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Charon's Crossing.

Posted on Sun Dec 27th, 2020 @ 10:24pm by Client The Narrator

Mission: Ticket To Rhea
Location: Entering Saturnian Confederacy Space
Timeline: After Blood Sacrifice

Senior Chief Ortez attached the air hose to his suit and checked the seals once more. Two decades in the United Nations Navy and another decade in the Confederacy had hammered home the importance of good suit discipline. A faulty seal, a forgotten latch, and before you knew it your blood was sublimating in your veins and you were so much freeze-dried jerky in the void.

Once he was sure the seals on his suit were secured and fastened, he stepped through the companionway to the inspection skiff's small cockpit. There he found Warrant Officer Miguel's body leaning across the aisle, a constellation of blood droplets floating in the air around the hole in his head. Ortez pushed the body back across into the pilot couch and then busied himself double-checking the course and speed markers. He checked them to his suit terminal and was gratified to see they matched.

He then turned back to the crew compartment, where the two other members of the inspection team hung limply in their harnesses. The semi-automatic pistol had done to them what Ortez had done to Miguel, with a round cleanly through the faceplate weak point.

Dead for a ducat, dead.

He'd felt a momentary pang of regret for doing what he had to do. The two troopers were good kids, and Miguel had been a hell of a tarot deck player. But the orders from the up top had been very clear: no witnesses. He stepped to the airlock control panel, opening the service panel next to it, and inserted the data shard. The moment it slid into the receptor a rapidly diminishing countdown appeared.

Time to go.

He was in the airlock for only a second before the inner door hatch sealed, and he pulled the bright blue emergency lever. The outer door's exploded as pyrotechnic bolts detonated, and he was flung out on the trapped pressure explosion. Course and vector wouldn't be dramatically altered, so the prearranged pick up would happen as planned.

Meanwhile, the inspection skiff with its cargo of still-warm corpses continued on its way to the SCNS Xipe Topec. But thirty seconds after the Senior Chef had ejected himself out of the airlock, the data shards program began to execute. In a second the stored atmospheric tri-mix, as well as the small ships water supply, had expelled itself into the cabin. A pressure vessel rated for just over a single atmosphere of pressure was suddenly holding hundreds. The skiff exploded in a puff of shrapnel, gases, and freeze-dried body parts.

No explosion.
No thermal bloom as one might expect from a missile.

Just a sudden pressure excursion event as one might expect from a skiff being shredded by a cloud of PDC rounds.

Probable cause meets justifiable force.

Just what the Cartels ordered, and paid Ortez lavishly for.


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