Sunday 29 – Tuesday 31 October 2017
With one punch, Billy Marshall had Doc laid out on the bridge floor at Connie’s feet. The only person shocked by Billy’s action was Doc, the punch coming unexpectedly as he walked onto the bridge.
‘You two, restrain him in the med bay. When he wakes up, let me know,’ Connie ordered. ‘I’ve got work to do.’
Toller and Hammett grasped an arm each, and dragged Doc from her sight. Billy took his place, slumping heavily at her feet.
‘Get up,’ she said, patting the seat next to her.
Billy groaned as he pushed up from the floor. ‘I’m getting too old to keep punching out other older guys like that.’
Connie snickered. ‘You’re thirty-two. That’s hardly old.’
‘Well, I feel old.’
‘You can cry about being old when you reach your forties. Until then, suck it up, junior.’ She paused, and examined his face looking for an answer. ‘How did I miss this?’
‘How did we all miss this? Not just you.’
She ached for Gabriel’s counsel. He always knew what to say, what to do in instances where it felt like the world was collapsing around them. But he was no longer here, no thanks to Doc. She’d never be able to ask for his advice again, and that hurt more than anything else.
‘I can see what you’re thinking, Connie, but Doc isn’t worth going to prison for.’ Billy’s Yorkshire accent was obvious when he was tired. He stifled a yawn; it seemed inappropriate to go through with it given the current circumstances.
‘He’s a murderer, and he deserves the worst we can –’
‘Yes, and you’d become a murderer too, if you follow through with the thoughts in your head at the moment. You’re not like that, Connie. You’re good, compassionate, sensible. Don’t let Doc or his actions change that.’
She gulped in a lungful of warm, thick air. Hammett and Toller’s air recycling idea was working, but just barely. The air cycling through the Anna Maria was thick, and getting hotter by the hour.
‘Need to get Hammett and Toller to whip up a couple of air coolers too, I think. Can’t go all the way to RK-422 with this heat.’ She paused, and allowed a thought to blossom in her mind. It was a hideous idea, but considering what he’d done to Gabe, not entirely out of the question. ‘Do you think Doc has been poisoning Weisz too?’
Billy raised his eyebrows. ‘And the rest of us.’
‘Shit, don’t say that.’
‘You brought it up, poisoning. And you know, if he’s done it successfully once, how much practice did he need before he was successful?’
* * * * *
Doc struggled against the restraints Hammett and Toller had applied to his hands and feet, but they didn’t give.
‘Trust Toller to suddenly find what he’s actually good at.’ Doc tried to relax his muscles to prevent any cramping. Only God knew how long he would be restrained in the med bay.
‘Yeah, Doc, Toller is really good at tying shit up.’
Doc wasn’t expecting anyone other than comatose Weisz to be in the med bay with him. Hammett’s voice scared him.
‘You could have let me know you were in the room, Hammett. Think I just shat my pants,’ Doc snapped.
Hammett laughed. ‘Yeah, right, Doc. Just like the way you let Gabe know you were murdering him? Been trying to knock off Angela too, have you?’
‘No, I most certainly have not been trying to knock off Angela. And I didn’t murder Gabriel.’
‘Sure. As if I’d trust anything a murdering drug dealer said.’
Doc sneered, baring his teeth like a rabid dog. ‘You’re clutching at straws now, Hammett. Drug dealer? Don’t know where you got that one from.’
‘The only customer you have on this rust bucket. Don’t play dumb with me. Toller told me where he was getting his fix from. Told Connie too. She’s got enough evidence on you dealing drugs to Toller to put you away for a long time. And don’t worry, we’ll find the evidence that you murdered Gabe.’
It was Doc’s turn to laugh, an action made difficult by his position on the bed, and the tight restraints. ‘You’ve got nothing on me. But I, I have friends in high places.’
‘Not going to help you all the way out here.’
‘What do you mean by that, Hammett?’ Doc didn’t like Hammett’s tone of voice, or what he believed Hammett was implying.
‘Just you and us, Doc, out here in deep space. No police. No courts. No justice system. Just. Us. A lot can happen on the way to RK-422. Easy enough to explain . . . accidents, I’d imagine. Especially given our run in with Jericho’s sun. Things going wrong with the ship. Repairs need to be made. Accidents happen.’
* * * * *
Connie paced the bridge. She had a lot of things to consider, and the weight of those issue bore heavily on her shoulders. Billy watched her stride continuously from one side of the bridge to the other.
‘Can you stop, please? It’s tiring watching you go back and forth.’
She stopped in front of Gabe’s chair, and caressed the headrest. Anger welled in her stomach. ‘I really want to kill him. Doc. I want him dead.’
‘It won’t bring Gabe back.’
‘I know, but it might make me feel a little better.’
‘No, it won’t. You’ll end up feeling guilty about killing the arsehole, as well as still being angry that Gabe’s gone.’
Toller’s voice crackled over the radio, interrupting the first genuine conversation Connie had had with Billy.
‘Good news, Commander Taylor. Help is on the way. We’re getting rescued.’
. . . To be continued . . .