Authors: Ronald Wintrick
Chronicles of a Space Mercenary – Vengeance
Copyright 2013 by Ronald Wintrick
As I woke my dreams followed me into consciousness. My immediate thought upon waking was that for some reason I wasn’t where I was supposed to be nor could I recall how I had gotten here. I shook the cobwebs from my brain as clearly I
supposed to be here so equally clearly I had gotten really intoxicated last night and now my fuses were crossed this morning. That was my first thought as I sat up and looked around my cabin. For some reason however
seemed to be out of kilter as well, as though one of us didn’t belong here, though I couldn’t explain my odd sensation. It just seemed wrong. Add to the growing list of anomalies the fact that the previous evening was just a blank spot in my mind- what a waste- and this gives a pretty good indication of how my morning was begun on this day.
oddities began piling up almost immediately, just as they might the morning after a hard night out, but that wasn’t this at all. This was something different which I didn’t recognize. First I couldn’t find the head in my own suite of cabins- it just wasn’t where I thought it should be. I activated the corridor hatch twice before deciding the head
be in the corridor. After finding it in a place I was sure it had not been before- I stopped myself because by this point I was sure I was still sleeping. I pinched myself hard but that only hurt. “Ouch.” I said. “I’m not dreaming.”
After using the head- despite
that it seemed to be in an odd location- I was then surprised to find that my clothes were lying crumpled on the floor next to my bed where I didn’t remember putting them. It’s not that I don’t throw my clothes on the deck I just simply didn’t remember doing it. I couldn’t remember a damn thing of the previous evening, but figured the odd memory lapse and my weirdness just must have been me this morning. It wouldn’t be a first to wake feeling oddly hung-over and out-of-sorts. At least that’s what I thought then.
I did feel out-of-place though, I reflected as I slowly pieced together and regained my disjointed senses, though why they were disjointed was the mystery. Normally if I woke not knowing where I was it was because I had gotten intoxicated on some alien concoction Tanya had convinced me to try
- not that it took a lot of convincing- or woke in a place I had never been before or hadn’t been in a long time, like a Federation jail for instance. I’d been in a Federation jail a few times throughout my life and the morning after when I wake for the first time in that cell it was always the same; long moments of disorientation while I searched around the small cell for a way out, the confusion only ending when I finally realized there was no way out. I wasn’t in a Federation jail however and I knew for a fact I hadn’t gotten stupid intoxicated because I
paid for it the next day- no matter what the intoxicant. Despite the oddities I
great. I recognized the feeling as odd immediately- I never woke feeling well.
good in fact, better than I could remember in quite a while. The usual anguishes of a normal morning after were strangely absent. Of course I would drink my hot-jolt all day- mostly to recover from the night before but also to keep the senses alert late into that coming night. Then while raking it in on the tables the usual nightly drinks and other exotic pleasantries which were available on any Kievor Trade Station, night after night or at least until I was bust. The mornings after were always the hardest part of my day, except
morning after. In fact I felt as if I hadn’t contaminated my body in years, which I knew of course to be untrue. I polluted my body regularly. Nor was I craving my hot-jolt! Normally I couldn’t get my eyes fully open until the second or third cup- and which was really suspect.
hough somehow not needing what I normally couldn’t live without I made my hot-jolt anyway and headed for the hatch, still with that odd sensation that it was in the wrong place. Chalking it up to the unknown because excessive thinking in the morning, even if I felt good, was a waste of valuable energy I could spend later on the card tables. I activated the real hatch meaning to depart only to find Tanya with fist raised outside in the corridor, getting ready to start beating on my hatchway. She did not look pleased.
“Most of my jewelry is missing
!” Tanya snarled. “The hall feeds have been tampered with also. They should show the thief going in and out but they don’t! Since you are the only one with the authority to tamper with those feeds I expect you to explain to me where my jewelry went.”
“Good Lord.” I said as I took a big gulp of my hot-jolt.
Tanya's cabin was so full of material
there was barely room to get into it. The safe containing her jewelry opened after she put an eyeball in front of the retinal scanner the huge door then swinging open on frictionless hinges. The safe was packed
"Most of it
is missing!" Tanya snarled.
"There isn't room for any more." I said dubiously, apparently not quite as awake as I thought. "If most of it
is missing where were you keeping it?"
Tanya looked confused for a moment then turned on me; "Don’t try to confuse the issue! I know what I have and most of it's missing! Now I want to know w
hat you're going to do about it!"
"I’ll check the feeds." I said just to get away from her. There was no way she could have put more jewelry in that safe- and she was claiming that
of it was missing! I’d seen her safe before and as far as I could tell there was
missing, much less most of it. So combined with Tanya’s
jewelry and my own inauspicious morning wondered what other insanity this day might bring?
My mind must be playing tricks on me I thought, in some way befuddled, as I became confused as to which way to turn to get to my Bridge. As I looked back and forth both ways down the corridor, not sure which way to go, clopping footsteps which began to approach proved to be Bren coming around the far corner down the corridor to my left;
“Which way to the Bridge?” I asked with a ridiculous grin when he had come close enough to be heard in a conversational tone of voice. I felt stupid but really couldn’t remember which way I was supposed to go, in which direction lay my own Bridge! I was
out of it, I thought, not imagining the half of it.
even bother with looking his disgust at me, which I think was the most suspect act yet this morning. He just pointed back the way he had come and kept right on walking. Right past me without as much as an adieu when this would have been the perfect opportunity for him to drive home some snarky well-rehearsed barb. Bren would seldom pass up an opportunity to belittle me. Now I
I had gotten intoxicated last night and somehow really pissed everyone off. Clearly they were going to get even with me this morning. What a waste I thought for the second time that I couldn’t remember the episode, at the same time wondering how much more trouble I would be in if I did it again today and couldn’t remember everything again tomorrow? As it turns out I wouldn’t need to do anything further to get in more trouble because there was yet more to come this day. The first of it was waiting for me on the Bridge and wearing Melanie’s guise, though I knew this wasn’t Melanie. I knew who this was.
I’ve been waiting for you Marc
.” Melanie purred the moment I came on the Bridge. She was sitting in my pilot’s chair in a dress that concealed almost nothing, limpid eyes pouring lust and submissiveness that would have entrapped forever any weaker man. She got up and began walking towards me the moment I came on the Bridge. I slapped the ships-com next to the hatch;
“Tanya get the hell up to the Bridge.” I said and Melanie came to a halt, a glitter to her eye, then I added;
“This isn’t about your jewelry. Melanie is back under Katon mind control.”
arrived as I finished speaking. Never underestimate Tanya’s speed I reminded myself as she entered. “If she’s back under Katon mind control then she’s the thief.” Tanya growled as she came through the hatch. I recognized the glitter in her eye immediately.
“Thief!” Melanie said, automatically changing her stance from seductive to aggressive, not afraid of Tanya one bit though I didn’t
think she would stand a chance against her. No one stood a chance against Tanya in one-on-one combat. I’d seen her in action too many times to let her frail appearance delude me into thinking otherwise though it was through her appearance that she instigated most of those
. She played the role of the naïve innocent rich girl better than the real article and brought the hustlers out of the woodwork like the magnet attracts the iron filings. Once they were within her magnetic embrace there was no escape- at least not with their credit vouchers intact or their very lives if they weren’t completely in agreement. She murdered the like left and right but there were an endless number of them like a river running but I didn’t want Melanie added to that number. There was no telling what Tanya might do when it came to her jewels.
at’s enough.” I said stepping between the two of them but facing Melanie; “You are under Katon mind control. You fought it once and beat if before and you can do it again.”
face went through several emotions as she delved into her memories and came up with the one she was seeking. It seemed surreal and so very long ago now but it wasn’t something that would just slip her mind. It was not something she should have forgotten. She could clearly understand, now that she was reminded of the incident- and again how it could have slipped her mind was beyond her- that she was doing the same exact thing again. “Why in the hell was I doing that again?” She cursed as she noticed her near nakedness as if for the first time. “And why would I dress like this for you! You and Meerla are together.” She said as she left the Bridge, over her malady for the moment, it appeared, but who in the hell was Meerla? Just another mystery I wasn’t trying to unravel at the moment. At least I wasn’t until I turned to Tanya and saw the look in her eye.
“What’s going on here?” Tanya demanded.
“Having an odd day as well?” I asked with an amusing little twist of my lip- I could laugh I wasn’t the one missing
of my jewelry. Last Chance was my only real possession as well as my home and she was fueled, stocked and ready to go. I had a few credits in my Kievor account but if those were missing it would only mean we’d have to pull out a day or so early. Not that I truly thought Tanya’s jewelry was missing, but there
something odd going on here and odd things needed to be investigated.
believe I am.” Tanya admitted.
“I think we all are.” I said. “Shall we take a survey?”
Everyone was having a weird morning
it seemed, we concluded pretty quickly. The difficulty was that once we
in full agreement that something odd was occurring that still left the problem of what I was supposed to do about it. What
I supposed to do about this hypothetical malady? What
I do about something I had no way to detect! I had no clear understanding of what was occurring except that I and everyone else unquestionably felt that things were somehow intrinsically wrong- but what that wrongness was we could only guess. Everyone was reporting peculiarities that morning but that’s all they were. This seemed odd or that seemed strange, just small quirks and nothing tangible to become overly alarmed about that I could detect. I did not believe for a moment that
of Tanya’s jewelry was missing and I was sure there had to be some logical explanation for our strange mental lapses. The Trade Station had passed through a gravitational anomaly or fluctuation of Time or some such other Universal glitch would be at the topmost of my guesses although I wouldn’t rule anybeing out. I thought briefly about asking the Kievor if they knew anything about it but immediately decided that just keeping my mouth shut for the time being would be the safest course of action. I wasn’t going to talk myself into the grave as I had watched so many do with Tanya. If something purposeful had been done to us it would have been the Kievor who had done it or at least been witness and party to it. Nothing went on in a Kievor Trade Station that the Kievor weren’t aware of. I would save my inquiries for when I had some real questions to ask as well as better understanding what I might be getting myself into. If the Kievor were somehow behind these oddities there was very little chance they would come straight out and admit it.
“You son-of-a-bitch Marc!
” Tanya swore as she came charging onto the Bridge. My blaster came out of its holster all of its own accord and for the first time ever I held a weapon against Tanya. I immediately put it away but could hardly believe how quickly I had been willing to pull it. I had no idea where this over-reaction had come from because normally I would never pull my blaster unless I meant to use it and I assuredly had not meant to use it against Tanya, no matter how pissed off she was.