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The Big Shiny

by on October 13, 2015

It was raining on the asteroid, a cold rain, a rain that hammered hard on the iron walkways and smeared across the viewports. The mining company that owned the place didn’t care too much about terraforming it to look scenic, and it was too far away from the system’s primary star for good weather anyway. It was always raining, and it was always dark. This was exactly the kind of weather Mr. Stamper liked.

He sat in a shadowed corner of the asteroid’s only bar, brooding over a drink the color of muddy streamwater. The space otter didn’t even look up when someone approached him and dropped into the seat opposite. “You again.”

“Look, pal, I need you,” she said without preamble. “I know things went squirrelly last time-”

“Squirrelly?” Stamper said. “That some sort of angel humor?”

“Right, poor word choice. Anyway, I’m sorry about the whole Ark thing, and Bianca. I can’t protect everyone, you know.”

The space otter growled into his drink. “Can you at least leave me alone?”

“No. I can’t.”

Stamper looked up at her for the first time. She’d turned down her usual glow, and flickering red neon now lit her face instead of golden light from her halo. For one moment, Stamper wondered if she had started playing for the other team.

“One of my people got themselves killed.”  She produced a battered holo-cube and slid it across the table towards him. A grainy image traced itself in the air.

Stamper immediately observed several things. The person in the wavering image was unclothed, humanoid, and female. She was also quite dead, which Stamper worked out from the fact that her head was at least a meter farther from the rest of her than it should have been. “Yipes. What happened to her?”

“I don’t know,” the angel said, her face twisting in anguish. “I was in another system. Saved a shuttle from crashing into a crowded city. The thing had a padamantium reactor; it would’ve vaporized a million…. anyway. Saved them, lost her.”

“And you need me why?” Stamper asked. “You’re an angel. Can’t you just fly up and ask her yourself who killed her?”

The reply was almost as cold as the rain outside. “She didn’t go up.”

“Oh.”

Neither of them said anything for a while. Then, finally, the angel went on. “I thought she was on the straight and narrow. I was away for one week. One week. I get back, Raph tells me I lost her. I’ve had people die on me, sure. But not like that. And since she went…there… I can’t ask her what happened. So that’s why I need you. I need to know what happened in that week.”

Stamper sighed. “It won’t be easy.”

“Figured that.”

“It won’t be cheap, either.”

The angel produced a plastic card for his inspection. “Figured that too.”

“How…?”

“Streets of gold, and all that.”

“Fine,” Stamper said reluctantly. “I’ll look into it and let you know.”

“Do that,” the angel said.

“And Constance? Last one. I’m not helping you again. Not after Bianca.”

Constance sighed. “Whatever, pal. Like I said, I can’t protect everyone.”

“I noticed,” Stamper said, glancing at the holocube. He palmed it and the plastic card, then rose. “See you around-”

But she had already vanished. Stamper paid his tab, then left the bar, walking out into the pouring rain.


I departed from the Megverse briefly in order to participate in October’s focus on fiction, noir. I always wanted to do something noir, ever since the Star Trek: Next Generation episode where Captain Picard and friends play out a detective story. Good times.

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4 Comments
  1. Tight and crisp. Great details and flow. Enjoyed reading this. *

  2. “She didn’t go up.” Oof. Killer line. And I like the idea of an angel having less-than-angelic consorts.

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