Chapter 8: Clues

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Raisa wanted nothing to do with him — Finn could see that right away. Eyeing him darkly, she led he and Cai through the Conduit and into her office, sat them down and agreed to at least listen to what he had to say, but it was clear right away that she’d only done so out of obligation to an old friend.

“Well I suppose it’s a pleasure to meet you face to face at last, Captain Riley,” she said, leaning on the edge of her desk facing them. “But let me first be perfectly blunt that the way you acted out there–” She gestured towards the door they’d come through, that Finn had disrupted nearly the entire ship to reach. “–was completely unappreciated. I might expect it from someone else, but you, of all people, should know what we’re dealing with here. Who we’re keeping safe. We have a system in place for a purpose.”

“Right, sorry about that,” said Finn casually, as if he hadn’t just caused an uproar. “But I need to talk to you ab — ”

“Secondly,” Raisa talked over him, “As I’ve said in my previous messages, I am unable to discuss Conduit operatives, so if that’s what you’re here for–”

“She is a Conduit operative then?” pressed Finn. “Corra? I was right, she’s working for you?”

Raisa narrowed her eyes at him. But then Cai stepped in. “We just want to make sure she’s alright, ma’am.”

Her expression softened into something more forgiving. She sighed, dropping her head into her hand. “I know. And I’m glad there are people who seem to care about her, but–”

“But you don’t trust us,” Finn suggested, feeling a touch bitter.

Raisa regarded him with a spark of surprise. “Wh–actually, I do, believe it or not,” she said, pushing off the desk and starting a slow pace across the room. “I’m well accustomed to lies, Captain Riley, and I’ve never doubted your intentions. The Beacon is a good ship full of good people, the Conduit — and I — appreciate all that you’ve done for our cause in the past. But that doesn’t change anything.” She stopped by the window and looked back at them. “I can’t disclose any information about our agents. To anyone, trustworthy or not. For their safety. Surely you understand that.”

“But that’s just it,” said Finn, coming to his feet. “Her safety is exactly what I’m worried about. I have reason to believe Corra may be in danger.” For once, he was speaking completely honestly. He felt Cai turn to him in surprise.

Raisa just let out a snort of disinterest. “Well I can assure you, Captain Riley, that she is…”

But Finn shook his head. “Not danger she’s aware of,” he insisted. “Look, I know she was on Tarin recently to kill Callahan and his associates.” He noticed the brief flash of surprise in Raisa’s face, but he continued, “I did some hunting of my own after she left and I found this.”

He moved to a console on the wall and swept his CID across its input. A message appeared on the screen, right where he’d left it and both Raisa and Cai crowded around to read.

“Lost the package,” Raisa mumbled as she read. “That kro– stole it. Doesn’t know what she has…get it…back…”

“This was sent out to fifty people across the Span,” Finn explained. “Some of them Corra may have already taken care of. But probably not all of them. If someone doesn’t warn her, she could be blindsided when there’s suddenly dozens of bounty hunters after her.”

Raisa continued to stare at the screen, her finger on her lips, saying nothing. At his side, Cai mumbled under his breath, “Funny how you left this part out to the rest of us…”

“You guys wouldn’t listen,” Finn grumbled in return.

Finally, Raisa let out a sigh. “Look, I wish I could help. Honestly I do. But…I just can’t.”

Finn could hardly believe it. “What do you mean you can’t?”

“I mean I can’t,” she said again, putting her hand on her temple and marching away from the screen in frustration. “Actually physically can’t.” When Finn frowned at her in confusion, she looked back at him exasperated. “Listen, you’re right, Corra’s been working with the Conduit, but she’s–she’s not like my other agents.”

Cai looked worried. “What does that mean?”

“Most of the Conduit agents visit ally holdings under false names and spread the word of what we do. Corra, she–well she works independently for one. I give her leads, but I don’t give her assignments. I would never ask someone to do what she does.”

Now Finn was worried as well. “And what does she do?”

Raisa let out another heavy sigh. “She goes undercover in the trade itself. Infiltrates larger ally holdings for extended periods, independently. Weeks, sometimes months. She spreads the word from the inside and more than that, she orchestrates large-scale escapes and rescues. She becomes an ally in order to free allies.”

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