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   Chapter 6 No.6

Dead Man’s Hammer By Christina Engela Characters: 5509

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

She went over the morning's reports. A visiting star liner had reported an incident just after arriving in Deanna orbit several hours before. Apparently someone aboard the Ossifar Distana fancied themselves something of an assassin and had made a bit of a mess of one of their illustrious passengers. No other crew or passengers were missing, all were accounted for, and it seemed to be a perplexing mystery waiting for the right detective to solve. Fortunately, she wasn't going to get involved in the 'mysterious death' which the Captain of said star liner reported to her sotto voce. That's right, the one he wanted kept quiet, like. That could wait till they got to a Star Base, or to one of the larger colonies, like Andronicus.

Peg put down her coffee, opened her desk drawer and rummaged inside. That box of headache pills was in there somewhere. She frowned. It seemed to be hiding.

It was nearly midday and just about time for her to head home and enjoy the rest of her weekend. Down-time was a rarity in her line of work, and as Sheriff, she was permanently on-call for any of the S.O.D.ding Deputies or detectives who needed to contact her at all hours of the day or night. It was rather exhausting and taxing. Leaning back in her chair for a moment, she sighed, thinking of simpler days, before getting up to pour herself another coffee.

* * *

It was mid Sunday afternoon on the main highway between Atro City and San Fedora – a small city about fifty kilometers away on the other side of Skeggs Valley. Sheriff Maxwell Sullivan O'Donnell was of genuine Irish American descent – and actually from Earth (with maybe a little Chero

s a body inside; lying forward, slumped partly over both front seats. It was covered in blood and guts – it looked like its own blood and guts, and …and stuff he'd never even seen on the outside of a human being before. To say nothing of the smell. The wounds looked like something caused by – claws of some kind. O'Donnell stepped back, leaned on the Jeepo for support and took a deep breath, looking slightly pale.

The deathly silence was broken by another Jeepo roaring past at the head of a dust cloud on the highway in the direction of Atro City. O'Donnell removed his hat and mopped the sweat off his brow with a hanky. Okuda resisted the urge to say 'I told you so'. (He'd said it to himself in the bushes some way off on arriving at the scene. Twice.)

"That's him all right." He said sadly. "Beck. I spoke to him on the phone yesterday morning. He was supposed to meet me at the office – never showed up. Called in to say he would be late – he had car trouble." He paused to wipe again before adding, "Didn't think he would be this late, though. Or this kinda car trouble. Any leads?"

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