- Aleksy Strzembosz
When the Skies Were Lit with Fire Episode 1: The Detective
He was sitting in a fading leather chair behind an oak wood desk. There wasn’t much to see besides a pen, a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a picture of a young Latina woman with brown hair tied up in a ponytail. He was sitting in the chair, his legs lying on the desk, staring into the wall, waiting. Waiting for his assistant to bring him the report. He knew what it would be about, but he preferred to see it with his own eyes. His watch showed 19:10. Suddenly, a knock came on the door.
‘Come in,’ he said
The door slid open with a slight hiss and a young woman came in bearing a few slips of paper.
‘Here’s your report boss, just as you like it.’she said
‘Thank you, Christy.’ answered the detective ’Where did you get it this time?’
‘At the spaceport. A new shipment of supplies just came in and I thought you would like it. I at least hope you do, boss.’ she answered hesitantly.
‘Oh, I do like it, I definitely like it. Again, thank you.’
The old man smiled as he took the paper and held it in his hands. It wasn’t particularly soft or hard, or in any way unique. But it was paper and no matter how many times he held it in his hands, it always reminded him of his home, of Earth, a place so many like him had to leave to look for a new horizon. However, this feeling of nostalgia was to be interluded.
‘Boss, I just wanted to ask something about this report, ‘cause…’-Christina asked.
‘Because?’ asked the detective.
‘Because if this gets out, it won’t be just a riot, it will be a revolution!’ It could be heard in her voice, how much she was afraid of what she had read. ‘Clara was a major Workers Union leader. If people find out about the fact that she was murdered by some company goon, everyone on the orbit of Jupiter will want the CEO’s head, well maybe, except for those eggheads on Europa. Boss, there will be bloodshed!’ She yelled the last word in such a way that nobody, except for those in the room could hear it. This wasn’t that hard as the room was fully soundproof. ‘I don’t know if we should publish this. I don’t want people dying for no reason.’
At this moment, the detective took his legs off the desk and rose up from his chair, towering over the young woman.
‘My dear Christy, do you know why I took up this investigation?’ He asked.
‘I don’t know boss.’ The girl answered. The large figure of her employer, stood before her, casting a shadow greater than the small body of the assistant.
‘Suffice to say, it had some personal value to me’ He said. ‘Besides, those corporates monsters had it coming for them for a while already. We have sound evidence for our case and I am just the man to ask to spread the word.’ The detective said with a smirk. His assistant did not share his confidence, but it wasn’t her job to ask questions, especially not something personal, even more so to her superior.
‘Who is it?’ Asked young Christina.
The main bureau of Newsfeed was a far less cramped space than the office of a private investigator. The detective wasn’t born on the Central Mining Station, but he had lived here long enough to get accustomed to closed confines. Newsfeed, however, was a completely different story. The inside of the building was very large as if everyone inside was three times as fat and thus needed extra space, just to be able to move. Even the lobby was as large as a small salon, walls painted in a sterile white. However, it had the same, gloomy lighting as every other place on the station. The detective knew exactly who he needed to find: Middle-Eastern, male, short, brown hair, round glasses and a cigarette in his mouth. He walked past the reception desk, up to the first floor, the corridor on the left.
The detective stood in front of a metallic, sliding door with a cheap holo-sign reading “Javad Abbasi” in both Latin and Arabic script. Without knocking, the detective opened the door and entered the room.
When the door hissed open, the stench of sweat and lack of sanitation poured itself into the corridor form a small room filled by holo-notes projected from the ceiling and a Persian man, sitting in his chair, smoking his cigarette and writing the next front-page article for the Newsfeed. Javad Abbasi, couldn’t have been anyone else.
‘Hello there’ said the intruder. ‘I honestly thought you would eventually clean up this mess’
Abbasi turned around in his chair, facing the detective. ‘I already told you a dozen times, to not...’
He was shut off, as the detective crammed the report he was carrying with himself into Javad’s hands. He began to read the paper and with each line, his eyes grew wider and wider, with both horror and excitement. He re-read all pages carefully, not to confirm if anything was true to the core, but to make sure that he understood every word that he read.
After he was finished, he turned his gaze towards the detective, still with the same expression.
‘Now I understand why you didn’t even give me a call. This is groundbreaking’ He paused here for a while, but only enough to gather his thoughts again. ‘All the evidence seems in check and this will definitely make it to the front page, but are you sure about this? People won’t like this answer.’
Detective sighed and answered. ‘Listen, something had to be done long ago and those corporates had it coming for a long time. Besides, people deserve the truth. Clara deserves the truth.’ The last few words he said with a note of melancholy in his voice.
‘Ok, we’ll publish an article on this.’ After those words, Javad Abbasi stood up. His expression changed from that of disbelief to that ‘You must understand, that after this article goes into the public, there will be no turning back. People will not stand this crime. Whoever authorized this murder in Meteor was far too full of himself.’ Small tears began pooling in their eyes, preparing for the assault. ’What I wanted to say is, we might not see each other again.’ At that moment, they embraced each other, floodgates opened on both sides. Many years have passed since they left Earth, separate and in a different circumstance, but fate eventually led them to become associates and, eventually a bond of friendship was born.
‘Farewell, Mr Detective. It was good being your friend.’ Said Javad, always a fan of nicknames.
‘Farewell, Mr Shahanshah. Same for me I suppose.’ Said the detective, so similar to his friend in all, but how he looked like.
The men left their embrace and went on with their lives. Javad published his article and the Detective went back to another case he was solving at the time. Little did they know, Javad Abbasi was right. They would not see each other ever again as the Newsfeed that would go live the next morning would set Jupiter and its moons ablaze and mark the 13th of June 2105 as the beginning of this great tragedy.
To be continued...