Knox Pashaa: Chapter 15

There was only one place left for him to go, and there was no guarantee it would help. There was nothing he could hope for but to get off the station any way he could. Dressed in an unassuming way he passed the people with no more odd looks than was normal for a pink-furred Mirrani. He began to regret his decision to rub the blood in all over his face, it undoubtedly attracted more attention now, plus it just felt stupid.

As he was making his way back to the elevator station he saw in the crowd the peaked caps of security personnel. One of them was atop a Fubari and the other a Ventoshi with an eyepatch. They were hustling in his direction. Veen and Telk. This confirmed his suspicions that he could not hope for the cops to handle this, the whole station was compromised. The pair were pushing people aside as they moved. Knox could only keep walking forward as though they had no business with him. He felt like he could feel the blood-dye in his fur now, attracting their attention. A white Mirrani was at least heard of, but a pink one? What was he thinking? Still, this was an odd place, and the fashion of dyeing hair was not out of the question. He would just say that he dyed his own if it came down to it. Having a lie ready in waiting was reassuring, he could talk his way out of it if he needed to. Despite that, he was under a lot of distress the first time he used his mental suggestion, and it was only against one of them. Veen.

The pair of assassins made their way through the crowd. Telk, the Fubari with the bionic arm, glanced in his direction. Their eyes met. Knox didn’t need to read minds to see the expression on the Fubari was one of baffled curiosity mounting into suspicion. Knox’s mind was screaming, telling him to run, but he knew it wasn’t an option now. In the momentary passing Knox nodded and reached out with his powers a gesture that conveyed a single thought.

I’m not who you are looking for, keep going.

With that Knox turned his back coolly to the direction he was traveling and kept walking. He did not look back, waiting for a hand to clasp his shoulder or the unmistakable sound of gunfire. The back of his neck felt hot, but he kept going at his own pace, clutching the stack of papers in his hands as though he had some important meeting to get to. He kept walking until he turned the corner of the elevator station and entered the lift.

He slammed his back against the lift doors once they closed, and breathed heavy. He opened his eyes to see the other three occupants of the elevator avoiding eye contact. Knox rubbed his nose and took a more conventional position in the elevator.

“Hangar bay,” he said aloud. A soothing tone confirmed his floor entry.

How in the hells did that work?

After a few stops, he exited the elevator into a large hallway, large numbers on the left-hand wall and on the right glass windows showed the hangar docking bays beyond with ships in various states of readiness. It was still too early in the “morning” for the hangar bays to be active with the daily traffic of ships and passengers, so, for the most part, those walking around near their ships or along the upper platform were the workers and crews, dockworkers hauling materials and refueling teams with their canisters and hoses. Knox jogged down the hall towards the supply warehouse which was nothing more than a large room below the observation deck. He saw dock workers struggling with a mag-lift that repelled itself off the floor loaded with crates and containers that only two fully grown Bolmorreans could lift. Elsewhere, there were two Bolmorreans moving other materials into and out of one of the hangars.

Knox contemplated his position. He did not have any ticket or clearance to leave the station, but he had to try something. He walked up to one of the dockworkers, a muscular Stetti, who seemed to be some kind of foreman. He was directing a team standing on a large extended forklift removing boxes from a high shelf of the warehouse.

“Excuse me,” Knox said.

The Stetti turned slightly toward Knox and looked him over, not hiding his chuckle in seeing the pink Mirrani. An understandable reaction.

“Whaddoya want?”

Knox looked down at the papers in his hands and shuffled them in his hands.

“I need to inspect the cargo for the next outbound ship.”

The Stetti now fully turned to Knox, it was then that Knox realized just how big this guy was. He towered over Knox.

“You don’t look like an inspections officer.”

“I’m not. I’m with a reporter team, we were going out to investigate the new planet V26 and it’s a hazardous environment, we just think that we didn’t put the right suits in. Kind of a goof on our part. It’s an internal matter.”

The Stetti laughed.

“Ah I getchyou, reporters aren’t good for much are they, eh. Things like that happen.” He pointed to the other end of the warehouse. “They’re already stacked up by the ship. Hangar 7.”

Knox looked in the direction the Stetti pointed and then turned back, nodded, and went off in that direction.

“Wait a sec,” the Stetti said.

Knox winced.

“You might need this to look inside one of the crates.” The Stetti grabbed a tool from the side of the forklift and handed it to Knox. It resembled a kind of crowbar but with a flat rounded end.

“They can be damn tricky to open once they’re sealed.”

“Oh, thanks,” Knox blurted, taking the tool and continuing on his way.

The Stetti went back to directing the crew, yelling at one of them about a serial number.

Knox exited the warehouse and passed by six hangars before finding the seventh. The ones he passed had large red flashing lights over the big airlock doors, but the seventh had a solid green light indicating that whatever ship inside was ready for departure. Finally, some good luck. There wouldn’t be any crews wandering around, poking at the ship or looking at the cargo. Nothing would be touched until the crew was setting out for launch. He entered the airlock door and moved into the hangar. The huge blast door dominating the far wall was closed and sitting in the center of the massive room was a small corvette. Fubari made, but made with style. Its origin made Knox reconsider his plan, but then again the Fubari made nearly every piece of technology in the central sector. He hoped this wasn’t one of the cut-rate ships the Fubari had made cheaply.

The cargo was stored behind the ship, stacked neatly. Knox found one of the biggest crates he could and opened it’s latch with the tool. Inside were supplies and food for a long-term travel. He sighed and nestled himself inside before closing the door behind him. The latch locked and he was plunged into darkness. At least there was food.

By Jason Pratley

Jason Pratley joined the team sometime in 2013 when he created the concepts for the gods of ODR. He has since become the Writing Director and de facto loremaster for DDG. Check out some other stories and content at jvfpp.wordpress.com and goodevilcomic.com