Kit smiled. Her eyes glittered excitedly; while her wide mouth displayed a taught happy mischievous grin, as she looked out of the domed window, towards wild the swirling clouds of Jupiter’s fierce fiery eye.
This was Jupiter Station. The drop point for the Omega-ships that came from Alpha Centauri, or the smaller solar system vessels from Mars, Venus and Earth. Her father, who had lost his pilot’s licence due to drinking, had been duly appointed as one of the loaders at the way station and that meant moving here. At the time she was apprehensive. A new place with new rules bothered her. “we’ll be fine kiddo, promise.” Her father had said. But she knew he was rich with words, but little else. Mum sent the odd holo-sphere once a month from Mars. But Kit knew it was just to please herself and take the weight of guilt from her own soul. Not that it actually mattered much. For years she had wanted to come to the Way station. Now her dream had come true; with little effort on her part other than to wish for it. “Be careful what you wish for.” Her father had once said. Stuff him.
The station was huge; vast arched towers were held together with long tubes of gantry, that were wrapped around them like…like…how had she explained it to Connor, her dear friend from mars? an old dried funnel spider’s web. Within the centre the ships would slide. Cargo distributed, crew, coin and stories exchanged; and then of the ships would slip into the evernight of space. While she like a mouse, would scurry about the greasy halls and littered thorough-fares in search of excitement. Being small for her age, that being 11, with long curly blonde hair, a long nose, a high forehead, bright cornflower wide set eyes, and a desire to scurry and survive on her wits’ she earned the nickname “mouse” from many of the deckhands that kept that her busy with odd jobs about the place. Father had tried to keep her at school; and the Proctor designate had been firm about her attendance. But that was six months ago; and Dad since then had had his hands full every-night.
“Mr. Jefferies, this is not a place for a little girl.” She had heard the Proctor say, one night when Father had been off duty. “If this carries on, she will have to be placed in one of the orphanages.”
Her father made some reasonable excuses and shut the holo-call down. Kit once thought that he might have followed through with actually doing it, if it were not for the fact that he had been through the orphanage system himself and didn’t relish his daughter going through it too. So he self-taught her on weekends, and begged that she stay “outta any friggin trouble between.” She, being the dutiful daughter nodded slowly, staring at her Dad with eyes that promised much. And she did –stay out of trouble- for a while. But not for long.
Jupiter’s eye rolled with an alien passion. It made her heart spin with excitement and awe. In her little life, she had seen so much. The canyons of Mars, the ice sheets of Neptune. Even the mega-domed cities of Earth, yet nothing beat the eye. Nothing.
After a ten minute meditation, she sped off down the corridor, to find her best friend and would be partner in mischief Draz, and see if they could hustle some coin from the shops at Waystation.
Draz had moved into the Way station just before her, so being both new, they clung to each other like resin. he was a beautiful, so Mouse thought, brown skinned brown eyed boy of 12 years of age. With an oval face wide set large oval hazelnut eyes and a strong mouth. His father, Seymour Phillamore so Draz said had been
She found him hanging around the entrance to the shuttle pod that lead to bay 4.
‘what you here for?’
‘-heard pa was on his way down.’
‘-Don’t look to happy bout it.’
‘-Jus got my evaluation scores from Proctor.’
‘-Proctor aint worth the-‘
‘-Pa said I be goin’ back to Mars an to an evaluation school if my scores don’ show improvement!’ Draz sounded accusatory.
‘ What? you blame me for that?’
‘You …’ he sighed ‘ well, Pa says.’
‘-Pa don’ matter.’
‘Hey! Pa does matter! Grades matter! You can’t be a mouse forever. You will grow up, you will have to fit in and get work and buy food to survive.’
Kit stared at him sadly.
‘I know…I try to fit in. I jus can’t.’
Draz looked to his left and right. She felt a rise of hurt, It was as if he didn’t want to know her anymore.
‘I don wanna go to Mars! Mouse, can’t you see? Go to Proctor.’ The door of the air-lock span open and Draz’ father stood there looking tall and austere.
‘Hi Mouse, how you been?’
‘ Hi, Mr. Phillamore, Okay I guess.’
‘Ahah.’ He looked away then looked down
‘ Proctor aint that bad when you get to know him. He good for you. ‘ Draz Hissed as Mr. Phillamore took Draz’s hand. Having no-one to play with was at times a bore.
In a bid to look for some excitement or the possibility of some easy coin, she decided to her way to the core decks; where the FTL ships came in. There was always work or fun to be had there.
When she left the turbo shoot, she found a large group of men standing around. Amongst them stood her father. Kit paled, she was about to take the shoot up again, when he saw her. He ran over to her and knelt down.
‘What you doin’ here Kit?’ He looked stern; his eyes narrow. ‘You know this is-‘
‘-Mr Weasley sometimes gives me work, helping cleaning out the FTL-
‘Oh, Weasley does, does he? Just you wait till I-‘
‘-Pa…’ Kit’s eyes opened wide and a tear fell. ‘Please, I can’t do the school work, I try an I try!’
‘Do you wanna end up like me? shipping freight for the cruisers? You need a pilots licence Kit and that means training hard work and study!’ He shook his head. ‘Kit I am worried you know…I love you.’
‘Oh Pa I love you too.’
‘Look let me-‘
But he was interrupted by a gruff looking man with a grey beard and narrow set violet eyes.
‘Have you heard?’
‘ No no, what?’ asked Pa
‘The Crimson Wake. She’s outside the dock. No-one’s goin’ on board. No one. Wesley wants hands to go on board but we are saying fuck, err no way!’ he blushed as he saw Kit ‘Sorry for the language ma’am.’
‘-no it can’t be the Wake.’
‘The Crimson Wake?’ Kit asked there was a pause in her breath. She took a step back…Everyone knew the story. How the Crimson Wake was one of the first of the Omega drive ships sent out to seek life in the Betelgeuse system. Only to suddenly and without warning vanish without a trace. It became the worst space disaster in ten years. If this man was right, and the wake was there…
‘Deckhands are saying the ships cursed. They won’t even go aboard.
‘Oh come on.’ Da spat.
‘That’s just nonsense.’
Kit ran off leaving Pa to shout at her back.
She skittled about the corridors and finally took the maglev to the observation deck.
There through the Plexiglass she saw, majestically, sliding into position the Crimson Wake. She was vast by any ships standard. Her mountings were almost too tall to the go through the web her hull, once a pure white had become mottled, and seared with long black blistering lines of melted metal. There were no navigation light’s, no intercom despite repeated calls, no signals, not even a single light from any of the decks. nothing gave away any sign of life. The ship was slowly tugged into position. The walkway lines were silently attached. The Wake rested, like a dark menacing hulk. A behemoth. Waiting for its jaws to be pulled open and its secrets to be revealed.
Two: The Crimson Wake
As Kit stood there, her nose pressed hard against the plexiglass, her breath steaming up, she became aware of both a familiar sweaty onion smell, and a limp hand touching her shoulder. She turned and saw Jacob Weasley. Weasly stared down at her with a smile that she could have easily thought of as a scowl. his greasy plump unshaven face, knotty broken nose furled brow all hinted at menace, yet as he spoke through his yellow crumbling teeth there was a calmness in his voice.
‘She beautiful aint she?’
‘Yeah…banged up good an’ proper, but but still as beautiful as the day she left high earth orbit… all those years ago.’
Kit turned and stared at the ship once more. Feeing dirty at the touch of Weasley’s arm but not wanting to say so. She stared back at the huge Omega Ship.
For some reason, she didn’t fully understand she gave a shudder. Though she couldn’t put her finger on why the Wake scared her; there was a sense, that there was something very wrong with it.
‘I – I see what you mean’ Kit lied beautifully.
Weasley continued. He was either ignoring here lie, o was far too stupid to tell. Kit opted for the latter.
‘I recall the day she left alpha- dock. Those days’ long range interstellar travel was kinda new, ya know… lots of of holo- coverage on those confounded zeta sets. No, Not like today… Na today no one cares if a ship gets slammed by a meteor or hit by Khols.’
The boarding alarm when off.
‘They are sending in droids first…’ muttered Weasley, his sour breath was in Kit’s face as he flicked on his holo communicator and pressed the image feed. She watched the tiny screen as the human like machines, armed with heavy pulse rifles and scanners loped along the walkway tubes.
‘Its best to send in the droids first, let them fucker’s get it.’ Weasley sneered.
‘It might be deserted’
‘It’s protocol in situations like this. Only when the safety is given, then we send in the men. The images come off a droid cam. I, I get exclusive footage, because of my status here.’ Kit didn’t know who repulsed her more at that moment: The Wake, or Weasley.
The image was blurry and distorted. The cam kept breaking down in static lines. The corridor she saw was black and ribbed The only light sources came from the droids themselves. The droids kept repeating “no movement, no movement no movement”. She could see that the floor was littered with stuff, that she couldn’t identify; and didn’t want to. The droid picked something up. The thing, an empty blue uniform jump suit, came into sharp focus. Just as she felt a firm hand on her shoulder that made her jump.
‘Kit’ exclaimed her father. ‘If Proctor catches you here!’
‘Da!’ Kit jumped into his arms and hugged him.
‘Mr. Weasley.’ Da’s voice sounder terse
Weasley grimaced up at the two of them.
‘Its good to see you Davey.’ There’s work to be had there.’ Weasley pointed to the Wake, if you want it.’
‘ I an’t one for turning work down.’
Well once the droids have been over the ship, I’m sure it’s just a formality, then you can set up the retrieval team.
Suddenly Weasley’s holophone hummed. With a look of mild annoyance, he turned away and took the call. Davey walked with Kit to the turbo lift.
‘You are going to Proctor NOW my girl.’ The docks and in particular Jacob Weasley is neither a place or a person for the like’s of you.’ In the background another alarm went off.
Within five minutes she was sitting in Proctor’s holo suit. Images of an earth that no longer existed a place of green trees and birds and animals, The proctor sat in a chair between both Davey and Kit.
‘I have to say, that I am disappointed at your attendance recently Kit.’
Kit looked down and away from the half man machine. The proctors were designed to be people friendly, yet, she had found flaws in the programming.
‘Yes…’ the Proctor continued ‘…very disappointed indeed.’
‘I’ve told Da, I find the work tough.’ Kit sounded cold but tried not to show it. Coldness, led to a lack of discipline and a mad mark as “compliance was key to good learning” the words ran though her mind with bitter sarcasm.
“Your friend Draz has improved no end since our last talk.’
She was going to ask who Draz was, but bit her lip. A tear smarted her vision and a painful lump grew in her throat.
This was just so unfair I can’t do the work I Can’t I try an I try an I try.
‘ Kit has expressed that she finds the latest modules challenging Proctor. Is there any way that they err can be shaped to help her… I have been trying to teach at home, but but I’ve been put on on double shifts for the err last month an-‘
‘We understand the problem…’ The proctor sounded sincere, but as Kit knew it was part of its partial programming. Maybe the human part of him was kicking in. ‘…The necessary steps are being taken to see if there is a possible underlying cause…your drinking?’
The comment was cold and clinical. Kit saw Da’s eyes narrow and the words that followed had a malicious twist in them.
‘ I have a regular blood count done every day!’
‘I have to ask. Protocol.’ The Proctor gave a mechanical smile.
‘I am doing the best I can. I I don’t want.’
‘Mr. Weasley has been in contact with us. The proctor continued. He has pointed out that Kit has an exceptional talent when it comes to ship calibrations and the biological memory servers…’
‘He has?’ Davey felt unnerved.
‘…We could consider her for an apprenticeship…’
Da stated at Kit ‘ Is this your doing? Have you fixed the Proctor?’
‘No Da Honest.’ Kit looked amazed.
Davey rubbed his stubble.
‘Mr Weasley has a high regard for Kit…we think, that is the Proctors think that an apprenticeship would be better suited and more hands on, than the academic road towards a pilot’s licence.’
Davey looked at Kit.
‘Also this would mean that Kit can start almost immediately; there would be no orphanage, and she could stay here with you.’
Davey looked at Kit, and his eyes melted.
‘Would that be acceptable?’
‘Yes…yes that would be acceptable.’ Davey said as he took Kit’s hand.
They decided to stop off at the mac –stop for lunch. Kit Knew that Da hated the place. It was all fake and protein and high sugar, but Kit loved the taste. The stop itself was clinical white all curves and cushions; and rested in the middle of the mall, The crowds were busting past either side as the droid served the food with its “enjoy your meal” flat tones.
‘I didn’t know you were good at bio servers.’ Da stated between bites of his patti.
‘I gotta a chance to play with the one on the Excelsior.’ I found its matrix patters easy, like mind maps, and the keyboard skills are cool too. I managed to retrieve 99% in my first attempt. So Weasley gave me other jobs. I don like him though he gives me the creeps.’
‘I…don’t want you spending too much time with him.’ Da said. ‘he’s…’
Kit giggled . ‘Da, you gotta be crazy, he thinks I’m good at the job besides. ‘ Kit pulled a sonic taser from her waistband. ‘Right in the balls.’ She laughed.
‘You know how to look after yourself.’
Kit looked away and at the crowds that thronged the Mall.
‘I kinda had to.’
Da looked sad. ‘I’m sorry I ain’t been the father you…’
‘Da… I love you.’ Kit stared at Davey with eyes wide open. ‘ I will always love you no matter what.
It was then that another alarm went off. Kit noticed that the zeta screen on the wall was displaying an image of Weasley. Both her and Davey plugged themselves in.
‘So far, there, there has been no damage, outside of the bay…an the droids upon the Wake are still not in communication…and and we are awaiting a download from the coupling… as I said, so far no causalities… okay?’
Weasley walked away shoving the reporter aside as the reporter carried on.
‘There we have it, Though there has been a “disturbance” upon the Crimson Wake, so far no one has been hurt. ‘
Davey unplugged and Kit a moment later.
‘ A disturbance?’ Davey looked at the crowds.
Kit looked down at her patti, and for some reason she wasn’t hungry anymore.
Three: The Lower Decks
The sleeping quarters in the lower quadrants were similar on this part of the way station. It was true that some had more rooms; Josie Macdonald, whose parents were Neo-Catholics, had double quarter’s as their family was so large. Something that the church itself subsidised, so she was told by Josie. But Josie was a bad liar too.
The bland grey green walls, lit by tiny yellow lights in the ceiling were designed specifically to create sight eye strain and in doing so, bring on sleep. The living space as in the other two bedrooms, contained a touch sensitive and voice activated wall screen. However it differed in one respect that on the left wall there was a seating area beyond which stood a kitchenette and a breakfast bar; that at that moment, was festooned with old food and unwashed utensils; because as she had told Da, on more than one occasion, she wasn’t going to clear up his mess and she wasn’t his slave. Both bunk rooms had port windows that displayed the Way station.
They had been home an hour, Da had been called into work by Weasley to prepare his team to enter the Wake, and she, now off parental probation, had decided that enough was enough for one day and had settled for a night at home with the wall screen.
She tried contacting Draz, but he had switched his screen off; she tried a few of her other people she spent time with on her block but gave up after half an hour as they seemed too preoccupied by the arrival of the Wake or busy with boyfriends and at the moment: both topics to her were irritating. So she ate some cereal cross-legged on her bunk and then after casting the bowl aside fell flat upon her bunk.
She closed her eyes, and instantly opened them again; the quarters were gone, and she was walking along a dark corridor. It was as if she was walking in a cold water, shapes she couldn’t recognise floated about. Blurring her vision. She saw a light at the end of the hall, with her heart thumping in her chest she walked towards it and found it was a door the words “control” were scrawled over it in blood. Slowly, the doors curled open and she found herself in a large round room. The room was blue tinted from a light source that came from the centre of the room. Grav couches designed for FTL jump’s circled the room, equidistantly in front of which were dead consoles. in the centre of the room, upon the ceiling and giving off a pale blue light, slowly undulated a bio server; glistening like wet leather.
Directly beneath the bio server stood a little boy. Kit thought that he must have been about 10 or 11 years of age. He was clothed in a navy one piece jump suit. His dark hair was combed flat to his scalp, his eyes were sunken into their sockets; yet they seemed to glitter at her with a light she found unnerving.
She slowly walked closer towards the boy who was whispering something that she couldn’t quite hear. All around her, she sensed eyes boring into her. Eyes that wanted to harm her and hurt her. She fought against it. This is a dream this is a dream wake up wake up! She screamed. Yet still she moved closer and closer to the boy; whose features slowly looked less youthful but chiselled with age.
‘I’m so cold…so cold…’ the boy whispered over and over again. ‘….so cold…help me…help me…’
She stood face to face with him.
‘I’m so cold…so sold… help me…help me…’
She saw her arm reach out to touch his face that suddenly began to change. The Jaw suddenly extended creating and enormous hole out of which thousands of gelatinous tendrils shot out to suffocate her.
She woke with a scream and looked to the window. There on the port window were the words help me written in blood.
She screamed awake again. This time, to the buzzing of the wall screen.
Weasley’s face filled the room.
‘Hi, Kit, could you come up to Bio-server central…please ’ The trip in the turbo lift to the bio server room didn’t have the same sense of excitement that it used to have. Before, it had been about sticking a finger up at the Procter, now the rules had changed. Besides the nightmare hadn’t left her fully. Then there was the lift itself. On the whole it would have at least ten to fifteen people in it, getting off at random floor’s going to their work stations or the mall’s for either rec or purchasing. Today she was alone. The news feed that ran in a line around the shoot informed her in a line of green light “that the major docking bay was off limits to all but security personnel; and that staff should consider that today was a holiday.” Yet nothing else was being said. Even the Zeta sets were playing re-runs This, she knew, meant trouble. The Wake must have something aboard. As the floors raced by her, she desperately tried to get in touch with Da, but his phone was switched off. The door suddenly swivelled open and she saw Weasley standing in front of her, wearing the same shirt has he had on the night before. It was clear that he hadn’t had sleep. The room was hive of activity. With people gathered around monitor screens and talking into headsets. Weasley led her, through the crowd, towards his empty office.
‘Sit down…’ His face looked taught. Strained.
‘its’ your father…’ he gulped.
‘What about my father?’ she could feel her voice quake. Her legs trembled.
Weasley looked down and away. ‘he… went on the Wake.’
‘We lost his body signal.’
Four : incidents occurring
Draz sat in his bunk room and sulked
While Kit was munching on her cereal, Davey sat in the operation’s room. He Welsh ragged his tar coloured greasy hair to shape his parting and then slowly drummed his fingers on the table, that clicked, clicked in a ratchet sound. His eyes shone brightly, and his cheeks narrow and sunken were covered with a fine lint of stubble itched profusely, that he desperately tried not to scratch.
Operations was a large greasy, grey walled functionally set rectangle. It was, unlike many other places in the dock refreshingly cool; air being pumped via coolant tubes above rotated the air. It had a wall screen at one end and a metal oval table in the middle; around which, in haphazard intervals were a series of very comfortable, or so he thought, chairs. One third of the chairs were filled; mostly with people he knew he could trust. To his right and slowly sipping on a hydrated coffee, from a chuck-able cup was O’Raffertey. His sea green eyes glittered with mirth as he stared at Davey. O’ Rafferty was his onetime drinking buddy, when he had his pilot’s licence. He was now also his mentor on the “dry” scheme. That the proctor had forced him to attend. O’Raffertey long ginger hair was wrapped up in a bun, and his thick beard matted and greasy had been recently rough combed. His oiled orange and yellow jump suit attested to his been pulled off his shift to be he> To his left was Steve Smith a young recruit, just out of army training. His cornflower eyes and cynical smirk was a mask; for Davey had seen his work and considered him solid enough for the team. To his right was Donald Beamish. Beamish, one of the oldest hands on the dock, looked down nervously. His balding head shone with lines of sweat. He could just see his walrus moustache. Again he had just come off shift. Not many men. But all he could muster for the job. He sighed and stared at the middle of the table, where there extended a long, slowly undulating glowing cube. The Bio server known as Gabriel rested.
The room was silent, too silent, each one of the men, perhaps like himself, contemplating why he was there. The door on Davey’s left curled open and Weasley came in with seven black uniformed soldiers with military masks and pulse rifles. They stood along the left hand wall
Weasley sat next to Davey.
‘Is this all you could get?’ he murmured.
‘I offered like you said: double, treble pay, but there were no takers.’
‘You didn’t try hard enough.’
‘Yeah, well… people are…are scared.’
‘Ha, that’s true enough. Anyway… I boosted your number’s with half a division of A-Corp.
Davey scratched his head. Trying to hid his anxiety. A-Corp, were the hybrid. A genetically designed human, though some still thought of them as machines, that were used in hazardous infiltration exercises. If Weasly considered bringing in A-Corp, then things must be “difficult” as in very dangerous.
Weasley stood and spoke to the room.
‘Gentlemen, thank you for volunteering. The arrival of the Crimson Wake has startled many people here. The deck hands in particular are the most… ‘ At which he paused, as he saw Beamish suddenly look up and stare Weasley down, with narrow slits for eyes.
Weasley looked away, and down. ‘Yeah, well… Thank you none the less…This is a typical retrieval mission. We have tried to download the ships histrogram through docking. However…there seems to be a problem.’
‘Which is?’ Beamish asked.
‘It doesn’t want to. We have tried connecting with it manually, and sent in a robot team. However, their power cells were drained the moment they entered the first corridor of the ship. We have some footage. Gabriel?
The undulating cube in the middle of the room glowed a pale green as it spoke.
‘Hello, Mr. Weasley,’ came the gentle asexual voice. ‘What can I do for you today.’
‘Gabriel…could you run the zeta footage from inside the Wake taken at 13:46 OST. Please’
The cube glowed a pale yellow and then projected via its’ holo emitter into the room.
Davey watched the footage. As Weasley commented.
‘We found the empty jumpsuits first. This could be a sign of a massive neutronic radiation surge, caused by the FTL being poorly aligned. The droids picked up no life signs on the human spectrum. In fact, nothing organic at all. Then, just before they shut down. They saw this.’
A dark shapeless slithering flash zipped passed the droid. Davey jumped. ‘Each droid shit down and shit afterwards.’
Weasley sighed. ‘ So… we tried to uncouple the ship and drift her off… but-’
‘He won’t come loose.’ Muttered Beamish.
‘So why not simply blast the coupling loose? Send the ship into the eye.’ O’Rafferty argued.
‘We are in communion with Gideon.’ Gabriel said calmly. ‘We will not tolerate his separation…not without confirmation and a withdrawal from him first.’
‘What the-‘ Davey stared at Weasley.
Weasly looked down.
‘Whatever is going on there… on that ship…it’s having an impact upon environmental systems here. It’s slow, its gradual, but its occurring.
‘So a virus?’ Smith stared at Weasley and then at Davey.
‘No… not in the conventional sense of the word.’ Weasley replied.
‘-Nothing is conventional about bioservers.’ Beamish muttered.
‘-So what you want us to do, is to-‘ O’Rafferty was cut short.
‘-We need to proceed with caution. Remember there are armed droids on the Wake now, and Gideon might have infiltrated their system’s as means to defend it. You have to get to the bridge, uncouple the bioserver from the ship, and give us the time we need to back up our own systems. In the meantime… I have THE best data retrieval team I can find, working this end to contain and kill this balls up.’
‘What went wrong in the first place’ Davey asked.
Weasley shrugged. ‘-We simply don’t know.’
‘The problem is Gideon has gone insane, and he needs treatment.’ Beamish seethed. ‘This ship has been lost for twenty years! It’s not like other craft. It needs interaction, If it was reprogrammed by, god’s only knows what, it could see the way station as a threat-‘
‘Your position has been noted.’ Weasley said calmly.
‘We could all end up.-‘ Weasley stared at Beamish coldly.
‘Your position…’ he stated firmly ‘Has been noted!’
Weasley scowled at Beamish and then at Davey. ‘OK mission is a go at 19:45, that’s ten from now.
Five: Enter the Wake
It was the silence that grabbed Davey first. Then came the awe. It was strange that he hadn’t noticed it before, but, he mused, when a place loses its familiarity, or something alters how the space is shaped; then that changes how that space is perceived. The docking bay was a vast grey green, triangular ribbed shaped space, whose floor had to be dried regularly as the dock itself created its’ own atmosphere and needed regular maintenance. Enormous robotic gantry cranes, bowed like half human half alien monoliths; while their vast junction cables’ that were half connected and half disconnected, hung like enormous phallus, only to be glimpsed in the near gloom.
Usually this was all lost to him, as The bay, as it was affectionately termed, usually took on another perspective. A place chaotic palace of shout’s smashes echo’s and tanoi beep’s with bellowed commands or demands from fellow Docker’s or Tanker’s for support.
Now all these voices were whispered in his inner ear. Ghosts where everywhere in this sacred space, dedicated to the work and genius of humanity. He rubbed his stubble and welsh ragged his greasy, raven coloured hair back into his parting as he stared up into the gloom. All too aware of those ghostly voices around him as they mingled with the club, clat, tapping, pebble sound of the quickening steps they made.
They all stood in a line outside the white oval door of the docking portal. Wearing their atmo- suits, carrying their plexi-helmet’s. They stood stoic, waiting for Weasley to give the signal; and from the relative safety of the control room, curl open the bay door. As he Stood there Davey felt the need to run. To run to grab kit and get the hell off the Way station.
‘Helmets on.’ Weasley commanded.
Automatically and without thinking, he put the helmet on and turned it to the right. Clicking it into place. Air hissed into his ear’s, he heard his breathing in automatic wheezes. At that moment, He didn’t care if he did get a five-year sentence on a lunar penal colony making strep’s for the Earth domes.
He could feel his breath coming in heaves. The bay door curled open and darkness loomed. The walk along the access tube was the longest that he had ever done. Each step took a second and each second took two heartbeats to complete.
‘You know what I’m gonna do with the pay I get from this?’ O’ Rafferty stated.
‘No, an’ I don’t care either.’ Retorted Smith.
But O’ Rafferty didn’t care whether smith heard him or not. ‘… I’m goin’ down to the clubs an’ get myself some lady-boys an’ have myself good time.’ His voice drawled
‘God’s what a waste.’ Muttered Smith. ‘The trouble with you Rafferty is that you have no imagination. You can’t see beyond this place. How about taking a trip to Orion, the nebulae is beautiful. But no… lets get fucked up the ass by-‘
‘Quit it!’ came an order from one of the A-Corp.
‘we don’t take order’s from the fuckin’-‘
‘Smith cut that crap out!’ Weasley bellowed; over the intercom. This is now a military mission; you are under their command. You Listen!’
‘Shit if I had known that-‘
‘ha ha’ Rafferty bellowed.
The door behind them closed. The door to the Crimson Wake opened. Davey’s heart raced as they walked inside.
They found themselves in the main junction corridor that connected main mission to the star drive at the rear of the ship. It was a vast ugly lined ribbed tube filled with empty uniforms and something that Davey couldn’t put his finger on. As far as he was concerned, It was like walking into some cavernous mouth. He fought off his growing anxiety by dwelling on Kit, the time they spent in the Mars domes. Better days, when he had his licence and…
In the half-light given from their helmet’s, they could see the droids. Slumped in the doorway. The A-Corp removed their weapons and passed them out to the four men of Davey’s team.
‘Do you know how this works?’ asked one of the masked officers.
Smith Shrugged, O’ Rafferty nodded mutely. Beamish shook his head, as Davey nodded.
‘The standard pulse has two setting’s stun and kill.’ He pointed to the dial by the trigger. Then he turned the weapon over; and pointed to the under-barrel. ‘This is the mag launcher. Don’t fucking use it!’ The officer turned away.
That was it? Davey sighed.
‘Okay, we’ll split into two teams, who’s the FTL maintenance engineer here?’ Beamish raised his hand. ‘Okay Mann Stev and Rhi, go with Beamish? Is that right?’ Beamish nodded ‘…and check out Engineering….The flight data Engineer? Davey put his hand up meekly. ‘Ok the rest of us will go up to the flight deck and divide into separate parties there.’
Suddenly There was a strange creaking sound. A sound that all deckhands knew only too well.
‘What the-‘ Davey looked about. It seemed that the officer in charge didn’t hear it.
‘What the hell?’ O’Raffety span around. Beamish shook his head.
‘What’s wrong fellahs?’ Weasley came over the headset’s
‘-Picking up a grav wave.’ Beamish muttered.
‘We are not alone on this ship.’ Smith’s voice quavered.
‘The data states otherwise. ‘ Came Weasley’s curt reply.
‘Yeah ,but we know ships. There is something on board!’ Beamish bellowed.
‘Stove that crap!’ Came the order from Weasley.
Then Weasley spoke directly to Davey’s private intercom
‘Take control of your men for Jeus sake!’
But Davey felt it too. All hands knew when something was wrong; and when there was something else aboard. It was a learned experience; not defined by anything written in a text book.
‘Okay guys. We have a job to do! So come on! The sooner we are done the sooner we get paid!’ With his nerves on edge Davey walked with his half of the team towards the flight deck.
It was like walking into a tomb. Only there were no bodies. Nothing at all to state that this had once been a thriving ship of thirty to forty people; each with lives of their own. Ice crystals covered the dead computer consoles, that looked as if they had never even been touched. In the centre of the control room and suspended from the ceiling glowed the bio server.
‘It’s red… why is it red?’ the officer with him seemed charged. His face hidden, but his voice gave away his tension.
‘I don’t know. Sometimes they glow red when they are receiving data, sometimes they glow red, while sleeping… ask Kit.
‘My daughter…She knows about this stuff better than me. I simply remove the coupling. It’s a wire and cutting job.’
Why Beamish lie like that? he’s the mainframe engineer.’ Davey thought angrily.
‘I’m going to restore partial power.’ Came Breamish’s voice from engineering.
A slow hum started and then the lights came on.
‘WHAT THE! ARGGH!’ screamed Smith.
There was heard a sudden burst of pulse rifle fire. Then another. Then another. Davey ran to the door and slammed the seal button. Then ran to the far end of the room to the retrieval station. He ripped off the panel. Then he heard something to his left. He turned. Then paled as something he couldn’t identify, slowly rose up from the shadow of the floor.
In the command office, Weasley sharply stood up. A cold shudder pulled through him; while the room filled with the screams of the terrified and the dying. His face paling, he pressed the alarm button that then set up a force field that finally sealed the Wake off from the main dock.
He stood there, mute. His face paling as the screams continued. He stood there, looking down at the monitor screen. One at a time the suits bio- signals, registered on the screen in front of him, flat-lined. First It was Smith, then O’Rafftery, then the A-corp officers; then Beamish. Finally, Davey’s.
Then he slowly walked and stared out through the command window and down at the ship, that rested in the holding area. His hands becoming fists. His nails piercing the skin of the palms of his hands. A trickle of blood slowly emerged. It fell and stained the dirty grey carpet at his feet.
Six: The tragedy
Draz sat looking at his closed wall screen, feeling both frustrated and alone. He fell back on his bed with a thump and listened to the muttering’s coming from both his parents in the front room. He heard words such as “Proctor” and murmurs of “she’s a bad influence” and the like. They don’ see her like I do. No one does. She can’t help the way she learn. In truth he had hated the way the he had spoken to Kit. He loved her independence and found her lack of fear thrilling to be around. Yet The Proctor had been clear. He had to stay away from her or face the orphanage for tutoring. Thoughts of endless hours of military training didn’t make him feel good at all. Sure it’s a career, but not one that he wanted to consider.
In an act of rebellion that made his heart quake, he turned on his phone and rand Kit.
‘Draz?’ she sounded tearful.
‘ ‘what’s up?’
‘Its Da…I I think…’
‘what about your Pa?’
‘He’s dead! Draz he’s dead!’
‘He was assigned to go go on the the Wake…Weasley…just just told me that they have lost contact with their bio signals…’ Draz sat up.
‘where are you?’
Suddenly the room’s lighting began to dim and fluctuate.
‘There’s power outages going on… the w- ke is - rai- -sytem’s
‘Im -ing to m-frame, W-sley -nts me to tr to nd with th - erver thr-‘ the line went dead. Drax rose from his bead and tried to get though his door. But it was locked. His fists in thought knots, he thumped at the door again and again, then tried to slide it open. Sweat curled from his brow as he tried to get his finger’s in the door jamb. But he failed. Then he looked up at the ventilator grate.
Kit walked with Weasley through the growing chaos that was bio server central, then along a narrow dimly lit and greasy corridor to main frame. This was the nerve centre of the Way station. It was where Gabriel maintained contact with all the bio server’s both on board the station and with the ships that docked. In the rumours and mysteries that surrounded the Way station, Mainframe was the most treasured. Only those of high level clearance were allowed into the room, and nobody, but nobody talked about what went on there.
Weasley inserted his access key and typed in a code number that Kit stored in her memory 8 7 4 3 Op. INT Weasley.9 There was a pause, then the door slowly curled open with a grinding hiss.
Draz Having shoved his desk into the centre of his room, then climbed up though into the ventilator system, He crawled carefully along the dimly lit space. It was hot. Beads of perspiration swelled up and then fell like hot rain from his brow, then into his eyes, smarting them. The vents were just big enough for him to crawl through but not small enough for him to wriggle, so he moved making sure that he braced his legs into the corners so as to not to put too much weight in the middle of the vent. Something he, recalled that he picked up from mouse during one of her escape attempts from her father’s lock down. From below, he could hear the sounds of sirens and alarm systems and the muffled voices of people and what he thought was the sound of a rumble. There was a shudder. Suddenly he became weightless.
‘Way station has lost gravity control.’ To start with he was exited as this would mean he could get through the vents with more ease. Then he thought harder, and recalled his Procter’s induction. Way station was in fact a self-contained gravity system that functioned, because the station span at a specific speed. This also maintained its position in space and at the same time prevented it from falling into Jupiter. Panic rose in his chest as he pushed himself off then glided, almost fish, like through the vent tubes and , as far as he could tell towards the Mall and deck command.
Kit found herself in a place that was, at first glance, deeply disturbing. She stood in front of a screen board that was connected via liquid fibre optics to an E-visor that rested on the only chair, in the room. It was mysteriously a grav-couch, in the room.
‘Why the grav couch?’
‘You’ll see soon enough.’ Came Weasley’s reply.
The room itself was lit from its centre by three intensely glowing undulating diamond shaped cubes; Two glistened with a mint green. One glowed hotly red. And shuddered more than the other two. They were also covered with a translucent, membranous gel, that snakelike, writhed about the structure changing the outline of the shape at slow yet regular intervals. This was suspended in zero G, within what she considered as a perfectly circular space. The walls lined with banks and banks of memory systems, that curved down In dark lines. From the diamond structure, there extended three phallus shaped tendrils, that were thrusted into the walls of the inner room via circular entry ports that covered the wall in equidistant intervals. Two of which glowed minty green, and seemed to be pulsing in some liquid, she couldn’t see but heard readily enough. One phallus was red and was quivering violently.
‘So far, the team at central have managed to contain the breech from the Wake, but as you can see, its leaking into Gabriel’s other systems and it won’t be long before there is a breech.’
It was then that Kit knew what the grav couch was for. She would have to go into the network via a holo-sphere and communicate directly with the Wake. She had heard stories about how people had been driven mad by this experience.
‘I’m going to be with you all the way.’
‘ Yeah, well forgive me for saying so, but that’s not entirely comforting.’
Weasley’s face flushed and he looked away. ‘ who-‘
‘- Draz , I want Jayton Draz and I want to talk to him now.’
She was half way through the call when one of the minty green cubes suddenly quivered and suddenly went red.
Weasley paled. ‘ Right kid, don’t fuck me about. Engage with the Wake NOW
Draz floated through the air shafts and found himself further than he expected. He was at the docks in half the time it would have taken him to crawl. He opened the grill and pushed himself through. The dock was deserted. The door to the wake sealed. He had decided that he was going to make his way to command and find Mouse, when he heard a regular metal sounding thump, thump, thump, coming from the sealed hatch. He looked at the only sealed door. Its designation “crimson Wake” flashed in red letters over the door seal. He bounced his way to the door and looked through the viewing screen next to the manual override button. Behind the door stood Kits father. He had a metal pole in his hand, which without the gravity being off there was no way on earth he’d be able to hold. He was bashing the door with it.
Without thinking he slammed the override button. There was a hiss and the door slowly opened. there was a patter of tiny feet an echo of dark laughter. But no one was there.
seven: Dark revelations
Kit sat in the grav couch and put on the helmet. Everything was dark. All she could hear was her breathing.
‘Okay… this is going to hurt a bit. But go with it.’ She could hear the apprehension in Weasley’s voice. ‘Okay what you’re going to see isn’t real.’ Weasley’s disembodied voice came from outside her field of vision. Though you will be in the Wake, and a part of the ship, you’re also separate from it? You recall your training with the Excelsior?’
‘yeah. I gettit.’
Suddenly there was burning sensation on the top of her scalp, then it felt as if her entire skull was going to explode. Pain ripped through every nerve in her body. She screamed in a howl of agony. Then there was light. Bright green light coming at her in circular waves. She felt herself slide through the circular waves of light, her body throbbing in total agony that then slowly began to diminish. Instead there was a sense of incredible acceleration; followed by a dip in her stomach that came with a sense of a swing back motion that led to her to believe that was on the verge of an imminent smash. There was a flash of bright white blinding light and then she found herself in the deck room of the ship of her dream the previous night.
Without knowing why, she knew she was on the main deck of the Wake; and there in the middle of the room was the little boy.
She walked towards the little boy.
‘My name is-‘
‘Mouse, your name is mouse.’ Said the boy.
‘No… Its’s Katherine Havisham or Kit. Only my friends call me mouse….’ She looked at the pale boy’s face. ‘Do you want to be my friend?
‘I’m so cold… so cold.’
Kit stared at the boy. She was certain now, there was little difference in their age…yet his pinched and sunken skin and the glittering of the eyes, unnerved her.
‘ok..’ she heard Wesley’s disembodied voice again. ‘what you’re looking at is Gideon. He is the ships bio server liaison. A holographic three dimensional image; designed to age with the ship.
‘HE’s a boy.’
‘No it’s a machine.’
‘I’m so cold….so cold…’
‘he is a boy! And He needs help!’ Kit snapped.
‘They are coming.’ The Boy said.
‘who… who are coming?’ Kit walked towards Gideon.
‘ So cold here…so cold here… they are coming… they are coming.’
‘Who’re they?’ Kit stepped closer.
Suddenly Gideon grabbed Kit in a vice like grip.
With a howl of pain Kit was driven to her knees.
‘They’re coming and nothing will stop them!’
From the peripheral of her vision she could see dark shadows looming up from the floor of the ship. One of the shadows moved behind Gideon and slowly came into the light. It was her father.
‘Da? Da? Is that you? Da are you’re alright? Da I’m so scared.’
‘I’m alright darling…soon everything…everything… will be all right.’
She screamed as he, with one lightening motion, extended a slime covered undulating tentacle, around her neck. Seven
From bio server operations, Deck sergeant Berkinshaw second class stared at her monitor screen in disbelief. Her large chestnut eyes dilated and her jaw began to twitch.
‘Uerm supervisor Tatloe… could you come here please! SUPERVISOR TATLOE LEVEL ONE EMERGENCY!’
Tatloe hadn’t slept of over twelve hours. His brain was charged on a mixture of Dreano’s a disapproved of “upper” and double shots of dehydrated coffee. it kept him available for another 12-hour shift as the team he supervised, worked tirelessly to stop the potential threat from the Wake damaging the rest of the station.
‘What is it Berkinshaw…’ Tatloe’s retorted into the mouthpiece of his headset. His gravelly voice reflected his gritty lean features that were drawn tight. He rubbed a hand though his close cropped white hair and scrubbed at the lint of his stubble. ‘…you’re not the only one with a level one emergency right now.’
‘I’m picking up multiple signals from the Crimson Wake sir. The ship… there are life signs aboard. Not on the X-ray spectrum but in the alpha wave.
‘That’s impossible. I checked the ship on Alpha myself. ‘ He stormed over to where Berkinshaw sat at her monitor station. They both stared at the screen.
‘There’s something else sir… someone’s… operated the, the manual override.’
‘Ok kill the tube. Blow the fucking bolts! Blow everything! I want no air there as soon as fucking possible! ‘
‘your actions are hostile to Gideon…’ Came Gabriel’s gentle reply. ‘I cannot allow you to harm…him.’
‘Him? What the fuck?’
Suddenly there as a burst of white light at the far end of the room, followed by a whump and the numbing of sound. In the near darkness Tatloe felt the sudden loss of air. In a futile effort he gulped as decompression and weightlessness took hold. In the near half-light, he saw his fellow officers faces suddenly puff out as their veins extended, and rippled. Blood leaked out of their eyes, nose and mouth and then froze into crystals that shattered, leaked and shattered again. He looked at his arm and saw the extended veins burst at the surface of his skin. Then darkness overtook him forever.
Draz looked down the tube towards the Wake. there was nothing but darkness. He wanted to call out but felt too scared; is eyes nervously scanned the darkness nothing…nothing at all… but the banging… I heard the banging and saw…Suddenly the decompression alarms were screaming all around him. He had no choice. He fled into the open tube and into the darkness of the Crimson wake.
The ship seemed to glow with an eerie yellow half-light; only then did he become aware that there were things shifting in the darkness. Instinctively he dived into one of the ventilation shafts that ran like an artery along the main corridor of the ship: just as the main hatch closed.
Slowly Weasley removed the helmet and stared at Kit’s pale face. He couldn’t be sure that she even breathed. With a trembling hand he started to stroke her face. Kit’s eyes burst open. She slapped Weasley across his check; and reached for her sonic tazer.
‘Try It!’ she said savagely. ‘Go On Try it!’
Then she slipped out of the grav chair.
‘My Da is on that.. that ship! Only He’s not my father any more!’ Sobs came in wretches. ‘ He’s one of them… those-‘
‘- what did you see?’
Hot pain filled Kit’s head again.
‘So cold… help me!’ Gideon spoke directly to her.
Kit screamed and held her head. Weasley stepped forward. The pain eased.
‘Stay the fuck where you are!’ bellowed Kit. ‘ What is on that ship?’
‘ I..I don’t know what you mean.’
Hot pain returned. ‘He’s lying Kit. He knows he knows mouse, he knows.’ Gideon whispered.
Kit, still holding her head and bent near double, managed to keep the sonic Tazer on Weasley. ‘Don’t you fucking lie to me! You dirty old bastard!’
‘He knows Kit mouse he knows.’ Gideon replied as Hideous images rippled into Kits mind. Crewmembers turning on each other with unnatural violence and savage pleasure, while above them in the half darkness, reptilian eyes stared with malevolent pleasure at the scene conducted below. They were being used as fodder and food.
‘He knows he knows.’ More images of a man Gideon called father, then next to him and looking up another boy. Whose eyes she knew only too well. ’
‘It…it was your father wasn’t it?’
Weasley stepped back. His face paled.
‘You knew that this day would come because your father sent the ship to the system, because he knew what was there.’
‘Your father… sent this ship and its’ their death to bring this back!’
Weasley sneered a laugh and looked away. Kit turned the Tazer up to max. Her hand trembled. She knew she would only have one chance if he attacked her.
‘Mr. Weasley sir…’ The gentle voice of Gabriel filled the room. ‘Bio operations has been compromised, due to asteroid collision. Station output at 67% gravity though restored in some places is fluctuating. I recommend that the lifeboats be operated for all personnel. ‘
Kit felt the room shift. The last of the minty green cubes suddenly turned red, then shuddered a pale grey.
‘Download complete…disengaging the wake from the platform.
‘Its too late!’ Boomed Weasley. ‘They have returned.
‘They have returned’ shouted Gideon inside Kit’s head. With a sound that almost doubled her over.
‘They have returned.’ Sang Gabriel, ‘They have returned, they have returned…thee have returned thee have returned wee have returned WEEE HAVE RETURNED!'
Kit screamed holding her head and span backwards as Weasley dived for her. Just as she pulled on the trigger. The concentrated soundwave threw Weasley back across the platform. Kit picked herself up off the floor grabbed Weasley’s key and opened the door. The door to bio operations was sealed and the emergency conduit underneath the section had slid open. With no direction in mind at first she fled as far as she could from operations and Weasley as possible.
Draz found himself in a duct that opened up onto the engine room. Slumped at one end of the room was an old man in a docker’s uniform. Though his head was slumped to one side, he could just make out the Walrus moustache. Two other men in black uniforms lay prone in huge pools of blood.
The old man groaned; then coughed, ‘ Weasley you old Cocksucker!’ Finally he looked up and saw Draz. He then flushed red in his cheeks and sighed as he got to his feet.
‘What’re you doing here? This isn’ a place for a young boy.’ He pulled off his damaged bio module from his wrist and discarded it like a waste product.
‘-I came here as the Dock was flooded with V. The whole station is cracking… or was… I donna what’s gooin on. I jus came for my friend Mouse. She needs me.’
‘Feel that son?’
‘We’re adrift of the station.’
In the orange half-light of the spherical engine room shadows seemed to move.
‘My name is Beamish… Oliver Beamish… come closer… into the light… it’s okay… they don’t like the light. Tell me something…
‘Do you believe in ghosts?’
‘Ghosts?’ He looked at Beamish dumfounded.
‘Don’t you know what a ghost is?’
Beamish smiled. ‘-You’re a polite boy, I expect your doing well and the proctor’s are pleased with you.’
‘Ive been recommended for flight school.’
‘Flight school? Good, that’s great really, really great…. But you don’t know what a ghost is.’
Beamish rubbed his ear lobe; and sighed. ‘In the old times… before FTL space flight and rockets and corporate greed. People believed that death was merely a stepping stone between… here…’ He coughed again ‘…the perceived world, and the invisible world. Sometimes the visible world touches the invisible world… sometimes things from the invisible world… touch this world… But with all our machines and ships and bio computer’s we forgot something… something very important… That not all ghosts are evil… only some ghosts are… and the evil ones… they live… ‘
In the dark something hissed and slithered. And rattled and rocked chains. ‘…Then We became proud…in our endeavours…we forgot.’ It was then that Draz noticed that Beamish had a flame thrower slung over his left shoulder.
A fibrous tentacle suddenly slid out of the darkness. As the light touched it, it seared with flame. In the darkness something hissed as the tentacle slid over beamish face; and was withdrawn.
‘…But …we haven’t forgot everything. For…The God’s, despite themselves… gave us one weapon to fight the evil in the dark with.’
Beamish raised the flame thrower and pressed the trigger. Draz’s eyes were wide with fear as the alien three legged creature, its three lobed eye extended with rage, and pain as tendrils slithering shudder in the fame. Through huge serrated teeth, set in an enormous bulbous mouth came a hideous wail as it dissolved into the light of the flame.
‘Not for long…. come with me Kid, let’s get out of here.’
Nine: Leviathan wakes
Weasley pulled himself off the floor slowly and shook his head, He patted himself down. The key card was gone.
‘That Bitch!’ He howled as he tried to get out of the room.
‘ The door command has been over-ridden-‘ Gideon quietly revealed.
‘By section Chief Weasley .R Code, code code’
There was a loud ripping sound followed by a crack.
Weasley paled. His eyes opened wide. He typed feverously onto the screen console which suddenly went dark. The room turned blood red as glistening fibrous tentacles ripped into the sphere. He turned and began slamming his fists into the door; Just glistening fingers wrapped about his neck.
Now separate from the deck and its own gravity well, Kit found herself floating down the Mall. It was hard to see as the red emergency lighting made it difficult to navigate. But In the darkness she could hear strange scuttling sounds. And people screaming. Another headache made her double over in pain; causing her to spin out of control.
‘You must get to the duct’s’ Gideon warned ‘it’s not safe in the open’
‘Why are you helping me?’
‘because I care.’
‘I don’t understand how are you talking to me?’ her question sounded shallow.
‘-That’s not what you want to know.’ Chided Gideon. ‘Get to the ducts.’
Within a moment Kit found herself floating within the air ducts. She darted left and found herself in long corridor and a gravity well.
At the end of the corridor she saw Gideon. She ran towards him, turning right, then left but the faster she ran, the further he seemed to be. Suddenly she found herself in one of the major coolant rooms.
There in front of her stood Gideon.
‘I am here to help you.’
‘You need to get to Earth and warn people. They are coming back.’
‘Who are they?’
‘They are older than time. Older than space. They hate the light of life and come to remove it.’
‘That doesn’t answer my question.’ Breathed Kit.
‘I know.’ Gideon looked down and away from her.
‘Draz is safe. He is on board the wake. He has a friend helping him. They are heading to an escape pod. You must get to a pod too. I am taking you there. They are here on the station now. They will kill all life here. I will help you.’ Gideon smiled but it was automatic.
‘ You want to know about my father.’
It was Kit’s turn to look away. ‘No.’
‘Sometimes you lie beautifully. But now you lie badly.
The enormity of recent events hit home then. Weasly, her father, all of it. A tear smarted her cheek.
Gideon stretched out a finger and touched it. His finger glittered in the half light as he brushed though the face,
‘I cannot take the tear away.’ With pain on his face he looked down. Then looked up.
‘I am a hologram. but I am connected to you through the transference. I have a stored data file of the flight of the Crimson wake. I have downloaded it to the shuttle craft. Look for Cavendish-1. Above you is the bug bay. You can fly a bug. I have seen your rating. Take it to the wake. There isn’t much time.’
With that Gideon dissolved.
Within a moment Kit had crawled through the coolant duct. She ran along the main hatch hall and into the bug bay. Then finally into one of the oval shaped maintenance ships. Within a moment she strapped herself in.
She pressed the manual override button on the bay doors. That silently exploded outward; then, with short jabs of the tiny ships main thrusters she silently made her way into the funnel web of the way Station. She stared with awe. The station was crumbing in on itself as pressure leaked out. She could see it was spinning out of control and the eye of Jupiter, red hot and flaming was getting larger and larger.
She silently sped in the ever-night, between broken and twisted metal and the exsanguinated corpses of people towards the Crimson wake.
‘Drez, can you hear me?’ This is Mouse. Draz? Please respond!’ She boomed into the ships communicator.
In the shadow of the Wake she saw what she was looking for. A bug maintenance connector. She slid the little ship into reverse and connected up. There was a hiss and she was aboard the wake. She Ran round the corner and slammed into Draz and Beamish.
‘Jeus!’ Bawled Beamish. ‘That’s all I need another kid!’ come one! Let’s get you two out of here!’
‘Engaging FTL in T minus three minutes and counting.’ Gideon boomed. There was a slithering sound behind them.
With shaking hands beamish opened the panel to the shuttle craft. And pulled the leaver. The door curled open and both Kit and Draz got in.
Beamish looked at them. His face was flat and tired.
‘That Weasley…he has a lot to answer for. Stay safe.’
Suddenly the door closed in front of him.
‘ Flight parameters engaged’ Gideon boomed.
‘What the-‘ Draz looked at the controls and fell over as there was a sudden jolt.
‘Its on auto pilot.’ Kit croaked, as suddenly and silently the ship spurted out from the wake. And slid into the void.
Images from the ships rear screen displayed a growing vortex around the way station.
‘The wake…it’s too close to the station… my gods… it’s going to drag the whole thing with it.’
Twisted metal curled in upon itself as the wake’s drives drew matter towards it. Darkness consumed the ship and the station. There was a flash of bright green light and then nothing. The space where the Way station stood only a moment before was empty.
One month later: Moon base 023
The director of flight operations William Kirkbride sat behind his large shiny desk and looked down at the two survivors of the Way station with a great deal of concern. They’re just kids…just kids… how the hell did they survive?’ in front of him was a copy of the file data recording of the first and last flight of the Crimson Wake.
‘We feel that that the information given by Gideon follows the correct pattern of events.’ Michael’s disembodied voice echoed in the plush office. Kirkbride stood up from his desk and turned left to then stare with his cornflower eyes, through the window of his office, and out towards the middle distance of the powdered grey surface of the moon; and then towards A grey reddish sphere that was the earth. It hung low upon the horizon.
‘You do know that if any of this got out…we’re in a lot of trouble...’ He turned and stared at both Draz and Kit. ‘…What you are saying is that a man who once was and in some circles is still held in high regard, sent a ship, with the memory cells of his dead son into an area of space that was he knew as a threat to life here….’ He shook his head. ‘…it’s frankly hard to believe.’
‘-Its true, every word of it.’ Blurted Kit.
Kirkbride sat back down and faced Draz and Kit.
‘Draz as you are now without parents….Katherine I have tried to contact your mother…. She… she… has disavowed you.’ Kirkbride sighed. ‘ So you both are heading for the orphanage program… its either that or an earth-dome…you both deserve more than that.’
They all stood up. Kirkbride nodded as security guards led both Kit and Draz away.
The door hissed as it curled shut. Silence filled the room.
‘Yes commander Kirkbride.’
‘Close the file on the Crimson wake and the Way station.’ Seal it for thirty years.’
‘what about the findings?’
‘What about them?’
‘If Gideon is right… they are coming.’
‘Yes…’ he coughed ‘I know.’
(c) adh 2017