Just Part of the Job
by Floyd Looney
The small craft looked like a small version of the old Space Shuttle but this one was near a tall, rusting hulk that looked like a grain silo with four solar panel wings. The two space-suited figures inside the ship were investigating reports that an illegal drug called an “outie” had been moved from this location to other orbital communities. Outies make people lose it, often they end up walking out of an airlock.
They turned on a spotlight to get a better look at the habitat. It really was a rust bucket and any markings had long since worn down. Those inside had turned off their exterior lights as the shuttle approached but those in the ship knew they were home, the habitat was warm and they knew there were two human-sized heat sources inside.
Lieutenant Reese Davison shook his head “They're going to make us do this the hard way, aren't they?”
Sergeant Manny Jones sighed and started putting on his helmet “Looks like I need to make a house call”
Davison kept up with the radio “Since you have ignored my communications we will be boarding your habitat. Put on your spacesuits and prepare to be arrested”
“They won't answer, Reese” Manny told him “We know exactly how these kind of people think”
Davison nodded and turned on the red and blue strobe light on the top of the ship. Manny was connecting his stunner to his spacesuits hip with his bagger hanging off his belt from the other side. Of course it was weightless so “hanging” wasn't exactly the right word.
After leaving the airlock Sergeant Manny Jones kicked off from the ship just above where the word POLICE was painted across the side next to an emblem of the Orbit Police Department. The same emblem on the chest and shoulder and helmet of Sergeant Manny Reese as he reached the exterior hatch of the habitat.
Manny tried the lock, no dice. They weren't that stupid. He pulled a small box off of his belt and entered it into a recess on the locking mechanism. The red light turned green and he opened the exterior hatch, then he entered the airlock.
Once inside he attempted the normal pressurization sequence. Once this was complete he tried to open the inner hatch of the airlock and it was also locked. After repeating the work with the black box it unlocked but the door was blocked from the inside. There were no lights, the lights on the sides of his helmet and on his wrists were enough for him.
He had seen a 3d diagram and he knew there was barely room on the other side for the airlock door, then you went up. He had planned for this, he thought of it as soon as he had seen the schematic, he would have done the same thing was he one of them.
He took a small cannister connected to a bag, since the door opened a little he pushed the bag out at the bottom, underneath what was blocking him from entering. He hoped. Once this was complete he hit the button on the cannister and it rapidly inflated the bag, pushing whatever it was upward. It worked and he was out of the airlock, he looked up and saw some sort of seat flying upward through a central tube.
Now he just needed to find and arrest the suspects. He kicked off of the bottom and upward, he found an open area that seemed to be the biggest room in the habitat, a circular less than eight feet across. This was probably the main room, a galley hidden behind a panel and two terminals that controlled everything, but the suspects were not here, they were hiding.
He took the stunner from his belt, just in case they put up some more resistance. He inched up through the center, opening the sliding doors as he found them. When he shined his wrist lights inside he found closet and coffin-sized compartments on either side, one was a little larger and it contained a bathroom, some were storage, a few were sleeping berths.
He knew there was another “large” chamber at the end of this silo-designed habitat, this is where all of the batteries, life-support and other equipment was located. They were obviously hiding in there, so he reached up and turned on the scatter-light at the top of his helmet, this would disorient them even more.
He banged on it with the butt of his stunner and used the speaker on his helmet “Come on out, you are under arrest, there is no-where to run”
True enough. Where would they go? They were 220 miles above the Earth traveling at more than 17,500 miles per hour, there were no neighbors for a hundred and ninety miles. They had no ship or escape pod, the ring-leader had obviously made his escape without them.
The door slowly slid open and two people were there holding their hands up. One was in hi forties, bald, spider-web tattoo over his head, he had piercings in his nose and ear. The other occupant looked to be a thin, short teen-aged boy with thick dark bowl-cut hair and two small piercings under his bottom lip.
“Go and suit up” he told them, Manny remembered having seen two suits in the airlock when he came in. The two male suspects looked uncomfortable before the older one said “Those suits were slashed, we were abandoned as soon as the boss found out you were coming”
Manny called Reese back on the ship “They have no suits, you'll need to dock”
“Just tell the suits everything about your boss. You two won't be locked up at the tank, not worth it, you guy will be going down to the dirt instead” he told them, that meant Earth. They both looked even more upset at the idea of being sent back to the planet.
“I didn't make you commit the crime, don't blame me” Sergeant Manny Jones told them “I'm just a cop with Orbital PD, just doing my job”
You can always help me out by buying (or borrowing if you have Kindle Unlimited) a copy of New Arrivals.