Since Techie has found Alesha, his Lost&Found enterprise stalled. He issued a report, stating a rapid decline in “Lost” category (and stating that the reason for it, probably, is the “systematization of complaints”). He has been awarded a commendation and got a new rack from Administration and Management as a hint to continue that sidework.
Things still get lost and found, and he entertains himself in his spare time by making lists. Predictably, Matt is on many of them and has set some records. Like: №1 in category Lost in Tech department, №1 in category Lost this year, №1 in category Issued personal complaints.
Regrettably, after Techie returned him the screwdriver, man got in his head that Techie is some kind of sleuth, so Matt insists on personal attention to his problems every time. Most people just fill the forms online - Techie is not really popular among other staff. And he still has not found the most important thing - the courage to tell Matt that he is not a detective.
But this time his visitor is obviously not Matt - someone knocks on the door politely. On his “Come inside” an officer enters. He doesn’t look menacing. Still, Techie stands up too to welcome him.
- Hello. I’m lieutenant Dopheld Mitaka. Um. I have a complaint.
- Nice to meet you. What have you lost?
- Um. Not lost, well, I don’t know. It disappeared. My cap.
- Ok, wait - I’ll fill the form.
Techie opens the app.
- Can you describe it?
- Um, black cap, new, no blemishes. Size 7¼. First Order standard new issue 16980-82 I believe. We’ve just got them.
Mitaka is thorough, which is nice. Most people are painfully vague about their belongings even when they fill the forms themselves and have all the time to do it properly.
- When and where have you seen it last time?
- Yesterday, after my shift. I left it on the shelf by the door, as usual. And in the morning it was not there! I filed request to A&M for a spare, but you know how they are…
- Yeah, it took them two month to get me that rack…
Mitaka looks at the rack as if he hopes to find his cap there. No such luck.
- Well, do you need to know something else?
Techie does not, but he’s inquisitive.
- Hm, may I ask, who has an access to your quarters?
- Yes, um, officer Unamo. But I have asked her already and she’s not the kind for such pranks!
- And who’s the kind?
- What do you mean?
- Do you know someone who’d like to steal your cap?
- Oh, no one. Well, you know… The troopers are capable of anything, really. But how they could enter?
- Yeah, definitely. Um. I’ll keep you informed.
- Thanks a lot! Um, it would be nice… Um, it was a pain in the um neck.
Techie can guess. General Hux - as gossip tell - has a fad about proper uniform. Poor Mitaka, if he has met him hatless and in one of his bad moods.
Mitaka leaves, carefully closing the door, and Techie quietly whistles in binary. Alesha emerges from the heap of reports and runs to sit on Techie’s shoulder, sure to get a treat.
He returns to his current task, thinking that polite lieutenant has probably left his cap somewhere else and has forgotten about it or shoved it too far down the shelf - that’s what happens in most of the cases, so he doesn’t really need to care. He is wrong.
After a while he decides to visit the nearest cafeteria. There are probably less people at this hour and he can eat in peace. And he is wrong too.
The minute he sets his glass and plate on the table, omnipresent Matt appears in front of him and bangs his fist on the table so hard, that glass jumps and drink spills on the fruit cake.
- The kriffing bastards!
Techie is a little scared and much more annoyed, as usual, but he thinks that Matt wouldn’t be insulting him in plural.
- What happened? - he sighs, since there is no chance to escape the story.
- They send me to block 59, because some stupid ass hanged “Maintenance” on the door. So - if there is a Maintenance sign - maintenance there should be. I told them that I checked it long ago and made a report, it is just a stupid blind spot where troopers… you know. And now they tell me I’m a liar and an idler. Since when have I turned down a job?
- Oh. So, you are going?
- Yes. I’m on the way. Just um wanted to share. Um, sorry for your cake.
He takes his toolbox and leaves. Techie has no idea why Matt shares his troubles with him. Maybe that’s friendship. He has thought of stories that he could share with Matt, but all seems too sad or too personal, or both.
He returns hungry and irritated. But the minute he finally settles on his actual work, Matt calls him:
- A body! She’s dead, Techie, what should I do!?
He killed his superviser, finally, that idiot, - Techie thinks with strange amusement.
- Matt? Have you killed someone?
- No!!! Not me, I don’t know, it was here, the body, fuck, in block 59, Techie, say something.
- I’m coming, - he says to his own surprise, - Stay where you are and don’t touch anything.
He checks camera before he leaves, but he can not get the view of 59. It is one of blind spots missed by the surveillance system. He knows about half a dozen of them and suspects that there are more. But his report has been left unnoticed or maybe intentionally ignored.
Block 59 is not far away, but judging by the sounds, he is late. When he turns round the corner he sees Matt giving trouble to the pair of troopers. His supervisor is here - good thing, she is alive. Bad thing - she’s touching her bleeding nose in bewilderment.
- I haven’t touched her - Matt roars - I don’t know who’s she!
- Yeah, and what is this? - an officer opens his toolbox and holds a black cap in his hand.
- Yeah, what the fuck is this?! - Matt shouts as troopers lead him away.
The procession passes Techie, troopers almost shoving him to the wall. Matt watches him with terrified eyes. Techie thinks that he knows what to do.
He hurries back to his room and searches through surveillance records. Here is the door to Mitaka’s quarters. End of the shift, people pass by. Ah, here he is - unknown officer, white-haired, hatless, withdraws from group of other officers and enters password. Fast forward. Mitaka comes minutes later with some woman, probably that’s Unamo. They kiss before they enter and look absorbed in each other. Fast forward. Hours later the guest leaves in black cap.
Techie runs face recognition app and finds the profile of officer Kamil Smilin. Simple search shows that Smilin is currently sitting by his work station. So, he has stolen - or received - Mitaka’s cap, but does it make him a murderer?
Suddenly an alarm starts wailing. What now!? Techie opens security feed and reads new messages: Dangerous suspect… attention at all the checkpoints… Kriff.
Techie checks Smilin’s workflow. Oh, you are not working, officer. Smilin is reading the same messages in security feed. Right now he scrolls Matt’s profile up and down.
Matt Matt, why couldn’t you wait. Well, Techie thinks that he is not much smarter than Matt, because in a wave of inspiration he adds his own message to the security feed. It shouts FAKE as those typical Naboo scam: “Hello friend im a long lost heir of naboo quins inherited billions of credit want share with you send 100 credits good friend hello”. The worst thing is that the source of the message can be easily tracked back to Techie’s station. Which shouldn’t give him access to security, first of all.
And still he presses Enter.
– Severe offender, Kamil Smilin, armed and dangerous –
Techie switches back to surveillance. He watches as Smilin almost jumps up from his chair. The man turns his head left and right and quickly walks away, holding something in his left hand. It’s time for Techie to leave too.
He calls Alesha and gathers some Finds in the plastic bag. He has payed attention to Matt’s stories, so he knows where to look for him.
The passages burst with activity, troopers run in packs, creating more noise than sense. He’s stopped by some observant captain who orders him to return to his station and he pretends to comply, only to continue his way down to docks after she turns her back on him.
Here is it. Another blind zone. The hall looks empty, illuminated only by emergency lights, large crates throwing long harsh shadows on the floor and walls. Techie sends Alesha to investigate and soon his pet’s soft whistles shows him where is Matt.
- Matt? It’s Techie, I’m alone here. Please, come out… I know you are here. Docks would be searched in the first instance. We must leave.
After a pause Matt unfolds himself behind the crates. He looks like a total mess now and holds a wrecking bar in his right hand.
- I didn’t kill her, - he says, - I don’t know how this thing got into my box. I left it by the door when I saw the body.
- I know. They would have set you free after they checked surveillance reports and time of death, you just had to wait.
Matt hangs his head.
- They have threatened me. And I…
- Well, lets leave and wait until they catch the right guy, and then we would contact the security…
- Go away, Tech, they will arrest me at the first corner and you’ll suffer for nothing.
- I think it is too late for me. Here, take this.
Techie gives Matt his Finds. These are ones of the most peculiar in his list. Who and why has left a very cheap replica of Kylo Ren’s cloak and mask in the public bathroom? Nobody has claimed the items as theirs. Mask is a plastic thing with a rubber band, cloak is synthetic and attracts all the dust around.
- Oh, no. No way, Techie, no!
Matt looks at him as if Techie suggests sacrilege, which is close to home.
- Put it on. No one dares to look at Ren anyway, he scares everyone. If you just walk like you own here everything, we can reach the safer place and then I’ll get rid of that costume, I promise.
- I’ll be dead.
- You’ll die faster, if you stay here.
So they walk. Ugly cloak fits Matt. It lacks solidness of course, and Matt has no gloves or sword and his working boots are all wrong. But the first pack of troopers salutes and gives him wide berth, and Techies cheers up a little.
And then his heart sinks. Walking purposefully in their direction is Smilin, in the flesh. Techie wishes Smilin to get scared and bolt, but he addresses to Matt instead.
- That’s the criminal, master Ren! - Smilin points at Techie - I saw him, he is an accomplice and he has hacked the security channel. I can explain everything.
Matt keeps silent, Techie panics inside, Smilin frowns, obviously feeling that something is wrong.
- Your lies won’t help you! - says Matt finally.
He acts really good, for a moment Techie could believe that he is Kylo Ren. But his fake mask does not distort his voice. Smilin perceives everything finally: the voice, the boots, the fabric… He tears the mask from Matt’s face in one movement and then he grabs Techie’s hand.
- You! Bloody slaver’s trash, I saw you messing around the 59. Thought you outsmart me? I’ll hand you to the first troopers that come this way and I would be off before they tell their heads from asses.
Matt raises the wrecking bar, growling, but Smilin twists Techies wrist and he barely keeps from crying out. Techie casts his eyes down and then he notices it. And he whistles.
- Stop that! - officer hisses and twists harder.
But that time Alesha jumps from Techie’s hood and bites Smilin’s left arm. He’s been holding something in his hand all the time. He holds it close to his body on the video record by Mitaka’s door. He holds it walking away from his station. It’s some data card, and when Smilin drops it on the floor, Alesha jumps down, picks it up and runs away, in the direction of the docks.
Matt and Techie forgotten, Smilin chases the rat.
He has almost caught the wretched vermin when black clad figure appeared before him.
- Fuck! Not you again!
The knight tilts his head to the shoulder like a dog feigning understanding of human speech.
- How did you get here? Well, doesn’t matter. Clear the way!
- You command me? - the knight asks, plainly amused, but this time his voice is distorted by the mask.
Gloved hand raised in a commanding gesture is a last thing Smilin sees that day.
This time Techie doesn’t receive commendation. Quite the opposite. He and Matt are scolded by general Hux personally. He takes full 10 minutes to meticulously list all the regulations and rules they broke in process of “investigation”, adding graphic description of consequences and finishing by a complex chain of insults. Do they teach how to swear in the military academy, - Techie marvels, because he’s never heard anyone cursing in such a professional manner. And all the time Hux speaks, real Kylo Ren stands silently behind the general like a grave reminder - we don’t need to push you out the airlock, you can meet your nasty death right here.
Techie notices that Matt’s heart rate is going through the roof, man breathes like he has run for miles and sweats the same. Tech’s mind processes are suddenly blocked by a stray thought that he wants to hold Matt’s hand before they die. That’s when the general stops and coldly says:
- Off, you two.
After some formalities and conciliation with his supervisor Matt gets his toolbox back, as well as Mitaka’s cap, which he brings to Techie. Work is work - Techie fills forms and sends message to the lieutenant. After a while - with a polite knock - Mitaka appears. He gratefully holds his cap in hands and turns it this way and that, until he spills:
- Don’t think I’ll ever wear it again… You know, after… He was there all the time, the murderer, in my room, and I never knew.
The whole story is top-secret now, he is blocked from security channel and clearly not supposed to inquire, but… Techie can’t fight his curiosity.
- Do you know, what happened? Why has he done it?
- Oh, um… Well, it is ugly… Well, I shouldn’t tell, but I can not see how it can harm anyone. The victim, she was from domestic security and he stalked her… just, was jealous, thought that she is meeting someone in the block. So when he entered, he saw that she holds that card in her hand and thought that she is payed by her lover, raged and killed her. And took the card, hoped to sell it actually. Stupid. It was coded information he couldn’t use anyway. That’s why security panicked and went so hard on your radar-guy - they thought that he is a spy or something.
- Oh, that’s…. Sad. Understand. But how has he got access to your room?
Mitaka suddenly blushes.
- I had a simple password, I fear
- Um, well, you are in 15% then.
- No more, - Mitaka smiles.
Techie buries himself in routine coding when polite knocking recurs. Has Mitaka forgotten something?
- Come in!
Techie is impressed. Matt enters like a gentleman and stops whole three steps away from his chair as though someone has finally lectured him on personal space concept.
- Hi, Matt.
- That’s for you, - Matt holds out a small lunchbox.
- Oh, put it on the table. Where have you found it?
Techie turns his back to Matt and opens the Lost&Found app to add the description of the item, but Matt doesn’t answer. However he puts the box on the table and storms out of the room. The limit of good manners is obviously exhausted for today.
After some qualms Techie carefully opens the lid of the box. It is a bit sticky. Alesha comes running to the edge of the box, attracted by the smell. It’s just the fresh fruit cake from cafeteria.