by Caitlyn Konze -
To anyone else, it would seem Anjelika stood before one of hundreds of utility compartments on Avenir. She tapped her knuckles on the mag door. Twice hard, near the bottom. Twice gentle, at the top.
The door inhaled as it slid open and sighed as it shut.
“Figured you forgot about me,” came a nasal voice at Anjelika's feet. A dirty teen with oversized spectacles sat cross-legged on the floor.
Anjelika knelt. There was little room to do anything else. “Forget the first sub-level friend I ever made? Never.”
A smile raced across the girl's face. She pushed her glasses up her nose. “Nice to be appreciated, but you're here for more than tea and cakes.”
“It shows.” It meant to be a question, but came out a statement. The pressure of her father's betrayal sat heavy on Anjelika's chest. How could her face not reflect the storm brewing in her heart? The truth would calm that storm and Glass could help expose the truth. Forcing a heavy smile, Anjelika asked, “How deep can you hack, twiddle-fingers?”
“Wherever you want to go, richy-poo.” Three of the four walls in the closet were composed of drawers. From them, Glass retrieved an interface pad and a cord with one flat end. Monitors of various sizes were rigged to the fourth wall. All of them blinked on as she tickled the touch screen. “Destination?”
“News feed archive.”
“Date range and keywords?”
“Nine Foundings ago. Hull breach accident.”
Fingers flying, Glass filled each monitor with a different article. Her eyebrows frowned. “Strange. Thought there'd be more on a story like this. No system feed either which means Avenir never made an official statement. Most articles bum off this feeder.”
A screen-shot in the bottom left-hand corner slid to the largest monitor in the center of the wall.
Woman Spaced After Breach Accident
A body was recovered after an overloaded dock terminal exploded, breaching Avenir's hull. “It's a one-in-a-million chance this happened,” explains docking bay engineer Darl Meerstein. “If debris continuously struck the same outer plate, that point may have weakened enough for the concussion of the blast to break through. The air pressure discrepancy would take care of the rest.” The body has been identified as Jeleen Loynis, wife of Acquisitions Administrator Davik Loynis who was aboard an inbound ship at the time. The Hekate aborted docking procedure to retrieve the body. Also lost were three cases of medical cargo, a maintenance kit, and an emergency enviro suit. Dock hand Zauto Pulk lost consciousness due to lack of oxygen but has since recovered. Davik Loynis was unavailable for comment.
The knife of deceit twisted in Anjelika's heart. Her father had been there when it happened? Is that why he said her mother survived? The article did say an enviro suit was also spaced, but would she have had time to put it on before suffocating or freezing to death?
Of one thing Anjelika was certain. Part of the cryptic letter was true. Her father was false.