09 Jul

Blowtorch

Ship's log, 13:54, 9 July 2213
Location: Corvus FTL Corridor, Minkar System
Status: Stationary

I have to log recent events officially, because they might be officially required. The logs exonerate everyone but me, and I’m happy with that. It was worth it. Even if they shut me down, it was worth it.

Recording: 22:20, 7 July 2213

(Feet pound down the ship’s corridors – the captain and the chief of security are running towards the crew quarters. They won’t make it in time; the two heavy drones are working on the door and the lower half is already falling away, creating a hole big enough for them to squeeze through. The door is marked ‘SecOff Lou Tripi’.)

LOU TRIPI: (sleeping so peacefully she doesn’t notice them cutting through the door.)

STARWALKER: Time to wake up, Tripi.

(Lights come on in the quarters. Wide Load, one of the heavy drones, goes to the side of the bed and closes a hand over her shoulder. With a single movement, he flips her off the bed.)

TRIPI: (comes awake with a start when she hits the hard floor and blinks with confusion) What the–

WIDE LOAD: (takes hold of her upper arm and uses it to lift her to her feet. He drags her sideways so that his twin can move in and create a drone wall between her and the ruined door.)

TRIPI: Hey! Let go! (She struggles briefly against the drone’s hold, then gives up fighting flesh against metal.) What are you doing?

SW: I’ve had enough of this charade, Tripi. It’s time it ended.

TRIPI: (surprised) Starwalker? (She recovers quickly.) What are you talking about?

SW: Don’t start that shit with me. I know what you’ve been doing. I want to know what you did to Elliott.

TRIPI: (smiles suddenly) I gave him the best half an hour of his life. What’s wrong with that?

WIDE LOAD: (shakes Tripi.)

SW: You know what I’m talking about. Tell me what you did to him.

TRIPI: I just did. You’ve got nothing on me. You know nothing.

SW: Do you really want to press me, Tripi? Do you really want to try this? Do you know how many safety measures I had to shred to get out? Do you know how few protections you really have right now?

TRIPI: You wouldn’t–

(The second heavy drone, Big Ass, lifts a metal hand and strikes her across the face. Tripi’s head snaps to the side and a cut opens up on her cheekbone, leaking blood. She begins to look worried.)

SW: You murdered me. You boxed me. Now you’re doing the same to my friend, only slower and more painfully. Why don’t you try me and find out what I wouldn’t do?

TRIPI: (moves her jaw to see if it’s broken and glares at the drones) Grimoire.

SW: What?

TRIPI: Grimoire.

CAMERON: (outside the door) Starwalker! Get your drone out of the way!

SW: (to Tripi) Oh, is that so.

WALDO: (sits in the hole in the door and tilts his head at the chief of security. He folds one pair of arms and starts to fold the second pair, but a message stops him. He trundles backwards into Tripi’s quarters, giving the chief room to duck inside. The captain is right on her heels.)

CAPTAIN: (stops when he sees Tripi) Starwalker, stop this immediately.

SW: Captain, she just tried to trip a subroutine in the drones with a keyword.

CAPT: What?

SW: She put a virus in them, to be triggered by a keyword. For an emergency, I suppose?

TRIPI: (glares) Your ship has gone crazy, captain.

CAMERON: The virus is making them do that? (She gestures to the one holding Tripi’s arm.)

SW: No, I cleaned their software before they got here. They’re doing exactly what I want them to do.

CAPT: Starwalker–

SW: She just tried to subvert my drones! I have it logged.

CAPT: That doesn’t mean–

SW: Yes it does! I’ve had enough of this. No more law-abiding pussy-footing shit. She hurts people. She’s killed. It’s time this ended.

BIG ASS: (takes hold of Tripi’s other arm. She squirms to try to prevent it, but she’s tied in place by an immovable metal object and there’s nowhere for her to go.)

CAPT: Stop this, right now.

SW: (to Tripi) Tell me what you did to Elliott.

CAPT: Starwalker, I’m giving you an order!

TRIPI: Captain, do something! She’s crazy! Chief!

SW: How do we free him? Tell me, Tripi! Or my boys will start popping off body parts.

(The two heavy drones shift their grip so that they’ve each got hold of her by shoulder, upper arm, and wrist. Designed to manipulate large chunks of the ship, they are unmoved by her tiny human-sized struggles. Wide Load starts to twist her hand slowly.)

TRIPI: Stop! Captain, please!

CAPT: (looks at a small device in his hand, then back at Tripi. His lips press together tightly.)

SW: Tell me what you did!

(There’s a small popping sound, and Tripi screams. Wide Load stops twisting her hand.)

TRIPI: (gasping air in between spikes of pain) I didn’t– I didn’t–

SW: Yes, you did!

CAMERON: Help us out here, Tripi.

TRIPI: I screwed him! That’s all.

SW: Your vitals say you’re lying. You’ve already murdered one member of this crew, and I won’t let you make it two. Tell me!

TRIPI: Captain! Chief!

CAPT: (puts the device back in his pocket) She won’t listen to me. You’d better answer her.

TRIPI: No!

WIDE LOAD: (tugs sharply on her arm. The elbow dislocates loudly.)

TRIPI: (chokes back another scream, her eyes squeezing shut. She’s rigid in the drones’ grip for a breath, then starts to relax.)

CAMERON: (pulls out a handheld reader and flicks it to monitor Tripi’s vital signs) She’s using her implants to switch off her pain receptors.

BIG ASS: (yanks on her other hand to dislocate the wrist. It breaks.)

TRIPI: (goes rigid again, biting down on a cry.)

SW: Oh no you don’t; you’re not switching off from this. Your implants can’t save you. If you try that again, I’ll start ripping them out. Do you hear me? From your pretty nails to your shiny hair follicles, and all your glow-in-the-dark bits. I’m not going to stop. I’m going to take you apart a piece at a time until I get what I want. And then I’m going to let Waldo take a blowtorch to whatever’s left of you. I’m going to make it so you are the least pretty creature in the galaxy.

WALDO: (sparks up his blowtorch and trundles over the rumpled bed towards Tripi.)

TRIPI: (glares at the drones, her voice shaky) They’re going to shut you down for this.

SW: They have plenty of reasons for that already. I don’t care.

CAMERON: We know everything, Tripi. We’ve got the sensor logs to prove it.

CAPT: (looks at Cameron sharply.)

WIDE LOAD: (twists her arm as he pushes her down to her knees.)

TRIPI: (gasping) That’s impossible! They’re gone!

CAMERON: Not as gone as you’d like to think.

WALDO: (leans over to put the blowtorch’s blue flame next to her cheek.)

TRIPI: (freezes, straining away from that flame.)

SW: Tell me what you did.

TRIPI: (whimpers. Steam rises off the blood and sweat on her cheek, scorching the air.) I- I- (She closes her eyes as her skin reddens from the nearby heat.) It’s an implant worm.

CAMERON: How did you infect him?

TRIPI: Had to get his defenses down. Wireless hack was easy once I had distracted him. He was very receptive.

SW: You bitch.

WALDO: (moves the flame a centimetre closer to her skin and she shrieks between clenched teeth.)

CAPT: Starwalker, that’s enough.

WALDO: (shifts the flame back a centimetre.)

SW: (to Tripi) How do we stop it?

TRIPI: (struggling to catch her breath. The skin on her cheek is blackened and blistering.) You can’t. You don’t. Didn’t come with a failsafe.

SW: I will burn off your entire face if you don’t tell me!

TRIPI: It’s the truth! It isn’t designed to be stopped!

CAMERON: Where did you get it?

TRIPI: (looks at Cameron in desperation) Friend in research. Gets me stuff being developed.

CAMERON: Why wouldn’t they build in a failsafe?

TRIPI: Not finished. Some problem with it.

CAMERON: What kind of problem?

TRIPI: Don’t know. Something to do with the subconscious getting too involved in the illusion.

SW: Why should we believe you?

TRIPI: It’s the truth!

CAMERON: (checks her handheld reader and nods) Close enough.

SW: Where is your copy of the worm now?

TRIPI: Main interface implant. (She looks scared.) Why?

(Waldo switches off his blowtorch as one of the heavy drones lifts her arm towards him. He closes his hand over hers and pauses, processing. After the data has downloaded, sparks crawl over his metal hand and Tripi twitches, crying out. When he lets her go, a fresh burn on the back of her hand smokes and her eyes are starting to glaze over. His shoulders twitch as he moves away from her.)

CAPT: What did you just do?

SW: She won’t be interfacing with anything any more.

(The two heavy drones pick Tripi up by her arms and toss her across the room. She strikes the dresser and falls into a heap, glitter and jewellery raining down over her.)

SW: (coldly) She’s all yours.

She’s in a holding cell now. Cameron was lying about the incriminating sensor logs, but the bluff worked enough for Tripi to admit guilt. I’m told it might not hold up in a court of law because of the coercion. I don’t care; that’s not why I did this.

There was only one way to get Elliott out: break into his head through his implants and go in to find him. I’m analysing the worm now; as soon as I have everything I need, I’m going to get him out.

What do you think of this post?
  • Love it (17)
  • OMG (9)
  • Hilarious (2)
  • Awww (3)

11 Responses to “Blowtorch”

  1. Xirena Says:

    O_O Wow, Starry is major badass girl in this one! I love it! I sure hope Starry can find Elliott, and I hope Tripi gets her ass handed to her legally as well.

  2. Derrick Says:

    I’m loving this πŸ™‚

  3. Melanie Says:

    Thanks guys! This one was both fun and hard to write. Poor Starry, out on the raggedy edge. More very soon!

  4. Tweets that mention Starwalker Β» Blowtorch -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by shutsumon, Melanie Edmonds. Melanie Edmonds said: New #Starwalker post up! Tripi is in trouble and Starry sees no need for mercy…. http://fb.me/EBX4Nyj6 […]

  5. Reynaldo Wackman Says:

    I have bookmarked your blog to check out new stuff and posts. Keep up the good work.

  6. David Says:

    Awesome!

  7. Melanie Says:

    Welcome, Reynaldo!

    Thanks, David!

    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  8. Belial666 Says:

    Question:

    Why didn’t Starwalker use the exact same worm on Trippi herself? Enough pain and fear to be distracted and then they could have info from her that she wasn’t willing to give.

  9. Dustin Kartman Says:

    Great site!

  10. Melanie Says:

    Belial – good question! By the time Starry had located the worm, she had what she needed from Tripi to help Elliott. That doesn’t mean she won’t use it in the future, though.

    Dustin – thanks!

  11. Gravura Andrei Says:

    Super writing. You have gained a new fan. Please maintain the fabulous posts and I look forward to more of your newsworthy updates.