who are you? How do I find you?"

"I am friend, we meet here tonight." The Xi'an seemed to notice the nearby Trade Security nearby and then walked away quickly.

Photeus eyed the downturned card and picked it up. It was a temporary passcard to the Xi'an Quarter. The picture on the card obviously wasn't him, but with a little more dirt on his face and hair, and repositioning of his clothing it would be close enough. While he felt some hope, he couldn't help but be extra cautious as well. This wasn't a happy coincidence.

Photeus got up and headed back to the MAX to collect some supplies. If this was a trap designed to snap down on him, he wanted to blow its jaws clean off.


It was late afternoon when Photeus felt ready to try his luck. There was no line as he approached the Xi'an Quarter gate and the guards eyed him suspiciously. As he came to the border line a guard stopped him.

"Halt. Xi'an only allowed past this point. State your business." The language was practiced.

"I'm picking up some trade goods from a Xi'an warehouse. May take one hour, two tops." Photeus lied. It was only a tiny lie.

A guard went around behind him. Photeus checked his six and could see a military grade rifle pointed at his head. Ignoring it he looked back and smiled at the guard he was speaking with, "I have a passcard."

He handed the card over and the Xi'an guard snatched it away. After scrutinizing it thoroughly he handed it back, "You have one hour. Move!"

The gun behind him connected with his back and he instinctively hopped forward a couple steps.

The guard signaled, the gate opened, and before he knew it he was inside the Xi'an quarter.

After he resumed breathing he began searching for the warehouse. Reef had already found out it was number 502, just off of the residential zone. He headed that way.

Because of his Xi'an clothing, he didn't get many looks from the residents of the Quarter. However, every time someone realized he was human, they did not give him pleasant looks. They didn't trust humans. Photeus knew they had good reasons not to.

He reached 502 and took a device from his pocket. He suddenly realized the guards never searched him. He was glad they didn't, but he now expected more than ever this was definitely a setup. Too bad for whomever it was, he was prepared.

He went to the warehouse and tried to open a side door. It swung open, but not due to anything he had done. He noticed there were various burn marks on the door. It had been torn open with a plasma cutter. Liking how easily it swung open and how simple the trap would be, he set up the explosive. Shutting the door, he primed it with his hand-held trigger device.

Crates of indistinguishable goods neatly filled up the hangar sized storage facility. He spent some more time setting up several devices all around various parts of the room. If this is a trap, it was going to be his trap.

When he felt satisfied with the obstacle course he set up, he went further into warehouse, toward the loading doors. Several crates were strewn about, more of them broken into than whole. He searched through packing materials and piles of damaged clothing and cookware. Something caught his eye in a half opened crate, as he approached he was interrupted by voice that called out to him.