Sunday, September 27, 2015


This is part 1 of a multi-part story. The other pieces may be found in the following places. Part 2:Here Part 3: Here Part 4: Here

He pressed his face up against the glass, wanting to insure there wasn’t anything that would jump out at him. The transport’s inspection had finished hours ago, after its occupants had been evacuated. Or rather, the ones still breathing, save the droids he supposed, were evacuated, while those that weren’t, that was, those among the ship’s small crew, were carried out in body bags. Officially he assumed the ruling would be something vague, or some lingo he had forgotten a few years ago after leaving the force.

Those in the media would twist and bend it into something like “mysterious circumstances”. After they had managed to grab interviews some channels might twist it into some ghost story, or a haunted happening. Eventually an ex-senator who hosted some program about conspiracy theories would probably go on about how it was a Gree plot to overthrow the Republic.

With a sigh, he slid the security card near the reader, getting a faint beep as the door slowly slid open. He sighed once more after he stepped inside, noting how the lights weren’t coming on. There were a few possibilities for why this was the case. It was possible that since the thing was going to be sitting here they had turned off all the breakers for the sake of power conservation or to lock down its components in the chance that somebody in the hangar got in the mood to play scavenger. Another possibility was that somehow the power system was damaged, or tampered with.

Stumbling forward in the dark, he grasped for the box he recalled being close to the door the last time he had boarded such a vessel. His bet on the layout not having changed much over the course of a few years paid off as his hand tapped against a metallic square. Feeling around, he pried the box open, pulling out one of the flashlights he knew to be stored there.

Under the beam of the flashlight, he saw that not much else had changed, meaning this was either an older model ship, or that the newer models hadn’t been iterated on. There was still a number of rows of seats for people to get as comfortable as possible while cramped like fish in a can on their journey between worlds. Beyond them was an emergency airlock at the back, the only other one besides the entrance he had just taken. He slowly walked down the aisle, looking for anything that may have been left behind, not overly surprised when he came up with nothing. People sure as hell wouldn’t want to come back here, and to make sure they didn’t have to it was worth it to grab everything they brought.

Turning around he made his way towards the ship’s cockpit. The door slid open as he approached, though its movement was slow as could be. Emergency power must have been low. The moment he entered the cockpit his attention turned to a panel near the door. Pulling it open he flicked a few of the switches within, clicking his flashlight off as the overhead lights began to buzz. The fewer dark ships he had to wander around, the better.

Once his eyes had adjusted he took a moment to consider the cockpit. There were three chairs, each one of them looking like they were in dire need of replacing, given the wear and tear on them. A few of the buttons on the console were losing their color from how many times they had been pressed by a sweaty finger. But there was no blood. On top of that, there was no sign of a struggle. He ran a finger along one of the consoles, coming up with only dust.

No residue from a potential gas or poison, no sign of forced entry, no signs of conflict, and yet three men were dead. Supposedly the passengers weren’t even aware that anything wrong had occurred, until their transport to the Outer Rim decided to take a sudden u-turn back to Coruscant. When someone had went up to check, as the story went, the person who did so found the three unresponsive and slumped back in their chairs.

He approached a few of the compartments along the wall, pulling it open. Reaching in he managed to recover a pile of chits, and what appeared to be a manifest. Flipping through the manifest revealed nothing of import, far as he could tell. It had all the general stuff, departure times, estimated arrival times, boarding documents, and passenger numbers. He let out a snort, wondering how many crews actually went to this length to have everything so clean and organized.

The chits appeared to be some form of ticket. They had information for each passenger, were easily erased, and allowed for multiple uses. Save for one of them. He plucked it out of the pile, frowning at its cracked screen. Any attempt to see if the thing had juice in it were moot, considering far as he was able to tell, the thing was ancient. Ancient by tech standards, anyway. The other chits appeared to be a year old at most, where this was working its way towards maybe a decade.

Pocketing the device, he walked towards the main console, tapping away until the screen he wanted came up. He frowned, kicking the console. Someone had already taken the security footage, which meant he was going to have to ask to look at it, as well as maybe getting a look at the corpses taking up space in a morgue somewhere.

               Returning to the panel, he flicked its switches off, the power going off with them. This might prove difficult. He’d already had to pull a favor just to get the key to this hunk of metal. To have to ask for two more things wasn’t going to go over well. Tucking his hands in his pocket he began the long walk to the nearest station. There was one thing to hope for right now. That he could convince someone that he would make for a great contract investigator on this particular case.

               The thought left a sour taste in his mouth, but if it came down to it, he’d certainly do it. If anything, for the fact that he might be getting two paychecks out of this instead of one, but also maybe for the fact that it would let him figure out what the hell had happened. Part of him wanted to claim that it was a matter of wanting to get to the bottom of a mystery, but the rest of him knew full well what it was. He just couldn’t stand to look at widow’s eyes and tell her he couldn’t do anything.

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