Tales of Deepspace

A webserial set in a lost sector of space.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

S1E6: Whispers

The roar of engines had been a surprise to her. It wasn't often that ships visited the dead world of Rashi II, and they never, ever landed there without a radio message a few days in advance. Something was wrong, and she didn't like it.

Following when she had seen the ship descend through the atmosphere and crash onto the planet, she had returned to her base of operations deep inside the city to view her tracking device reader. It was by no means the scientific ship that she usually saw landing on the planet. This thing claimed to be an old military craft. Good, though. Old but good.

Still, she thought it was a bit odd that a military craft would be landing on the planet, but the timeline of events as listed under the device's history led her to believe that the landing was not so much a landing as a crash. Shortly after the ship had entered the atmosphere of the planet, the scanner claimed that the ship's tracking device had failed. The obvious assumption would be that the ship had burned up in the atmosphere, but she didn't usually trust obvious assumptions.

Following the crash, she had ignored thinking about the possibility of not being alone in the city anymore. She didn't know why she felt so on-edge, it wasn't like this had never happened to her before. Rather, it hadn't happened in such a long time. Especially without any sort of warning beforehand. She had returned to where she had been excavating parts of the ruins. Nothing terribly interesting, she had simply found lots of old scripts by the Riilan documenting their life, culture, history and so on. Important, yes, and mildly interesting too, but after years of unearthing similar scripts, the whole idea tended to get old.

It had been when she was lying awake at night trying to ignore the fact that there was an unidentified military ship on the planet that she decided to take action. She rummaged through her things to find a small pistol she had obtained in what seemed like a past life, as well as a few cases of bullets. It wasn't the biggest or fanciest gun by any means, but given enough time to line up a shot, one bullet could end anyone's life.

She took the gun in hand and grabbed a small tracking device. Maybe that chip would somehow start working again. She didn't need an EBD anymore - ever since she had spent so many years on the planet, her body had somehow acclimated to the atmosphere. Not that she was complaining. Her supply of Earth-like air had run out years and years ago.

Throughout the day, the device had been pointing towards the south - further into the aptly named Great Desert (a direct translation of the Riilan word "salim", from what she had made out of the language). She ignored the fact that this implied the ship's transmitter was indeed working again. According to the texts she had read over the years, there lived a great monster somewhere in the Great Desert, which was the primary reason nobody went there. The dangers of a monster far outweighed the dangers of overheating and dying a slow and painful death of dehydration, apparently.

As night began to fall, she made for a nearby cave to stay. Her gun in hand, she cleared out as much room as she could in the cave for sleeping. It was then that she heard the noises.

Outside the cave, voices whispered to each other. She could not understand the things they said, but the tone was dark and ominous, and latent fears long suppressed within her began to rise. Her mind flashed back to the horrors she had seen before she ever went to Rashii II...

She hated what she had done. Her job had been a single hit - only the senator was a target. She had her gun in hand when she broke down the door, but she didn't expect to find what she did.

Inside was the senator's family. She had done her prepwork, and had learned that never before had this particular man ever let relatives into his office. She figured he just kept a pornography collection in there or something. It would be befitting of a man with that much power to be that corrupt. But she didn't have time to think about what to do.

She opened fire, shooting her mark first. But the job wasn't finished when his bloodied body hit the ground. She needed to obscure her identity. She was never careful enough, never wore a mask to hide her face. She was too damn sneaky and full of herself for that. She reloaded the gun, and fired again at the wife. And again, and again, and again at the children. When the shots finished, she looked around at the macabre collection of corpses around her.

What had she done? This wasn't just a mark she killed. She had killed the wife and the children - Oh, God! The children! - after killing their father in plain view. What had she done? She had no time to think about it, she was sure she would be caught and executed if she stayed.

It had been days later that she had learned the full extent what she had done. Open warfare within the Empire. Five worlds near the edge of Deepspace, near that great asteroid wall, had declared independence from their ancestral nation. Calling themselves the Hourglass Republic, from the shape of the trade routes as viewed from the Maw, they razed many worlds, all in revenge for those five bodies. Not that just five bodies caused a war, but they were in many respect the proverbial straw on the proverbial camel's back.

Oh God! What had she done?

She woke with a start from her dream. The whispers had faded. The stars were disappearing as the sun began rising over the horizon. In the distance, she could see electric lights. Certainly there were no lights left anywhere on this dead world. She had been right - the ship had not crashed, it had landed. Someone was doing something with it. In all likelihood, it probably was damaged, and the captain had landed it here as a convenient place for repairs.

Taking her gun in hand, she moved closer towards the ship in question. Hiding behind a large rock, she poked her head around to see what was happening.

The ship was of Imperial make, looked to be some sort of trade ship. She guessed based on visual evidence (not the other evidence she had already recieved) that it was not licensed to the Imperials or any other group. The large add-on engines and non-standard cannons gave away the fact that the ship appeared to be used for smuggling. It at least was used for some sort of borderline-legality activity. Why a trade ship, seemingly not allied with the Imperials, had a military tracking device she couldn't figure out.

She hadn't seen him at first, but it became obvious that someone was indeed working on the ship. Slowly the person in question came into view. A man, fairly young, probably involved in shady activities. From what she could see, not bad looking either. But people in general scared her. There was always the chance of identification. Rumors had circulated following - the incident. Rumors about the shooter. Rumors that were all too true.

There was no time to think. She took her gun in hand and pointed it at the man. Easing the trigger, she let the bullet fly.


Post a Comment

<< Home