almost friends (2)

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There was a killer on board. I had seven month to unravel his identity and to pin him. I went through the received data from the ministry. The profiles of Rico Jefferson and Ian Dervall were promising. I could rule Ivanov and Rizzo out, after today’s incident. Rizzo really thought I’d be defenseless. He won’t make the same mistake twice.

I shared my room with Dervall, a huge afro-american cyborg with sand colored eyes. He occupied the lower bunk, I had the upper. A quiet man, with the mind of sheep, the average of ten words and two facial expression a week.

My first thought upon meeting him was, that he was Jefferson’s brute lap dog. The way he followed him everywhere, like a shadow, waiting to be petted. Gaining his trust was most important. I would start with him and see where it takes me.

I knew he and Jefferson had a history together, they worked for five years on the same mining ship. Most likely side by side. It was that time, when Dervall had his accident, leaving him a ruin of a human being. I’ve read the log data and the surveillance feed transcript on that accident. It was fishy, someone had it altered.

On the ceiling an ocean hurled and splashed against the rocks. It was the comfort holo for the passengers, designed to keep us happy. Depression was common during these long flights. I chose it to soothe Dervall’s alertness to my actions. Monotony was a cyborg’s weak spot.

I used the time for tai chi, to let my thoughts fly. A clear mind is most effective mind. „You’re officially classified as liquid, Kintaro.” Dervall said. I mustn’t let him know that I was capable of killing him with bare hands. My moves could betray me.

„Sumimasen, sorry?” I managed.

„You move like a bengalese tiger.” He added a gummy full teeth smile. Did he see through?

„Ian, don’t say that.” I hoped not. It’d be very inconvenient if he sussed me. „Jefferson set you up? He did, didn’t he?” I tried.

„Rico?” He shook his head confused. „What do you mean with set up?”

„Nothing in special, just curious.” I thought of his pain and suffering. I sat down on his bed. „You two know each other for long?” I looked at what was left of him, lining of scar-tissue ripping his perfect dark skin to ribbons, stitched up with nearly skin tone prosthetics.

„Well, yes. We already worked for five years together on the mining ship Gorgo Beta. He saved my life.” He patted his prosthetic leg. „I was sent out to repair one of the giant waldos, and Rico was my partner instructing me. Somehow I got my security line tangled up in the hydraulics, and when the gear slammed back into motion, the gripper went online, and it caught it. I got yanked into the grinder mechanism.” What if that wasn’t an accident? What if it was a cover up for something else? Dervall tapped his left arm and eye. „It tore my arm from its socket, ripped my leg straight off.” Did he even remember how it happened? I doubted it.

In his eyes, I could only see the dull numbness of a man under heavy medication. „So Rico’s your best friend.”

„Yeah…” He furrowed his brows. „Come on, he’s the funniest guy. You’ll like him, once you get to know him.” I bet. Something told me that Jefferson was a dangerous man. I had to be very careful about this.

I stood up. „We’ll talk later, Ian.” My body went on with the exercises, but my mind raced.

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