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Sorry about the lack of posting the last few days. The holiday week has been a bit busy.


Fleet 23

The door slammed on my face. I scowled at the textured grey panel of the door and palmed it back open, jogging out after the procession. “Cord!”

He stopped and turned, still sneering. “What? Did you find some dead mice in your bathroom?”

“Har har,” I said. “I need a grav gun.”

“Now?”

I waved a hand at the cryogenically frozen woman being raced down the hall in front of me. “Yeah, now. It’s hitting the fan around here and I’m in the middle of it.”

Cord actually managed to look thoughtful. “Heh, you are at that.” He turned toward a side hall. “Come on.”

Cord led me through the ship using side passages and cramped service stairwells until we came out in a small storage space decorated in wall to wall lock boxes. Cord kicked a few sideways, pausing only long enough to read the tags on each box before kicking it sideways and moving to the next. “What the hell are you doing?” I asked.

“Looking for the damn grav guns.”

My jaw dropped. “What?”

“The spare guns. They’ve got to be around here somewhere.”

I stopped him with a hand on his arm. “You have got to be kidding me.”

“What? Why?”

He stared at me for a second with a cocked eyebrow. I kept waiting for the light to go on, but he showed no signs of having a thought brewing. I had to spell it out for him. “You’ve got a killer running around using grav guns and you’ve got spares just lying around in a box?”

Cord dismissed me with a shrug. “It’s not the full system,” he said. “Just the frame work and interface systems. It won’t work without the control board and those are kept under lock and key in the security office.”

“There’s no way to jury rig something?”

“No way. Every control board is specifically encoded with a control number. That number has to be matched to your implant frequency and activated with the personal security codes of both me and the Captain, otherwise the ship network won’t recognize the remote signal.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yeah, I’m sure.” He sneered. “Look, college boy, the gun itself don’t do anything. It’s just a highly specialized remote access system designed for cargo moving: doors, gravity systems, emergency alerts, a few other systems, but it’s just a remote. The computer system does the work.”

“Wait. Cargo loading?”

“Why the hell else would we have them on board? We load and move cargo. Everyone on ship helps load and unload. Some of these crates can weigh several tons. We shift the gravity to make them weightless then adjust it to move in the direction we need. Why do you think we issue the damn things?”

“So everyone just walks around with a deadly weapon?”

“They’re not deadly.”

“What?”

“Grav guns aren’t deadly. There are nine different failsafe checks in the computer system to make sure that severe force isn’t projected at a living creature. They can hold someone, they can even be a real pain in the ass and break a bone or two if you do it right, but there is no way to kill with one.”

“So how were they used to kill people?”

Cord cuffed me on the left side of the head and rolled his eyes toward the ceiling, “That’s why it’s such a damned problem.”

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