For Lucco's Honor

Printer-friendly version

by Eric "iggy" Winsor

Hako Gasar looked at the pistol in his hand.  It was well worn on the grips and the action displayed nicks and dents from years of service.  Yet the weapon had a clean bore and smooth action.  This piece had seen many worlds and intense work, but was always maintained.  The weapon had also delivered the bullet that had killed Hako's brother.

Lucco Gasar had been born minutes before Hako in a litter of three.  The first was their elder sister who now worked quietly in a lab on Hentz resurrecting Yazirian life from the genbanks.  She could have been wealthy by now had she not been funding Hako's quest to find their mutual life enemy, the murderer of Lucco.  But now she would be able to start enjoying the wealth of her profession.

For ten years Hako had tracked this man from the death site on Golloywog to this sandy beach on Moonworld.  A dozen worlds, space stations, and countless starships had brought him to this point.  Ten years ago and a day Hako had been enjoying a drink of victory with Lucco to celebrate the end of the Second Sathar War.  Jika their sister had sent a holo from the clan elders congratulating Lucco on his fifteen kills as a star fighter pilot.  Lucco was to be given the honor of blooding his zamra with a lask kill in the clan hall.  Hako was to be his escort home.

They had parted happy and full of spirit, Hako to the hotel at the starport, Lucco to his base quarters.  Lucco had four months leave to return as the honored clan hero.  Speaker Malak had a great presentation planned in the clan hall and many of the clans of Hentz had invited Lucco to stand for clan membership upon his return.  The invitations for clan membership had begun arriving at the Hall of Clan Gasar's months ago.  Not since the century before the exodus had Clan Gasar had one of its own so honored.  The dead man at his feet had robbed the clan of all of it.

The morning of the murder Lucco had scheduled a private flight to the Marine Memorial on Mount Solitude.  This was his last flight in his star fighter.  It was two hours past the time he should have returned based on his scheduled flight plan when Hako received word that Lucco had been found shot dead at the altar of the memorial.  Lucco's star fighter had been tampered with and the memory of all the recorders destroyed.  Whom ever had killed his brother had knowledge of the star fighter designs and knew the flight plan.  Hako had used his pull as a surgeon to visit the crime scene and observe the autopsy.  He gained access to the bullet and made his scans of it during the autopsy.

The 7.62x17 caliber Type 67 pistol was an ancient human weapon that was extremely collectable.  Many of them had been presented to political officers in the first Frontier expedition fleets.  The odd caliber of the weapon was what had made tracking down this man possible.  Why it had not aided the UPF detectives had always bothered Hako until he discovered who the owner of this gun was. 

UPF operatives do not technically exist and they change their identities as often as the dralasites on Inner Reach dye their skin colors.  Hako had first caught up with him on Space Fortress Kdikit.  He shared a drink with him and got a scan of the pistol surreptitiously.  The scan later confirmed that he had the murder weapon.  When he confronted him two days later he confessed to the kill, but it cost Hako an eye and six months on various Ifshnit freighters trying to escape him and his companions.

The years following the confrontation on Fortress Kdikit had made Hako a fugitive.  This man had taken to implicating Hako for a string of murders across the Frontier.  No doubt he had produced the corpses in his line of work, but Hako was made to hang for them.  It was a good defense to keep Hako away from him.  Taking an assignment on Moonworld had been the mistake where he let down his defenses.  Moonworld may be a UPF military system, but they do use contractors.  The facial reconstruction, eye replacement, and new identity had cost Hako and Jika millions of credits and years to establish the identity.  But he had made Hako clanless, a dear price to pay for a yazirian.

It had taken months of waiting on Moodworld to get a chance to confront him again alone.  The weather and great tides helped by providing a time and place where their meeting would not be recorded.  The sky was thickly overcast and the great tides brought many yazirian and human sized creatures from the oceans onto the beaches that would confuse the thermal scans.  Hako braved a sixteen kilometer scuba swim with shworms of all sizes to reach the beach.  Now he had to make the return trip, but with a hole in him oozing blood that would attract shworms by the hundreds.  Hako did not expect to live.

The confrontation had been brief.  Hako approached the man as he was digging a shell from the sand.  They looked at each other and Hako got as far as saying, “I Hako Gasar, for the honor of Lucco -” when the man shot him.  Hako raged and killed him quickly with one zamra stroke.  The man's bullet had struck Hako in the left shoulder and the autosurgeon was unable to extract the bullet from the bone of Hako's shoulder blade.  The plastiflesh kept opening little holes as he moved his arm and blood oozed.  Hako couldn't swim properly with one arm and expected the wound to open in the water.

Hako finished looking at the pistol in the man's hand and pried it from his grip.  He tucked it and his zamra in his backpack and pulled out some rope.  He tied the man's legs together and secured the other end to his waist belt.  Then he pulled the man towards the advancing tide and the two soon disappeared into the ocean.  The shworms would dispose of the man's body.  They likely would dispose of Hako too.

Two years later the Speaker of clan Gasar received a package.  The package contained a 7.62x17 caliber Type 67 pistol, Hako's zamra, and an account of Hako's quest and the evidence of Lucco's murder.  When the Council of Clans reviewed the account and evidence, Clan Gasar received honors from the clans that had offered Lucco membership.  However the UPF warrants for Hako's arrest still stood implicating him in various unsolved murders.  The clan could not reinstate Hako as a member.  Hako remained clanless.  But when Lucco's son blooded in the clan hall a year later he used Hako's zamra.  When he presented Speaker Malak with the cup of lask blood the Speaker only pretended to drink.  When no one was looking he set the cup at his feet, out of sight, where the box for the silent ones always sits empty.  That year a hand reached out of the box and took the cup.