Sky in the Stars, Part 8

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Skylar is pushed over the edge, and finds herself facing dire consequences.

12 March 2931

Gray Hunter Alpha Station

Uncharted Space

           

Skylar had only been there a few months but she had already impressed the upper command, notably Bard and the mysterious man in a suit whom she had yet to identify. Everyone else had simply refused to tell her, or they didn’t know themselves. She was a star trainee for Gray Hunter, and an exemplary person under Bard’s command.

 But there was one problem. Skylar was one of the very few women there, in fact, for a long time it seemed like she was the only one. And despite all her combat training, nothing prepared her for being surrounded by the galaxy’s worst scum.  She had been stalked, harassed, and if not for her combat prowess she could have found herself in much worse situations. Because of this, she only ate and drank from trusted sources and tended to stay away from the bars on the station.

 Luckily enough she encountered more women. But she couldn’t help but feel sorry that they suffered as she did. Men had terrorized her on a regular basis, and they were all driving her to the edge. These thoughts crossed her mind as she was walking through the market tier of the station. It was neither the cleanest or safest place to be. Apart from food and gear, drugs were sold as well. Most people couldn’t wait to get home and use them as there was no absolute rule against drug use, so long as it did not impede on one’s duties. In fact, crime was not well policed on the station. The general rule was ‘don’t get caught.’ Skylar kept to herself, wary of the men around her. The lamps around were flickering, and she spotted several insects crawling about, avoiding Skylar’s boots.

 But she found something worse than the roaches as she turned the corner. A tweaking druggie, from the looks of it, stood blocking her path down the hallway, and collided with her. Skylar backed up a step.

 “Excuse me.” She said, already agitated. She wasn’t going to put up with the trash today. She tried walking passed him, only to be pushed back.

“Hey hey… wait just a second missy.” His words drawled out, his breath was worse than much of the garbage shoots Skylar had cleaned several times. How the man was still on the station was a feat in its own. He was in no condition to perform any tasks at all.  His eyes looked Skylar over, “Nice ass you got there.” Skylar furrowed her brows at the blatant comment. She glared daggers at him, feeling exposed under his gaze. He was undressing her with his eyes, and she knew it. Her fist tightened as she tried to calm her rising temper.

 “Get out of my way.” She said, sliding a hand into her jacket pocket.

 “Not quite, sweetcheeks.” slurred the man. He encroached on her with a knife, closing the gap between them. In a stumbling embrace, he began fondling his way down her back. Skylar tried pulling away, shuddering at his touch but he wouldn’t let go and backed her into a wall. Her teeth clenched as she shut her eyes tight.

 She panicked. Without a thought her hand slid up the inside of his dirty denim thigh.

“Oh yeah… see? What’s the problem, baby?” he said. She nearly gagged at his rank breath.

It was simple. Just one flick of the wrist. There was the sound of a rip and tear. The druggie felt a strange sensation before Skylar freed herself from him and backed away. He tried to grab Skylar until he felt something warm… and wet on his inner thigh.

 “W-what the f…f…uck.” He stuttered. The man looked down to his leg. There was a clean slash to his jeans and a dark stain rapidly growing. He stuck his leg out further to get a better view, still unbelievably confused. With the slight twitch of his muscle, blood spurted out with his pulse. “What… did you do?!” Skylar backed away from the man, a bloodied switchblade in her hand. Blood began to squirt out intermittently with his pulse.

 The druggie was still in shock. His legs began to buckle, his vision began to cloud. The scene was beginning to blur. He was too scared to move, but fell to his knees, then to his stomach. He screamed for aid as bugs peaked out of their hiding places at the new body on the ground.

Skylar nervously backed away from the growing pool of blood, making a quick escape before witnesses arrived. Upon returning to her dormitory, she rushed to the bathroom and vomited into the toilet for a few minutes before standing up, her legs shaking from anxiety. Skylar gazed into the bathroom mirror, looking at herself intently. For once she saw a different person… a killer. She disrobed, tossed her clothes into the garbage chute along with her blade before hopping into the shower and scrubbing herself feverishly. She placed her hands against the shower walls, her breath still short.

 

Did I just… kill someone?

 

 

 

 

16 March 2931

Gray Hunter Alpha Station

Uncharted Space

 It was another night in Skylar’s dorm. Skylar lied on the ground. Another woman named Cheri was straddling her. She was older, more fit, weathered, and intense... someone who fit in on Gray Hunter’s roster. Her shiv was pressed against Skylar’s neck. Both of Skylar’s hands were caught in a vice grip between the Cheri’s thighs and Skylar’s hips. They stared as their faces were inches from each other.

 In a quiet and menacing tone Cheri asked, “How do you plan to get free?” Skylar scowled in defiance, and refused to speak. “How do you plan to get free, Skylar?” In response, Skylar bucked her hips to throw Cheri off balance—it didn’t work. She laughed in mockery of Sky’s futile attempt to escape her grasp.

 Skylar’s breathing was labored as she grew weary from the struggle. Skylar relaxed her body, letting Cheri think she submitted. The moment she felt her grip loosen and her body relax, Skylar made her move.

 Again, Skylar bucked her hips, this time succeeding in shifting the balance. As Cheri leaned forward, Skylar brought up both knees, kicking Cheri with enough force to flip her over and onto her back. Skylar unsheathed the dagger in her boot holster, sprung to her feet, spun around, and landed on top of Cheri. Their positions were reversed from moments ago. Skylar’s knife pressed to Cheri’s neck. Her shiv, still in her grip, held immobile by the position of Skylar’s body straddling hers.

 With a look of mild curiosity Cheri calmly uttered the words, "Interesting moves.” Then she smiled at Skylar with pride and admiration… training was now complete. “You learn fast, kid.” Skylar stood up, helping Cheri to her feet.

 “Thanks…” Skylar said, rubbing the side of her arm. “Had some training back home… but I have you here to thank for teaching me.”

 “Hey, we girls have to stick together in this den of wolves.” Cheri leaned back against the wall, sticking a small lollipop in her mouth, “On that note, we need to talk.” The candy clicked against her teeth.

 “About?” Skylar sheathed her knife.

 “It’s about Evo.”

 Skylar nearly shuddered at the name, “Who?”

 “You know him. Big guy in your designated group. Top rank. Kind of an asshole.”

 Skylar looked disgusted. “Oh… that jerk. He tried to invite himself to my room once.”

 Cheri shrugged. “Yeah well… Someone ghosted his brother.”

 “Did what?”

 “Someone killed him, leaving no trace and no witnesses.”

 Skylar laughed nervously. “I can’t exactly say I’m sorry.”

 Cheri laughed as well, “Haha, well, it is Evo. And his brother wasn’t much better.  If anything, he deserved it. Evo pulled a lot of strings to keep his brother on the station. Everyone knew he was an addict. Evo couldn’t be parted with his brother though… inseparable really. But uh…” Cheri cracked her neck. “…whoever did it was pretty slick. Doctors said the assailant knew what they were doing and killed with surgical precision.  He bled out in just a few minutes.”

 Skylar looked out her observation window into space. “That’s uh… pretty crazy.”

 Cheri stared at Skylar, “Yeah… crazy.”

 Skylar remained silent before she looked back at Cheri. “What?”

 Cheri took out her lollipop and pointed it at Skylar. “You don’t need to pretend with me, Sky. I was following you that day… I saw what you did. Bloody good job you did too. Pun intended. I see you put that med school teaching to good use.”

 “I didn’t mean to! I just---”

 Cheri raised her hands. “I’m not going to say anything. We’re the only women in this division. I taught you to defend yourself… and to not let these pigs push you around.”

 Skylar sighed, “Thanks Cher.”

 Cher smiled. “It’s nothing… but Evo is demanding they find out who did it. He’s paying out of his pocket for security footage and anything he can get for evidence. No one really watches footage unless something like this happens. But they do record. And when he finds out… he’s going to kill you. You’re going to get deployed soon, but I don’t think it’s soon enough.”

 Skylar shuttered at the thought of being at Evo’s mercy. He was a giant of a man with greater strength than most on the station. “So what should I do?”

 Cher stared in silence, “We can’t delete the footage, so we only have one option.” Cheri crunched down on her lollipop. “We kill Evo first.”

 

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