FLYING BLIND (The Indigo Reports: Story 0.5)
Short Space Opera Story
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EXCERPT FROM FLYING BLIND
COPYRIGHT © TRACY COOPER-POSEY 2017
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Rinat System Provincial Space
The appearance of the Eriuman patrol surprised everyone, including Tatiana herself. They were in neutral territory, minding their own business. To anyone who looked, they were a simple freeship.
“What in the stars above is Erium doing out here?” she demanded of the whole bridge.
“They’re demanding we halt for boarding, Captain!” Ruh called from the communications console.
“Specifics, please,” she asked, forcing her voice back to reasonableness. Others would panic if they heard the captain screeching. “And I want our passenger here, right now. I have some questions for her.”
Tatiana ran through possible scenarios, weighing and discarding potential strategies, but she didn’t have enough information yet. “Ruh?”
Her brother wrinkled his nose as he read the data. “A convoyer. The AI thinks it might be the Africanus.”
A convoyer. “Scan wide,” Tatiana said quickly. “Highest sensivity. Convoyers don’t travel alone.” She lifted her voice. “And someone tell me about the Africanus!”
There was a murmur of voices by the bridge gate. Three of the crew were hauling their passenger along by her arms. Marisol. Like most Karassians, she had only the one name. The three let her go. She stood on the decking in front of Tatiana, her arms crossed and her head tilted. She had declared herself an Upgrade, rather than a Standard, but had not specified what category of Upgrade she was. Other Karassians might have insisted on the details, but free citizens just didn’t care. At least Marisol looked normal. The biocomps and biobots didn’t fit in anywhere but central Karassia.
“Why is there a Eriuman patrol demanding to board my ship?” Tatiana asked her.
Marisol shrugged. “When they enter, you can ask them.”
“Perhaps I should put you out in front of the welcoming committee,” Tatiana said. “They’re here for you, aren’t they?”
Marisol shook her head. Her hair was perfect Karassian blonde, her lips full and symmetrical and her eyes a flawless brown. She looked much like every other Karassian Tatiana had ever met. The standard enhancements every Karassian received before birth made them that way, especially to outsiders. Even her disdain fit the pattern. “They are not here for me,” Marisol declared firmly. Too firmly.
“Something you’re carrying, then,” Tatiana surmised. “Search her.”
Marisol tried to struggle, but there were too many free staters willing to hold her down. She swore, and leaned up on one elbow from her prone position on the deck, as someone handed Tatiana a small, shielded box. It sat on Tatiana’s palm, looking innocent.
“A whole patrol for this?” Tatiana moved her hand, examining it from every angle. She made no move to open it, though. Noxious things came in small packages, as well as big, Erium-sized ones.
“What I truly like is the stories never go in the direction I would expect. These stories are in my “to be read time and again” file.” –Amazon reader
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