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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2066248
Six humans dead. Who's next? That's what Trom and Millia have to figure out.

Dead in Space

     She died too early. Head of Healthcare Millia thought as she walked around the dead body of Robekka. Robekka died a lot faster than the other five did. That makes six in the last few days.

     Have you found out what killed her, and the others, yet? Head of Security Trom walked right next to Millia. He couldn’t take his eyes off of Robekka. She had what’s left of her Security uniform on. It looked like she had been attack by a large Claw Beast. Only nothing to indicate she had been killed by it.

     Not yet. I do have a couple of thoughts about it though. Millia had a small thin cylinder in her hand. She used it to go over Robekka. After finishing her exam Millia looked through one end of the cylinder. Robekka died the same way as the others did. All her internal organs have disappeared.

     I’ve never seen anything like this before. What is going on? Is one of the prisoners behind this? Trom looked through the other end of the cylinder.

     A prisoner could be behind the deaths, but I don’t think so. I thought it might be from the planet of Forwim. It did have a plague happening there when we stopped by to pick up the prisoners for Tajan. Millia put the cylinder into a slot on a desk next to a Data Monitor.

     How many prisoners did we get from that planet? Trom stepped up and looked at what Millia was staring at.

     Seven or eight. They got the cure just like everyone there. I checked them all out. It’s not one of them. Millia sat down in the chair in front of her Data Monitor.

     It still could be from that planet then. Trom looked over the shoulder of Millia.

     Maybe, but I don’t think so. I checked. None of the dead have been on the Ground Team. They also haven’t had any contact with those prisoners either. Millia leaned in closer to her Data Monitor.

     Are you saying whatever this is it could be external? Am I going to have to declare this ship Dead in Space? Trom looked at the dead crew members one at a time.

     Not yet. There are a hundred crew members on this ship. Mostly human. I’d say another five, maybe ten, before you are going to have to declare this ship off limits to the universe. Millia started hitting one key on the Control Panel in front of her. Each time she did another medical picture appeared.

     If it’s not one of the prisoners or Forwim, then it must be one of the crew members. Trom walked toward the dead. What you are trying not to tell me is that you think it’s one of the non-human crew members.

     I’m not saying that – yet. It is one possibility though. The best one I got so far. If only I can find out why Robekka died quicker than the other. Then maybe I will know who is behind all of these deaths. Before only one picture came up on the Data Monitor at a time. Now it showed all six. Each one showing a different picture every few seconds.

     Just in case you are wrong, or is it right, I am going to check out Robekka’s Sleeping Suite. Trom walked out the door. Millia didn’t seem to notice he left.


     The Prison Express happened to be a prisoner transport ship. Once a month the twenty-four inhabited planets in that part of space got visited. During those visit a Ground Team collected all of the deadliest and dangerous of criminals. Then they transported them to the prison planet of Tajan. Where they would drop them off, almost literally, to live out the rest of their lives. Trom thought about that as he headed down a long rounding corridor.

     Suddenly Trom stopped – in front of a door. As he approached it he announced his visit. The door slid open as he reached it. Trom entered into a Common Area. On both sides of him were two doors per side. Along the back there appeared another open door – leading to the Personal Care Room. The interior couldn’t be seen very clearly, but it could be seen enough to say what it happened to be. Next to it the open Food Dispenser/Eating room stood.

     Robekka’s three Suite Mates sat in chairs in the center of the Common Area. One a human male. The other two aliens. They happened to be thinking to each other – until Trom walked in. Don’t stop thinking about Robekka because I am here. I’m just here to check out Robekka’s Sleeping Room.

     One of the aliens, Coun from Kuzam I think, pointed to one of the side Sleeping Rooms. As Trom walked toward it he thought about the other two’s names. Only he did it so deep only he could barely hear it. The human is Laingin, isn’t it? What is the other aliens name? Oh yeah, it’s Gana from Boorac.

     Before he got close enough to trigger the door into Robekka’s Sleeping Room Millia contacted him. Her voice filled the Common Area. Everyone heard her. I know who the killer is. Millia continued, but Trom racing out of there didn't hear it.


     Trom entered Healthcare out of breath. Who is the killer? Are you sure about that? How did you figure it out?

     Slow down. Catch your breath. That’s doctor’s orders. Millia wanted for Trom to calm down. They are dead from Forwim. Only it’s not from the plague. It’s from eating something from there. Ground Team members Avan and Porina collect food from the different planets they go to. Then share it with the other crew members. That food couldn’t hurt the other aliens on board. It can kill us humans though. All humans have to stop eating it at once. If so there shouldn’t be any more deaths.

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