The Crimson Wake i arrival
Kit smiled. He eyes glittered excitedly; while her wide mouth displayed a taught happy mischievous grin, as she looked out of the domed window, towards wild the swirling clouds of Jupiter’s single fierce fiery eye.
This was Jupiter Station. The drop point for the Omega-ships that came from Alpha Centauri, or the smaller solar system vessels from Mars, Venus and Earth. Her father, who had lost his pilot’s licence due to drinking, had been duly appointed as one of the loaders at the way station and that meant moving here. At the time she was apprehensive. A new place with new rules bothered her. “we’ll be fine kiddo, promise.” Her father had said. But she knew he was rich with words, but little else. Mum sent the odd holo-sphere once a month from Mars. But Kit knew it was just to please herself and take the weight of guilt from her own soul. Not that it actually mattered much. For years she had wanted to come to the Way station. Now her dream had come true; with little effort on her part other than to wish for it. “Be careful what you wish for.” Her father had once said. Stuff him.
The station was huge; vast arched towers were held together with long tubes of gantry, that were wrapped around them like…like…how had she explained it to Connor, her dear friend from mars? an old dried funnel spider’s web. Within the centre the ships would slide. Cargo distributed, crew, coin and stories exchanged; and then of the ships would slip into the evernight of space. While she like a mouse, would scurry about the greasy halls and littered thorough-fares in search of excitement. Being small for her age, that being 11, with long curly blonde hair, a long nose, a high forehead, bright cornflower wide set eyes, and a desire to scurry and survive on her wits’ she earned the nickname “mouse” from many of the deckhands that kept that her busy with odd jobs about the place.
Her Father had tried to keep her at school; and the Proctor designate had been firm about her attendance. But that was six months ago; and Pa since then had had his hands full every-night. “Mr. Jefferies, this is not a place for a little girl.” She had heard the Proctor say, one night when Father had been off duty. “If this carries on, she will have to be placed in one of the orphanages.” Her father made some reasonable excuses and shut the holo-call down. Kit once thought that he might have followed through with actually doing it, if it were not for the fact that he had been through the orphanage system himself and didn’t relish his daughter going through it too. So he self-taught her on weekends, and begged that she stay “outta any friggin trouble between.” She, being the dutiful daughter nodded slowly, staring at her Dad with eyes that promised much. And she did –stay out of trouble- for a while. But not for long.
Jupiter’s eye rolled with an alien passion. It made her heart spin with excitement and awe. In her little life, she had seen so much. The canyons of Mars, the ice sheets of Neptune. Even the mega-domed cities of Earth, yet nothing beat the eye. Nothing.
After a ten minute meditation, she sped off down the corridor, to find her best friend and would be partner in mischief Draz, to see if they could hustle some coin from the shops at Waystation. Draz had moved into the Way station just before her, so being both new, they clung to each other like resin. he was a beautiful, so Mouse thought, brown skinned brown eyed boy of 12 years of age. With an oval face wide set large oval hazelnut eyes and a strong mouth. His father, Seymour Phillamore so Draz said had been told was on a commission for pilot training school.
She found him hanging around the entrance to the shuttle pod that lead to bay 4
‘what you here for?’
‘-heard pa was on his way down.’
‘-Don’t look to happy bout it.’
‘-Jus got my evaluation scores from Proctor.’
‘-Proctor aint worth the-‘
‘-Pa said I be goin’ back to Mars an to an evaluation school if my scores don’ show improvement!’ Draz sounded accusatory.
‘ What? you blame me for that?’
‘You …’ he sighed ‘ well, Pa says.’
‘-Pa don’ matter, neither ’
‘Hey! Pa does matter! Grades matter! You can’t be a mouse forever. You will grow up, you will have to fit in and get work and buy food to survive.’
Kit stared at him sadly. ‘I know…I try to fit in. I jus can’t.’
Draz looked to his left and right. She felt a rise of hurt,
It was as if he didn’t want to know her anymore. ‘Whats’ wrong?’
‘I don wanna go to Mars! Mouse, can’t you see? Go to
The door of the air-lock span open and Draz’ father stood there looking tall and austere.
‘Hi Mouse, how you been?’
‘ Hi, Mr. Phillamore, Okay I guess.’
‘Ahah.’ He looked away then looked down towards the main mall.
‘ Proctor aint that bad when you get to know him. He good for you. ‘ Draz Hissed as Mr. Phillamore took Draz’s hand, and the two of them walked into the hustling mass.
Mouse sighed Having no-one to play with was at times a bore. In a bid to look for some excitement or the possibility of some easy coin, she decided to her way to the core decks; where the FTL ships came in. There was always work or fun to be had there.
When she left the turbo shoot, she found a large group of men standing around. Amongst them stood her father. Kit paled, she was about to take
the shoot up again, when he saw her. He ran over to her and knelt down.
‘What you doin’ here Kit?’ He looked stern; his eyes narrow.‘You know this is-‘
‘-Mr Weasley sometimes gives me work, helping cleaning out the FTL-
‘Oh, Weasley does, does he? Just you wait till I-‘
‘-Da…’ Kit’s eyes opened wide and a tear fell. ‘Please, I can’t do the school work, I try an I try!’
‘Do you wanna end up like me? shipping freight for the cruisers? You need a pilots licence Kit and that means training hard work and study!’ He shook his head. ‘Kit I am worried you know…I love you.’
‘Oh Da I love you too.’
‘Look let me-‘
But he was interrupted by a gruff looking man with a grey
beard and narrow set violet eyes. ‘Have ya' heard?’
‘ No no, what?’ Kit saw agitation in her fathers eyes.
‘The Crimson Wake! She’s outside the dock! No-one’s goin’ on
board. No one. Wesley wants hands to go on board but we are saying fuck, err no
way!’ he blushed as he saw Kit ‘Sorry for the language ma’am.’
‘-no it can’t be the Wake!’
‘The Crimson Wake?’ Kit asked there was a pause in her breath.
She took a step back…Everyone knew the story. How the Crimson Wake was one of the first of the Omega drive ships sent out to seek life in the Betelgeuse system. Only to suddenly and without warning vanish without a trace. six months into her mission. It became the worst space disaster in ten years. If this man was right, and the Wake was here…
‘Deckhands are saying the ships cursed. They won’t even go
‘Oh come on.’ Her father spat ‘That’s just nonsense.’
suddenly on fire, Kit ran off leaving her father to tiredly shout at her back. She skittled about the corridors and finally took the maglev to the observation deck. There through the Plexiglass she saw, majestically, sliding
into position the Crimson Wake.
She was vast by any ships standard. Her mountings were almost too tall to the go through the web her hull, once a pure white had become mottled, and seared with long black blistering lines of melted metal. There were no navigation light’s, no intercom despite repeated calls, no signals, not even a single light from any of the decks. Nothing gave away any sign of life. The ship was slowly tugged into position. The walkway lines were silently attached. The Wake rested, like a
dark menacing hulk. A behemoth. Waiting for its jaws to be pulled open and its
secrets to be revealed.