Investigation

3 0 0

[[On Galactic Hub Serreven]]

In the 3rd district of Serreven Deck One, a lanky figure moves through the narrow lanes between the housing blocks. The shape is eerily silent amongst the din of the massive space station; it pauses at a small, single-story, box-like home that feels nondescript in rows and rows of boxy homes, stacked one atop another. The figure is a male Cyclopasian. He reaches into his vest, pulling out a small data-pad. He places a thumb on the capacitive screen and slides through the windows to find a serial number. He steps toward the door of the home and compares the numbers on the pad to the numbers above the door.

Orthos Kabalos is on the hunt, and his prey waits within.

He studies the door for a moment, deftly feeling the frame. He brushes his three-fingered hand over the door's control panel and pulls away as a pair of Serreven Deck One residents walk by. They swagger along with a thick haze of drunkenness hanging on their every movement. Orthos puts on a show, fumbling in his vest for a key-card that isn't there. The pair walks by, giggling at what they presume is another drunk who has misplaced his keys. Moments later, Orthos pulls out a small device from another vest pocket. It resembles a keycard, but with a pair of exposed wires sticking out of one of the corners. He places the card inside and then touches the exposed ends of the wires together.

With a sudden pop, smoke wisps escape from the control panel and dance into the air of the station. Orthos peers around and wraps the wires around his fake keycard, tucking it into a vest pocket. He eyes the door. Unmoving. Waiting.

Inside the building, a shady-looking Florara hears a disturbance. He puts down his tweezers and the delicate leaves he has collected from his many plants. He reaches for a gun on his dirt-covered workbench, and soil falls from the crevices of the blaster as he swings it upward toward his front door. The sudden silence makes him wary. The only sound he hears is the water-filter bubbling in the other room with piping that snakes through the entire greenhouse. Within moments, the Florara approaches his front door, weapon drawn. His back is pressed hard against the wall, and he feels his leafy shoulder bump into a framed receipt for his first growing operation before he lost it due to his arrest. The receipt's frame squeaks as it pivots on its peg, but it does not fall off. The fluid vessels of the Florara constrict for just a moment as the water in his veins freezes. He exhales and grips his blaster far tighter than his vessels are used to; his appendages are best suited for delicate touches and not the crude forcefulness of holding a gun, but this is the furthest thing from his mind at the moment. He jumps out of his plant-like skin as Orthos smashes at the door with his fist, the violent blow rattling the frame.

The Florara smashes the door panel hard with the butt of his blaster, his hand close enough for the electrical field to verify his presence. The door opens instantly and he opens fire into the street. Ion-bolts fly out from the doorway into the empty neighborhood. He eases off of the trigger when he notices the doorway is empty. Cautiously, he peers out of his small, boxy home and sees nothing but a charred metal lamp-post across the street. He spies his outside panel, smoking from malfunction, and he grunts in annoyance. Some prankster or malfunction, clearly. With a final, cautious look, he pulls his head back inside and taps the inside door panel, shutting himself into his laboratory again.

However, he does not see Orthos' shadowy frame rise up from behind him. "It's not very wise to leave your windows unlocked, Virtil." The Cyclopasian's tone is almost mocking.

Orthos's motion is swift as he puts the Florara into a painful headlock. The gun slips from the Virtil's leafy hand. It noisily tumbles over long the hallway wall, coming to a clattering stop a couple of feet away.

Virtil shudders violently as he yells, "Get the hell out of my house!"

In a fluid motion, Orthos unlocks his arms and shoves Virtil at the hallway wall with great force. The impact is accompanied by a crunch, like lettuce hitting a tiled floor. Orthos spins him around, grabbing Virtil by the leafy growth on his chest, and lifting him off the floor. The sudden ascent knocks off a wall-mounted portrait, and the small peg used to support the picture digs into Virtil's back, right between the shoulders.

Cosmic Dash: Silver Spiral StoriesWhere stories live. Discover now