2051: a space monstrosity (part vi)

“Earth has been destroyed in a nuclear hellfire,” I informed the crew. “The Sagan’s communication beacon has been pinging mission control for the last 50 years, ever since we entered hibernation stasis. We haven’t received a response back. It is safe to assume that all nuclear powers on Earth have indeed initiated Mutually Assured Destruction, leaving the planet in a radiated mess, meaning it won’t be safe to return there for the next 250 years.”

“279 years to be precise,” Dr. Jackass interrupted.

“In all likelihood,” I continued, “we are the last remaining members of Space Fleet, and possibly the last Earthlings.”

The crew looked at one another.

“When did you learn about this?” Valdez asked.

“Not long after we departed Tranquility Bay,” I replied.

“So we could have aborted the mission, returned to Earth, and Smashhouse would still be alive,” Valdez retorted.

“My orders were to continue with the mission and initiate population measures on the planet orbiting Tau Ceti. We have a responsibility not only to Space Fleet, but to humanity as well, to maintain our race.”

Valdez threw up her hands in frustration. “What about our responsibilities to the people of Earth?!” she cried, then stormed out of the briefing room.

Patel spoke up. “What about that ‘God’ thing?” he asked.

“Patel, you don’t seem to be too disturbed about this news,” I said.

“Sir, I’m in Space Fleet. We all knew the risks when we signed up.”

I nodded. “Forget about the ‘God’ situation. The being they have captured underground is indeed an intelligent life form, but I believe its intentions are deceptive. In my assessment, it’s too dangerous to bring it on this ship and back to Earth. Therefore, that thing, whatever it is, is the Ishnarian’s problem. I believe our best course of action is to remain here, under the good will of the Ishnarians.”

“Sir,” Hanson interrupted. “I’m in agreement with Valdez. We must return to Earth and assist in recovery efforts.”

“Hanson,” I said, “there may be nothing to return to. And that’s to say nothing about surviving hibernation stasis.”

“Earth is our home sir! We must do something!”

“Now I am the captain! And my orders are to remain here. Is that clear?”

“How can you be a captain when there is no Space Fleet?!” Hanson said and left the room in protest.

“I guess the meeting’s adjourned then,” I said. As everyone left the room, I pulled the Doctor aside. “Check on Valdez,” I told him. “Confirm that she’s pregnant. Run a medical exam if need be. We need to investigate the veracity of Yah’s claims.”

“Aye sir.”

I returned to my quarters and pulled out a bottle of bourbon. There was a knock on the door. “May I speak with you sir?” the voice asked.

It was Mwangi.

After my encounter with Yah, I had been reluctant to make eye contact with her. I took a big swig from the bottle and invited her in.

“What can I do for you Commander?” I asked.

“Sir, I didn’t want to bring this up in front of the crew,” Mwangi said, “but launch thrusters are blown in addition to the hydrogen drive being depleted. And with hibernation chambers being iffy at best, it appears that we’re stuck here.”

I started to rub my temples. “I can’t believe that Space Fleet sent us up in this piece of shit,” I said. “Is there anything you can do?”

“It’s normally a simple refueling process,” she replied, “but because we’re on a planet stuck in the 14th Century, it might take decades before I could develop the materials to even begin the process. I’m sorry Captain.”

I sighed. “It’s not your fault Commander,” I said.

“I guess you can call me Nia now.”

“Can I offer you a drink Nia?”

“I would love one sir.”

“Please, call me Bill,” I said as I poured her a glass. After I handed it to her, she stared at it for awhile in deep thought.

“I also want to tell you that even though you’re the captain and have to maintain a stoic distance away from the crew,” Nia said, “I have supported your decisions 100%. And I know these last few days have been difficult for you. But you don’t have to be a stranger. You have my support.”

“A captain is only as good as his crew, specifically his Chief Engineer,” I joked.

“Then you must not be a very good captain,” she laughed.

“Nonsense,” I said, “I’m thankful to have your support.”

There was an awkward silence for a few moments as we sipped our drinks. Finally, Nia smiled and spoke up. “So how are you going to spend the rest of your days on this planet?”

“Honestly, I haven’t thought about it,” I laughed. “I guess I’ll be a farmer. There’s nothing else to do on this forsaken planet.”

Nia leaned forward to touch my hand. “I could be a farmer’s wife,” she said.

I clasped onto her hand. “Now I just need to talk to the Ishnarians,” I replied.

magnum enforcer v

“Damn it James,” the police chief said to me at City Hall. “You’re a murderous bastard, but you get results. The rifle in Charles Krauthammer’s exploded car matches the ballistics in LP Anderson’s killing perfectly. Well done.”

“Thank you sir.”

“Good job James,” Officer Maxwell said. I nodded back.

“The mayor will be pleased with this despite the property damage done to the city of Long Beach,” the Chief continued. “Please turn in your badge. Your work here is done.”

I took out my badge and looked at it. “I’d still like to clear out a few of the suspects before this case is closed,” I told the Chief. “I want to be certain that the same shooter that killed LP is also our serial killer.”

Maxwell spoke up. “Our department has conclusively determined that Charles Krauthammer is our killer.”

“You did an excellent job here James,” the Chief said. “No need to second guess yourself. You’re one hell of a detective.”

I handed over the badge.

“Gentlemen,” I said. “It’s been an honor serving the Los Angeles Police Department.”

I returned to my office.

“Is there anything I can do for you James,” Izzy asked. “Coffee, sandwich, drink, hand job? Please let me do something for you.”

“I just want to be left alone for awhile,” I replied.

I shut the door to the office, closed the blinds, and pulled out a bottle of bourbon…the last one LP and me shared. I poured a glass and raised a toast.

“So long LP,” I said.

Seconds later there was a knock on the door.

“Office hours are closed,” I shouted.

The door opened and our Mystery Officer, the one I threatened to shoot at City Hall while shittin and pissin, came in. He sat down and put his feet on the desk.

“You think you’re so smart don’t ya,” he asked.

“No”

“Charles Krauthammer is dead and you can play the hero.”

“What are you on about?”

Officer Mystery sat up in his seat and leaned in. “There’s a lot more to this story than you can possibly imagine.”

I took out another glass and poured him a bourbon. “Talk,” I said.

“Your friends at City Hall, you did them a favor by killing Charles. You did their dirty work. You covered their tracks.”

“Okay?”

“Charles was a patsy. Sure he killed your boy LP, but he’s just one man. You and me both know that crime in this city runs deep. Those prostitutes up in the hills? That’s the work of someone else…or someones.”

“Stop jackin me around. Spit it out. Who’s behind this?”

“Officer Ellis Shitburg Maxwell.”

magnum enforcer

“I got you something for your birthday,” Izzy said as she handed me an oak case.

“Oh Izzy, you shouldn’t have!”

I opened the case and inside was a Korth 357 Magnum.

“How did you know?” I asked.

“I’ve been reading your journals. As you know, I’ve been obsessed with you these last few weeks. Oh please James! Bend me over your desk and have your way with me! I’d do anything for you,” Izzy replied.

“You’re my secretary. I don’t mix business with pleasure.”

Moments later, Sgt. LP Anderson of the LAPD came into the office. His tie was undone and holding a cup of coffee. He was absolutely chain smoking.

“You look like dog shit, LP,” I said.

“Can I have a moment alone with you, James?”

I asked Izzy to leave the office. After she shut the door, LP lit up another cigarette.

“The bodies of 20 dead prostitutes showed up in Griffith Park last week,” he said. “The streets are getting out of hand James.”

“I believe the correct term is ‘Ladies of the Night’, LP.”

“There’s a killer on the loose. He’s been toying with us. He left a note on one of the bodies.”

LP handed me the note and I read it over.

“This guy’s sick. And racist,” I said. “Have any of the bodies been Vietnamese?”

“That’s the thing, they’ve all been white women.”

“Damn”

I lit up a cigarette of my own and pulled out a bottle of bourbon. “Care for a shot,” I asked. “I stole it off Franco De Werner on my last case.”

“Please”

I poured some into his coffee cup.

“So what do you want me to do,” I asked.

“I’m asking you on behalf of the LAPD to assist with the investigation. Our detectives are overworked. We need a fresh set of eyes to look over the evidence. There’s something that we’re missing and you know these streets better than anyone.”

I poured the bourbon into my flask. “You can count on me, LP.”

“We have a meeting with the mayor tomorrow. He doesn’t want this information to leak out to the public. He’s also questioning our competence regarding this case. I want you to be there, to help out his mind at ease.”

“You got it.”

LP stood up. “And one other thing, we’re staging a stakeout in Culver City next week. We think we might have a lead. Bring all the protection you need. We might run into some trouble.”

I lifted up my brand new 357 magnum. “Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ve been itching to try this thing out. Izzy got it for my birthday.”

“Happy 50th Birthday,” LP replied.

“50th? I’m 32.”

man with the golden eye v: 4 your eyes only

The warm breeze blew through the trees while the sun beamed down. Dead and mangled bodies littered the jungle floor.

I rested beneath a tree, waiting for the Angelikas.

A chopper rattled in the distance. The trees rustled as it hovered overhead. Four ropes dropped down to a clearing in front of me.

The four Angelikas lowered down.

“You’re coming with us,” they said.

“Not today sisters!”

I attempted to fire off a clip, but my rifle jammed. I threw the weapon down. If it came down to hand-to-hand combat, I was fucked.

Three of the Angelikas attempted to corner me. One stood back. I threw a grenade, but one caught it and threw it back. The explosion knocked me back a few feet.

The chopper continued to hover overhead.

As I laid there in a daze, I suddenly remembered: Izzy packed my burst action Beretta. The Angelikas were inching closer. I pulled out the sidearm and unleashed the three rounds into the chopper.

I could see the pilot’s brains splatter across the glass. His body leaned forward and the helicopter came careening down into the jungle. As it exploded, fire rained down onto the three Angelikas.

They might’ve been genetically enhanced. But as I’ve learned time and time again, no one is immune to the destructive force of a fireball.

I walked towards the last remaining Angelika. She instantly cowered down.

“Don’t kill me! I’m the original, I’m not genetically enhanced,” she screamed.

“Where’s Franco?!”

“He’s holed up at the abandoned airstrip a few klicks away.”

“You’re taking me to him.”

I held her at gunpoint as we journeyed towards the airstrip. Franco was in the hanger while his private jet rested on the runway.

“Here’s your communist mole,” I told him.

“Excellent work, Mr. James,” he replied. “Now that I can trust you, I’ll reveal to you my secret plan.”

Franco turned around and removed his eye patch. A brilliant flash of gold appeared from where left eye once was. He laid a steel briefcase on the table.

Inside was a ridiculous looking retinal scanner.

“When I run my golden eye through this retinal scan,” he said. “50 scud missiles armed with nuclear warheads will fire from beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Each aimed at a major city in the Western Hemisphere.”

“You’re a madman, Mr. Werner,” I replied. “You’re not even gonna attempt to blackmail world leaders? What kind of villain are you?”

“Once when the world’s major cities have been destroyed,” Franco continued. “They’ll blame the communists, and leaders of the world will have no choice but to use my services to defeat them.”

“Billions of people will die, just so you can make a profit,” I replied.

“Basically, yeah.”

I’ve seen these cases hundreds of times: madman wants to destroy the world just so he can make a few extra pennies. People will do anything for money these days.

“With that type of destruction,” I interjected. “Nuclear winter could last ages. Are you sure that you completely thought the consequences of your plan, Mr. Werner?”

Franco pondered for a second.

“Shit, I guess I didn’t,” he replied. “Oh well, it’s a risk worth taking. But tonight, we feast!”

Franco left the hanger. Angelika was locked up behind a gate.

“James,” she said. “Franco killed my friends, my family. All I’ve ever wanted was justice. Please don’t let him do this.”

Franco returned with his servants. They were bringing in cartons full of local cuisine out of the jet. He poured a glass of bourbon, then lifted it to make a toast.

“To the future,” he said.

I had to act quickly.