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Strained from a night spent sprawled in front of his screen, after falling asleep watching movies, Darius stood with heavy bones, aching joints and back, at the reception again.

But not for a festive occasion.

Negotiations were cancelled for the time being.

Instead the security teams from both Destiny and Kismet stood around, armed, and grim looking. “There had been a murder.” Admiral Kanjeet had announced to them. All personnel that had access to the diplomatic quarters had been rounded up. Kismet and Destiny personnel alike. He saw Abdul in the other row across the room. He seemed equally tired. Probably had spent his night watching the western media too.

“A murder in the diplomatic envoy! Since not that many people have access to the diplomatic quarters on the outter rim, you will all be interrogated.” Not all of the Kismet crew spoke English, so Abdul had to translate for them.

Most of the Kismet crew felt uncomfortable accepting orders from a woman, especially an infidel.

“Where were you last night, between 2200 and 0100?” Watched over by a bearded guy, who seemed to have shoulders as broad as he was tall, and a blond counterpart in Destiny’s uniform, a man with leathery skin sat opposite of Darius at a small table. “In my quarters, watching movies and sleeping. Although I only came home at about half past ten.” He fidget with his fingers, he already had excused himself for that, but he was really nervous in front of authority figures. The man pressed a few buttons on his tabket computer, nodded witha satisfied expression. “Computer log of your implant trace confirms that.”

Although he knew that he hadn’t done anything, Darius still felt relief. “Were you in contact with anyone from the Kismet?”

In a few words, all the while working hard to hide his nervousness showing in his words, he told of Abdul, and his inquiries. “Who else have you talked to yesterday?”

Exhaling audibly Darius leaned back, a sudden wave of relaxation overcame him. “My colleagues, the people in the diplomatic entourage at the reception, Abdul and a Miss Brekic.” His interrogator looked up from his tablet.

“Irina Brekic?”

Darius nodded, wanted to reply, but only then did he realise that he hadn’t been spoken to. Instead the door opened, dressed in the uniform of the Destiny armed forces security detail, Irina entered. Her hair tied to a knot.

“Sir?”

“You know this man?” The interogator pointed at Darius.

“Yes sir, although not by name, sir. We met yesterday as I went for a jog.”

Nodding the interogator looked back down at his computer, dismissed Irina with a wave of his hand.

 

Feeling drained even more of strength and will, Darius stumbled out of the interrogation room. Four hours of questioning, seemingly nonsensical questions at times, what movies Abdul was interested in for example, had left him dazed.

“You didn’t have to get interrogated to see me again, Mr. Bond.” Irina came around the corner near his cabin. “I honestly would’ve called, instead of that interrogation!”

Smiling Irina took up walking beside him. “Well, since I was hoping for us to meet this evening, I am all free tonight.”

All exhaustion fell off of Darius immediately.

 

From the last night only flashes, like vague glimpses into another realm of existence, remained in Darius’ mind. Irina had spent the night, but he could’ve pieced that together from waking up beside her. They spent most of the time talking about varius movies, mostly the spy and thriller movies, watching a few of them.

Over the course of time one thing had led to another.

 

“Kismet demands to be let in on the investigation.” He read the message he had just received. Since the murder of the diplomatic attaché, he, and the others on the diplomatic rim, had not been allowed back to their usual duties, but still he relayed communiques.

“Let them hear static, they should be talking with their team here. After all we’re including them from the go.” Admiral Kanjeet replied.

In a corner she sat on a table, feet perched up on the chair. In her hand the tablet computer with witness reports, her glasses sat beside her, still displaying something, but Darius didn’t care what exactly.

Immediately his mind wandered off again, to the security officer he had found lying beside him that morning. After breakfast they had returned to their respective duties.

“Admiral?” Darius’ interrogator entered the room, he eyed Darius carefully, then handed the Admiral a tablet computer.

“Altered computer logs?” The Admiral gazed at him. “On all the doors in the outter most rim.” He confirmed, again looking around. For Darius it felt as if he was looking for him in particular, but he scanned the room for any reactions from the present people.

Within a heartbeat the Admiral had copied the particular report to her own tablet, handing back the other one to the security officer. “Who has the knowledge to do such a thing?” She asked.

“The knowledge? Many people, the skills and security clearance to actually do it? Only a few.” Ponderous the man strode across the room. “Mr. Konrads, would you mind following me?”

Insecure Darius got up. “I was watching movies, logs confirm that.”

“Logs can be altered, and they have been. So, please, come with me.” Unwilling Darius followed the man outside.

 

“Last time I had neglected to introduce myself. My name is Nusrat Savic. I was given to understand you’re still meeting with Miss Brekic?” Again they had taken seat at the table in the small room. With one word Darius confirmed.

“Are you aware that she has both the clearance and skills necessary to alter computer logs?” Remaining silent Darius felt as if something, or someone was trying to tie a knot around his neck. “I doubt she is helping you, if you are responsible for the actions you’re here to be questioned about.” A little relief came over Darius’ mind. “However,” concerned Darius noticed that there were no guards at the door this time, “if you should be using her, or if you are just hurting her, know that blood is thicker than water, and for my niece I’ll cross boundaries.” Gulping Darius sat up straight. Although the feeling of closing knots around his neck had vanished, he still felt somewhat trapped.

“I have no intention of hurting her, sir.”

Giving him a glare that said everything that needed to be said, Nusrat returned to his computer. “Here,” he handed the tablet to Darius. “this is a system similar to the one, one would need to overcome to change computer logs. Data from your implant will reveal if you’re holding back.” Is this even legal? Or possible? Darius began typing, after a few moments an alarm rang from the small computer. “You failed.” With some degree of satisfaction Nusrat stared through the glasses at Darius. “And you honestly tried.”

Reluctantly Darius handed the device back. “Am I free to go now?”

Dismissed with a nod Darius hurried out of the room, headed back to the room in which most of his colleagues sat.

 

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