Burning in the Void – Chapter 23

damn spinner _Captain

[The view shifts to show a woman with short brown hair strapped to a gurney.] Her hair is missing in irregular patches, exposing a livid red scalp splotched with half-healed lesions. Her face and arms are bruised. Clotting blood streams out of her ears and down her neck. She looks around, seemingly lost and clearly terrified, but then her eyes fall on the approaching forms of two Core Security officers. Her shoulders square up. [The view shifts again, focusing on the woman’s face.] The eyes narrow. The lips set into a straight line.

“Who are you?” she shouts at the two officers.

They ignore her. They have been well trained. To them she is just another piece of flesh to be moved on the order of their commanders.

“Why am I here? Why did you kill my friends?”

She continues to scream until one of the officers [Ninety-five percent vocal match with Core Security officer Jamie Elliot. The view shifts again, snapping around to focus on the faces of the security officers, then jumps in with quick magnifications until it is focused on the features of one officer, who has lifted his face plate. The face matches the image of Officer Elliot from his personnel record] pushes off from the wall and swings up to stand head-down over the woman’s gurney. [Zoom out to observe the whole situation.] He claps a hand over her mouth and wags a finger in her face.

“I don’t think you can hear me, but if you can I want you to keep your mouth shut,” he shouts.

He takes his gloved hand away from her mouth and gives her a meaningful look, then turns away.

“Why did you kill them?” she shouts again.

Officer Elliot claps his hand over her mouth again and sighs, shaking his head inside his helmet. “Damn spinners. They never know how to deal with the zero G.”

“At least she didn’t vomit,” the other figure says. [Switch cameras and focus on faceplate. The anti-flash nanostructure of the visor makes it impossible to identify visually. Voice is too distorted by the suit public address system, which intentionally modifies all officer voices to a neutral tone of command. Scan for suit ID. IFF report: CS-023322. Officer database readout: Anna Tso.]

Officer Tso grabs the foot of the gurney and starts hauling herself along the rungs set into the wall, dragging the gurney and its cargo along with her. Officer Elliot releases the woman’s mouth and swings down behind the head of the gurney, then starts helping Tso move it along the passage.

He cocks his head to one side, listening to a transmission, then he looks up and calls to Tso, “Jarvis and Thorton are on their way back. They couldn’t retrieve Donner’s body, but at least they survived.”

[No audible response over passage monitors. Switching focus to CS communication stream.] “…bad about Donner. She’d better be worth it,” Tso says.

“Yeah. Ask me we should’ve let the Melders wire her up for us before we grabbed her. Would’ve saved the interfacing time.” [Elliot’s comments are audible over both hallway monitors and CScom.]