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By the time Mack and Doors had got to the Corinthian it had been taken in tow by another freighter the Augustine , a small water freighter that traveled the space ways distributing drinkable water to the colonies. They had come across the Corinthian floating in space no signs of life, they had radioed to her but when they had no reply claimed her as salvage as was their right under space laws . But space law did state that any  vessel not boarded by the salvage crew was not salvage but a rescued vessel, this was not as profitable but with the viruses and other ailments floating around space in ships visiting other Planets was  sometimes preferred .

Mack Radioed the Augustine’s captain and asked to come aboard  and was granted permission, the shuttle docked with the freighter and was met by the Captain at the air lock . The large airlock door opened and the Captain  a Large bearded man that looked every bit an ancient space mariner as you could have conceived, ” Good evening gentlemen I am Captain Woodford Thomas Woodford welcome aboard the Augustine “. Doors thanked him and asked if they had boarded the Corinthian the Captain said no, ” So you radioed and had no contact there fore you don’t know the situation over there” Doors said. Woodford nodded and said ” Yes Mr Doors But we thought it better not to board in her condition ” But she looks ok ” Mack exclaimed ” The Captain smiled ” Oh yes this side she does but on the other side  half the ship has been blown away ” Mack raised his hand to his forehead ” Oh My God the crew and the Captain any sign of them ” He asked ” Well there was wreckage but no bodies or Organic tissue on the scanners when we arrived , so if there are casualties they are still aboard, But the state of that ship and the decompression that occurred I would seriously  think it’s unlikely they survived ” he said glumly . Mack said they must board her and that they would take the shuttle and Dock with the Corinthian ” Oh I can’t allow that I am afraid ” said the Captain you see we salvaged her and if the crew are still on board then it’s no longer a salvage but a rescue, and that’s  not as profitable by a long straw . No we will dock with the Lunar refining station and register as  salvage then you can board her ” Mack angrily replied ” But the crew could be still alive and if you don’t get across to them now we could be too late by the time we get into Lunar orbit , and if you don’t send a boarding party now I will have you arrested for Manslaughter and the possibly piracy of the Corinthian ” The Captain said that he would not board her or any of his crew but that Doors and Mack could go if they wanted , ” but know this I have allowed you to dock and confirm  we have that ship in tow as  required, but should you detach and board her now you will not be allowed to re dock is that understood ” Mack nodded his head and they boarded the shuttle and detached.

Doors bought the two ships closer and closer then there was a slight bump and they had made contact , at first it seemed the docking port was jammed and not going to allow them to board. But after a bit of persuasion from  Mack bumping the ship a little harder than normal into the docking clamp, it attached and he signaled Doors to board . ” Oxygen levels zero temperature minus 67 c no signs of life going to the bridge ” For what seemed like hours but was in actual fact only four  minutes he waited for news from doors .

 

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The RG1 was loaded aboard the freighter Corinthian this was a heavy class destroyer a remnant of the old patrol vessels that used to patrol the colonies, the Corinthian had seen more service as a private freighter than she ever did as a military  ship. Built when the space lanes were full of pirates and mercenaries, who attacked many a peaceful ship on it’s way to the outer reaches of our Galaxy and the then new colonies . Mack had chosen her specifically for that reason  it would be almost impossible to stop and board her, he felt the RG1 would be safer on this ship than any other . Her Captain Lucias Crabb had served on the Corinthian when she was a man of war, he would tell tales of her exploits many times over . Trouble was she had been decommissioned only a year after taking service , so the tales he had were few and were told often to the amusement of his crew . They took wagers to break the tedium of the journeys on which part of his story he would embellish at every telling as they were different every time, in fact he had told them in so many ways that even Lucias  himself  had the facts a little blurry in his mind .

“You can rest assured that no one will board the Corinthian while I am Captain Mr Doors, your machine will be safe as houses, it has been locked away in what used to be the ships armament bay . It has a time lock and a two foot thick steel door anyone who tried to get into that would have to use explosives, they would have to use more than the ships hull could stand so blowing it is out of the question. The locking mechanism used on this door is used on many other top security vaults in the Galaxy , it has never been successfully breached yet so you can see RG1 is quite safe . We will deliver it to Tranquility base on schedule of that you can have no fear, plus your Professor Campbell will be coming with us to supervise I have been told ” Doors shook hands with the Captain and wished him a safe journey , he then watched as the Corinthian got under way he also went to the com room and used the stations sensors to make sure she wasn’t followed . When he was satisfied he reported to Mack  that everything was going according to plan, ” Great then get your gear and your men together and join in hangar three in twenty minutes ,  Earth shuttle will leave in 25 minutes and we will be right behind them. If the Nest tries to get the machine from us they will first have to choose which ship, and they will get a surprise with either one they choose” he said confidently he was sure his plan was fool proof .

But the one thing that Mack hadn’t taken into consideration was the chance there was another Nest informer on EE1 , he had also underestimated the lengths they would go to acquire the machine. The journey to Area 51 was uneventful  the attack had not come that Mack or Doors expected, they decided that the Nest had been fooled into thinking the machine had been destroyed with the Nagami. They were wrong two hours after they had landed news came through that the Corinthian had been attacked by three unknown ships, she had been seriously damaged and was adrift EE1 had sent a rescue ship but it was unknown if the machine had been lost. The Corinthian had lost her radio after the first attack , the EE1 com room had just barely received the SOS call before it lost communication.

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Felix turned and walked away but as he did he heard from behind him “I don’t have to remind you of the consequences should you fail me again do I Felix ” He stopped but did not look back a chill ran down his spine, he knew if he did fail again  there would be no safe place for him to hide . ” No Sir you don’t  I understand ” he hurried out of the office and down the stairs ” Roman I need to get in touch with that brother of yours where is he ” The big man turned and looked down on the weaselly form before him and in a gruff voice  asked ” What do you want him for ” Felix gritted his teeth and grabbed Romans overall ” What I want him for is no concern of yours, the boss needs him that’s all you need to know ” Roman moved very quick for a big guy and before he knew it Felix was dangling two or three feet off the ground , a choking sensation was overcoming him as he felt Romans grip around his neck ” Look squirt the boss may have uses for you but me not so much, and if you ever lay one of your grubby little hands on me again I will end you “. He placed Felix back on the ground gagging for breath, the scrawny little mans face was red and flustered as he gulped for air .” Sorry Sorry Roman I need to speak  to Anton, the boss has a job for his special talents ” Roman was wiping his hands with a handkerchief the sweat from Felix’es neck was a pungent and he was trying to remove it , he turned towards Felix who flinched ” Why didn’t you just say that pal instead of trying to be  the hard man your’e not, he is in London on a job he’s back tomorrow I think ” Felix did not reply he just hurried away as fast as he could cursing under his breath” End me End me we will see who is ended he screamed  in his head , he waited a few moments till another drone transport stopped jumped on and headed towards the Airport.

Doors and Mack were talking to Amber Cornish in her office ” Mr Doors did you seriously have me down as a suspect to Gareth’s Death ” Doors who was sitting on the edge of her desk looked at her directly and replied he did ” Anyone who had had contact at some time or another with Doctor Lane was a suspect even Mack ” he added .  ” But with the machine and the device Lars put inside it dusted for prints, we found three sets from the Doctor, Lars Johanson and Akio Takei ” . At the mention of Akio’s name Amber looked up ” so it was Captain Takei who stole the machine from the lab, was he working with Lars or was it unconnected” Doors explained that both men had been threatened by someone in order to make them steal the machine, he said they were supposed to kidnap Lane but the Death of the doctor as a result of the machine tampering was not foreseen. ” So the machine is being Taken to Area 51 , good I don’t want anything else happening on this station because of that thing. Have arrangements been made by Professor Campbell, or have you arranged to transport the device to the base ” she asked Mack  ” The shuttle for Earth leaves in thirty six  hours  it will be empty no passengers no cargo, it will be placed on auto re entry and land at the Cape. I have made arrangements for the Machine to be taken by a freighter to the Tranquility research complex on the moon, there it will be taken by a military ship to Earth Doctor Campbell will be accompanying it . Phill myself and two other Security will take a second shuttle headed for Area 51 ,we fully expect the shuttle to be attacked but we have a few surprises lined up for anyone who tries “.

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On Mars colony  Meridian One A little man was scurrying along the corridors in his hands a Computer tablet with details of intercepted messages from EE1 , he jumped onto a passing transport drone and plugged an earpiece into his tablet and pressed the play button. As he sat on the drone that would take him around the colony he listened to the conversations that Mack and Doors had between themselves and the EE1 , ” We have located the device lodged in the cargo bay wall , it does not appear to be active but we are taking no chances over ” EE1 responded by saying that the information would be relayed to the Director .

The drone came to a halt and the man jumped off and the drone continued on it’s way signaling people to move out of it’s way with a siren as it proceeded through the complex.The man who’s name was Felix Court was a scrawny sorry excuse disheveled clothes untidy hair and he had a body odour only a  Camel could endure, he was about to push his way through a crowd of people but they moved as the odour reached them. A staircase in front of him had a burly looking man in a dark overall standing at the bottom, as he approached the man opened a gate at the entry to the stairs. He greeted him ” Felix ” Felix nodded ” Roman ” he replied and started up the stairs , ” Is he in ” asked Felix the man nodded and shut the gate . Once at the top of the stairs Felix tried to make himself more presentable, greasing his hair with spittle on his hand and brushing himself down but even he could see this was a hopeless task. He came to two large doors on the  left door was a sign Chamberlain Ross and  White, Purveyors of Precious Metals and  Minerals Mars Division. He pressed on the entry panel and a voice answered ” C R and W can I help you ” Felix held the button again and replied ” It’s Felix I have something the boss is going to want to hear ”  The doors clicked and opened revealing a very spacious and luxurious office, Sitting on a very large desk at the end of the room was to be polite an overlarge man sporting a long beard and smoking a Cigar. ” You have something for me Felix ” he roared the little man hurried along the room shuffling his feet as if in penance . He held the Tablet up before him as if an offering to appease the giant man , ” Yes Sir Mr Ross here it is Sir , it’s proof the RG1 survived the destruction of the Nagami Sir ” Ross pressed the play button on the tablet and listened to the message . He turned and smiled at Felix it was the type of smile that would send chills down your back ” So where is it now pray tell ” Felix beckoned to be given the tablet back and Ross handed it back ” Well Sir as you can see from this communique with Earth from EE1 , the device is being shipped to Area 51 this evening Sir on the scheduled supply shuttle . I was thinking it wouldn’t be too difficult a job to have this vessel met by some of our operatives just before re-entry , because if  the machine gets to it’s destination we may never hear of it again ” Ross stood and walked around his desk ” Do we not have any operatives within the Area 51  facility ” Felix shook his head ” No Sir I have tried but each agent we sent to try and corrupt one of their staff was arrested and executed Sir, they still have a very strict policy for Area 51 sir it’s still classed as treason to try and breach it’s security ” Ross asked what about outside the facility can the staff be intimidated there ” No Sir since the Hangar 18 breach no staff or their family live off the base Sir, they have their own  schools and shopping malls, it is in fact a self contained city . You need a Pass to go to the toilet let alone enter the base ” Ross banged his fist down hard on the desk ” I don’t care how you do it get me that machine if that machine becomes a viable product then we will be ruined, there would be billions of credits wiped off our shares overnight. If you have to kill to get it just don’t implicate the corporation in any way, do you hear me Felix the buck stops at you “

( 28 ) Page 28 Chapter 4 Silent Death Consequences


Page 28                                             Chapter 4 Consequences

In Amber Cornish’s office Mack and Doors had just filled Amber in with the recent arrest of Lars Johanson for Lanes Murder , ” I don’t think the murder will stick as it wasn’t premeditated , just bad luck by the sounds of it a bit of industrial espionage that went terribly wrong ” Doors remarked ” I am more concerned where that machine is now and who are these people that want it so badly they are threatening to kill a family for it , we need to find out as much as we can about them they are the real villains here that we should be catching ” Mack nodded his agreement and added ” We need to see if the device they put on that machine is still functioning  if it is, then we could most likely lock into that signal and find out just where the machine is now ” Amber went to a cabinet on the far side of her office inside was a collection of charts, ” These charts are a grid of the EE1’s station keeping orbit, in other words  this is the area in which the EE1 stays whilst in Earth orbit . We occupy an area  of some 40 square kilometers , the free drift of the station varies with each orbit within this area. The Nagami is the most logical place the machine could have been, we have had eye witness reports of what happened on that ship the machine must have been on board. Using these charts we can set grids to search and cover the whole area where the Nagami broke up, using the stations sensors we should be able to detect any radio signal coming from that machine . But if not we can still find it by searching in a methodical order , lets get the shuttles prep’d and we can begin the search”

The news of Lars Johansons arrest for Lanes murder soon spread through out the station, the killer had been caught and everyone could sleep sound tonight knowing it . However little did they know that plans  where being set that would jeopardize their very survival, the people who had designs on the RG1  where not going to give in so easily. Already they had made plans to recover the RG1 from space , little knowing to Mack Doors and Professor Cornish someone aboard the station  had already reported to the Nest what had occurred on EE1 . In  communications  a wide scan frequency analyzer had been set to scan for close low or high band signals, it wasn’t long before the state of the art equipment on EE1 found what they had been looking for, a series of high frequency signals had been detected in roughly the location of the Nagami’s last position. Mack and Doors took a shuttle and searched the area , four hours later they managed to find a section of the Nagami that was from the Cargo hold . Still embedded in this section that had once been the wall of the cargo bay was the RG1 , ” We won’t be able to get that out while in space we need to hook it with a grapple and take it back to the station ” Mack decided . Doors maneuvered the shuttle  to within a few meters of the debris, with expert precision Mack fired the grapple and caught a holding with his first shot. Gently they towed the large piece of steel and girders back to the station , they were directed to hangar 6 and gently they bought the shuttle in with it’s cargo in tow.

The hangar was pressurized and as the artificial gravity took effect the debris settled to the deck ,  Professor Cornish had quarantined the hangar only authorized personnel were allowed in the hangar. The professor had even arranged to have spacesuits found of a different manufacturer to those  originally used, it was to avoid a re-occurrence of what happened to doctor Lane . Professor Campbell suited up and with Mack and Doors they moved to the machine still lodged in the wall, ” First thing we must do is remove the signaling device” instructed the Professor ” I have a Geiger counter so any increase in radiation  and we abort, if this happens we will use the robot recovery arm to do what we must ” Gently they moved forwards the radiation meter flickered but stayed within the safe zone , Doors reached the device first and held on to the base while he opened the inspection hatch on the machine, he could clearly see the  signaling device Lars had placed in the machine . He leaned forwards and dislodged the device from a cross member in the  machine and removed it , he then closed the hatch and stepped away from the RG1 . ” I have it Professor ” and he gave it to Campbell who placed it into a screened box effectively isolating the signal and rendering the beacon useless to the Nest . ” Now they know we have the machine and they will do all they can now to retrieve it from us, we must be vigilant this is not over yet by a long way . We have already seen the lengths they will go to in order to get their hands on this device, the authorities on Earth have been notified and it has been decided that the RG1 will be taken to Area 51 ”

 

 

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All those gathered were still a little shaken by the outburst from Lars Johanson ” I think we have another suspect and from the seem of it a very aggressive one at that ” Mack remarked  ” Did you notice what he said ” asked Doors ” No what you mean about not working with Lane before ” Doors nodded ” Yes not that this was the first time but that he hadn’t worked with him before, as if he was trying to hide the fact that he had worked with him before.  By saying never then  stating that this was the first time seems an odd thing to say ” Mack nodded then Campbell added ” The man was angry maybe it was just a mistake, he may have just meant that he had not worked with Lane before ” The others agreed and nodded that’s what they thought , but Doors wasn’t so sure ” Somebody once said there are no such things as mistakes, just accidents to take advantage of and that is what I think we have here . I think by accident Mr Johanson gave away more than he intended , and far more than he wanted us to know ”

Lars Johanson had gone straight to his cabin he kept repeating to himself over and over ” They know they Know they have to know ” he poured himself a drink of Scotch and sat to drink it , the same words going over and over in his head . There was a knock at the door for a moment he froze, the knock got louder then a voice said they they knew he was in there and to answer the door. He finally moved to the door and opened it standing in front of him was Doors and Mack ” We need to talk to you Lars we may call you Lars is that ok ” He nodded and beckoned them in “Lars that was  quite an outgoing of emotion to a simple question ” Lars said nothing he just sat with his glass staring into the bottom of it ” Doctor we need to ask you why you said we if  you had never worked with Doctor Lane before ” He looked up wide staring  eyes  ” I did didn’t  I that was silly of me I shouldn’t have said that but I panicked a little you see, I have never done anything like this before I am a passive man this is quite beyond my character in normal circumstances . But this is not normal things in motion players on the board willing to do anything anything I tell you, murder is a way of life to them and I had so much to lose you see ” It was obvious to them both that the good Doctor was on the edge of a breakdown  ”  So what did they make you do Lars ”

Lars broke down and tears rolled down the big mans face ” They have my Daughter and my wife under surveillance , they showed me pictures of them both doing the shopping going to school .They showed me they could get at them anytime anywhere I had to do it , they did the same to that Captain he was being told by them to do what ever we needed to do or they kill them ” Mack sat directly in front of him and took his arm ” Who Lars who said they would do this and what did they make you do ”  Doors gave him another drink Lars thanked him and said ” Not sure who they just contacted me and said that if I didn’t do exactly as I was told my whole family would be killed in front of me, I have this device they gave me I am Eagle Akio was Raven we both contacted the nest if we had anything to report ” Mack was recording what he was saying and pushed for more answers ” You mean Captain Akio was involved in his friends death also ” Lars shook his head ” No no no that was an accident no one was supposed to die, we had been instructed to somehow get the machine and Lane . I went to the lab the night before I had instructions to place a monitor device inside the machine, it would record and transmit data to the nest each time the machine was used . They hoped that if the machine was not acquired then they would have enough information from it to build their own , but it all went horribly wrong when Gareth died like that . I didn’t know it would affect the machine so  it was just to gather information, but it unbalanced the machine and we lost control for a moment Lane was struck in the leg by a particle beam from the crystal . It only touched him for less than a second but it was enough to disperse some of the components of his suit, you see a spacesuit is made of a man made synthetic. Well just as Cyanide is added to glass to make it clear when it is in the furnace , it is also added to some space suits to aid them in making the suit impervious to certain rays from space. It was a recent discovery in fact your friend Professor Campbell was one of the developers for the then NASA space program, he discovered the way to filter out the rays by making a subtle   alloy that could bend like material  and it was made into suits for Astronauts . I didn’t know Gareth was wearing one of those suits, and I didn’t know it was going to end like that for him you have to believe me ”  We do Lars we do and we are sorry we have to do this  Lars Johanson you are under arrest for the murder of  Doctor Gareth Lane you are not obliged to say any thing that can be misinterpreted at any subsequent trial but if you do it may be used against you, we advise you to contact a lawyer and in the interest of justice say nothing till he is with you ” They asked if he understood and Lars nodded that he did, he was then placed in a holding cell ready to be transported to earth for trial . His one final plea to them was ” Here is my Earth address please make sure my wife and child are safe, save them from those men please I am so sorry so sorry “

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All shuttles returned to EE1 safely Akio had managed to get the Nagami far enough away from the station to spare her damage, he had also saved the life pods and shuttles that were evacuating it’s crew . Although Akio had dishonored his family name for a short time he now bathed it in glory sacrificing  himself to save others, he had lived up to the tradition and responsibilities of a true ships captain or so everyone believed. No one knew that it was Akio who had stolen the machine and placed the Nagami in danger in the first place , and with the evidence now scattered among the stars it was likely no one ever would . Doors had scheduled a meeting with the RG1 team prior to the destruction of the Nagami , this was put on hold until a memorial to those who died on the ship had been held . Once this had been completed it was pretty much business as usual and the station continued without any change in routine, Doors looked around and wondered if it would be as casual a day if anything had happened to him . Probably he thought he decided not to waste time pondering futile questions that he would never know the answer to, after all had he died he wouldn’t be around to see if anyone mourned him . He contacted each of Lanes team and asked for a meeting in the recreation room in one hour, he was the last to arrive at the meeting and apologized for his tardiness .  He reviewed what had happened to the Nagami and asked if from the descriptions given by the crew , if they thought that the machine they had been working on was most likely to be the cause of the ships destruction. Hank was the first to answer ” Without doubt it was walls appearing to melt crew members dissolving into nothingness , it could only have been the result of the machine becoming unstable and altering it’s surrounding particles .” The team all agreed that this was without a question the cause, ” So therefore we have to assume that whoever killed the Doctor and stole the machine, was a member of the Nagami crew and was also responsible for it’s ultimate destruction. “finished Doors . From across the room a voice of disagreement        ” Not at all Mr Doors if it was purely the machine that the perpetrator of Doctor Lane wished , then why kill the only man alive that would be able to operate it surely it would be more advantageous to take both. I think you will find that the theft of the machine was an opportunistic act bought on by Lanes death, that they may have been on the station to do exactly that in the first instance is a possibility but  unlikely they would have killed it’s inventor .” Doors looked across the room and Professor Campbell had been sitting  in the corner taking it all in, he had a good point why kill the man that knew most about the RG1 he would have been extremely useful ” You may be right Professor but what if it was planned what if they had no need of Lane, what if they viewed him as an obstacle that had to be eliminated” The professor walked across to their table ” Gentlemen you are as aware as I that none of you could have understood the true operational capabilities of the RG1 , only Doctor Lanes incredible intellect was capable of doing so  . No one in the World had ever come close to achieving what he had the man was pure genius, can any of you honestly say you could comprehend the machine as he did ” They all shook their heads knowing what the Professor had said was true none of them did understand the machine as Lane did , he was as far ahead of them as an adult is to a child he had cracked the building blocks of the universe and was about to reshape it all as we knew it .

It was at that moment that Mack came into the room ” Phil spare a minute I have something to tell you ” Doors gave his apologies and went across to talk to Mack ” What is it Boss ” he whispered ” The picture in the Magazine I just remembered where I saw that guy before, he is in a photograph I noticed in the quarters of    Johanson  the man was with him and they were shaking hands ” Doors asked if he had the magazine with him , he did and he gave it to Doors open at the page with the picture . He went back to the table and showed them the picture ,” Can anyone tell me who this man is in this picture ” at first no one said anything the Lars picked up the Magazine and said ” I can tell you this is my Father ” Doors asked him what he was doing in the picture with Lane” Lars sat down and proceeded to tell Doors ” We worked with Lane for 12 moths prior to the article being published , then a few months after he died with massive brain tumors that were  inoperable there was nothing that could be done for him. ” He died in agony and in all the time he was ill Lane never asked or came to see him once, and it was all due to that machine. Lane knew it emitted dangerous particles but would not follow protocols to wait until an effective counter to them had been found . ” Mack who had been sat at another table stood and walked across to them ” But you are now part of that same team I don’t understand if you knew about the adverse effect of the particles why did you work with Lane , and if you had worked with him before why risk your health again” Lars stood an was obviously on edge, the temper in his eyes was obvious and building ” I never said I have worked with him before this was the first time, but I wanted to finish what my father started he deserved as  much credit for this device as did Lane ” He then stormed off smashing the door on the way out and nearly knocking a young woman lab assistant  flying , everyone at the table was astounded by his outburst and a little embarrassed.

 

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Doors was back in the security office as Mack came in he got up out of Mack’s chair ” Trying it for size are we Phil ” Mack said laughingly ” Well of course I was you are not going to last forever boss, they got to retire you soon what are you now 45 not long to go ” Mack laughed “You cheeky sod  i’m 27 still plenty of life left in this old space dog ” he laughed . Mack sat down and he said to his colleague ” I have just found out something very interesting ” and he tossed the Magazine onto the desk ” Doors picked it up and began to read the article on Lane ” The regeneration of matter from existing matter to formulate any substance and any article the re-generator can be programmed to copy and simulate, the process although not yet perfected has many possibilities in the field of quantum physics. “At last the Alchemists can make gold from lead and visa versa , once the decay factor has been solved “said Doctor Gareth Lane  inventor of the re-generator “As to yet any substance created can only keep it’s molecular bonding for a maximum of five hours, after which it will dissolve into free floating atoms without cohesion” he stated to the gathered dignitaries this will be watched with great expectations by the science and commercial bodies around the world. Doors placed the magazine down and realized what Mack had been saying immediately ” So that’s why no poisons were found in the blood after the 5 hours all evidence had gone, very clever so we are back to square one anyone who read this magazine would have known about this ” said Doors ” Not as easy as that  first you would have had to know how to operate the machine, you would have at least had to know the molecular formula for the substances you were trying to create . To my mind this with a little thought will narrow the field down considerably, all we have to do is find out who on the station of over three thousand scientists has the knowledge to use the machine.” replied Mack both men laughed ” Ok that will narrow it down to at least I don’t know a thousand ” Doors replied ” Actually you know we might not be as far off the mark as we think  lets see we have at the moment seven suspects that where known to Doctor Lane and we have been investigating this on the basis the murder was personal, what if it wasn’t what if it was purely all about the machine ” Mack rubbed his chin and looked at the magazine again” This man here in the photograph with Lane I am sure I have seen him before, on this station but for the life of me I don’t know when or if it has any significance. But one thing I do know we have to find that machine and see if it can tell us anything about what happened Professor Campbell says it’s dangerous, and I for one hope it’s no longer on this station but we do need to know where it is now . I think we need to pay Lanes team a visit again maybe they know something that will help us, it maybe our last hope of finding out what really happened.

Akio was preparing his ship for departure ” Helm activate thruster’s  and  let go moorings ahead 5kph till we clear space dock , navigation set course for Mars colony Signus one engage Ion drive when we are clear ” The Nagami eased it’s way out of the Hangar and slid gently into space once it had cleared dock Akio ordered  thruster’s to 100kph  , as the ship turned in space and was about to engage main engines and  head for the Planet Mars a huge explosion rocked the ship . Akio yelled orders to his crew ” Number one damage assessment helm do we still have thruster’s  ” the helm officer shook his head ” No Sir all control lines to engineering have been severed we are dead in space” Akio rushed to a computer panel and punched up an outside view of the Nagami , the ship was holed from the cargo deck down to engineering was open to space . He could see the bodies of his engineers and some more of his crew from the cargo area lifeless floating in space, he guessed what had happened that damned  machine had caused this . He knew he needed to safeguard the rest of his crew, ” Abandon ship abandon ship all remaining crew to the shuttles  head back for EE1 , damage control parties keep this ship together till your shipmates have departed ” He then ordered the bridge cleared go to evacuation stations and return to EE1″ he told them . When the bridge was clear he used the radio to contact the Nest ” Raven to nest Raven to nest come in nest ” after a short time a voice answered “Nest to Raven report ” he faltered for a moment as he wonder’d how his contact was going to take this news ” Raven to Nest machine caused catastrophic failure in Ion drive, we are floating in space  many of crew dead ship breaking up imminent destruction ” he waited for a reply ” Status of Doctor Lanes Machine” they asked ” Destroyed or somewhere in space I don’t know , the section where the machine was has been destroyed it was in the port section cargo hold which has been completely  decimated by a huge explosion we are abandoning ship Raven out ”     He made his way to the escape pods and made sure that all his crew were safe of those that had been Injured he made sure they were placed in the shuttles first , EE1 had launched vessels that had already docked on to airlocks on the starboard side of the ship and were evacuating everyone. Akio took one last look around his ship, he headed for the cargo area it was sealed but he could see through the door inspection window, to his horror he could see the RG1 embedded in the wall on the far side of the cargo bay, and there was no way from this side he could reach it he could only hope it would be lost when the ship broke up if the ship indeed did so.

The EE1 Sensors showed that all the crew that had survived the explosion had been evacuated, they had also managed to get to at least 20 of the crew who had been trapped in the reactor room . There was strange stories of what happened prior to the explosion buzzing around the engineering crew , stories of complete walls melting before their eyes one man told of his crew mate who simply dissolved into nothing before him. It didn’t take a rocket scientists to know that the RG1 had been responsible for this disaster, Doors immediately sent for  Akio Takei to question him again, but he was not aboard the station his bridge officers said he was still on the ship as far as they knew . Mack had other concerns he  knew if the Nagami blew the ring facing the ship would come under possible bombardment from debris from the ship, luckily the first explosion had been directed into space away from the station. But if the ship blew it was still too close to the station not to cause damage , he ordered the evacuation of the whole port side of EE1 he then ordered that the compartments be depressurized then if they were fractured by debris they would at least not suffer explosive decompression.  Still aboard the Nagami  Akio Takei made sure all his crew had now evacuated , including those  who had stayed behind to keep the ship together as their shipmates left for the safety of the station. He had one more duty to perform he was aware that if the ship blew up damage would occur on EE1 from flying debris, he had decided to move the ship as far away from the station as possible and had put on a spacesuit to enter auxiliary control in the engineering  section. From the bridge he opened all the bulk head doors the air rushed out screaming like a thousand demons, he then made his way along the length of the ship to the engineering once there he activated the starboard thruster’s  and pushed the Nagami away from the EE1. Further and further the stricken ship moved away from the station, the tearing of metal and groans of the superstructure moving as the ship started to break up, Akio stood looking into space through the damaged hull , The ship had started to spin and now and again the EE1 came into view Akio bowed his head and said ” I  will soon be with you Lane San I hope you can forgive me for the dishonor I did you , and I pray that your killers be bought to justice ” as he gazed into the void he never saw the enormous flash of light as the ships reactors went critical and enveloped the ship in a blinding flash .

 

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Akio opened the outer door to the Nagami and security officer Ben Manning entered the airlock, he pressed the com button on the door support ” Captain Takei  we have a request from the station director to search your ship, we are looking for a stolen item you may or may not have on your ship. You don’t have to allow us to search Sir but should you refuse your ship will be locked down in the bay until a court order can be obtained, we will then search the ship without your cooperation.” Akio replied via the com ” Yes you can search I have nothing to hide , what is it you are searching for again”. Manning and the search crew entered the ship and began to span out ” I am sorry Sir but we are not at liberty to disclose that information ” for three hours they searched every cabin every cabinet every crevice and they found nothing ” Manning thanked Akio and the crew left the Nagami , Akio slumped into his command chair and sighed in relief just as he believed the ordeal to be over , he heard a tapping on his cabin door the door was open and standing there was Mack ” May I come in Captain ” he asked politely ” Yes Of course what can I do for you officer , they have already searched my ship and found nothing ” Mack smiled and sat down ” Sorry may I we have a lot to talk about and seated will be much more comfortable ” Akio was intrigued by Mack he seemed to know something or was this a bluff to see if he had anything to hide . Mack began telling him why he was here ” As you know Captain your friend Gareth Lane was murdered on this station a little over 53 hous ago, can you tell me your whereabouts  an hour before he died and also what was it you were studying with Doctor Lane at university when you attended. I believe you both attended the same university isn’t that correct , and during that time you became close friends with him . Akio nodded and said yes ” Tell me Captain did you know Doctor Lanes wife and have you ever met Director Cornish before ” Akio stood  poured a drink of Saki and offered Mack a glass , Mack refused politely and asked him to answer the question emphasizing the word please. ” No officer I have never met Director Cornish and yes I did know Heather Lane ” Mack produced a note tablet from his uniform and asked ” Just how well did you know her ” Akio shook his head ” Not well I had met her two or three times at parties we both attended but not well at all , she tended to keep her self to herself she was a very timid person you know the type ” Mack frowned ” No sorry what type is that exactly ” Akio downed another shot of Saki ” You know the frightened sparrow that stands in a corner, afraid that someone will talk to her or notice her ” Then he looked at Mack with a stare of someone remembering a long forgotten memory ” But you know come to think of it I do remember the director was at one of the parties I attended , I think it was the last one we had at university. Yes I do ” laughing at the remembered vision in his mind ” Ha ha ha  oh yes I do remember the director now ” Mack asked what he was laughing at ” Well I remember that she was arguing with Heather and heather picked up a large glass of beer and poured it over her head , this triggered a beer fight at the party and everyone was soaked in beer very funny memory actually ” Mack asked if he knew what they had been fighting about ” No sorry I was too far away from them across the room, but I think it was something to do with Gareth as the director kept pointing to him ” Mack asked if Akio had met Lane since leaving University ” Well he did come and visit my home in Japan and we did correspond for a while, then he just stopped writing about four years ago I think it was about the time he started the project with his machine ” Macks ears pricked at this ” What machine was this captain ” Akio took another shot of Saki stood and walked over to his cabinet and took out a magazine, ” This one it was splashed all over the Science Gazette last year, it was seen as the next step in mans understanding of the natural universe or something here see for yourself ” Mack read the first couple of lines of the article looked up at Akio and asked ” Do you mind If I keep this for a while ” Akio nodded and said that he didn’t want it he could keep it . ” By the way Officer as they searched my ship and found nothing am I free to depart now ” Mack told him he could leave as soon as he wanted, wished him Bon Voyage and left the ship.

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Amber was panicked too much information about her was already known, she had to make sure no more came out she must make sure the killer was found and soon. It would be all around the station soon about her preferences she thought men talk especially about that, although it would stop the unwanted advances of many of the men on the station maybe that would be a good thing she decided . She sent for Mack she had to talk to him now and tell him what she had just found out about Lane, Mack knocked on the door “You wanted to see me director”  she asked him to sit and then began the story telling him what had just happened with Doors” Yes I know he told me I have to admit I suspected as much ” she got angry at this and shouted at him” What do you mean you suspected as much, just because you never got anywhere with me you thought oh yeah she must be gay ” Mack shook his head and stood he tried to take her hand but she pulled away ” No not because of me but because I remember how you where around Heather , it was blatantly obvious to me  you were in love with her” Amber held her head in her hands and sobbed ” I  wished she had felt the same maybe she would still be alive if she did ” Mack said she couldn’t blame herself it was Lanes doing not her,  looking at him she asked ” Didn’t you hear a word I just said Gareth was ill you can’t blame him either . Oh my God it was you  wasn’t it you killed him, I can see it now you hated him so much it’s obvious it had to be you ” Mack reeled back and stared horrified at her ” What after all these years we have known each other , you think I am capable of murder good God woman I didn’t kill him I thought it was you ” They both sat down and the silence between them was a roar of guilt and   confusion ,they sat like that for about 5 minutes when Amber broke the silence ” If you did why didn’t you say anything to Doors or to me ” Mack stood up and this time when he reached out for her hand she didn’t pull away ” You know for a Professor you can be a real stupid cow at times, isn’t it  clear to you yet or do I have to write it on the wall. I know there is no real chance we could be together now but surely you knew how I felt for you, the things I did always coming to your aid whenever you needed me ” she took his hand with both hands and quietly said ” I thought you were just being a really good friend to me , I honestly didn’t know that you were in Love with me ” Mack turned to walk out the office and he paused ” Since the first day I met you, but deep inside I knew I would only ever be a friend and it hurt so much ” he opened the door and was about to leave when Amber grabbed his arm,” I do Love you Mack not as a friend but more like as a brother ” he smiled and walked into the corridor ” Thanks Amber you really know how to turn the knife ” and he walked away .

Akimo Takei  hurried to his cargo hold he had been warned that security had been heading for his ship to search her, he wanted to make sure the RG1 would not be discovered. The machine had been hidden in a secret wall especially constructed to be scan proof , the walls had been lined with Tiridium a new material that had the properties of lead durable malleable and impervious to X rays and most other scanners. Even Macks scanners would not penetrate this material the Nagami also had her outer hull lined with Tiridium  it was cheap and an extremely alloy ,7 times lighter than lead but with all it’s properties with the added advantage that Tiridium could also be liquid under special conditions. So spraying the outside of any ship made it un scan-able , the perfect material for the smugglers and rouges that drifted in space making the profitable smuggling runs between Earth and the colonies. Aki donned the exoskeleton suit used by the loading crew, he placed the heaviest containers the suit could lift in front of the door leading to the secret compartment. He didn’t want it being discovered by accident by some over eager security officer, he took  suit off and went to the bridge just in time to be contacted by the security officer asking permission to board.