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Approaching Minos- Part Five July 22, 2007

Posted by psimitar in Uncategorized.

Minos was easy to find.

Using the Oro’s standard transponder signal, the bridge crew immediately received a likewise heavily encrypted reception signal with a flight trajectory that would lead them to Minos Station’s B-16 docking bay.

“Cyan,” Verdoux called from her sensor pod suspended a few meters above the deck. “We’re set to land in less than twelve minutes, but I have to say that something about this doesn’t feel right.” A growing alarm had crept into her senses since entering the Minos quadrant of the Belt Zone, almost as if some unseen hand were warning her and the ship back the way it had come. But there was nothing for her back on Ganymede. Not now.

Not all is as it seems.

Verdoux Kai is a young woman of Jovian extraction. Her dark auburn hair squarely accented smoldering facial features like her fierce chestnut-colored gaze that was amplified by tiny flecks of an almost incandescent violet; a trait inherited from her late father Meric Klaurin who passed just weeks before her birth on the lost Saturnian moon of Titan. Shortly after her birth, her mother Celeste Klaurin succumbed to labor injuries and since left in the care of the Klaurin’s closest family friend, Fei-Hon Kai.

The circumstances of her father’s death were kept a mystery to her. A simple spacer’s accident had claimed Meric’s life, along with the rest of his exploratory crew on the desolate abandoned moon and that was it. Fei-Hon had mentioned something about explosive decompression, but would grow irritable and upset whenever her curiosity piqued at the age of fifteen after years of taunting from fellow classmates who had proper mothers and fathers. Unlike them, institute staffers raised Verdoux and Au Pair droids saw to her every need as Fei-Hon busily established his grand vision of an Institute for the Future of Sol.

Verdoux had a grim understanding of death, its finality and its utter eventuality. After a lifetime of training to “improve today for a better tomorrow,” the school’s slogan, at the end of the day she sometimes wondered just what the point of it all was for if all there was in the end was something as mundane as explosive decompression waiting for you.

Staring down at her adoptive father’s remains, exactly two weeks before their arrival at Minos Station, she wondered at the pointlessness of an existence of servitude to a future that made this of her father.

Verdoux was asleep when the attack happened. It started with a trip of the mansion’s exterior alarms. She awoke with a start and reached out in the dark, almost as if grabbing something elusive and dreamlike. Pulling her hand back with nothing, she hopped out of bed and bounded out of her quarters, barely noting the odd violet embers cascading around her; she mistook them for remnants of dream.

She bypassed the suite of rooms where the institute’s temporary “guests” were staying, a straggly group of spacers who Fei-Hon trusted implicitly. She could sense them all soundly sleeping through the alarm; after all if their story was true, they had just traveled a third of the solar system with all but the hounds of Hades at their backs and were exhausted.

In their rooms, violet embers flicked from face to face, as if checking on them. One in particular…the one with the shock of black hair awoke with a start and reached out for a quickly fading ember, barely catching it before its warmth dissipated in his palm. He too could now hear the alarm and alerted the others, the Venusian and the pale Uranian who came to with dual-pistols drawn and leveled at her captain’s head.

Verdoux ran and ran toward the security bay, all the while a growing sense of dread settled like a weight in her core. Someone’s lifelight had just gone out. She didn’t know how, but she could feel it. She was nearing her father’s quarters when she saw a sickly waft of gray-black smoke break free from beneath his doorjamb. She let out a sob and reached for the door which responded in kind by bursting outward at her in a spray of synthwood splinters that hurt just as badly as realwood splinters. Her vision went violet.

Cyan was the next to arrive and was carrying with him a fire-extinguisher which he used to combat the growing flames licking the exterior walls of her father’s massive suite. Verdoux knew that many of his artifacts were extremely old and most of them, extremely flammable, but what could have caused the fire in the first place? In a daze she walked past the man frantically trying to control the blaze and progressed to the center of the carpeted room, to a pile of scorched fabric and carbon; all that was left of the late Fei-Hon Kai. A single window was open to the silken night sky.

The roar of nearby flames silenced then went out all together as the bereaved woman drank in their energy. Cyan stared in disbelief and oddly clamped a hand to his mouth suppressing the urge to cry out a warning as Verdoux sank to her knees and released that energy in a pulse-field of violet thunder, shattering everything worth shattering in the room and flinging the Oro’s captain like a rag-doll back toward the exit.

Still kneeling and still shrouded in a daze of grief, Verdoux saw something in the pile of remains. She grabbed it just before a danger sense told her to lay flat as soon as possible. Through the shattered bay windows overlooking the institute’s massive gardens, coherent beams of light poured into the suite, bathing everything in a sickly green glow. The beam’s contact points erupted into flames that started eating away at what was left of the room.

By this point Yura and Iris had reached the rooms of the late headmaster and were helping Cyan to his feet when they too flattened themselves against the smoke-filled carpets. In a gap of firing, Yura opened up with coherent light of her own spilling from twin light pistolas out of the windows. She was without a target, but her spirit was in the right place.

Whoever killed Master Kai was trying to make sure there were no surviving witnesses and was much better equipped. Cyan yanked Yura back to the floor just as a powerful blast of green light seared through the space where the Uranian’s head had been a second before.
Just then a voice over the institute comm alerted them to an escape route planned for emergencies and colored beacons alit in the dimmed hallways. Una, who also had quarters in the mansion’s dormitories then alerted local authorities and joined them on their escape path. It was sheer luck that it was Winter break and all the students had gone home earlier that week.

The crew of the Oro didn’t stop running until they were outside of Jovian space; in actuality they were still running from what happened not just on Miranda, but on Ganymede as well.

“There’s nothing for me back on Ganymede. Not now.” Verdoux said, fully out of her reverie and back in her sensor pod on the Oro’s bridge. She idly caressed the object retrieved from her father’s corpse, a mysterious crescent shaped piece of metal that gleamed violet at her touch.



1. Anonymous - July 23, 2007

That was great! Much better than in olden days…more violence and violet!

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