Two days passed, and a Linkburst came from Qualvana. It was prerecorded. Rullorrg seemed forward on the edge of his seat. “Good work Rival Bay. My operatives in the Pincho system received the relays of the surveillance feeds. Thanks to you we have enough evidence to stuff Vaken Rae in a cell for a long time. More than that, we’re cooperating with the Pincho police, and we’ve shared what we have on Rae’s contact on Kaldus. He’ll be singing for a judge by the end of a week.
“I understand you had to pull some crazy stunts to make it happen. The Illegal Substance Bureau is duly impressed. We confiscated the payment made to Rae via your bank chip, and froze his assets, but as agreed 30,000,000 is yours, along with a Badge of Cooperation from the Qualvana Police. It’ll give you some perks in this corner of the galaxy, and you won’t be approached by scum like Rae again. You’ll smell too official.” The Chief Police Inspector’s eyes smiled, although his mouth was obscured by his tentacles. “Oh, and by the way, I talked to the Chiefs and got approval. Next time you’re back this way my techs can install a ‘galactic decoder’—I believe you called it—on your vessel. But I have to stress the secrecy of this device. They’re very cool. And the criminal underworld would be very interested to know we’re listening in to most of their chatter now.
“It’s been a pleasure, captain.” Rullorrg tapped his panel with a satisfied whack and the image went dark.
Crimson had called Gator to the bridge when she’d received the message. He punched the back of her chair when it finished. “Ha haaaa!” he crowed, “You hear that, Crims? He’s given us a decoder! Now that’s what I call a job well done!”
Crimson grimaced; it was almost a smile. She turned around to face the toothy monster behind her. He’d rocked back on his thick tail and crossed his arms over his torso; he looked like he’d won a school spelling bee. He pointed a claw at her: “Hey! I know we don’t usually double back on ourselves, but that’s worth it! We’re going back, right?”
She glared left and right, considering.
“You know it would make finding our marks easier…” Gator tempted. “’Sides there’s plenty of bad guys everywhere. We don’t hafta’ jump system as soon as we bag one. It’d be nice to get back to hunting bounties after this.”
“Not in Qualvana!” Crimson whined like a creaky oak door. “The legalities rot. I’d rather stick around here and help bag Kaspellidon. Maybe the cops will need our help.”
“So yer saying it’s a possible?” Gator pressed, the corners of his crocodile smile turning up.
Crimson didn’t lift her chin, but glared up through her eyebrows at the Megladyte. “We can swing back that way.”
“Ho hooo!” Gator clapped his massive scaly mitts. “This is gonna’ be fun!”
Crimson remained mostly unmoved. “But first get Shaak-Rom up here. We’re gonna’ see if we can get the Pincho Police to cut us in on taking Kaspellidon down.”