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Drop Out

This part originally appeared in the September 2011 issue of the downloadable magazine.

Part 8

Sometime later, Captain Fyyg received the list of injured and missing. Seven passengers unaccounted for. Five crewmen killed, two injured, and one missing.

Fyyg had just visited the injured crewmembers in the medbay: Ilsa Frielander, his number two; making small talk with the dark brunette as she drifted in and out of consciousness, and Quentin Isaacs, the splinted, taped and medicated purser who was itching to vacate his spot on the none-too-comfortable bench that ran down the port side of the med bay.

When the Captain asked how Quentin was doing, Isaacs broke out blubbering, “I didn’t want to do it Captain. Not in front of the kids, but the passengers were like a pack of fucking hyenas! They came at me! What was I supposed to do?!” he sobbed.

“All that you could, Mr. Isaacs, I’m sure.” the Captain replied, glad to not be in such an unenviable position himself. So Isaacs had shot the seven missing passengers, then. “We were jammed on the Boat Deck, and they started acting crazy, Boss—trying to gain access to the escape boats…shot down one who made a play for my needler. Thought that might get ’em back in line, but they’d become a mob! I had to shoot several more who got out of line to let ’em know I was serious…” Quentin stared off in the distance while he spoke.

“And the bodies?” Fyyg asked.

“They lay on the Boat Deck where they fell, Captain.” Some’ll be coming around in an hour or so, and some of the others in four or five hours…Some of the bastards got themselves dosed several times during all the excitement.” the purser replied.

“Brick?” the Captain asked.

“Brick.” the purser affirmed.

Dr Billings was missing and wouldn’t or couldn’t answer any of his calls over the comm.

“After all that, Doc Billings gave me something and ordered me to the med bay.” the purser went on. “Last I saw of him he was standing on the Boat Deck surrounded by bodies.”

Fahd and a couple of assistants had returned to the cargo bay, separated, counted and, where identification was practical, identified the mangled bodies.

“Thank you, Mr. Isaccs.” the Captain replied, standing up and bowing slightly toward the injured purser. As Fyyg walked through the med bay, he reached out and tapped a pair of crew working as orderlies on the shoulder, telling them “You and you! Come with me.” As they walked down the main hall on the Crew Deck, the Captain stopped at a weapons station mounted on the bulkhead. There were a dozen large pistols, a trio of auto shotguns, a halberd, a dozen deadly-looking cutlasses and hangers, and several sets of restraints.

Looking at the weapon rack, the woman, Tam asked “And what’re we doing, Captain?”

“We are hunting, Miss.“ replied the Captain as he took down a pair of huge auto pistols and a cutlass.

“Huntin’ what, exactly?” Anton Degrasse, the ship’s Chef asked, taking a pair of large pistols and the halberd. With his topknot and thick handlebar mustache, he looked like something right out of Treasure Island, Fyyg thought.

Tam Murmasagli, the Sensor Operator who never took off her magnetic boots, loaded herself down with four pistols and a cutlass.

Looking at Tam’s load, the Captain smiled.

“You can never be too careful, Captain.” she told him.

“Very true, Miss.” he replied, taking one of the shotguns at the last second.

The group advanced to the Boat Deck, at the end of the trip having to descend the same ladder the passengers had used.

The Captain had expected to see a number of bodies, at least. However, only a single body lay on the deck; short, ashen, with a receding hairline, and dressed in the buff-colored boiler suit he preferred to wear while on duty. It was Doctor Billings, dead to the world.

Approaching the doctor, Tam nudged him with the armored toe of her magnetic boot, to see if he was still alive. The Doctor grunted and rolled over, still sleeping. Tam went back to covering her portion of the Boat Deck.

After some time searching, Degrasse spotted the bodies laying side by side in the locked vehicle bay.

Recalling that Isaacs had said the mob attacked him, the Captain was in no mood to take any chances, and the “missing” passengers were soon restrained properly before the vehicle bay was once again sealed. Taking a small can of marker paint from a pocket, Captain Fyyg painted, in large, gothic-looking letters over the door to the vehicle bay, BRIG.

“Now we are done proper, yes?” the Captain laughed.

Then, “Tam, Cookie, grab Herr Doktor Billings please. We are taking him to the med bay to get an idea of whatever it was he took. He can sleep on the way.”