Two days later, Rhianni landed at the spaceport on the edge of Core, the main city of the colony, in a Rover Corps shuttle. The official story said she was on medical leave from the Rovers.
It was the truth. Just not the whole truth. Her father had died ridding a Gen-Tek operation on the other side of the galactic axis. As a Rover, Rhianni was entitled to one Standard year of rest and recuperation leave.
That didn't mean the Corps would let her take it.
She accepted this job for her father's sake. He had lived for years believing he had abandoned Mallachrom when his adopted home needed him most. Military documentation said otherwise, but as her father would say, when did bureaucracy override the heart?
"Is it possible to borrow a two‑man sled for the morning?" Rhianni asked the field security team that met her at the shuttle hatch.
"No, Captain. The sleds are for official business only. Sorry," the leader of the team hurried to add, with a nod of deference to the Rover Corps knife-and-flame emblem, scarlet and black on her green fatigues jacket.
"Oh. Could I send a message, then?"
"Until you clear security, no private communications. Verbal?" The leader held out a recording wand.
Rhianni nodded and frowned to fight a grin. She refused to let these brainless drones know they had aided her strategy. She nodded for the man to press the recording button.
"To Mistress Shoreel of the Council," she said, speaking slowly and louder than necessary. "Grandmother, this is Rhianni. The Colonel -- my Dad -- is dead. I'm home on medical leave. When I've completed an errand, I would like to visit you. I should be back in Core by this afternoon."
Silence. The field team barely hid their panic. They had said no to the granddaughter of a Council member -- forget her status as a Rover Corps medic.