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   Chapter 121 No.121

The Galaxii Series Omnibus 1 By Christina Engela Characters: 5495

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"That bad, huh."


There was a small crowd at the scene of the tragedy. Four marines were busy manhandling a body bag at the entrance of what looked like an open elevator door, lit by the flashlights some bystanders were holding up for them. The crowd consisted of entechs and assorted volunteer crewmen from Mordrake's various departments. All were quiet, except one, a woman, who was sobbing – perhaps she'd been a friend of the deceased. Some of the bystanders started lending a hand in bringing the body down from the makeshift rope and pulley. Two of the marines still had climbing gear on – it was a lot quicker than taking the stairs.

Lofflin's initial impression was correct – it was an elevator shaft, open, empty. A yawning chasm in the darkness, without any of the derelict's own dim lighting to mark it. He looked down, shining his light towards the bottom. It was about twenty meters to the stop, give or take – quite a ride. Sharp twisted pieces of metal and debris littered the bottom, reaching up and looking like teeth. It looked to Lofflin as if it was the remains of the elevator car itself at the bottom. Dark wet runs shone on the sharp edges as the light from several flashlight beams played on multiple surfaces. Fresh blood had been spilled on an old battleground, he thought. Nice. Was that really necessary?

"So what do you think happened?" He asked Murphy, who had stuck by his left elbow like a well-trained German shepherd.

"He must've come round that turn back there." Murphy said slowly, working it out in his head. "Probably tripped, stumbled in the dark, dropped his flashlight back there, fell


"Pretty much, sir." Sgt. Murphy concurred, looking around them. He could see that Commander Lofflin was tired and slightly grumpy – and the way he seemed to be looking at the walls surrounding them made him feel like they were being watched.

Bad news was bad news, but death was beginning to piss him off! Two in one day! Okay, it was four AM now, so it was two in two days, and both equally unnecessary! He was the equivalent of the ship's captain now – and Murphy was the equivalent of a cop on a crime scene.

"Right, ladies and gents." Lofflin theorized in a clear voice that cut through the permeating shroud of silence so that he had the attention of all in the vicinity. "So Specialist Pollard comes around this turn, trips in the dark over here, and drops his flashlight over there. Right?" Seeing the nods, he continued, still gesticulating with his hands. "Then he stumbles and falls down the shaft, and screams, landing on those pieces of metal down there, impaling himself. Right?" A chorus of nods followed. "That's how we think it happened, am I correct? – Sgt. Murphy?"

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