The Orbiter. Part 13

While the meeting was taking place, Radim’s passage though the other door had led him into the back passages of Station Scorpion, leading through vast storage compartments and the external cargo capsules, a feature unique to Scorpion, although the other stations were equipped to receive and return the capsules on a daily basis.

But the schematics Lady Mitch had printed into the base of the lid of the box he was carrying made it clear as to which direction to travel, for the storage and housing for the Artificial Intelligence’s that run the stations were stored near the rear of the station. As he passed the main entry room for the station mortuary, a room he daren’t even think about what lay inside, he rounded the dimly-lit and secluded corner of the corridor, and was almost immediately greeted by three doors, lined up, trailing away from him.

His initial concern that he could not be able to work out which door led to which room was quickly erased, as the large black print above each door made it abundantly clear. The first door, with the name AIMS above it, he walked past, repeating this action with the second door, with the name RUI. Instead he found what he was looking for in the third door, with the name WES printed clearly above it. Composing himself, he quickly pushed open the door and slipped inside.

The inside of the room was small and compact, only occupied by two separate things, a large triple-drawered filing cabinet sat in one corner, while most of the room was taken up by WES himself, a tower computer that stood taller than Radim, and almost as wide as it was tall. At the moment WES did nothing, but made a gentle humming, and Radim knew he would have a while to wait before he could see what he came to. He looked over at the screen on the terminal, which currently sat blank, so instead turned his attention to the filing cabinet, opened the top drawer, and began sifting through the papers. The first thing he noticed was how old most of the papers were; all were from around time that Station Scorpion was first launched. He switched his attention to the second drawer, and found the same situation, although some of these were from even before the construction of the stations had begun.

He switched his attention back to the top drawer, for a nagging feeling told him he had missed something the first time. Something he quickly found, a divider with the name “Ogni-Ratha” sat empty, despite the fact it showed clear makings of usually holding a heavy load.

Before he could question the disappearance of the documents however, WES suddenly lit up, his humming increased and the screen quickly scrolled through a rapid start-up screen before showing a basic image of the Conference room, the half-moon table and nine circles around its outer edge representing the committee members. Radim slowly closed the cabinet drawer and walked up to the screen. For a few long moments, nothing happened. Before one-by-one the circles began to light up, most lit up green, but two stood out, instead lighting up with a completely different colour, red.

The moment all nine had lit up, Radim quickly typed some commands into the screen,  and a printout was quickly ejected from the base of the machine, which he promptly scooped up and stuffed into the box. He then proceeded to grab one of the papers from the filing cabinet and cover the printout with it, closing both the cabinet and the box afterwards.

He turned to leave the room, but then suddenly stopped himself, and turned to face WES again, the feeling that he was being watched suddenly overcoming his need to leave. He slowly gazed around the room, but could see no cameras or signs of peepholes in the walls, just a red bulging light in the centre of WES’s tower. Radim watched it closely for a moment, before finally managing to pry himself away and leave the room.

Composing himself, he quickly retraced his steps, heading back towards the main hangar. Except he stopped himself before he reached it, and instead waited, hidden behind the door opposite the Committee meeting room. He pushed open the door slightly, allowing himself to see down the main hall through the crack, and watched as one-by-one the members left the room.

He didn’t have to wait long however before the one he was waiting for left, and as soon as she had, he quickly followed after her, catching up with her mere moments after she had closed the door behind her.

“Mission accomplished.” He spoke the moment he was by her side.

“Fantastic.” Lady Mitch gave him a half nod. “We shall review the information once the shuttle has left Scorpion.”

Radim smiled in response, but said nothing.

The two continued to walk in silence until they reached  the shuttle, at which point Stana had re-positioned herself by the shuttle door, and reached out her hand, which Lady Mitch took hold of. “Welcome back to the shuttle Lady Mitch. I do hope the meeting was a pleasant one.”

“It was productive.” Lady Mitch responded as she stepped into the shuttle, she then turned around to face the two of them. “Shall we go?”

Radim tipped his hat. “Of course Lady Mitch.”  and once Stana was on board, he stepped on himself, closing the door behind him, and a few moments later, the engines lit up and the shuttle left the hangar of Station Scorpion.

Within moments of the shuttle having left the boundaries of the station, Radim pointed it in the general direction of Nimura Station and engaged the autopilot, before leaving the cabin and heading to join Lady Mitch and Stana in the rear of the shuttle.

By this time Lady Mitch had already opened the box and was looking at the printout Radim had collected.

“I didn’t get a chance to look at that properly.” He admitted as he stepped into the compartment. “What does it tell you?”

Lady Mitch stared at it in silence for a few moments, before dropping it back into the box again. “It tells me that the only people who voted against this rule were Madam Night and I. I had hoped that Sir Fisiio might be in opposition to the rule too.”

Stana leant back into the corner of her seat. “Do you suppose that he just agreed with it?”

Lady Mitch sighed heavily. “It was his suggestion at the last meeting. But he is often very impartial so I had hoped we could work that in our favour.”

Radim gave a gentle nod before leaning back against the cockpit door. “Well I think that either one of two things will happen here, don’t you?” Stana and Lady Mitch turned to look at him, but said nothing. “Don’t you see? Either they will drop this now that it hasn’t passed, or you can continue to stall this for as long as it takes.”

Lady Mitch sighed again and rubbed her forehead. “I wish it were that simple. But I will say that I think Lord Abultrates and Lord Cammeo are planning something. They gave quite an eerie threat about our successors being more cooperative than we are, I think he knows who voted against it, or at least has a hunch.”

“That does sound daunting.” Stana weighed in. “So where do we go from here?”

“I don’t know.” Lady Mitch admitted. “I’m out of suggestions at this point, we have nothing more to use.”

For a long few moments, the threesome sat in silence, eyes darting between each other as they considered their options.

The shuttle shook.

The sound of an explosion rocked the tiny shuttle, and its three occupants were thrown to the side as she began to spin wildly.

The moment the explosion had sounded, alarms began to go off in the cockpit, accompanied by a series of flashing lights. Radim, having been thrown aside with Lady Mitch and Stana, struggled to stand, but the rapidly increasing spin prevented him from moving any closer to the cockpit door, his body feeling increasingly heavier with each passing moment.

“Radim! What’s happening?” Stana yelled out over the sound of the alarms, the panic in her voice as evident as the fear on her face.

“We’ve been struck!” Lady Mitch responded. “I knew those threats weren’t hollow.”

Radim didn’t respond to either, instead trying desperately to reach the door frame, fighting against a body that could no longer support its own weight.

“We aren’t going to make it are we?” Stana was now as pale as the white wall behind her.

“We’re venting air.” Lady Mitch responded as she noticed a growing hiss.

Radim finally grabbed hold of the door frame and pulled himself upwards slightly, just enough to peer into the cockpit and see the control panels. One in particular caught his eye. “Incoming object!” he strained his voice to be heard by the others. “We’re going to be hit again.” He let go off the door and dropped down between the two women, grabbing hold of them both tightly. “Don’t hold your breath out there, your lungs will burst.”

The two women nodded in understanding and gripped him tightly.

There was a moment’s pause.

The ship shuddered again.

And tore apart.

The three tumbled around in the utter blackness, watching as sections of the shuttle peeled off in all directions. Radim pulled the other two in closer, before realising he hadn’t heeded his own advice, and exhaled.

For a few moments he just drifted, before his vision blurred, he saw a flash of light, heard a garbled sound he couldn’t place, and all he saw was black.

I think this might be my longest chunk of the story thus far, but it’s out on time this time which is good.


Part 14

Part 12

Part ONE