A Vampire hunter on a farming planet
|word count: 1165
Cindy Hogan sit on the bridge of the Blood Orchid staring at the view screen. Central Command had uploaded the coordinates of her new assignment the day she completed her the Clear Port assignment. According to the video briefing she was going to Arthur's Planet, an Earth-like world, on the edge of Union Space. A dozen people on four of the farmsteads had died under mysterious circumstances and Central Command, as usual, assumed that the murderer was a vampire.
"Vampires on a farming planet," Cindy snorted as her ship went into hyperspace. "After the stupid suggestion I made at Clear Port, Commander Johnson must think I'm on the verge of a breakdown."
Cindy leaned back in the command chair and closed her eyes. The ship's AI unit would automatically exit hyperspace when it reached the solar system containing Arthur's Planet. Perhaps, she thought as her mind hopscotched through memories from her childhood. I'm too cynical, too worldly, too.... The Orchid's collision alarms clanged, forcing her to open her eyes and manually take the ship out of hyperspace.
"Why," she mumbled as she ran a diagnostic of the ships AI Unit. "Didn't the Orchid automatically bring me back into normal space when it detected a possible collision instead of activating the alarms." The diagnostic indicated the system was working properly, so Cindy ran a check of the ship's hull.
"Shit!" She glared at the report on the view screen, which indicated a foreign object attached to the starboard side of the ship.
"Orchid," she addressed the ship's AI Unit. "What is attached to your hull?"
"Nothing, Captain Hogan," the Unit's male voice replied.
"Orchid, I'm staring at a report that states there is a coffin-shaped object attached to your starboard hull. Dispatch a robot retrieve it and store the damn thing in the cargo hold." She sighed, "Then continue the journey to Arthur's Planet."
"We are at Arthur's Planet, Captain," the ship replied, as the view on the screen changed to reveal a green earth-sized planet. "It is off my port bow."
While she was waiting for the robot to retrieve the object, Cindy ran another diagnostic. That diagnostic reported the ship was functioning withing normal parameters. "Orchid, I think it's time for you one thousand parsecs check up. Schedule it when we return to Central Command."
Cindy pressed a few buttons on the command console and the view on the screen changed to the cargo hold. Smiling, she watched the robot stow the coffin-like object numerous boxes and crates. After the robot left the hold, Cindy sealed all the entrances using her personal security code. I'm probably being over cautious, but anything shaped like a coffin makes me nervous. Once she was satisfied that the cargo hold was secure, she linked into the communications system of Arthur's Planet. For twenty minutes she listened to the planet's newscast, but nothing was said about anymore mysterious deaths.
"Orchid," she said as they approached the planet's moon. "Go into a geosynchronous orbit above the planet's main port. Contact the local constable I'm taking a landing pod directly to the first..." her brow wrinkled. "No inform him I'm going to the last of the four farmsteads and invite him to join me." She got up and left the bridge.
Stepping out of the landing pod, Cindy checked her bandoleer for the hundredth time. Then looked around and then checked the position of the yellow star around which Arthur's Planet orbited. The star was in the early afternoon position, but the farmstead was silent. No chickens clucked in the yard. No cows or horses grazed in the fields. Placing her hand on her laser, she approached the farmhouse listening for any noise natural or unnatural.
As she stepped onto the porch, she noticed a hound curled up on the right side of the front door. "Hello, fella," she said pausing to see if the dog reacted to her presence. The dog did not raise his head or growl. "Odd," her brow winkled as she consider her next action. Removing a scanner from her bandoleer, she pointed it at the dog. "Interesting," she frowned as she put the scanner back into her bandoleer. "It appears to be alive, so why didn't it bark at me."
Going to the door, she knock, but when no one answered she turned the knob. The door was unlocked, so drawing her laser she walked into the house. "Hello," she shouted. When no one answered she began her search with the living room. Slowly she moved from room to room looking for anything that might indicate where the residence had went. The only thing she found was a human skeleton sitting on the back porch.
"Perhaps," she said stepping off the back porch. "I should check the barn."
Inside the barn she paused to let her eyes adjust to the darkness. "No animals," she said moving from stall to stall, "water and feed, but no animals." She shook her head, "I've never heard of farmstead in this good a condition without animals."
In the last stall, she discovered a coffin similar to the object that set in the Blood Orchid's cargo hold. She opened the stall, walked in, and circled the coffin. After five minutes, she drew her laser with her right hand and opened the coffin with her left. Inside was a beautiful auburn haired woman about twenty years old. The woman opened her eyes and looked up at Cindy.
"Is it dark already?"
"I think so," lied Cindy.
"Good," the woman got out of the coffin. "Where's Norris?"
"Still in orbit," Cindy kept the laser pointed at the woman. She still was not sure if she was dealing with a vampire or just an ordinary crazy. "Would you like to go outside?"
"Is it safe, uh ...? My name is Kaka and you're..." she smiled revealing a perfect set of normal human teeth."
"I'm Captain Hogan of the Blood Orchid."
"Are you supposed to take us off the horrid planet?" Kaka's right hand trembled as she walked toward the stall door.
"Us? Are there others like you, Kaka?"
"Yes, Captain, three others."
"Shall we go outside, Kaka?"
What kind of weird creature is this, thought Cindy as she followed Kaka to the front of the barn. She doesn't act like a vampire and I'm not even sure she's a human.
At the front of the barn, Cindy holstered her laser and then went past Kaka. Opening the barn door, Cindy motioned Kaka to go outside. As the woman stepped from the dark barn the bright sunlight struck her. The woman shrieked as her skin melted, the shriek stopped a few seconds before her skeleton fell to the ground.
"Well," said Cindy staring at the bones. "I guess she was a vampire after all."
Stepping over the bones, Cindy hurried toward the landing pod. She still had three other vampires to dispose of before she could take care of the one in her ship.