Another Job. Short Story.

Man, Monday was strange. Threw me completely on the days the week. I’m definitely going to miss class.

I’m currently finishing off an essay and some assignments editing and the like, which isn’t too bad. I’ve most of the essay done, it’s just polishing and finishing off a few points now. Which is pretty easy.

Good luck to everyone that has exams coming up in the next few weeks!

On with the show!

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He looked out at the black. He always loved the view he got from out here. He didn’t like the rest of it, the nausea that sim-grav gave him, the turbulence of take-off, but looking out he could almost forget about it. Still, it was a necessary evil. One that had to be endured. He tore his gaze away from the stars, then looked behind him, two others had joined him on the viewing deck. Samantha, the perky young traveller, off to see the world, and Jenna, the ship’s captain. The others were off in the bowels of the ship. It was Samantha’s first time out, as she kept reminding everyone. Jenna seemed to come and look after every take off, that’s what the others had said. It didn’t matter to him though, he’d come back later when he’d have some time alone to look out and admire it all properly. Jenna followed him out, they left Samantha where she was. Soon she’d get bored of it, new travellers always did.

His target was one of the crew, Billy, he didn’t know what Billy’s job was, but he didn’t really care. They had three days before they reached the next destination, they’d pick up a few more passengers. This ship help up to forty more. He was surprised that there was only himself and Samantha getting on at Greenbay. Even ships with a quick turnaround generally picked up four or five people. He wander through the ship, getting his bearings, he’d need to know later. The lights were still bright, day-sim, to keep everyone’s body clock in order. In cruises it sync’d to the destinations time, here it was done so the crew could work. They had all heard the horror stories, people not sleeping, going crazy. The body needed something to tell them what time it was. It was like being down in a cave, you could be down there for three weeks or three hours and it could feel the same. Jenna had given him and Samantha a quick tour of the place, which amounted to “Here is your room, here is where we eat, don’t get lost ha. Ha. Ha.” He wandered to the canteen, food wasn’t going to be served for another hour or so, but it was nice to get a feel of the place. The tables were a dull silver, bolted to the ground, the chairs were on tracks, they could be pulled out about a foot and slid back in towards the table. He left the room and found himself near the cockpit, he glanced inside and kept going, some pilots could be funny about who went inside. He understood it, especially out here, where no one would find you for years, centuries if you didn’t go by one of the common trading routes.

After he had a good idea of the ships layout, he went back to his room. It was small, but it had everything he needed, a toilet, shower, bed and a small desk. He was pleased that this ship offered private showers, the joint ones made him nervous. It was too easy for anyone to appear and stab you in the back. He could never relax in a joint shower. He locked his door and lay down on the bed, it was time to think of a plan. His plans were never very complex, but he made multiples, it always ensured that if something went wrong everything would be ok in the end. His bag had his back up option safely tucked away, though he knew he would probably use it anyway, just for fun. After all it was the only way he could safely escape the situation. One man down, seven people left, it would be obvious that one of them had to be the culprit. He had a few things that would take out Billy discretely, but he never liked using them. They were too hands off for his tastes.

He waited until the second day before starting his plan. The crew were all asleep, the ship on autopilot. He crept from his room and went towards Billy’s, the crew had their own rooms luckily, it was less messy than when they slept in dorms. The door was locked. He opened it carefully, the bots were expensive and rare, but they still had another few locks a head of them. Their components were delicate, that was the only problem. The ship was too cheap to have an automated defences on the locks, which was convenient. The door clicked gently and he knew he was in. He liked using knives best. He gripped the handle tightly and stepped into the room, it was dimly lit, Billy lay on the bed, snoring slightly, his large stomach rising and falling. He approached silently and, while standing above Billy, he brought the knife down in an arc, slitting Billy’s throat. Billy’s eyes flashed open, his mouth opened, he gurgled, once, twice, then stopped moving. He thought Billy would last longer. Warm blood had covered his hands, he stepped into Billy’s private bathroom and washed his hands. He left the room, relocking the door behind himself. He moved through the ship, killing all the crew. He had no problems with them, but it paid to be thorough and the client hadn’t told him to leave them alone. The only one that didn’t seem surprised was Jenna, her eyes opened, she saw him and he saw understanding. He wanted to apologise, say something to make it better for her, but nothing would.

Samantha’s room was the last. At first he had worried maybe she was a competitor, but a few hours around her had dissuaded him of that notion. Samantha wasn’t the smartest girl around and no one would be able to keep up that act, not with a constant stream of useless trivia that spilled forth from her mouth. Her parents had died in an eco-terrorist attack, apparently even getting public transports couldn’t save you now. She had inherited their money and sold everything, she wanted to travel. She seemed to have no idea as to what she would do after that. A few of the crew asked her about what she wanted to settle, where she wanted to work, but those questions just went right past her. The handle clicked down, she didn’t even lock her door. It was a wonder she made it off her planet without getting killed. How did someone so stupid even live this long? He went into the room, but it was empty. Huh. He thought about it for a moment, then he knew exactly where she was. He went up to the viewing deck, Samantha was sitting on the bench. “It’s just so beautiful.” She didn’t turn around. “Yeah it is.” “I never thought I’d get to see it like this. My parents didn’t travel, they were scared to, so I had to stay with them. They didn’t like me going out alone and I didn’t want them to worry. I thought I’d have to wait until insta-travel made it out here, even then I don’t think they’d let me go. All those reports of people getting sliced in two or arriving all messed up.” “How long are you going to travel for?” “Forever. Or until the money runs out. Which ever happens first.” He sighed. She did have a brain. He knew the type. Overly sheltered. She clung to her trivia because that was all she had. She didn’t have room to grow, never had the chance. Still shaking his head, he walked up behind her and slit her throat. She never turned around, didn’t cry out. She just kept looking out the window. He leaned her body against the wall, she she would be sitting up, so she could still see out. He looked out at the stars, they really were beautiful. He sat on the bench, it was still warm.

He showered and gathered his things. There was nothing left to do here. He went into the cockpit, the ship was slowing, his own vessel was catching up and asked for it to stop, emergency repairs. He granted it access. While he waited he ate some food from the canteen and set up the bombs. When his ship docked he transported some of the food across, enough to last him seven months, and some water too. With that done he moved his suitcase and went through the belongings on the crew. There was nothing of value, at least nothing that could be sold discretely. He went to the cockpit again and set the ship on a course, it would travel for hundreds of years. Well, it would have if not for the explosives dotted around the place. No one would find the wreckage, no one would know what had happened here. He boarded his own ship and released it. He turned and went to the rendezvous. He had a single strand of hair and a single drop of blood, both belonging to Billy, proof that the job was done.

The ship would fly for an entire day before exploding, he thought about Samantha, she would get what she wanted, she would travel forever across the expanse of space. He smiled slightly, it was almost poetic, then focused himself back on the job. He had a big pay day coming now, enough to get him to the next contract and a little left over. Soon he’d be able to stop, though part of him feared he wouldn’t never be able to give it up.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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