“What about Franz? Any news?” asked Vic.
“The operation was successful: he’ll be recuperating for a few weeks I would think.” said Laura. His arm had been all but severed, and with his limited paramedic abilities Rackham had done the best he could on the spot.
Back on the Satis after a check by the crew medic, he was put straight into stasis, where he remained till collected by a medical shuttle at Caikuang Station.; that was yesterday.
They all (except perhaps Laura) felt a little guilty about the situation. Whatever his faults, Franz had absorbed the brunt of the attack from the creature, and paid heavily for the privilege, and this had allowed Laura and Zola to shower the thing with bullets.
Knowing that the bills would be expensive, they decided to contribute the value of the few valuable looking electronics items they had pilfered from the base towards the costs. Despite his reservations, Rackham had also agreed to cover the balance on a cybernetic arm, with a reasonable interest rate.
“It’s not like he was the only one scared shitless” he explained. “Vic was screaming her head off, and frankly, I pissed my pants. That’s why it took me a while to pitch in.”
“Anyway,” he added, “It would just not be good form to ditch him in the circs. He may be a hopeless fighter, but he still has a useful tech skillset. I couldn’t have done that thing with the door.”
Vic looked up.
“He’s here,” she said. Mr. West had entered, along with four smartly dressed men doing their best to make themselves look inconspicuous. He nodded at a waitress, who had his coffee delivered before he had actually made it to the table.
“Mr. Kurtis not present?” he asked.
“Had his arm slashed off by a biogenetically altered freak. Recovering.” said Laura deadpan.
“Ah. Quite.” said West, slightly flustered. "Now, I’ve scanned your report.. “Clearly, Mr. Segall was not safely secured and retrieved. Through, I’m sure, at no fault of your own. "
“No fault of our own. It was never explained that he might be transformed into a mindless killing machine.”
“Quite. For the simple reason we had no idea.” said West smoothly.
“You’ve seen the pictures Mr West.” said Laura. “Here’s a biosample. I’ve no doubt it’ll match his blueprint, barring whatever they did to him of course.”
West took the sample and passed it to one of his men. He turned around for thirty seconds, and then turned back and nodded. West sighed.
“Well that’s confirmed, sadly. I can offer you the promised sum to secure your discretion and, perhaps, future service. It must be said, however, that any breach of Jenseitech’s privacy on this matter will be dealt with quickly and severely.”
“We understand,” said Laura.
“Good,” replied West. “The transfers have been made.” He stood up to leave.
“What about the squatters?” blurted Zola. West frowned.
“That unpleasantness was all resolved without incident,” he replied. “And before you ask, I am unaware of the nature of the outpost Mr. Segall discovered. I assure you, however, that Jenseitech has already taken action to secure the facility. Good Day.”
“I bet they have” murmured Rackham to himself.