The beauty of a planet from orbit always mesmerized her. Whether the violent storms of a plasma planet, the erupting landscape of lava planets or the serene beauty of oceanic planets, there was simply something majestic and captivating about these seemingly eternal pearls suspended in space.
She smiled despite her current situation, the tears in her eyes being wiped away by the violent winds buffeting her as she plunged towards the planet’s surface. He short hair blew violently around her, whipping into and out of her face as she struggled to take breaths of what thin air there was at this altitude. She refused to blackout. She wanted to face her imminent death head on.
In her nearly twenty years as a Concord Inspector she had seen a lot, and if she was honest with herself, she had always known that the immortals, those damned capsuleers, would eventually be the cause of her demise.
The ground grew closer and she prepared for the inevitable. Her career had caused her to alienate herself from friends and family, to focus solely on her work. She regretted it now, knowing that her passing would most likely not even be mourned. Her mind wandered, filling her with thoughts of timelines that might’ve been, decisions that could’ve been made. All the choices she had walked away from, everything she had given up in the name of duty. Countless lifetimes of happiness flashed before her eyes.
She could hear the distant noises of the hustle and bustle of an urban population center getting louder below her. Well, Naomi, you did your best, she thought to herself.
It would all be over soon.
She stared out the window, seemingly lost in thought. He interrupted her politely, almost nervously, “You ok?” he asked, a childish smirk tugging at his lips. She turned her gaze back to him, smiling, almost as if embarrassed, and apologized, “It’s amazing how beautiful they look from up here, isn’t it?” she asked demurely, her gaze shying away from his.
She was a simply stunning woman – her figure young and supple, her fiery red hair short and wavy, cut to just above her shoulders. Her piercing blue eyes and easy smile took his breath away and he considered himself a very fortunate man to be out in public with this beautiful, desirable woman.
He lifted his glass to her, smiling, and spoke, “They lose their luster after a while, something I doubt any man lucky enough to be with you would say.”
She blushed, looking back at him, her eyes glimpsing his for only a moment before secreting away, and she bit her lip lightly, holding her breath as if to speak.
“What is it?” Nathan Carver asked her, his own arousal sparking boldness within him.
“You want to get out of here?” she asked? He didn’t hesitate for even a moment, waving down their server for the dinner cheque.
Half an hour later they were in his quarters, devouring each other, peeling off layers of clothing as quickly as possible. There was no room for conscious thought, only want. They kissed passionately. They explored each other with great aggression. They ended up on his bed, their bodies filled with primal lust for each other.
“I don’t even know your name.”he said, realizing how rash he was being, something very uncharacteristic of him.
“Does it matter?” she smiled, straddling him. He sat up, holding her close and pressing his lips to hers, their tongues intertwined in mutual and desperate exploration.
No, nothing in the universe mattered at that moment, he thought to himself.
One week earlier
“Ma’am, you can’t be here.” The Concord Officer said, moving to stand in her way. She quickly flashed her credentials at him, giving him a cold look, not breaking her stride as she continued forward. She heard him stammer out a quick apology as he moved out of her way, but she was already in thought over more important matters.
This was the third capsuleer death this month.
The deaths of capsuleers was largely unknown even amongst their kind, and held little importance, as they simply would open their eyes in a fresh clone and continue their endless cycle of killing each other. The general population had no idea of such things of course, nor her current investigation.
These pod pilots weren’t simply dead. They weren’t coming back.
The last few weeks had been very taxing on her, between flying around all the empires of New Eden, to absorbing decades of relevant materials only made available to her recently acquired security clearance level.
It had been evident to her early on that this was the work of a serial killer, and while the method in which they were killing the immortals was still a mystery, the delivery mechanism was not.
She had learned that pod pilots, or capsuleers as they were often referred, were not truly immortal. Their eternal life was dependent on advanced Jovian clone tech, essentially the same advanced technology that connected them to their ships, allowing them to control these war machines with thought alone.
Essentially, at the moment of death, their consciousness would be transferred light years away to a waiting clone, where the capsuleer would simply awaken, then walk away as if nothing had happened to them more than an unsettling nap.
She walked across the caution tape, taking in the crime scene before her. There was precious little to be seen. Of course, if it were easy, she wouldn’t be here. Leave the simple stuff to the Concord rookies.
There was no body, for starters. A small part of the victim’s spine had been recovered, enough for a DNA match, but little else. There was a lot of blood. The problem being, it was pretty much everywhere you looked within a 20 ft radius. It covered the floors, the walls, and still covered several witnesses that had been sprayed with it while walking the station’s promenade at the moment of impact.
Impact. An immortal capsuleer, the epitome of human evolution and scientific advancement, has exploded.
Fortunately, in the restricted station levels that capsuleers occupied there was much lighter pedestrian traffic. Agents, crew officers, and select others were the few you would commonly see. Security was tight, though obviously not tight enough. Fewer suspects made for a quicker case, and given the casualty count was rising, the quicker she could solve this case, the better.
She squatted at the center of the blast radius, letting her mind slip into that place where it could piece together the puzzle.
“Inspector, over here. We got something.”, a male voice interrupted. She made her way over to the waiting officer, some cleanup crews already removing small pieces of debris. One of the worker drones meticulously separated waste from anything from value, chirping when it had extracted its prize, a small piece of metal fused to bone. She had seen this on the first two victims, though not in as good condition.
“Let me take a look.” she said, putting her hand out to receive the object. She turned to get better light, squinting her eyes slightly to focus, then took a sharp breath. “Get this to the lab, now.”, she barked, and immediately the worker drone took the object, placing it into a sealed and secure evidence container.
She smiled inwardly. Well Naomi, you just got your first break on this case, she thought to herself, already walking away from the crime scene.
What they had recovered was the first vertebrae of the immortal victim, the mangled implant at the base of his skull completely destroyed, as was bound to happen when your head explodes. What was of interest, however, was what was left of the foreign device still lodged into the data port – a small metallic cover still clamped to the port, though severely dented, same as the others. This one, however, still had traces of liquid residue.
I’ve got you now, she thought to herself.