I’d gotten off Hamon a step in front of Commune Intelligence then the ship’d broken down and we’d been rescued to Ifra. I’ve been here less than ten days and I’m already irretrievably enmeshed with Ifran Intelligence, working to avoid repatriation to Hamon and there’s a Commune invasion fleet in orbit. Today, I’m going to a laundromat.
The hotel we shipwrecked space farers are staying in is reasonable, except for their extortionate laundry fees. My clothes need to be washed, so I’m doing it myself.
It’s not bad as such places go: it’s clean, bright and smells of lemon scented laundry powder. The machines take coins as well as cards so I’m good. I put my wash on and settle down with a magazine to wait.
A quarter of the way through my wash cycle two police come in, but they’re not police – they’re two lowlifes off our ship, one of whom I last saw being taken off in cuffs by the police.
This is not good.
They’re swinging their batons as they walk, so fixed on me they don’t notice how the Ifrans look at them. I stand. “Miss Nosy selected herself for this,” says the one who’d been in cuffs.
“Don’t feel bad,” says the other, “If it wasn’t you, it’d have to be one of the others.”
I realize something, “The ship’s engine was you.” The second one shrugs. “And now you’re making an incident.” We’re speaking Ifran.
“Way it rolls, sweet cakes,” it’s the second one, “No hard feelings. I’ll make it as quick as I can.”
I surprise him by stepping towards him and it’s quickly obvious that this is a fight involving three trained operatives. Even so, only the arrival of the tactical police spares me serious injury.
Now I have to tell Ifran Intelligence that war may have started.