And now, the conclusion.
Loxton rode the turbolift to deck 25. When the doors opened, the security team greeted him with phasers pointed.
“I take it our man Savage hasn’t been by then.” Loxton remarked to them wryly as they relaxed.
“Just you, Lieutenant.” Crewman Joru answered, her Kelpian senses on alert. “Who is this guy, sir? Should we put the station on Red Alert?”
“We have him cornered, Joru. He won’t escape. I have an idea that he’s not who he says he is. I very much doubt the real Norman Savage is trained in evading capture. I presume he’s some sort of…”
One of the guest quarters doors opened and Sel Jellik, an old Saurian man, poked his head out to peer at the security officers.
“Oh, so you’re here to kill me, are you?” Jellik shuffled out into the corridor in his pyjamas, bare footed. “This is because I didn’t vote for Okeg, isn’t it?! You think just because I’m a Saurian I’m going to agree with his policies?! Well I don’t and I never will! So do your worst, Starfleet tyrants!”
Sellik raised his arms and closed his eyes, seemingly preparing for something. There was an awkward silence as the security officers observed him.
“Sir, if you could please return to your quarters, we have a security alert.” Loxton said. Jellik opened his eyes, slumped his shoulders, then elicited a sound that could be interpreted as disappointment as he shuffled back into his quarters. Loxton sighed, shaking his head.
“Anyway, as I was saying…”
“Security to Loxton,” His commbadge erupted. “Unauthorized access occurring in the service hatch in the ball pit!”
Loxton tapped his badge. “On my way.”
Loxton ordered the team on Deck 25 to stay where they were in case this was a decoy and stepped back into the turbolift and rode it to the next deck. The doors opened on the darkened corridor, the transparent aluminum tank showed the giant ball pit and the thousands of balls suspended in netting above the cushioned pit. Loxton raised his phaser and immediately noticed the service hatch cover in the middle of the bottom of the pit had been removed. The dim light from the jeffries tube below it shone out and illuminated the room.
Loxton did a precautionary sweep of the immediate environment and then entered the pit, heading to the uncovered hatch.
“Loxton to security, he’s been here in the ball pit, but now he’s in the jeffries tubes. I’m going in after him!”
“Understood, we’ll track you from here.”
The faintest swing of the net holding all the balls told him that it was a bluff by Savage and he swung his phaser up towards the net, seeing Savage clinging to the outside of the netting.
“Cunning, Savage! I’d say you had Klingon blood but I’d have to scan you to be sure! Now are you going to come down from there the easy way or the hard way? Loxton to security. He’s here in the ball pit. Joru, come on up with your team.”
Savage hissed. “Starfleet is a joke! You have no idea what’s going on right under your noses!”
Savage produced what looked like a Klingon Mek’leth and threw it at Loxton in the pit below, Loxton barely dodged the knife as he shifted his stance, falling back. Loxton sighed, raising his phaser again as Savage seemed to be fiddling with the hook for the ball netting.
“Fine, the easy way…”
Loxton fired, heavily stunning Savage who had just unhooked the ball netting. The balls were released and filled the pit as security teams burst from the turbolift. After it had settled, the teams noticed movement and raised their phasers as form surfaced.
“It’s Lieutenant Loxton! Savage is stunned. Help me get him out from under all this.”
Joru and another crewman jumped into the ball pit to search for Savage, dredging the pit, eventually Loxton found the stunned form of Savage and restrained him with help from the others.
“Sir?” Joru said as they dragged Savage from the pit.
“Why does the ball pit appear to be draining?”
They all stopped moving for a moment and then Loxton realised, closing his eyes and sighing heavily.
“The service hatch is open. They’re all going into the jeffries tube. We’ll worry about that later, let’s get Savage into a cell so we can question him when he wakes up.”
“Loxton to Security, beam us detention area. Cancel the security alert.”
After Savage had been put in a cell, Loxton headed back to the security office to write up the report of the nights events. The appearance of Savage on the station was a bit too coincidental, so Loxton contacted the Suraya Bay library and spoke to Elona Bayzo.
Bayzo was shocked to learn of these messages she’d apparently sent, swore she had no idea about them and had no idea who this Norman Savage was. Indeed, the whole idea of a ‘Book Recovery Expert’ was ludicrous. If someone didn’t return their book on time, the library sent gentle reminders and that was the extent of their power.
Once Savage was ready to be questioned, Loxton was sure he’d find answers to this mystery. Could it be connected to the Wallstark case? Perhaps.
Loxton finished his report and headed to his quarters. He changed into sleepwear and climbed into bed, as he turned over, his elbow hit something hard, he pulled back the cover to find, lying slightly under the pillow, a book.
“Greatest Train Journeys In The Federation’ by William Kego.” Loxton said aloud, shaking his head.