I can hear the grapple clamping itself onto the airlock of my ship and it feels like a violation. The sound of metal grinding against metal vibrates down the wall panels and my bare feet can feel the deck vibrating with it like a shudder. My body does likewise.
I pull my bomber jacket tighter around me but it doesn’t help against the cold that I suddenly feel.
There’s a an echoing boom and the sudden pressure differential makes my ears pop. The bastards have blown the hatch and ruined my airlock. I can feel the deck pounding under their weight as they pile in. The first one comes into view. It is a Rent-a-cop, which surprises me. He’s big and armored in black and he is pointing a gigantic weapon in my direction.
In a moment I am surrounded by these thugs – mercenaries for hire – giant black suits that look vaguely insectoid and about a bazillian guns, their business ends ready to hurl death at a bony young woman wearing a thin one-piece and a jacket that is too big for her.
I don’t remember putting my hands up but the harsh metallic voice coming from one of the mercenaries’ speaker units orders me down on the deck. I drop quickly before any of them decide to help me down. The deck’s metal face feels cold against the front of my one-piece. Before I can open my mouth to say anything one of them grabs my wrists and forces them roughly around behind my back. I yelp in pain and am immediately told to shut my mouth, or else…
“ Betratina Arris Rankin you are under arrest for the murder of Solianis Fendiarachelli. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be recorded and used in evidence against you in a court of law.”
I shake my head. “You’ve got it wrong,” I manage, having found my voice at last. “Somebody moved the body! I didn’t kill her! It was somebody else! They’re setting me up!”
The metallic voice warns me again to shut my mouth. “If you resist arrest your recorded statement will be used in order to pronounce a posthumous judgment against you…”
“You’ve gotta believe me!” I continue stubbornly. “It wasn’t me, it was one of them! Whoever moved the body and then put it back! They must have done something to it!”
Something hard presses into the small of my back. I hear a small, but evil electronic whine and then a snap and then all my nerve endings feel like they’re firing at once. My body goes rigid. I can feel the muscles of my face pulling my lips into a rictus grin.
The universe goes black.
This is why I hate taking on passengers.