Julius Nix Meets A Nun

Julius Nix asked the nun to have a seat. She was pretty, if you didn’t mind blue scales. Only her hands and face were visible under the white robes of course, but they had an appealing delicateness to them. His relationship with all things religious was one of attempted ignorance, but even he recognized the golden symbol embroidered on her shoulder. The Sisters of Celestial Harmony were known across the sector for their work as volunteer diplomats, counselors, nurses, and any other job that might contribute to the overall harmony of the universe. The fact that she was in his office probably wasn’t good.


“What brings a Sister to a private investigator?” he asked as he sat down at his desk across from her. It was an old sheet metal thing that he’d picked up for cheap a while back, just like the rest of the furniture. The hodgepodge of steel and plastics didn’t exactly scream professionalism, but clients were typically too desperate to care.


Which made the presence of a calm and collected nun in the client chair even weirder.


She smiled. “What do you know of my Order?”


“You do lots of good charity work, take that whole harmony thing seriously, and claim to have the key to the universe.”


Her smile widened, showing a bit of her sharp opalescent teeth. “It is more nuanced than that—”


“Not interested in theology, ma’am, no offense. Just want to know why you’re here.”


The smile vanished, the Sister instantly all business. “The Key has been stolen.”


Julius frowned. “The key. You mean, your ‘Celestial Key,’ the center of your religion. That key?”


She was perfectly serious. “Yes. I have been entrusted with the Key and given the holy task of taking it to your people’s homeworld, Earth, where it will join the relic called the Ark of the Covenant.”


Sounded like either a hoax or a publicity stunt, but he’d heard stranger things. Julius leaned back in his chair, arms folded. “And you want me to find it?”


“I am unfamiliar with this station. I need someone intimately acquainted, and discreet.”


“Why not go to the Port Guard?”


“I did say ‘discreet.’ It is important that my task be kept as secret as possible. The Key must not fall into the wrong hands.”


Julius’s brow rose skeptically. “Wrong hands? Other than the ones that stole it?”


“Not everyone is friendly to my Order.”


Julius shrugged, “There are people who have a hard time believing your intentions are as pure as they seem, but I can’t imagine why anyone would mug a Celestialite. The whole vow of poverty thing makes you a poor target, and you wouldn’t have come out of the experience without a scratch if it’d been a hate crime.”


“All I know is my bag was forced from my hands and the thief ran.”


There was a lot about this that seemed unlikely, but he was getting paid and rent wasn’t getting any lower. “It’d make my job a hell of a lot easier if you knew who took it.”


“I know the face, but nothing else. I was attacked on my way to book passage for the next part of my journey.”


“Describe the person.”


“Thin. It had three eyes, black, on a pale gray face. There was a long scar under the leftmost eye and it had no mouth—”


“Arakyn.” The chances of this being a random mugging just got significantly lower. “They have mouths, you just can’t see them til they open up, and you generally don’t want to see that. What’s the key look like?”


“Exactly as the symbol on our robes, and the length of your hand.”


Gold swirl, linking into a skinnier smaller swirl. “Is it valuable? Beyond the religious significance, I mean.”


“Not particularly. Its material construction is common.”


“Where are you staying?”


“A hotel that is called Terraal’s.”


Standard working class, no questions asked sort of place. “I didn’t get your name?”




There was a glottal stop in there he knew he’d fuck up if he tried. “Alright, Sister, I’m going to ask you to stay in your hotel room until you hear from me, ok? Just to be on the safe side until I have some sort of information on who took your key and why. I’ll call and give you an update tomorrow.”