Fluidity In Space: Chapter Six

The atmosphere in the Jackson household was anything but relaxed. Junior Lieutenant Stephen Jackson was waiting for his father to arrive home from his shift at the electronics shop, and he was not the harbinger of good news. He only had a few minutes of break to talk to his father before he had to return to his new position on the bridge crew, but he aimed to make the most of the time he had. His father had to be told about what happened to his wife and oldest son, and he was adamant that he’d be the person to tell him.

Kevin Jackson opened the door and was surprised to see that his son Stephen had arrived home before he did. He could tell by the angry look on his son’s face that something had happened at work. The fact that his son was standing here meant that he likely hadn’t been involved in a brawl, but look on his face made him apprehensive. What on virtual Earth had made his son so angry?

“That freak of a so-called-captain locked up mom and Jonathan. The splicer baby that calls itself a counselor beat mom senseless and the captain had the nerve to lock them up! The splicer spawn only got a day in the brig, while mom and Jon are being held with no set release date.”

The elder Jackson now had a look of anger on his face that made his son look like the Dalai Lama in comparison. “He did what?!”

His son didn’t say a word, but instead reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, metallic, silver disk approximately the size of a quarter of his pinky nail. He held it in the palm of his hand, then spoke. “Play file. Timestamp one-five-point-three-six-point-oh-seven.”

The room became filled with colored light as the augmented reality surveillance disc turned the Jackson family living room into Main Street. Kevin Jackson’s face turned white as he watched the monster beat his wife. That thing had actually come into the shop today. He wished that he hadn’t ignored her. If he’d beat the living tar out of her, as her kind deserves, he could have spared his beloved Carol from any pain.

As he recalled the blood-curdling high pitched scream that he heard this afternoon while he was in the repair room at the back of the shop, his blood boiled as he began to wonder if that was his wife that screamed out in agony. With his temper now at its peak, he turned to his son and asked for the disc. “Give me that disc, son, and head back to duty before you get into trouble too. I’ll make sure everyone on this ship knows just what kind of demon spawn these splicer babies really are.”

With that, Stephen handed the disc to his father. They didn’t need to say a word to each other, as they knew exactly had to be done. They both walked out of the house, silently, and entered the crew corridors. The son headed for the bridge, while the father walked towards the maintenance tunnels.

Just as Kevin had suspected, he did not have proper clearance to enter the maintenance area. Putting his programming skills to the ultimate test, he downloaded the code to his memory banks and quickly set to work decompiling and reverse engineering the detection code. Since he needed a hasty solution, he simply altered it to skip the bio-scan completely, and hardcoded the system to always register as a specific individual. Kevin Jackson might not be able to go wherever he wants on this ship, but that shouldn’t be a problem for Lieutenant Rodriguez.

Once inside, Kevin quickly made his way to the emergency alert system. He needed to be extremely fast, as his quick-and-dirty hack meant that it would be extremely easy to detect. If any crew member entered the maintenance corridors now, they would definitely be suspicious if the bio scan tells them that they are Mario Rodriguez.

He quickly set up wireless communication between the two devices and copied the relevant portion of the video straight to the storage unit. Now that the video was in place, he set an emergency timer to begin in half an hour. That should give him more than enough time to remove any traces of his code and his presence from the maintenance systems. He gave himself enough leeway to do what needed to be done while still setting the presentation to start in a relatively short amount of time. He didn’t wish to delay the retribution of the race of creatures that had attacked his wife. Soon the entire ship would see these things as the bloodthirsty monsters they are.

At the exact moment that Mr. Jackson had finished erasing all traces of his unauthorized entry into the ship’s systems, the ship’s captain was finishing a conversation with the ship’s counselor, the latter of whom was presently being held in the brig. “I’ll do everything I can to try to calm tensions down. Sadly, there’s bound to be increased anger after today, but luckily it was just one small part of the ship that witnessed everything. I’ll make sure that the people of Main Street know the whole story. Hopefully, once they know everything, the people of Main Street will quell the gossip on the other areas of this ship. It may not seem like it now, but most of the people on this ship are caring people.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll nip this thing in the bud. Your safety and the safety of everyone else on the ship is my primary concern. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that it doesn’t get out of hand.”

At that moment, it seemed that the universe had conspired to play another cosmic joke on them. All of the emergency screens on every part of the ship turned red with the dreaded emergency alert text. Both counselor and captain tensed up as they braced for the worst. However, the video that followed was far worse than anything that they could have imagined.

The entire ship had just seen video footage of Maria Corben, the ship’s counselor, savagely beating Carla Jackson, the mother of two of the ship’s officers. There was no context, as the video of Carla beating Maria’s mother was nowhere to be seen. All that could be seen was Maria punching Carla as hard as she could, and all that could be heard was the primal growl that Maria had uttered due to her desire to protect her mother. However, as far as the people on the ship were concerned, the video showed Maria Corben reverting to an animal-like state, savagely beating a mother of two without provocation.

Both ladies opened their eyes wide with fear. They have now entered the absolute worse case scenario. Neither had any idea how they could possibly get things back to normal without serious repercussions.

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