Note: This story is based loosely on the "Lykan Invasion" series by Nex Canis, and my previous "Vanguard". Reading the other stories is not strictly necessary, but would be an aid to comprehension.
I'm tired of playing games, of looking for someone else to blame
For all the holes in answers that are clearly showing.
For something to fill the space, was all of the time I spent a waste,
'Cause so many choices point the same way I was going?
-Hoobastank, "Same Direction"
Daichi J'n woke up to a buzzing in his head.
He sat up and rubbed his eyes with his upper pair of arms, while the buzzing continued. His antennae ached, like they always did when he woke up suddenly, and he flexed them a little while simultaneously flipping through the various visual spectrums. Spectrae. Whatever. His bedroom was empty. He muttered the Receive command.
"Security Chief Daichi," he said.
He bought up his internal clock while he did so. It was 4:53, Bastion time, and mid-afternoon back home on Inago. The call he was receiving was local, from elsewhere on the space station, but outside the embassy. His implants informed him of these facts on a mental level, something far more efficient than a crude heads-up display or the like; he just knew the facts, and knew them like his own name. Still slower than he would be if his nanites were still active, but he still got all of that info before the person on the other end of the line answered.
"Chief Daichi?" said the caller.
The hybrid rolled his eyes. "Speaking."
"This is Bastion Security. We found a murdered Inago."
"That's tragic, but I don't see why I'm losing sleep."
"We think there might be a threat to your Embassy."
The hybrid was suddenly wide awake. He tossed back the covers with his lower left arm, and stood up. "Go on."
"It's really best if you see it yourself."
"Understood. I'll need the location...Thanks."
Daichi yanked his clothing on with all four arms, buckling on his holster and checking the charge on his accelerator pistol. He paused and added several accessories for it onto the pockets on his belt. Always best to be prepared; something told him this was going to be a long day.
The Bastion was a space station, constructed so long ago that no one had any idea who built it. It had already been ancient when most species first touched the stars, and had become a hub of interstellar trade and politics. As well as theft, murder, smuggling, and unusual pornography.
The Embassy of the half-insect, half-human, half-nanomachine macrospecies known as the Inago wasn't particularly far from the crime scene, so Daichi held off taking one of the Embassy vehicles.
"Good morning," he said, once he was past the cordon. There were several Bastion Security officers there, and he didn't know which was in charge.
A being in blue armour looked up. "Daichi J'n?"
The being lowered his datapad, walked over, and introduced himself with a name that Daichi forgot instantly. G-something. The chief of security studied the other being's face; it wasn't dissimilar to a human skull, with blue tattoos along the cheekbones. His implants' database didn't have much on them, listing them as "Durians". He corrected the misspelling and looked at the crime scene.
"What pronouns do you prefer?"
Like most Inago, Daichi was a hermaphrodite. "Male ones," he said absently, kneeling next to the body. G crouched next to him.
"As best as we can tell without an autopsy, it was killed with sonic weaponry, fired from the mouth of the alley."
"What was the dispersion pattern?"
"Medium. At that range, it was enough to turn its organs to soup."
Daichi winced sympathetically. He had a carapace over his back and limbs, though he had a soft, skin-covered underbelly. Of course, a powerful enough sonic blast could punch through the natural armour of most species in the galaxy. Their main advantage was their ability to be turned up or down from incapacitating, to injuring, to killing, as the situation arose. Of course, they were also somewhat bulky, ate power like no one's business, and would trip any security sensor they passed within twenty meters of.
"From the way they fell, I assume they were shot in the back?"
"Yes." The security officer looked at him, curious. "Mind sharing?"
"Not at all. They were running away from what I'm guessing were their captors. There's plenty of lethal weapons that are a lot less conspicuous than the sonics, which means they probably wanted to reliably be able to recapture them if they got away. Somehow, they got loose, broke off down this alley, and were shot in the back. I don't know if it was an intentional killing or they just forgot to check the power setting, but it killed just the same. And like I said before, I don't see why I'm losing sleep over this. I don't investigate kidnappings gone bad, unless they're pursuant to the security of the embassy or the Inago."
The security officer silently handed him a thinplas bag with a white, square-ish object in it. The tags on the outside glowed at him, and he picked it up at the seal, to avoid compromising the evidence. The object inside was maybe a fraction of a millimeter thick, and flexible. There were dark marks on it that looked like letters-
"This is paper," Daichi said, shock making him a bit louder than usual. He lowered his voice to a whisper. "This is paper! Where did you find it?"
"In their hand." The officer gestured at the body.
The handwriting--handwriting, now!--was fairly clear, and scattered across the paper. The worrying parts were the words "INAGO EMBASSY" and "LYKANS" and a date and time.
One very soon.
"I think," Daichi said slowly, "I see why you called me."
He handed the evidence back, and stood up, glancing at the looky-loos clustered at the mouth of the alley. Then he looked down at the body, apparently studying it, really examining the capture from his eyes. Criminals liked to look at the crime scenes, and--
There was a human there.
There hadn't been a "pure" human in the galaxy for centuries. The closest thing to one had been a nanomachine-produced facsimile, and he had accidentally founded the Inago. His body was encased in a vacuum-packed tomb back home. Of course, a lot of beings liked to surgically alter themselves, or just plain resembled a human at first glance.
The security chief enhanced the capture, but couldn't get anything more definite. He closed his eyes and focused on the scents picked up by his antennae. The rubbish in the alley, the cops and their weapons, all the species he recognized in the crowd, and--
The stranger wasn't human.
The creature looked human, to be sure, but the smell, the smell was wrong. Daichi knew how human--or at least mostly-humans-were supposed to smell, and the being was only faintly like that. The security chief couldn't identify the overtone, though.
"I've checked the protocol," said the cop to Daichi.
The Inago managed not to jump. Barely.
"Embassy security chiefs are to be given, quote, 'wide latitude', unquote, in their investigations of any threats to their area of protection." A half-smile. "Try to keep me informed, please."
The ambassador met him in their office, fingers of their upper arms steepled. Daichi sat down in one of the guest chairs.
"It really is inconvenient for this to fall into your lap."
"Your murder victim. We're in the middle of those trade negotiations, remember? Both the Lykans and the Relians want to open trade with the homeworld."
"I would like to restate my objection," Daichi said quickly. "Both of them are already a blight on the galaxy, and they're bad enough without getting access to our tech--"
"Calm down, Chief. I'm not the one making the decision anyway. All I can do is recommend. I take it you know already that Lykans prefer sonic weapons?"
"Yes," said the security chief, wondering why his talks with the Ambassador always made him feel like an errant child. Good thing their snooty assistant was in there, or he'd - since when did he use words like "snooty"? He needed more sleep.
"--framed the Lykans?"
"Hm?" said Daichi, looking up.
"Couldn't anyone have used such a weapon, just to throw suspicion on the Lykans?"
The Inago stared at his boss for a few seconds while his tired mind worked. Not for the first time, he wondered who had decided to make the Ambassador of an embassy deal with intelligence matters, while a separate Chief ran day-to-day security. It sure wasn't making his life any easier.
"Possibly," he said slowly. "But I'm proceeding under the assumption that the victim learned something they shouldn't, and got killed for it."
"Is there any evidence someone couldn't have staged the attack, to cause confusion?"
Daichi rolled his eyes, confident it would be undetectable, since said eyes were compound.
"If anyone did, it was probably the Relians. The Lykans are probably too clever to try and frame themselves. At least we can trust the Relians to backstab us in the face," Daichi grumbled.
"Anatomical impossibilities aside, the species are not so different."
"Oh, sure. You just take a drink from a Lykan, or food from a Lykan, or shake appendages with a Lykan, or there's one on the opposite side of the street, and suddenly you've got keratin filaments coming out of places it shouldn't be, not to mention your interesting new reproductive options. The Relians would as soon kill you as look as you as long as it would get them an advantage. Real similar."
"The Lykan ambassador has made a very sincere promise no Lykan has raped anyone who didn't want it for at least a week."
Daichi stared at his boss for a second or two before starting to laugh.
Of course, the conversation would never leave the room, barring some sort of listening device he hadn't discovered on his last sweep, and it was good to know that his boss retained some emotional detachment from the matter.
Even as his laughter died down, he started ordering his thoughts. The chief suspects were the Relians and Lykans, but it did no good to limit his options. The Inago had a nanite monopoly, and everyone wanted a piece. This was the first time in history they had allowed on-planet trade, and the competition had inexplicably been narrowed down to two particular species.
Any Inago that left the homeworld had their nanites extracted, often replacing them with cybernetic substitutes. They weren't as good as the real thing, but Daichi was still glad he could take calls without moving his lips and operate devices wirelessly.
Just to be sure, Daichi sent a test signal to the Ambassador's desk. It returned a positive, though he couldn't do a real test, since no one had bothered to tell the Ambassador that their desk could--
"-Your next step?"
He had drifted off again. This was getting to be a habit.
"I was going to check out the vic's room in the embassy--"
"Allow me to save you some time, Chief." The Ambassador slid a deedee across the table. "The victim's last appointment was with this Lykan embassy employee. They were often seen having drinks together, and were apparently friends, possibly more. Their address is listed there as well. I suggest you take a look at it."
Daichi memorized the information, wiped the disposable display, and stood. "Anything else?"
"You never even asked the victim's name."
The chief shrugged. "His name was Shizuka M'zuki. He was about 18 cycles old, a minor aide, and I screened him once about 2.3 cycles ago, when he joined the staff here."
The ambassador raised an eyebrow. "Well done."
"Thank you. Can I go now?"
"Send Hl'p'r in on your way out, would you?"
Daichi ignored the assistant's glare as he delivered the message.
The Lykan's apartment was in a mid-level district of the space station, fit more for the clerks than the upwardly mobile.
M'zuki's apartment was at the end of the hall, and Daichi tapped the knob. It flashed UNLOCKED back at him, and he frowned. Drawing his accelerator pistol, he opened the door. It slid open with a hiss.
An arm wrapped around his waist, pulling him off his feet. Before he could react, they were already several meters down the corridor, now rounding a corner, and the owner of the arm had thrown him to his stomach and crouched over him. Daichi tried to turn and bring his weapon to bear -
There was the sound of air expanding very rapidly, and flame gouted past the turn he was in, silhouetting his assailant - no, his rescuer in fire. He lost his breath, temporarily, as air rushed back into the room it had recently vacated so dramatically. There were a few seconds of silence.
Then the sprinklers came on.
Daichi looked at his savior, taking a snapshot. It was the same smiling looky-loo, except his clothes were clearly visible. It was some kind of full-body suit, covering everything but his head, which was covered in dark hair and getting matted down by the water falling. The suit was a dark, strong reddish color, with odd seams crossing the stranger's broad shoulders and chest.
"Chief J'n," said the smiling not-Human. "You should really be more careful."
"My hive-name is Daichi," growled the Inago, "And who the sd'onk are you?"
"A Lykan" 1/3
by Eulalie "Nequ" Quentin
partially based on stories by Nex Canis
2011 CC By-SA-NC