I got up the next morning and after a quick shower I put on my new ‘uniform’. I added my father’s auto loader on my right hip in its holster and my blade on my left hip in its scabbard. Aurora was a low-moderate law level planet and the things that are illegal are usually about automatic weapons and explosives. Around the starport, spacemen carry their weapons openly and it is a mater of respect and security as each spaceman is in charge of security of their vessel but Aurora allows open carry of side arms on the street. I knew I was good in this particular case because the restaurant the client had chosen was in the spaceport terminal. It was very public and that was fine with me.
I left my ship and then reset my security systems. I then headed out to the terminal and the restaurant. Aurora is without a doubt one of the most populated planets in the sub-sector with at least 25 billion people; it is probably a good thing the planet is also about 14,000km in diameter. It also forty percent land and sixty percent ocean so there is plenty of space that is land and the cities of Aurora were fairly vertical so large numbers of people could live in a very small space. The spaceport was for the most part on ground level and outside of the Aurora City, the capital, by a couple dozen kilometers. The terminal was one of the exceptions as it rose off the ground on four legs with grav shuttle underneath it for loading of passengers to get to their various starships. I took one of these shuttles to the terminal that left from the Scout area of the spaceport and back to the terminal.
I unloaded and took the elevator up to the restaurant level. The restaurant that the client had chosen was right in the middle of the level and was round central terminal where you ordered and picked up you food and then sat in chairs that completely surrounded it. I sat down in a chair near a table that was one row inside so we would not be right by the crowds of people running by and right now the crowds were pretty thick. I did not wait long as a man approached my table and sat right across from me without introducing himself.
I recognized him though. I had gone to intelligence school with him many years ago. I also ran into him later when we both were in administration together. The thing is this guy was one of the chief planners for intelligence operations for the Scouts and also the Republic. His name was Joseph Small.
Not that he was actually small. He was easily a half a head taller than me and had gotten fat with desk duty. He however still had his hair and it was still mostly brown. He was one of those who had foregone anagathics so the lines in his face were pretty deep around those blue eyes of his though. Those eyes were his one redeeming physical feature. A girl could get lost in them.
“Joseph Small, how long has it been?”
“A while. I need your particular talents on a mission that is off the records.”
“I just retired you know?”
“Yes, that is why I am hiring you. This is not Scout service related but it is in the interests of the Republic, but also off the record completely.”
“Well, that means this is going to be expensive for you.”
He frowned and then smiled.
“That’s OK, I am paying out of my own personal account. 50,000 Credits.”
I kept my composure but my heart was fluttering. That is a pretty chunk of change for a single job.
“I don’t kill people. I am not an assassin.”
“Not asking you to kill anyone. This is an investigation. I want you to find an organization.”
“I can’t say it out loud. Here take this.”
He handed my a portable storage device. It was the best way to keep data off the network.
“Go back to your ship and activate your security systems and then look at it on your personal device with it not linked in.”
“I know the drill.”
“Right. After you look at it you need to contact me one last time to tell me whether you have accepted the job or not. After that, only contact me if you find them. Otherwise I want complete silence.”
“Good to see you again, Ayn. You look the same.”
“It’s the anagathics.”
“Yeah, I am sure it is.”
With that he got up and said his goodbyes and disappeared into one of the crowds.
I slid the portable device deep in my cleavage and then headed back to my ship. Nothing seemed to happen except I suddenly felt that intuitive feeling that I as being watched and followed. I had developed this from my years as a spy. I hopped the shuttle back to my ship and once inside I closed all the airlocks, did a security sweep to make sure there was no one on the ship but me and then sat down in the living area.
I took my personal device on my wrist off the system and then using the storage device’s physical connection cord attached it to my personal device. I gave the order to look at the information and was almost immediately floored. He gave me information on the last known locations of this group and some of the theories about how to contact them. But it came with the warnings of the risks of contact and they were very real. He wanted me to find the Psionics Institute. I nearly fell off the couch I was sitting on.
The Psionics Institute was a rumored organization dedicated to discovering, testing and training in psionic powers. I say rumored because the Republic denies their existence although the folklore abounds. I had seen the actual file in the Scout Service data banks about ten years ago and it had told me that the Psionics Institute did indeed exist but was difficult to find and infiltrate. In fact no one had been successful to date. Joseph Small felt that an independent operative that was unattached could have a better chance of success. The Republic had basically opted for the official strategy of denial but Small was definitely not in that camp. He wanted them discovered to utilize them for both intelligence gathering and a defense against the Empire. He was dedicated to getting this done even though he had no official sanction from the Republic government.
After reviewing the information, I got up and went to the bridge. I sat there with my contact back to Joseph going back and forth between yes and no. There was an element of danger to this that I had never faced. I mean these people if they really existed could read minds, see things others could not see, could make their bodies do incredible things and move objects with their minds. It was even rumored that some of them could teleport short distances. I would have to take an investigative and most definitely diplomatic approach to finding them. The challenge of this was going to be very high. I finished and sent a short message that I had accepted the job. About ten second later I got the notification that it had been read. There was no direct reply but I knew I was on the job and Joseph was informed. I then began to do some research.