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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2120050
Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Thriller/Suspense · #2120050
No, this isn't Political. Vertie is the name of the Prison Planet.
Vertie’s Platform


A Short Story

Written by

PureSciFi aka
SpaceFaction



Where Is Everyone?

     A laser bolt shot passed a shuttle. The shuttle ducked beneath that bolt just in time. It outmaneuvered three more bolts before the shuttle landed on Vertie’s Platform. Once landed, four individuals got out and headed for a large oblong box with an entrance that disappeared when they got close to it.

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     An entrance disappeared letting the four individuals step into a corridor that branched out in several directions. Each individual started walking down one of those branches. Marquel stepped through another entrance into Observation Control and suddenly stopped. “There’s nobody here.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Rammus slowly scanned Medical as he walked around it. He stepped up to one of the Exam Sleepers and looked at the hovering monitor behind it. “Medical appears to be functioning correctly. But there isn’t anyone here either.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “Everything in Observation Control is working too.” Marquel glanced down at the Observation Booths below as he walked across one of the walkways that led to Observation Control Command. “Thanks, Medical. What about the rest of Vertie’s Platform?”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Gorgianna walked into an entrance with a sign that said ‘Weapons Control’ on it. “It didn’t disappear.” She passed her hand over that sign. Nothing happened. “I can’t get in Weapons Control. And that can mean only one thing.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “What did you just say, Gorgianna?” Marquel sat in a swiveling chair in the center of Observation Control Command looking at each floating monitor that floated past her. “I know one of these is Torrae’s Personal Messages Monitor.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “It should be the one that looks like Observation Control Command.” Illoni tapped away at the control panel she sat behind. She looked up at the engines behind a glass wall. “Engines are okay. But there’s no one else here either.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “I just found her.” Marquel pushed a button on the arm of her chair. A few seconds later a female appeared on that monitor. “If you are watching this then you are in deadly danger. And you need to leave there before it’s too late. If it’s not too late already.”



What Happened to Them?

     “Three weeks ago, we lost contact with this Prison Platform. And we were sent here to find what’s going on.” Marquel stopped swiveling his chair. But the monitors continued hovering around him. “We need to find out what happened. And we need to do it now.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “I’m in Relaxation.” Rammus stood in the center of a large room that looked like an entertainment facility on one side and an eating establishment on the other. “It’s not the food. I’ve checked it out all over this platform.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Marquel stopped one monitor by touching its screen. “I’ve looked at about half the islands. And I haven’t found the Observers yet. I don’t think they are on Vertie.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Rammus was still in the eating area of Relaxation. Gorgianna glance around the Prisoner Section as she continued walking. Illoni was going over supplies in Supplies. And Marquel pushed one monitor aside and stopped the next one.

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Gorgianna stood behind a control panel tapping away at it. “Something is wrong here. There should be new prisoners coming here every day. And there haven’t been any in almost four weeks. Why not? Were they warned about whatever happened here? If so, was wasn’t we warned about it.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     The top and bottom rows of rotating monitors showed the islands on Vertie. And the center one showed the interior of that platform. Marquel mumbled as he read one of those interior monitors. “I’m trying to answer those questions right now.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “They probably got threatened away with the laser bolts as we were.” Illoni looked into one small box then tossed aside and picked up another one to look inside it. “I don’t think there’s anything in Supplies that’s going to answer any of our questions.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Marquel stopped mumbling. “They were threatened away. So, they have been taking their prisoners directly to their islands then leaving. Maybe they didn’t know what was going on here. It still doesn’t explain what happened here.”


Why Couldn’t We Scan His Existence?

     “It looks like we are going to have to search this platform all over again.” Marquel pushed one monitor showing a Corridor away to stop one showing Medical. “We have to find out what happened here before it’s too late. If it’s not too late already.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Gorgianna walked down one row between two rows of floor to almost ceiling computer boxes. She turned the corner and went down the next row. “Why don’t we just leave now and blow up this platform?”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “We will do that. But first, we have to find out what’s going on here. Then we will launch it away from Vertie before we destroy it.” Marquel started looking at another monitor. “Gorgianna, you never did get into Weapons Control, did you?”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “I tried to get in there too.” Illoni walked into a room marked Communications. It looked like the Computers room, but with swivel chairs and a control panel in front of the boxes. “We all did. But we couldn’t get in there either.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Marquel leaned forward and started at Weapons Control. He tapped a button an arm of his chair and the image zoomed in to show wires pulled out of the wall. “Now I know why. I don’t know why we didn’t scan them. But we have someone else on this platform.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “All the shuttles are still here, including ours.” Rammus stood on a thin walkway overlooking the Shuttle Bay. “Whoever it is, didn't escape this way. So, you are probably right. They are still on the platform somewhere.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “You start searching the rest of the platform. I’m scanning the Sleeping Chambers. No signs of them yet.” Marquel zoomed in on the next monitor he looked at. “Wait a second. I have found him. He’s in Sleeping Chamber Six Twenty-Three.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     The entrance to Six Twenty-Three slid open, and footsteps meant someone walked in. as they entered the light came on. A slow scan of the chamber stopped when it landed on the Sleeper. On that Sleeper, a male laid. And he looked dead.




Are We Going to Die Too?

     Joon floated down a Corridor as though he was flat on his back. Rammus ran right behind him. So, did Gorgianna and Illoni. After turning around into two more Corridors and two long corridors, Joon floated into Medical. Ramus, Gorgianna, and Illoni did too a few seconds later.

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “No wonder we didn’t know he was on this platform. He’s a Cortivian.” First, Marquel watched the monitor of the Corridors. Then he started watching Medical. “Is he dead? How did he die? That’s not how the Observers died, is it?”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “I’m in the Computer Room, Rammus.” Gorgianna walked up to a wall to wall control panel and sat in the sliding chair in front of it. “What do you need me to do?”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Marquel watched Rammus on the Medical Monitor as he started examining Joon. “I can’t tell if he’s dead or not. “Cortivians always look dead.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Rammus placed a glove like a metal piece of equipment over his hand. He then used the flat oval disk in his palm to scan the Cortivian from head to foot. Then he repeated the process from foot to head. Rammus looked at the oval disk. “I don’t know if he killed the Observers or not, yet. But he did die of a very deadly illness from his home planet, though.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “How long has he been dead?” Marquel sounded panicky. Is he an Observer or a prisoner? If he’s an Observer how did he get this illness? And if he’s a prisoner, why didn’t he escape after he killed everyone here? Did he die before he could do that?”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “I’m in Supplies.” Illoni started rummaging through the supplies there with a sign above it that read ‘Medical Supplies.’ “What Medical Supplies do you need to determine when he died and why he’s dead?”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Marquel paced around his chair. He suddenly stopped and scanned the floating monitors until he found the Medical one. “Is it too late for us? Are we all going to die from this illness too?”


Who is Joon?

     “We need to know who this Cortivian was. Was he one of the Observers or was he a prisoner?” Marquel leaned forward in his chair and tapped each monitor that showed the interior of the platform to bring it closer to him.

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Gorgianna was back in the Prison Section tapping away at the control panel. “I don’t think he was an Observer. The way he was dressed tells me he was a prisoner. But so far I haven’t found him in the Prison Log yet.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “I think your right, Gorgianna. I’m looking through the Observers working here. And there are a few Cortivians. But none of them match our dead one.” Marquel mumbled to herself as she read off a list of names on one of the monitors.

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “We aren’t in danger of dying because of the Cortivian. Only other Cortivians were. So, the other Cortivian Observers might have died because of him. But the others didn’t.” Rammus walked toward the eating area in Relaxation. “I’m checking out everywhere he might have been. Just in case I’m wrong.

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     The Island of Cortivi didn’t look like part of a prison planet. It looked more like a big advanced village. They didn’t have a lot of luxuries. But the village looked livable.

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Marquel pushed back the monitor that showed the Island of Cortivi. “So, those are the Cortivians that he was coming to kill. But why was he going to do that? Maybe the Cortivi authorities didn’t know he was walking dead.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “His name was Joon. And he was down here in the Engine Room.” Illoni cupped the outsides of her eyes as she peered through the glass wall at the engines. “I know why he hadn’t left yet. He was trying to stop the engines from exploding.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “What did you just say, Illoni? Did you just say that the engines are about to explode?” Marquel looked shocked. “Is that what happened to the Observers? Are you sure he wasn’t trying to destroy the platform?


How Can We Survive This?

     Marquel started pacing around his chair again. “How do you know what his name was, Illoni? Did he tell you this somehow? Why do you think he was trying to help the platform and not destroy it?”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “You’re asking a lot of questions. You only do that with when you are nervous or scared.” Illoni slid from one control panel to another in Communications. “Joon didn’t tell me his name, Torrae did. He was in communications with them. I’m in Communications right now trying to find them.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “Of course, I’m scared. We are all about to be exploded.” Marquel suddenly stopped pacing. “Did you say he was in communications with the Observers? If he wasn’t dead, could he have told us where they were? Can we get this platform away from Vertie before it explodes?”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “I don’t know about the engines. But I think we can use the weapons here to send this platform into deep Space.” Gorgianna was behind a control panel in Weapons Control.

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “How can you do that?” A few seconds later Marquel continued. “I don’t care, just do it. And the faster, the better. We don’t know how long we have before this platform destroys itself.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Rammus ran toward their shuttle in the Shuttle Section. “We need to get off this platform before it’s too late. I’m getting our shuttle ready to leave right now. By the time, you all get here we should be ready to go.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     “We still don’t know why Joon was going to kill all the Cortivians on Vertie.” Marquel smiled. “We can ask the Observers. I just found them. They are on Vertie.”

=====-=====-=====-=====-=====-=====

     Their shuttle exited through a square hole onto the flat top of that platform. It hovered just above it for a few seconds before he headed for the planet. Just as it passed it the side of the platform exploded outward sending flame into Space that sent that platform shooting into deep Space where it exploded a few seconds later.


Word Count = 1,998








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