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Cosmic Justice

 

Cosmic Justice

A story by F.E. Hubert

Copyright 2016 by F.E. Hubert

Shakespir Edition

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or other characters is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

Content

Title

Content

Chapter one: Lora

Chapter two: Steven

Chapter three: Lora

Chapter four: Steven

Chapter five: Steven

Other titles by F.E. Hubert

One: Lora

Noru, her first bunkmate, always told her that waking up to nul-grav felt exactly like the morning after a bottle of her uncle’s home-brewed tequila. Anti-nausea meds were a popular request from the dispenser the first days into a deep run, so she probably wasn’t the only one that felt that way.

Lora had enough space time under her belt to just inhale deeply to chase away the feeling. The air filling her lungs has a canned quality to it that made her frown. Before it could bring back the nausea, she opened her eyes. A bad idea.

Spikes of pain bloomed in her head, forcing her eyes shut again. Her hands reached up in reflex, bumping into the hard contours of an oxy-mask. That explained the foul-tasting air.

Floating and blinking until she could open her eyes without fire erupting in her brain, she took stock. No gravity, but the unrestrained movement of her arms meant that she’s not tied into her bunk. Combined with the emergency mask and the splitting headache that pounded behind her eyes, it meant trouble.

The yellow light strips showed blobs and vague shapes floating around her. Squinting for focus, she peered through the visor of her oxy-mask.

Ship ventilation gave everything not tied down a gentle spin. Just then, it turned one of the shapes around to face her. Even though she expected the worst, she couldn’t keep herself from gasping, letting a gulp of the environment’s air slip past her mouthpiece. The raw burn of low-ox air constricted her throat, forcing a choked cough from her throat. Shaking her head and sniffing against the moisture in her eyes and nose, she steered her way back to face the floating shapes.

Paddling closer with compact moves of her hands and feet, she looked at the body floating nearest to her. His face was bloated as a result of trying to breathe in low-ox, but she recognized Malik’s neatly kept beard and moustache. A caricature of vanity against the rictus of his features.

Behind him, she could make out the slim figure of their first pilot Des and the bulk of the captain. Floating together like lovers, holding each other in a macabre slow shuffle. As she floated closer, she could see Des’ beautiful features, twisted in a grimace of agony. Her ever-present lip gloss accentuated the unhealthy pallor of her pale blue lips.

Lora swallowed heavily around the mouthpiece of her mask and turned away from the floating tableau of her dead crewmates, searching for the bodies of Steve and Zang. She didn’t see them, could they have escaped somehow?

By now, her eyes adjusted enough to recognize the cavernous space around her as one of the two smaller holds near the back of the ship. All the holds were kept low-ox during travel, in part to save on oxygen that would otherwise only dissipate into the atmosphere of the station they docked at, and to keep perishables fresh during the trip. Tossing them in here, unconscious and without their masks was a sure death sentence.

She glanced at the counter on the oxy-container dangling from her mask. Judging by the levels of her mask, she hadn’t been using it for more than half an hour.

A light flashed behind the airlock window.

Turning her back to the airlock to hide the oxy-mask from view, she pushed off toward the partition that reached into the hold to about two-thirds of its length, separating the main hold from the more narrow side hold they used for stackables.

When they had a load of small cargo, they stuffed the side hold to the brim with racks and belts to limit the risk of damaging the goods during landing and take-off. All haulers had some version of this system in the layout of their hold, most of the newer ones even came with variable partitions to ease loading, but only a few of the old models came with a secondary airlock into the side hold. She smile tugged her lips at the thought of precious old Silver saving her life by having an outdated extra airlock.

She worked her way back up the side hold between the stowed boxes and crates, grateful that it was empty enough to allow her passage. She slowed her pace when she came near the lock, moving to the back of the last stack of crates and keeping to the wall so she could get to the door panel without getting in line of sight of the lock’s viewport. The chances of anyone seeing her were slim, even if the pirates knew about the second lock, since both doors of the lock had synthetic windowpanes that were less than new. To see anything inside the hold through the yellowed plastic, you’d have to press your face to the window. Still, she didn’t want to take the chance that someone saw as much as a shadow.

At the lock, she halted. The panel indicated the lock was empty. Her security codes would open the inner lock door, and since the holds were only low-ox and not exposed to vacuum, the alarms should stay silent. Unless someone installed an all-moves alarm, but she doubted any pirate would make the effort. Especially seeing how they’d thrown the crew in the hold to die, effectively eliminating any threat they could pose.

The first fingers of anger clenched her jaw as she punched in her code. The door opened with a small sucking sound. She kept low as she made her way into the lock and closed the door. The room filled with breathable air as it cycled as she waited impatiently. She pulled the oxy-mask from her face as soon as the light turned green, shoving it up on her forehead. She breathed deeply. Even the air in the lock tasted sweet, compared to the metallic stuff that came out of the canisters.

Two: Steven

Things got out of hand the moment the heist on the Silver started, proving Steve’s personal theory that shit would always get worse when you could least afford it.

He knew Oon from years back, when Steve spent a couple of months hanging around Seliz spaceport drinking and gambling, until his luck run out dramatically enough that he had to take the next flight out in a hurry.

After that he’d avoided going anywhere near Seliz, so he was more than a little unpleasantly surprised when the yellow-skinned giant Oon used for muscle sat down next to him at Neelix station.

The man towered more than a head over Steve’s large frame, making him feel small and very aware how easy it would be to make him disappear from the low-level bar they were in. A simple security override on any nearby airlock would find him spending his final moments admiring Neelix meteorite-pocked hull.

When Oon sat down across from him, Steve couldn’t help but admire the expensive-looking suit the other man wore, while at the same time wondering how he’d ever though it would be a good idea to borrow credits from a guy like that. He must have been very drunk at the time.

Oon smiled and fussed at an imaginary fleck of dust on his sleeve, it did little to lessen the sense of imminent danger that made Steve wish he ordered something stronger than the beer in front of him.

***

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Cosmic Justice

Who needs monsters when you have your fellow humans to worry about? Pirates are the bane of interstellar travel. So when Lora wakes up in a low-ox hold with the bodies of her crew, it’s pretty clear what happened. But why is she still breathing, and wearing an emergency mask that’s not hers? Cosmic Justice is part of a series of thrilling, short genre stories. They can be anything from science fiction, to horror, high fantasy and detective noir. Most will be stand-alone stories, so you don’t have to worry about reading them in order. The description will tell you what to expect in each case, so just pick one that tickles your fancy. This is a short story. A neat, complete package of excitement and thrill that you can read in the time it takes to travel the average commute. Perfect when you’re looking for a dash of entertainment or distraction in a busy schedule. Or when you love stories and spaceships.

  • ISBN: 9781310104978
  • Author: F. E. Hubert
  • Published: 2016-06-07 10:20:06
  • Words: 4468
Cosmic Justice Cosmic Justice