The Truth Behind the Matter - From 'A Good Man'

The Truth Behind the Matter - From 'A Good Man'

A Story by A sea person

Excerpt from the story I'm writing. This takes place in chapter nine.


November 4, 2114 A.D.  -0501 HRS-


Zirias nursed the steaming cup of coffee, staring down into the mud colored liquid.  The café was packed with men and women buying coffee on their afternoon rotation breaks.  All the white lattice style tables were occupied by colleagues shuffling papers and spacers taking a rest while their ships were refilled and restocked.  The bustle of the café patrons and the crowds as they hurried back and forth across the open thoroughfare created a noisy, unsettling background to ears used to the quiet hum of spaceships.

“So, start at the beginning.”

Zirias took a deep breath.

“I was onboard the J.N.S.V. Týr for my assignment.  Out of nowhere, this Hoag Alliance ship just attacked it.  I managed to get out in time, but I was the only one.”

She leaned forward, her left hand clenching into a fist.

“There was no offer of mercy, no transfer of personnel.  Wasn’t the Intergalactic Bode Convention adopted to serve galactines the way the old Geneva Convention had served the soldiers on Earth?  They were not followed.  One hundred and thirty galactines were just flushed the same way you flush trash from a spaceship.  There was no mercy.”

“I know, just continue with the story.”

“But they violated the Bode Conventions-”

“And I will detail that in my report.  Right now I need you to tell me about the six people you found on the ship.”

Sucking in a deep breath, she flattened her hand against the table.  Slowly, she exhaled.

“Alright.  After that,” she paused for a second, “after that I went to the docking station, found this ship and then the Hoag Alliance sent a recovery team to take the ship.”

“How many were on the team?”

“Seven.  I took them out.  That’s when I found them, asleep in sealed bed-like tubes in the lower medical deck.  I managed to get the ship out of the docking station in the Mayall's Object galaxy and fly it here.  The other two just woke up or whatever right before we docked.”

"Do you really believe what they say?  About being from before the purification and exodus to space?"

Zirias shrugged.

"I don't know what to think.  They all had the same story, but maybe they came up with it together before I found them.  All I know is that when I searched the ship the first time, there weren't any living beings on board, and after the attack there were four with two more sleeping in the bay."

“Where are the six at now?  Still on board the ship?”

She shook her head.  “I let them explore the hub.”

“You did what?”

Agent Erek Lavar slammed his fists into the table.  The people at the nearest tables turned and stated at the cause of the outburst.  Zirias gaped up at her handler.  His dark eyebrows came together in a jagged V over his black eyes, and the line formed by his pressed lips trembled in fury.

“Why aren’t they on the ship?”

“They’re been on that ship for ages.  It’s only fair that they get to see the way things have changed.  What’s the problem?  I can call them if I need them.”  She did not mention that the headsets they wore allowed her to track them if she needed to as well.

“Tell them to go back to the ship right now.”

“Why?” she demanded.  “I have to get some things taken care of; especially this arm.”  She held up her right arm as far as the sling would allow.  “Since it’s going to take a while, I told them that they could take some time to see everything on the hub.  They only have enough money between them for six cups of coffee anyway.  How much trouble can they get into?  Besides, they said they won’t tell anyone about all this, and they’re smart.  I trust them to look out for themselves and each other.”

“Just tell them to get back on board the ship,” he ground out between clenched teeth.

“Fine,” Zirias grumbled, sullenly pressing the call button on her headset.  It rang for a few seconds before the hail was answered.


“Gerold, it’s Zirias.  I need you and the others to head back to the ship.  Start heading over now, and I’ll meet you there.”

The other end of the line was silent for a moment.  Finally, he replied, “Fine.  We’ll see you there.”

The call ended with a faint click over the connection.  Zirias rolled her eyes, saying, “There, are you happy now?”

Agent Lavar sat back down in his chair and finished the last few drops of his coffee. 

“Well,” he said, pushing his mug to the center of the table, “We should get to the ship too.”

“Not until you pay me,” Zirias said, leaning back in the chair.  “No pay, no ship access.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a check.  With the tips of his fingers, he slid it across the table.

“It’s all there.  You can go cash it now if you want; I’ll take care of everything back at the ship.”

Zirias scanned the check.  Everything looked right, and she smiled.

“If it’s the same to you,” she said, sliding the check into her pocket, “I’ll go back to the ship with you.  I have some stuff to grab.”

“That’s reasonable,” Agent Lavar replied, but Zirias noticed the slight tensing of his facial muscles.

She stood up, and they walked away from the café.  As they made their way through the throng of people, Zirias wondered why he did not want her returning to the ship.  Agent Lavar had always been the controlling sort, but when she expressed interest in pursuing a case until the end, he usually let her do so.  Sometimes he even paid extra when she followed up on a case.  Not that extra pay was what she was after here.  The pay she had just received was enough to get her arm professionally fixed as well as keep her comfortable until her next assignment.  Honestly, all she wanted was the clothes and the captain’s personal affects.  She would sell the log book to Agent Lavar when he was not in such an irritable mood.

They boarded the ship in silence, Agent Lavar leading the way.  As they stepped into the hallway, the hair on the back of Zirias’ neck stood up.  Her instincts had saved her life too many times for her to ignore them now.  She turned to Agent Lavar.

“Is there something going on I should know about?” she asked.

He glanced at her from the corners of his eyes.

“Like what?”

“I don’t know,” she responded honestly, irritated that she did not have an answer, “But something doesn’t feel right.”

He looked forward again as they began making their way down the stairs.  Agent Lavar knew his way around her ship, and that bothered her.  If he truly knew where he was going, Zirias realized, that meant he either had a plan or previous knowledge.  She tried again.

“Agent Lavar, what’s going on?”

He stopped on the landing at the third level and faced her.

“Zirias Laike, how long have you worked for my office?”

“Officially or off the record?”


“Six years.”

“How many of that was legitimate, sanctioned work?”

“Two years.”

“Why,” he asked in the same, unhurried tone.

Zirias was getting frustrated.  “You know as well as anyone.  I was discharged from the military.  Dishonorably.”  She almost spat the last word.

His expression did not change.

“Haven’t you realized how unfair the system is?  Doesn’t it make you angry that the Joint Nations threw you away after a total of four years of admirable service because of one mistake?”

“Of course it makes me angry, but I still get to work for them.  Unless,” she narrowed her eyes, “you’re telling me that I can’t work for you anymore.”

He shook his head.

“I’m telling you that there is a better way, a better ideal to follow.”

If the hairs on the back of her neck could scream, they were doing it now.  Every inch of her skin felt like it wanted to crawl off her body and straight back out of the ship.  She rested her left hand on her hip, trying to look relaxed while keeping her hand inches away from her gun.  Agent Lavar noticed.

“Zirias, there is no reason for you to continue to serve the Joint Nations in their quest to dominate all souls in the universe.  You skills are wasted here.  I have a proposition for you, a very profitable, very noble proposition.”  He started walking down the hallway, turning his back to her.  “Walk with me,” he said.

Although she still felt like she was being led deeper and deeper into a trap, Zirias followed him.  They entered the medical bay to find Gerold and the other five standing in a line against the wall.  They looked upset, and for a second, Zirias thought Koharu was crying.

“Zirias,” Agent Lavar said, “They hold the key.”

“The key to what,” she snapped.  Given the appearance of the six Earthlings and the fact that Agent Lavar had not relieved her of her weapon, Zirias felt more and more thrown off balance.  Nothing made sense.

“The future we’ve been working to create.  This is what I’ve been searching for; the goal of your off the record missions for the past four years.”

“Six sleeping people?” she asked, her tone dripping with sarcasm.  “I thought I was working to protect the Joint Nations.”

“The citizens of the Joint Nations,” he clarified.

“Same thing.”

He shook his head.

“Zirias, you’re still so naïve.  Do you really think the Joint Nations cares anything about the people it governs?  All it cares about is increasing the money it needs to pay off the top officials so they can live in excess while everyone else dies in squalor.”

“That’s not true,” she hissed.

“But it is,” he said, his voice getting louder and firmer as he continued.  “And these people are the tools to stop it.”

Zirias’ throat was so tight with suppressed fury that it hurt to talk.  She managed to growl out “What are you talking about?”

Agent Lavar turned to the six.  Their eyes fixed on him, six pairs of loathing, terrified orbs pinning down the aging intelligence officer.

“They are not purified.  Their genetic code is natural, untouched.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Zirias, don’t you see?  They are not purified.  We can use their code to change everything.  Imagine if you can introduce just one genetic disease to a purified population.”  Zirias felt her eyes widen as she realized the ramifications of his speech.  “A purified population that has never encountered an ancient disease will fall victim within days.  Whole cities and space stations could be wiped out with no loss of life for our soldiers.”

“You’re talking about biological warfare,” she said.  She could feel her heart beating faster in her chest.  Her palms started sweating.  “Biological warfare has been outlawed for decades.  It’s illegal under the Bode Convention.  You know that, I know that, everyone knows that.”

“The Hoag Alliance does not observe the Bode Convention,” he said in an eerily even tone.  Slowly, Agent Lavar turned to face her.  His face was blank, his thoughts inscrutable.  “I thought you told me that.”

“We aren’t with the Hoag Alliance, sir.  We’re with the Joint Nations.  We’re held to a higher standard.”

His features did not change, and the truth suddenly rose up and stared Zirias in the face.

“Agent Lavar,” she said, her voice trembling with fear or fury, she did not know, “you aren’t with the Hoag Alliance.”

“Zirias, you would be back in the military.  Doing what you do best, fighting for a cause.  What cause is more just than saving a repressed people?  Imagine all the good you could do.”

She grabbed the butt of her gun but never got the chance to draw it.  Cold metal pressed to the base of her neck.  Her hand fell away from the gun, and she felt it ripped away from her.  Agent Lavar was shaking his head.

“Do I take that to mean you won’t join us?”

Zirias bit down on her lip until it bled.

“I’d rather smoke in space,” she retorted.

He sighed, and after a glance back at the six people standing in a straight line, approached her.

“Listen to me Zirias.  I know you want to play the hero.  All you spacers are the same.  Too stubborn and independent for your own good.  But you could have it all; the chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself, to fight for what’s right and a hero’s welcome home when we succeed.  Because we will.  Now that we have them, nothing can stop us.”

Zirias trembled, adrenaline sweeping through her blood with the force of a raging storm.  Her breath came in short pants, and her pupils contracted.  Agent Lavar took a step back and shook his head again.

“Well Zirias, if you won’t join us, I’m afraid I have no more use for you.  And since I can’t let you go about trying to stop me in some misguided sense of justice,” he nodded to the person standing behind her. 

Zirias did not give herself time to think. 

© 2010 A sea person

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Added on December 31, 2010
Last Updated on December 31, 2010


A sea person
A sea person

I am a published author and poet, a singer and musician, a martial artist and marathoner, a student and teacher. I am an Inkling, a Silverwing, an Airmen, a Christian. v.r. .. more..