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   Chapter 17 No.17

Dead Beckoning By Christina Engela Characters: 5336

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"As luck would have it, funny things happen in deep space and we ended up getting back home again after all… and the killer – Mr. Billingham is on his way to a very big, very lonely prison where – ironically – the chances of that are a lot less certain."

Yes, Mykl reflected as he sipped his brandy and cola. Funny things indeed. Considering the storm of paperwork it had caused, very messy.

"The trial's coming up soon, isn't it?" Mykl asked out of interest.

"Yeah." Lofflin nodded. "In a few months' time. I know they don't execute murderers anymore, but just this once I wish they'd make an exception."

"He'll probably get life in one of those really nasty penal colonies." Mykl suggested.

"The case made a lot of headlines in the papers on Tremaine." Lofflin continued. "A lot of papers. That, and with all the repairs to the ship, we were dry-docked for about two months altogether. Just got back out in space a couple of weeks ago."

At the pool table, Carlson shot the white ball. It ricocheted off the cluster, unexpectedly going airborne. It bounced on the deck, and then rolled noisily past Lofflin and Mykl in the awkward silence. Mykl couldn't tell if he'd done that on purpose, but he seemed to be blushing.

"I heard you had quite a business of it… The ship-wreck, the murderer, and then some alien killer onboard?" Mykl continued, as a red-faced Carlson came dashing past in hot pursuit of the white ball. Mykl winked at Ripley, who was already planning her next shot – and she smiled and winked back.

"Yeah, something like that." Joe returned, pulling on his drin

uld at least be somebody they're happy with."

"Amen to that." Joe nodded, "To employ an archaic term."

After a pleasant few more hours spent socializing, the Mordrake's commanders returned to their ship and life on the Antares returned to its usual routine. Both vessels continued on their journey to the little colony called Caries.

After bidding Joe Lofflin and his Exo farewell, Mykl and Ripley returned to the Captain's Flat. It was late already, ship's time, and Mykl first went to the adjoining office to go through his email – there were some intelligence reports drawn from the combined Mordrake and Antares sensor sweeps of the area of the destroyed Astor-base. There was nothing much there. In fact, the reports sent by Lirtman were far more enlightening. There were some incidental local crime reports on various local colonies and outposts in the area, a few navigational warnings, the latest edition of the Space Fleet newsletter, and a selection of possible places to check out from Admiral Lirtman. Something caught his eye. It was a name.

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