A Dirty Trick

A surprise inside—these two words made me think about what a human can be smuggling and bypassing security scanners. Then I decided to give my hero a reason to do it, and a story was born.
Steve Dean's Story A Dirty Trick

Speaking about chocolate eggs with a surprise inside. I took these last two words and played around with them. I thought about smuggling and bypassing security scanners and then gave my hero a reason to do it, and a story was born. Although this is science fiction, I’m not absolutely certain of the science, but that’s not stopped SF writers before, right? From the admittedly brief research I did online it seems to be plausible. If anyone out there can tell me I’m right, or wrong, please get in touch.

*          *          *

Two large, muscular individuals marched into a room, dragging a much smaller figure between them. They placed him on a chair and pulled out a roll of duct tape. Behind a desk, another figure watched them with a hint of a grin. The room was wide and long but had a low ceiling, as befitted an office on a space station. Huge and expensive windows allowed a view of the distant sun and a slice of the blue-yellow planet around which it orbited.

“Nice and tight boys, we want Mr Akaton to know he’s not leaving any time soon.” Few people knew her real identity, she was called Angel to her face, anything but when she wasn’t around.

Mr Akaton resisted a moment. “Before you do that, I really need to use your facilities.”

The two thugs stopped and looked to Angel.

“Carry on, he’s not here visiting.”

“Ok, but this has been a stressful day, what with being kidnapped and dragged into a crime lords lair. I hope your atmo-scrubbers are up to the job.” Akaton stopped struggling.

The two thugs hesitated, disgusted expressions on their faces.

Angel glared at them all, then flicked her hand in dismissal. “Don’t let him out of your sight for one second.”

Several minutes later they all returned and this time Akaton submitted as the henchmen taped him to the chair. “Nice and tight boys, just like the boss ordered.”

Angel glared at them again, she was sure Akaton was up to something, but she couldn’t tell what. He’d been searched and scanned and found to have nothing on his person that could be considered dangerous.

Once Akaton was secured to the chair, probably with far too much tape, she gestured again and the two thugs backed away a few steps.

“Finally. So, Mr Akaton, I presume you know why you’re here?”

“For the view?”

“Your son owes me money, a lot of money. You’ll be staying here until either he pays or I find a buyer for your blood and organs, whichever is the quicker.”

“My son doesn’t owe you the money, his wife does. She borrowed it, and she disappeared with her lover, somewhere off-planet. It’s her you need to talk to.”

“Unfortunately, as you say, she’s gone. As they were married at the time, I’m calling in the debt from your son.”

“He doesn’t have that kind of money, she took everything he had as well.”

“Oh dear, that is unfortunate. Well, looks like it’s organ harvesting time. And if that doesn’t cover what’s owed, he’ll have to throw in a few of his own organs to make up the balance.”

“And that’s it, your final word? He’s got to pay despite it being nothing to do with him?”

“It’s just good business, Mr Akaton. Someone owes me money, someone has to pay, I don’t care who.”

“No, you really don’t do you? Sitting up here in your orbiting brothel, safe above the law and any morals you might once have had.”

“Morals are for little weasels like you, Akaton,” Angel said calmly. “If someone wants to take what I have, let them come up here and try. The weak get what they deserve, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“How many more people have been brought up here and not left alive, or whole? You’re a bully, Angel, and bullies are cowards. You don’t deserve a quick death, you should spend your last moments gasping for air, turning purple and regretting everything you’ve done.”

“Interesting, I don’t think I’ve ever been threatened with that one before. Plenty of back-stabbing, sniping, a couple of bitch-slappings, but that was just a Saturday night.”

Mr Akaton didn’t reply, just watched her face and grinned slightly.

“Do you think I’m bluffing? I can have someone up here today to see which bits of you they want to buy. I might even be able to sell you whole for your first and last acting role. I wonder if that film director still needs someone to be buggered to death by a wild bull?”

“Actually, I was just savouring the moment.”

“The last minutes of your life before a long and painful death?”

“No, the last seconds of your life before you’re sucking vacuum and your vile and thankfully short existence flashes before your eyes.”

“You’re deluded Mr Akaton, no one can touch me up here.”

“Just like all people with power. Your arrogance makes you careless. You honestly think you’re untouchable, all those politicians in your pocket, all those bribes to judges and police officers, all those brain-dead lackeys like these two jumping at your every command.”

“Mr Akaton,” Angel sighed, “I’m the one sitting in this chair, and you’re the one duct-taped to that one. There’s only one way this is going to play out.”

Akaton paused a moment as if waiting for something. Finally, he spoke. “Do you know what I do for a living, Angel?”

“I don’t care, as long as it hasn’t damaged your organs.”

“I’m a chemist, with a speciality in biochemistry.”

“Are you saying your organs are messed up? Because we can have a look to check.”

“No, not at all. Do you know how many different chemicals are in human waste? A lot, and if they’re allowed to ferment, for instance in septic tanks, they can produce things like methane.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“Methane is explosive.”

“Are you going to explode, Mr Akaton, because if you do, I’ll have just have to take your son’s organs instead?”

“No, well, I don’t think so, if all goes to plan.”

“Plan?” For the first time, Angel had a hint of uncertainty in her voice.

“Yes. We’ve been expecting a visit from your thugs for a while, so I invented a little chemical cocktail. I drank it this morning and fifteen minutes ago I deposited it in your facilities. As soon as it hit the septic tank it started a chemical reaction. We should be finding out if it worked any time soon.”

Angel laughed. “Is that the best you’ve got? Exploding toilets?”

“I’m not expecting an explosion, more like combustion followed by rapid expansion, but we might see some of the hardware failing suddenly, depending on how good your plumbing is.”

Mr Akaton said nothing, just sat in the chair and grinned.

Angel slowly reached over and picked up her phone, eyes locked on Akaton. “Maintenance, check the systems. I don’t know, all of them!”

A distant thud sounded somewhere in the station. There was a gurgling from Angel’s private en-suite facilities and what sounded like a spray of water.

Akaton smiled. “Oh, here we go.”

Angel glared at him. “I’m going to…”

The station shook, the items on her desk vibrated and an ornamental giraffe fell over.

“Kill him, now!” Angel yelled at the thugs.

There was another thump and water splashed so hard against the toilet door it flew open. A crack appeared in the expensive glass window, the vibrations worsened and the station moved. The subtle hiss of escaping air grew in volume and pitch until it sounded like a hundred dog-whistles.

The two thugs ran for the door, which was shaking in its frame.

“Get back here!” Angel yelled. “I’ll put you in the film with the bull!” Her gaze transferred from their fleeing backs to Akaton’s grinning face. “I’ll kill you myself. You won’t be the first.” She picked up the fallen giraffe and raised it high over her head.

Akaton laughed, “still in denial, Angel. There’ll be no air left in this room in a few minutes, but you’re so arrogant you can’t accept it.”

“You’ll die too, fuckwit! Was that part of your plan?”

Akaton smiled. “No, Angel. I’m so glad I’m fastened really securely to this chair.”

Angel looked up as something impacted with the window and seemed to drill through. A complex net-like harness was propelled across the room and wrapped itself around the chair and its passenger. “Goodbye Angel. As a philosopher once said ‘shit happens!’” The battered window finally gave out as the chair was dragged through it and into a small ship hovering beyond. Air rushed out, vacuum entered. Only then did Angel look around to see what she could do to save herself. By that time, it was far too late.


5 thoughts on “A Dirty Trick”

  1. Each of these little snippets I read are awesome but this one was brilliant. I suggest you keep a copy of all these and in a year or so release them in a book of Collective Shorts.

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