Behind? Catch up now!
Seeing the crowd’s reaction to Whitehall, Godfrey understood why Gene and Akiko were worried about a panic. They were certainly doing that now. Some were shouting for the police. Some were trying to get out of the area, either to get out of the way or to get to safety. But there were so many, trying to go in every direction, that they were mostly just getting in each other’s way.
Sennett looked dazed, Liam was keeping her on her feet. Godfrey scooped April up before she could get trampled, and looked around. Police officers were coming towards them, working their way through the crowd as best they could. He felt his heart beat double.
Sennett must have seen them coming too because she pushed herself away from Liam. “Officers,” she said, “the assailant has headed that direction on foot. He was wearing a dark blue hoodie and jeans.”
The police nodded, and all but one of them took off in the direction Sennett had indicated. The last officer stayed. “I’ll call you a medical pod, Ma’am,” she said.
“Please don’t do that, I’m fine,” Sennett said. Godfrey was pretty sure was a bald-faced lie. There was blood running down her face, and her eyes looked out of focus.
“It’s Station policy,” the officer said.
“That’s alright, Officer Leonard,” said a woman walking towards them. She was a small, thin woman with a stock of short cropped hair. Her uniform was that of a soldier. It was only the insignia on her shoulders that told him she was likely the commander. “I’ll take over here. Thank you for your service.”
The officer gave her a strange look, but then saluted her and went to sooth the crowd around them.
“Here,” said the commander, pulling a tissue from a pouch on her belt. “We’ll at least have the medical pod give you some aspirin, that must hurt like a bitch.”
“Yeah,” Sennett said. She took the napkin and started cleaning off her face.
“My name’s Samantha Tanner, I’m in charge of the Station Militia. Can you tell me what just happened?”
“I was jacked in the face by that man you were sending out public service announcements about. Was it Whitehall?”
“Yeah, that’s him. What did he say before he hit you?”
The medical pod, a smaller, bright red version of the pods that moved people around the station, moved slowly along the walkway. It pulled up next to them, and two EMT’s climbed out.
“I, I can’t remember,” Sennett said, putting a hand to her head. “I think he knocked my brain out of whack.”
“No,” Sennett said.
“Can you think of any reason that he would just randomly choose you to attack?”
“Honestly, no,” Sennett replied.
Tanner tilted her head, inspecting Sennett. “Officer Montgomery?”
Sennett looked up sharply. “How do you know me?”
“Starting to feel like the whole damn station knows either you or Godfrey,” Liam muttered.
“Of course we do,” Commander Tanner said. “What happened with those AI dogs on your station was amazing, Officer. Then, that thing on-.”
“On Station 16, yeah,” Sennett muttered. “Everyone’s heard about Station 16.”
“I’m sorry. I know you’re hurting,” Tanner said. Her face broke into a grin. “It’s great to meet you, though.”
The sound of heels on the floor alerted Godfrey to Akiko’s arrival. “Commander Tanner,” she said sharply.
Tanner turned to her. Her face hardened. “Councilwoman. You didn’t need to come up, I’m sure you’re busy.”
“Pardon me, but I’m sure you are as well,” Akiko said. At least, Godfrey thought that was what she said. She was speaking so quietly, it was nearly a whisper. “Would you come with me, please?”
“Of course,” Tanner said, giving her a curt nod.
“Councilwoman, wait,” Godfrey said. “Do you mind if I ask you a quick question?”
Akiko shook her head. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time right now. Perhaps later.”
“But can’t I just-.”
“Another time, please,” Akiko said, taking Tanner by the arm. The commander allowed herself to be pulled away before Godfrey could ask anything more.
“At least now we know how to get rid of her,” Mason muttered.
“Come on,” Sennett said, tossing the bloody napkin in the nearest trash bin. “I want to sit down, I’m feeling light-headed.”
“Oh hey,” Liam said, looking at the menu at dinner that night. “Check this out, Sen. Rack of lamb with new potatoes. Haven’t had real lamb since I left home.”
Godfrey glanced down at the menu and tried not to snort at the price. “I could get a whole simulator battery for that,” he muttered.
“Yeah, I’ll find something else,” Liam said, his face falling.
Looking through the rest of the menu, Sennett said, “No, go ahead and get it. It’s not like anything else is cheaper.”
“Where is home for you, anyway?” Godfrey asked.
Sennett looked up from the menu. “Wow, I’m an asshole. I’ve never even thought to ask about your past, Liam, I’m sorry.”
“You ain’t supposed to,” he said, not looking up from the menu. After a few minutes, he added, “I was born in Ireland on Earth.”
“You don’t have an accent,” Mason said.
“Left when I was a teen. Lost it since,” Liam said. “So, everyone else know what they’re gettin’?”
“Not much for sharing?” Mason asked.
Liam gave him a grin. “Do you know a criminal who is?”
Godfrey was still flipping through the menu. “I miss cooking,” he said.
Sennett was looking down at her wrist pad, her eyes scanning back and forth. “What are you reading?” Godfrey asked.
“Just checking my mail,” Sennett said. She winced and looked up suddenly with a brilliant and fake smile. “So, where’s the waiter? I’m starving.”
“What’s wrong?” Godfrey asked.
“Nothing,” Sennett said. “Just got an email from someone I didn’t want to get one from.”
Before Godfrey could question her further, they were interrupted by the slamming of the kitchen door. A young Ma’sheed man, dressed in the white shirt and black slacks of the restaurant, stalked out. He threw a black apron on the floor as he went. An older woman, dressed all in black with a thick silver chain around her neck, stormed after him. She grabbed him by the arm, pulling him back roughly. “Not through here,” she hissed.
“Let go of me!” he cried, pulling away from her. He stormed through the dining room, causing the patrons to turn, and start muttering among themselves.
“What the hell was that about?” Mason asked.
“Don’t know,” Godfrey said. He stood up and headed for the door.
“Where are you going?” Ny asked.
“I’m just gonna see what’s going on,” Godfrey said. “Order me the pork chops, alright?”
He followed the boy out into the street. Once they were about a block away from the restaurant, he yelled, “Hey!”
The boy turned around, glaring at him. His face was tear stained. “What?” he snapped.
“Just wanted to see if you were okay,” Godfrey said, trotting up to him.
“What for? You don’t know me.”
Godfrey shrugged. “I didn’t like how that woman was grabbing at you, that’s all. Women shouldn’t put their hands on boys like that.”
“That doesn’t stop them,” the boy said, “Doesn’t seem to matter what planet they’re from.”
“I’ve noticed,” Godfrey said.
“Don’t worry about it.” The boy replied. “She’s a bitch, though, freaking out like this. I didn’t even take that much.”
Godfrey raised an eyebrow. “You were stealing money from your employer?”
The boy snorted. “No, I didn’t steal any money. I helped myself to lunch off the line. But, but I’m fucking starving, you know? How do they expect people to buy all this natural food and still pay rent?”
The boy turned and kept walking. “I’m going back to Ma’sheed. I’ve had enough of this shit. Maybe if all you people would stop coming here, they’d stop treating us like this.”
Godfrey was still trying to think of something he could say when he heard screaming coming from the restaurant. He turned. People were boiling out of the door, shouting for the police. He ran back, struggling through the crowds trying to go the other direction.
He could see flashes of light from an electric pistol as he shoved his way through the front door. Tables were turned over, including the one they’d been sitting at. April and Mason were crouched behind it. Sennett was kneeling, blood pouring from her arm. Liam was struggling with a man dressed in black. He held an electric pistol in one hand, trying to get it in Liam’s face.
Godfrey ran for them, intending to tackle the attacker. But he was spotted. The attacker threw Liam into him instead, sending both of them to the ground. Then he ran towards the others crowded around the table.
The man fired at Sennett, dropping her to the ground. He grabbed April’s arm, but Mason kept hold of her. The man kicked him hard in the ribs. He fell back with a grunt. But before the attacker could pull April away, Bailey lunged at him. He grabbed the man by the wrist, and pulled down, growling.
Godfrey was up, and running at the man. He punched him in the jaw, throwing him back. The attacker swung his arm, sending Baily flying into Godfrey’s chest. Then he ran for the door.
Sennett, Godfrey and the rest of Station 86 are trying to put their society back in order after the Core attack. Then a mysterious ship from a dying station arrives, bringing artificially intelligent robotic, murderous dogs.
Godfrey, Mason and April must get to the hospital safely, while Sennett is trying to protect Marshal’s Joy and Howard. But the AI dogs are nothing compared to the terrors they left behind on their own station.