Station Central, Episode Three

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Godfrey followed Akiko to a glass building not far from the loading docks. He glanced between her and Gene, wondering how far he’d get if he decided to run. He didn’t think it would be far enough. And he wouldn’t have put it past this woman to know just where Sennett and the others were, and detain them if he tried.

“Have you ever been to Station Central before, Councilman?” Akiko asked.

“No,” Godfrey said, as they walked past the front desk. The building’s main purpose seemed to be a tourist information center. The walls flashed with event information and activities. There was, according to the advertisements, levels for shopping, dining, museums. There was even a beach themed level, and an amusement park on the top floor.

“You should try Punchello’s for dinner one night, it’s my favorite,” she said. “My treat, I insist. Just tell them you’re there as my guest.”

They wove through the crowd of people milling around, looking at displays and taking pictures, until they reached a quieter hallway. There, Godfrey saw doors with the names of what he assumed must have been other council members. Akiko led him right to the end of the hall, to a door with her own name. She entered, letting the two men in.

Inside, Godfrey saw a white, high polished chrome desk. The floor was a simple tile, and the walls displayed posters of classic movies and plays.

“Please take a seat,” Akiko said, gesturing to two padded chairs on one side of her desk. She settled herself on a backless chair on the other side.

Godfrey sat, Gene settling in next to him. “So,” Akiko tilted her head. “Station 86 sure has been through a lot, hasn’t it? First, eleven of the twelve council members are assassinated. Then, you had that problem with the AI dogs. Then there was that botched election issue. I understand your friend was off planet at the time, and she was nearly killed by a lose virus on Station 16?” Akiko shook her head. “Poor man, no wonder you wanted a vacation. I’m so sorry to spoil your first day here with this.”

“That’s not my concern, Councilwoman,” he said, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees. “My concern is that I’m not a councilman anymore. I’m a private citizen. As I’ve already told you, Station 86 decided to change how we’re governed. We held a free election, and we chose two Marshals to lead us, one from each political party.”

“Yes, but the problem with that is that elections aren’t legal on the stations,” Akiko said. “You’re the remaining Councilman, so you’re fully within your right to claim these two people as fellow council members. But a marshal is not an official title.”

“If you’d had an auditor at the time, they certainly would have told you that,” Gene said. “But I understand that you lost your last auditor. He was on the ship with Councilwoman Thorn?”

“Yes,” Godfrey said, “but I don’t understand how you peoplethink you’ve got any kind of right to tell Station 86 what we’re going to do with our people. We decided that we wanted to be governed differently. Why should that be any of your business?”

Akiko folded her hands on her desk. “Because with Earth silent, my council and I are now the political center for all of the stations. Therefore, it’s my job to assign a new auditor to Station 86. Gene here will go back with you when you go home.”

“It sounds like we’ve got a lot of work to do together, with eight council seats empty,” Gene said.

“Nine,” Godfrey said. “I am not a council member.”

“Mmm, sorry,” Gene said, “but a council member can’t resign with empty seats. You’ve got to stay until all twelve are full. It’s down in the constitution you agreed to when you became a station citizen.”

“And in the oath you agreed to when you became a council member,” Akiko said, nodding. “I’m afraid you’re stuck until the council’s full again.

“But, please don’t let that darken your vacation. Relax, have fun with your friends. We can worry about all this when it’s time for you to go home.”

“Alright,” Godfrey muttered. “Since I’m stuck as a councilman, I might as well act like one. What are you planning for the Hollow Suits?”

Akiko and Gene tensed. “I think that would be a matter best discussed later, when you haven’t just arrived” Akiko said. “In fact, I wonder if I could ask you a favor regarding that. We haven’t publicly spoken about the Hollow Suits yet. Would you mind not mentioning it?”

“Why haven’t you told the people who live here?” Godfrey asked.

“Because we’re trying not to start a panic,” Akiko chuckled. “We’re handling it, even as we speak. There’s no reason to worry the people on the station. Especially since they, like yourself, are on vacation.”

“But if these Hollows get on the station-,” Godfrey said, but was interrupted by a knock on the office door.

“I’m so sorry,” Akiko said, rising gracefully. She went to the door, and admitted a young man in a bright blue suit.

“Jeremy, what can I do for you?” she asked.

“Sorry, Councilwoman, but I thought you should see what Commander Tanner just sent to everyone on the station,” the young man said.

Godfrey remembered his wrist pad buzzing as Akiko had led him away. He looked down now, and played it. Gene did the same.

All citizens and visitors of Station Central, please be advised that known terrorist Jason Whitehall has escaped from police protection and is thought to be somewhere on the station. If you spot him, please contact authorities imminently. Whitehall is thought to be armed with illegal weaponry, and is suspected in the murder of May Conner.

Gene was looking at his own wrist pad, his other hand over his mouth.

“Um, wow,” Godfrey said. “What’s this all about? I thought your council didn’t want to cause a panic.”

“Tanner is not a council member,” Akiko snapped.

She turned, flashing her smile again. “I’ve kept you from your friends long enough. Forgive my interruption.”

She opened the door wider, and gave Godfrey a gentle inclination of her head. “Have a good day, Councilman.”

Godfrey realized that he wasn’t going to get anything further from the situation. His long trip was also catching up with him. He stood, and said, “Thank you, Councilwoman. I suppose I’ll be seeing you soon, Gene.”

“Yeah, of course,” Gene said, but he wasn’t looking up. He was looking at his wrist pad still, his brows furrowed.

Station Central, Episode Two

You can preorder Station Central right now on Smashwords.


Sennett had rarely traveled off station with April. In fact, she’d very rarely traveled off station at all in her life. And after her experience traveling to Station Central, she doubted that she ever would again. April was miserable. She didn’t want to sleep, didn’t want to read or watch anything on her tiny wrist pad, the virtual screen almost everyone wore. She complained that her seeming cuffs, which made her look like a full Earthian child, irritated her. She was deprived of her normal routine. She fussed with Bailey. She pestered Sennett and Mason to go to the bathroom, go down to see the dining room and little on board shop. She wanted to do anything but sit still in her seat, which is really all Sennett wanted from her.

“Mommy, my wrists hurt again,” she whined, rubbing at the purple cuff with bunnies. “Why do I have to wear this?”

Sennett sighed. It had seemed like a simple decision, making April wear her seeming bracelet that hid her actual image while they were off Station 86. While it was no longer a secret that she was half Khloe, half Earthian, she didn’t feel like April needed that kind of attention while they were on vacation. It was hard, though, seeing her true face hidden. She looked so much like Lo without her seeming.

“Please don’t mess with it,” Sennett sighed. She rummaged around in her bag. “I have some lotion here, just hold on.”

“Attention, Passengers,” a pleasant voice floated over the sound system. “We will be arriving at Station Central in ten minutes. Please take this time to scan your area and be sure that all your personal belongings are accounted for. Your luggage will be sent separately to the hotel you registered with at the start of your flight. Thank you for flying with Station Direct, have a wonderful day.”

“Come on, let’s get your stuff together,” Sennett said. She looked into the travel bag she’d stuffed Bailey into, checking on him. He wagged his tail pleasantly.

Liam stood up, stretching out. “Been awhile since I flew commercial. I didn’t miss it.”

“No kidding,” Godfrey muttered.

They all headed down the aisle, and towards the exit of the ship. Sennett kept hold of April’s hand, as the crowd moved slowly onto the loading bay.

“No one go wandering off once we get out of here,” Liam said. “I ain’t been to Station Central in a while, but the last time I was here it was crowded as hell.”

“We get crowds on Station 86 too, you know,” Mason replied.

Liam shook his head. “Not like this, you don’t.”

Sennett was inclined to scoff at him, as they joined the line for the door. But as they headed out into the main level, she saw what he meant.

People were packed into the level, shoulder to shoulder. They were shouting to be heard by people standing right next to them. Children were whining and crying. Thousands of screens, from wrist pads to large ones mounted on food and shopping stalls were flashing and crackling their audio.

“It’s too loud,” April said, putting her hands over her ears.

“Come here,” Sennett replied, picking April up and putting her on her hip. She looked around, marveling at how bright it was. The ceiling was blue, with strange white things floating across it. Every stall had, in addition to their mounted screens, a bright flashing marquee to display their wares above the heads of the crowd.

“What are those things?” Mason asked, looking straight up at the ceiling.

“They’re clouds,” Godfrey chuckled, looking up as well. “That looks like the sky on Earth. I’ll be damned.”

“Let’s not gawk, boys,” Sennett said. “Come on, I want to check in to the hotel and get something to eat.”

“Me too. I’ve never needed a cup of Klav more in my life,” Liam muttered.

The crowd was so thick that they were having trouble moving through it. Sennett tried to lead the way, and found that she had to almost shove some of the people to get them to move.

“It’s weird,” Mason said, “I’m used to seeing a little more diversity in a crowd, aren’t you guys?”

Sennett looked around. He was right, she saw very few Khloe, Ma’Sheed or Toth people around them.

“Not every station can be the station of First Contact,” Godfrey said.

“No,” Sennett said, “guess not.”

Then she noticed someone in a black uniform. The patch on the woman’s arm was familiar, but she couldn’t remember why. It didn’t look like the Station Central symbol, a single star ringed by ninety-nine others.

“What symbol is that?” Sennett asked.

“Which one?” Godfrey replied.

“That one,” she said, looking back towards the soldier. But she was already lost in the crowd.

“Where did she go?” Sennett whispered.

“What’s wrong?” Godfrey asked.

“I think I’m seeing things,” she replied. “I thought I saw someone wearing the same uniform as the soldiers who came to clean house on Station 16.”

“What? Where?” he asked.

“No, don’t freak out,” she said. “I’m just, I guess I’m not as over that as I thought I was.”

Godfrey turned to her, giving her a searching look. Finally, he put his arm around her shoulder. “That’s what we’re here for, for you to finally get a chance to relax.”

“Yeah,” she said, glancing around them still.

April looked around them as well. “Someone’s calling for Mr. Godfrey,” she said.

“Can’t be,” Godfrey said. “I don’t know anyone here.”

But Sennett could hear someone calling, “Councilman Anders!” She turned, looking behind them.

“We should really keep moving,” Liam said, putting a hand on her arm.

“Wait,” Sennett said.

A man dressed in a well-cut suit was waiving at them. He was a large man, a bit paunchy, with pale skin and almond eyes. He wore a silver pin on his lapel, with a single star over an interconnected S and C.

“I think that man might know you, even if you don’t know him,” she said.

“That’s usually not good,” Godfrey muttered.

The man saw them stop, and hurried up to them. “Councilman Anders,” he said, adjusting his tie. “Good to finally meet you. I’m Gene Tao. One moment, please, my mother’s just catching up.”

“Sorry, but why do I want to talk to your mother?” Godfrey asked.

Gene looked confused. “Well, because she’s Akiko Tao, Chief councilwoman of Station Central. She’s sent you several messages.”

“Ah, now I remember,” Godfrey muttered.

“Godfrey, what’s going on?” Sennett asked.

Before he could answer, they were joined by Akiko Tao. She looked very much like her son, slightly heavy with thick, dark hair and pale skin. She was shorter, though, the top of her head reaching Sennett’s nose. Her makeup was immaculate, and she wore a gentle smile.

“Councilman,” she said, her voice deep and smooth. “It’s so good to finally meet you. If you’d told me you were going to visit Station Central, I would have sent a ship for you.”

“Councilwoman Tao,” Godfrey said, reaching to shake her hand. “I’m afraid you might be working under old information. I’m not a councilman anymore. Station 86 doesn’t have a council at all. That’s why I referred you to Marshal Joy Wheatly when you contacted me.”

Akiko’s smile never wavered. “Yes, I did receive that message. I expressed concern at the time, I believe.”

“You did, yes. However, I’m not in any position to speak to your concerns. If you have questions about Station 86, please feel free to contact one of our Marshals.”

“Perhaps,” she said, glancing around them, “this is a discussion that should be had in private, away from Station Central visitors. Would you join me in my office, please?”

“No, thank you,” Godfrey snapped.

“Please,” she laughed, taking his arm. “It seems clear to me that we have some things to discuss.”

“I think you need to let go of him now,” Liam said, stepping forward.

“I’m okay,” Godfrey said, pulling his arm away from her. “Fine, I’ll come talk to you.”

“Godfrey,” Sennett said.

“I’m fine,” he said, “It’s just a talk. I’ll meet you at the hotel.”

“Glad to meet you all,” Akiko said, before turning to leave. Gene and Godfrey followed, vanishing quickly into the crowd.

“What the hell is all that about?” Mason asked.

“I don’t know,” Sennett said.

“This ain’t good,” Liam said, looking down at his wrist com. “Sen, did you just get something?”

She looked down at her own pad. He was right, she’d received a security notification. She opened it.

There was a picture of a young man in a suit and tie, it looked like an employee photo. Underneath, the message read. All citizens and visitors of Station Central, please be advised that known terrorist Jason Whitehall has escaped from police protection and is thought to be somewhere on the station. If you spot him, please contact authorities imminently. Whitehall is thought to be armed with illegal weaponry, and is suspected in the murder of May Conner.

“We try to go on vacation. Godfrey’s grabbed by the local politicians and a terrorist is on the lose,” Mason muttered.

“Yeah,” Sennett said. “That sounds about normal.”

Station Central, Episode One

Preorder Station Central now on Smashwords.


Once upon a time, a company called Galitech launched a space station. They wanted to see if space habitation would be sustainable for everyday people. They also wanted to make money. So they created Station Central, the vacation destination in the stars.

It was far more successful than Galitech thought it would be. Millions of application were sent in to set up businesses. Everyone wanted to work there. Even the janitorial staff had more applicants than they could ever use. People wanted to live there. People who could afford it wanted to go there. A year before Station Central officially opened, there was already a five-year waiting list at every single hotel.

With its growing popularity came a desire to move out into space and away from the crowded plant.

Galitech was happy to oblige, but there were a few problems with their plan. The first hurdle was that the stations wouldn’t fall under any country’s jurisdiction. As such, there were no official laws. After much research and long boardroom conversations, a decision was made to give each station a council of twelve people who would govern. They created a set of laws that every station immigrant had to swear to. And they established a private army to help council members enforce the law if necessary.

The nations of Earth were less than comfortable with this arrangement. Somehow the thought of huge space stations full of people whose laws were being enforced by a private military concerned them.

To placate the nations, Galitech worked with them to establish the IHP, Interstellar Human Protection, to help keep order among the stations. Galitech created its army anyway but insisted that they were nothing more than private security.

The stations shared a unified money system, the same universal coin that had been used on Earth since 2087. They shared the laws agreed upon before they were launched. Each station had a council, a Galitech auditor and a team of IHP agents. Most stations created a police force. For the most part, it worked out.

There were some issues. Station 97 seemed to think child labor was alright until the IHP stepped in. And no one talked about Station 10, which was shut down without explanation. But for the most part, the stations were doing fine.

Then, the Hollow Suits attacked Earth. Hulking, walking battle armor suits, with nothing discernible behind opaque visors. They appeared on Earth without any demands and without warning. They didn’t seem to want anything, except to kill every human they could find. They were immune to electrical attacks, fire, and water. They couldn’t be starved, because no one could tell what they ate. No weapon on Earth could penetrate their armor. They couldn’t be spoken to, reasoned with, bribed, or distracted from their task. They were also aggressive against cats and dogs. No one could figure out why except perhaps to hurt us by killing our beloved pets.

Earth had no idea how to protect themselves from this attack There had been peace on Earth for a generation, most soldiers had never fired a weapon outside of training. The combined military forces of nations fell in months. The IHP hurried back to Earth, except for one team lead by Evelyn Greenwood.

The Galitech army was still waiting on Station 2. Waiting for an order to move out. There was just one person able to give that command, the Galitech CEO. She was dead on the floor of her board room, her eyes shoved into the back of her head. If the Earthians on the stations weren’t already the only ones left, they would be soon.

With the IHP gone, and Earth gone quiet, the stations looked to Station Central for leadership. There were the Hollow Suits to worry about, but there were also radical terrorists, murderers, and a thousand other things that could get out of hand on a space station.

The problem was, that was never what Station Central was intended to be. The leaders were vacation coordinators, not politicians.

But they still had to lead. No matter how distasteful the found what they felt had to be done to keep the stations safe.

Episode One


When we last left our heroes, they were once again recovering from disaster. Godfrey Anders had just stopped corrupt politician, Saul Mai, from stealing the election from Joy Wheatly. Part of Saul’s plot had involved allowing April, the daughter of Godfrey’s best friend Sennett, to be kidnapped by a genetic doctor named Cynthia Oswald. Both Saul and Dr. Oswald were shipped to Station 41, the prison station.

Unfortunately, in the midst of the most recent nightmare, Godfrey’s wife Ki decided that she needed to go to her home planet of Khloe to visit her family. In a message she left for him, she told him that she believed he was in love with Sennett, not her. Unable to stay in the home they built together anymore and worried about further attacks, Godfrey’s been crashing on Sennett’s couch ever since.

Sennett, meanwhile, has narrowly avoided death again. She saved Station 16, a disease research station, from a nanite that turned people into violent, rage monsters commonly called berserkers. She also managed to uncover the truth about the Hollow Suits and carried this information back Station 86. In the process, she was infected by the nanites. While she was given the cure, no one is sure how long it will last, or what the long term effects might be.

Godfrey was the first awake most mornings, due to his childhood on farm time. He woke, his blanket tangled around him. Soon, he knew, there would be four adults and one child vying for bathroom time. Wanting to take himself out of that equation he got up, taking a sweater and jeans with him.

In the bathroom, he shaved, then ran a comb through his mess of dark curls. His face, he thought, was looking haggard. The bags under his eyes were becoming more and more apparent. Sighing, he dabbed on a little concealer.

Just as he was starting to brush his teeth he heard a tiny knock on the door. “Hello?” April said. “I have to use the bathroom.”

“Hugug,” Godfrey called through a mouthful of toothpaste. He opened the door, admitting April and her AI dog, Bailey.

April was a striking child, with a mess of wild brown hair and bright pink skin that was her Khloe father’s legacy. Bailey had the body of a terrier, but with silky smooth metal skin. He wagged his tail when he saw Godfrey.

Godfrey headed for the kitchen, considering what he might make for breakfast. April had never had poached eggs before he’d moved in, and she seemed exceptionally pleased with them.

He went to the simulator, sighing. Before Earth had gone dark, he’d gotten regular shipments of fresh, real food, for his lunch booth. Now, he was regulated to simulating raw food and cooking it. But at least he could still do that, he reasoned.

Sennett’s adopted little brother, Mason stumbled into the kitchen just as Godfrey put a plate of eggs and sausage on the table. “You packed for Station Central?” he asked. “Sennett wants to leave right after April gets off school.”

“I know,” Mason replied. He was looking at the table screen while he picked up a sausage link and bit it in half. “I did it last night. I need to get over to the greenhouse and meet Jackie before we leave. And I’ll have to stop by my lab at school. One of the liver plants is stable enough to move, I think.”

Mason was twenty and looked every bit the college student he was. He was heavy, with dyed blond hair and enough tech to concern Godfrey most of the times. But even he had to admit, the young man was bright.

“You’re sure Jackie can be trusted in my greenhouse?” Godfrey asked, putting another plate on the table. “And with those organ growing plants?”

“Sure, she’s my assistant,” Mason shrugged. “You met her yourself, did your whole vetting thing before you agreed to let her around your precious plants. She’ll be fine.”

April and Bailey bounced in next. She was now dressed in a purple shirt and blue leggings. She settled into her chair, where Godfrey had just set a plate.

“Thank you, Mr. Godfrey,” she said, digging into her eggs.

“No problem, Little Bit,” he smiled. “Your mom up?”

“I’m here, but don’t make anything for me. I’m gonna just have klav,” Sennett said, walking briskly into the room. A tall woman with ebony skin, she had her thousands of braids pulled away from her face by a metal band. It was strange to see her dressed as she was, in a pair of jeans and a band t-shirt. She normally dressed in a suit, as a detective. Her brown eyes, flecked with gold, flashed across the faces at the table, before running a hand over her daughter’s head.

“I’ve got to head to the barracks and finish up some paperwork before we leave on vacation. And check in on Patty.”

“How is she doing as interim commissioner?” Godfrey asked.

“Hating every single second,” Sennett muttered. “But it’s just until Commissioner Schultz comes back from leave.”

The last person who came into the room was Liam. He was a pale man, thin but muscular. His goatee, which had been unruly in the past had been trimmed neatly now that he was living with Sennett. He wore a tight sweater over a pair of jeans that had a fade mark near the pocket in the shape of his missing holster.

“Here,” Godfrey said, holding out a plate for him.

“Thanks, Man,” Liam said. He carried it over to the simulator, making himself a cup of steaming black coffee. “You want one?”

“Sure,” Godfrey said, sitting down at the table with his own food.

Sennett, a cup of hot klav in her hand, sat down next to him. She started tapping on the table, pulling up morning news feeds. “I haven’t seen anything about the Hollow Suits yet. Guess that might be a good thing for us. Travel will probably be restricted after the news breaks.”

“Might not be able to get home, if that happens,” Godfrey said. He started scanning the feeds over her shoulder. “I talked to Marshal Joy the other day. She and Marshal Howard are working on some things to boost protection. She didn’t want to go into it though.”

“Of course not. The fewer people who know the details, the better,” Sennett said. She tapped on the table, taking over part of it to read her mail. “I guess the other stations can handle the Hollows how they want, there’s nothing we can do about it. But I think we stand a better chance if we’re talking to each other.”

She was beautiful in the morning, even while she was scanning over her email. Ki’s accusation before she’d left wouldn’t leave Godfrey’s mind in moments like this. She’d accused him of loving Sennett more than he loved her. Most of the time he didn’t think it could be true. But there were moments.

Suddenly, her face hardened. She shut her email with a swipe and took a sip of her drink.

“What’s wrong?” Liam asked, glancing over at her.

“Nothing,” Sennett said. “I just got an email from someone who shouldn’t be emailing me. April, go get your shoes and jacket, please.”

“Okay!” April said, scrambling away from the table.

“You excited for your last day of school, Little Bit?” Godfrey asked.

“Yes!” April said, and ran from the room.

Sennett turned back to the table. “I just got an email from Candace Campbell,” she said quietly, glancing at each of them in turn.

Godfrey sat back in his chair, whistling. “What did she say?” he asked.

“Someone needs to fill me in. Who’s Candace?” Liam asked.

“She’s the bitch who murdered my husband. Shot him in the back in the middle of the street.”

Sennett sat back in her chair. “She’s saying she needs to talk to me about something that she doesn’t want to say over mail.”

Mason propped his elbows on the table. “So, what if it’s about your birth parents?”

Sennett gave him a sharp look. “Why the hell would she want to talk to me about my birth parents, Mason?”

“Well,” he said carefully. “You said that Core person on Station 16 told you your parents were still alive and that they were looking for you. Candace was a member of the Core.”

She shuddered. It felt like the Core had been stalking her, ever since they’d shot her adopted mother’s ship out of the sky. They’d been the ones who’d set the berserker virus free on Station 16, which had infected Sennett.

“We don’t know that,” Sennett said.

“Actually, we do,” Mason said. “It’s in her file from the prison.”

“How do you know that?” Liam asked. “Prison records are supposed to be sealed except for to officials.”

When the others at the table looked at him, he shrugged. “I’m a criminal. It’s my business to know my rights.”

“I’m just saying, what if it’s about your birth parents?” Mason asked.

“Then I still don’t care to talk to her. Mom was the only parent I needed, Mason, especially if my birth parents are Core members.”

She got up, grabbing her mug of klav. “I’m taking April to school now. Everyone, please make sure you’re totally packed by the time I get home so we don’t have to wait.”

“I’ll keep after them,” Godfrey said, grinning.

“Thanks,” she said, turning towards the door. “Oh, and Liam. Patty’s going to meet us at the loading dock tonight.”

“What the hell for?” Liam sputtered.

Sennett turned back towards him. “What do you think? She signed off on you traveling. She needs to make sure you aren’t carrying anything illegal.”

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