John’s SciFi Space Short Story
Gabriel’s passage to the space station, Babylon, was uneventful, but as she neared it, she sensed the malevolence abating. She cursed. She was too late. Somehow, it had escaped before she could find its identity.
The ship docked, and she disembarked, stepping through to the space station deck, searching for any clues that might help her. The eerie silence disturbed her. No one came forward to greet her or prevent her from entering Babylon. Not wanting to waste time on the station, Gabriel headed towards the sports stadium to gain a firsthand view of the scene of the mass murder and hopefully a clue of where the demon may have ventured to next.
She paced the arena before ascending the steps to the spectators’ concourse and ground zero of the disturbance. When she scanned the panorama, she saw nothing of significance about the location, until she realized its centrality in gaining a direct line-of-sight view of everyone who sat there, it was the perfect spot for the malevolence to unleash its power and destruction. Gabriel has seen enough. She exited the stadium and headed for Cain’s apartment.
Nothing stood out as she inspected his residence. It was the typical squashed and utilitarian place provided for most space station workers. Few belongings scattered the space. He must have had a tidy disposition, she thought. Rummaging through his draws and cupboards gave no extra clues about his propensity for possession by an ethereal being. She gave up discovering any further information where he lived, except maybe discovering he hadn’t returned to his abode after the manifestation.
Her last port of call was the warehouse where Cain worked. Her boots echoed through the corridors as she ventured towards that part of the station. Unlike the rest of the station, the warehouse contained a few people. They stood and mingled with nothing to do. There weren’t any ships to unload. As she wove her way toward the office, a huge, intimidating man rumbled toward me, his facial features reflecting the unfriendly gait of his walk.
“You can’t be here,” he said, as he approached her.
Gabriel stopped walking, waiting for him. “I’m Celestial Intelligence.”
“I don’t care who you are. You can’t be here.”
“I’m here investigating the mass murders and gaining background behind Cain. I believe he worked for you.”
The man looked at her suspiciously. “You need a warrant.”
“I don’t need a warrant.” She stared him down, which always worked. Her angelic eyes become too overbearing for anyone to refuse her demands.
“What do you want to know?” The man asked as he rubbed the nape of his neck.
“Where was he working last?”
“He was unloading a freighter over by Warehouse C. He went off shift once he finished. Said he felt tired.”
Gabriel nodded, intrigued by the interesting observation. “Where is Warehouse C?”
“Over here. I’ll show you.” The overbearing man turned and lumbered away from her, expecting her to follow him.
She checked either side of her to gain her bearings before obliging him. They walked a significant distance before entering the warehouse, which included closing doors. Gabriel presumed it was a bonded zone used to impound imports before release.
“This is the cargo he unloaded.” The man gestured toward the crates neatly stacked within the space, except for one.
Seeing the container send shivers down her spine. She had seen the likes of it before. “That will be all.”
“Someone needs to be with you. It’s protocol.”
She glared at him. “That will be all.”
He fidgeted for several seconds before obeying her and left.
Gabriel approached the container with deliberate, slow steps, becoming more disturbed the closer she got to it. Why would anyone transport such dangerous cargo on a commercial freighter to be stored in an unsecured warehouse? The laxity of whoever had arranged the transfer flabbergasted her. Once there, she inspected the crate with scrutinizing eyes. She circled it, peering at every detail until she noticed a blemish in the outer casing. A huge split snaked along the side.
Reaching for a flashlight, she shone it through the slit. The light didn’t reflect, but continued into the container. By the looks of the corner, it had fallen. She surmised the fall caused the fracture, which had released the demon.
Gabriel sighed. Such an easy incident to fabricate. Once free, it was a foregone conclusion for the beast to enter Cain and unleash its evil intent. She could still smell the lingering stench of its habitation.
But she couldn’t sense the demon anywhere nearby. The aura she had detected was dissipating. It had left the station. That meant it must’ve boarded a ship.
With no further need to inspect the warehouse, she wove her way back to the office, searching for the person she met earlier.
His eyes met hers as she approached him, a smoldering uneasiness in them, as if intent on defying her.
“Have any spaceships disembarked since the incident?”
“Where can I find out?” His reluctance to divulge information was annoying her.
“At the spaceport terminal on the other end of the space station. We’ve unloaded no ships, if that was your next question.”
“It wasn’t, but thanks for the advice.”
Gabriel left, not bothering with any words of departure.
She stepped through to the spaceport concourse half an hour later, wondering why she hadn’t thought to make enquiries there when she arrived. It didn’t matter, she would get the information she needed, anyway.
She entered the control room. Its only occupant was a feverish female, pretending to work, flashing fleeting glances at her as she approached the woman. “Did any ships leave Babylon after the incident?”
Despite being terrified, the woman challenged her question. “Who are you?”
Gabriel sighed again. “Answer the question.”
After staring at her for several seconds, the woman stammered, “Just one.”
“Three or four hours ago. And there was another incident.”
Gabriel raised her eyebrows. “Another incident?”
“Yes. Someone murdered the pilot just before it departed. And it didn’t have clearance, which sent my superiors into a frenzy. But I had no control over its departure.”
Gabriel nodded. The demon left on that ship. “Who took it?”
“I didn’t see.…”
The woman stumbled into silence, so Gabriel encouraged her. “… But?”
“Someone else said it was Cain.”
“Did they say where it was going?”
The woman shook her head.
“Thanks for your corporation.” Gabriel turned and left. She was at a dead end until she determined the stolen spaceship’s destination. She needed to report to The Council for further instructions.
To be continued…