a Serial in Seven Parts
By CJ Alexander
I stare at Renata. How did she find out about me smuggling the kids?
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Oh come now, Captain Vampire,” she sneers. “Food is regularly delivered to your quarters. What do you do with it? Enjoy the vegetarian cuisine, hmm? Or feed it to someone else?”
It’s not possible, I was so careful! No-one on board knows they’re here. She’s fishing.
“Did you honestly believe you could steal the two most valuable humans on Earth, Captain, the last bright hope for the continuation of the human species, without somehow alerting the Hierarchy?”
My children’s children….
“The Hierarchy has long suspected you might try to appropriate them, so they set up this mission as a trap. After we launched, the children no longer attended classes, didn’t respond to communications. When the Institute failed to report them missing, the Hierarchy began…interviewing your colleagues. After a week of intensive – let’s call it interrogation – one of them confessed.”
“There’s no proof that I kidnapped them!”
She frowns. “Not yet. But where else could they be? Where have you hidden them, Captain?” She gets up and examines the walls, floor, and ceiling of my conference room. They’re not here. I’ve moved them from the guest suite to a more secure place, near Hydroponics. I sit very still, willing myself to remain calm, but failing.
She laughs at my discomfort. “A cloaked Hierarchy vessel follows us, Captain, and has been doing so since I alerted them from the communications device on the waterlogged planet. I’d say there’s…oh…maybe three days until rendezvous.”
By all that’s unholy…we’ll never evade a Hierarchy vessel in pursuit.
“I give them the signal, then they board. They’ll search until they find your precious cargo.”
“I’ll never tell you or anyone from the Hierarchy where they are!”
“Captain, you must realize that if you leave them hidden, and you’re no longer able to supply them with food, they’ll soon die. Before long, the stink from their rotting corpses will permeate the air ducts. Wouldn’t it be better to surrender them now? Then we can all reverse course, and go home. Everybody wins, and lives happily ever after, right, Captain?”
Everybody wins, except Adam, Eve and Captain Gaspare, I amend silently. I hate to admit defeat, but what other option do I have? I sigh heavily.
“What will they offer in exchange for my co-operation?”
“You’ll get the satisfaction of knowing your grandchildren will serve the Hierarchy as food stock. They’ll live a natural life amid other quality breeders like themselves. And you’ll get to watch their children have children, until the end of time.”
My fangs emerge like switchblades. I can barely control my desire to rip her to shreds.
“Lighten up, Captain.”
I experience a mammoth struggle to turn off my human emotions.
“One thing I don’t understand, Renata. Why the carnage aboard this ship? Why did you glut yourself, terrorize the crew, turn the trip into a living hell for everyone?”
“I’m not like you, Captain. I take whatever I want, as much as I want. Call it a perk.” She has the gall to laugh. “Besides, I’m going to blame it on you! They’ll believe me – I had no motive for killing, no children to hide. For rescuing the kids, I’ll be paid in gold, given my own estate, and an honorary title in the Hierarchy. Not to mention an endless source of delicious…”
“NO MORE!” In less than a human heartbeat I’m out of my chair, squeezing Renata’s scrawny neck with every bit of my considerable strength. I wrestle her to the floor, maintaining the chokehold, ready to rip her skull right off her spine. How well trained she is, like a Ninja, relaxing into the fray, waiting for an opportunity to escape. I bare my fangs again, not to feed, but to show the depth of my anger, my anguish over the unbearable predicament which confronts me.
“Emergency override, code Alpha-0977!” The door slides open. “Captain! We heard you yell! What’s happening in here, are you all r…”
She screams when I let go. “Here’s your killer! He’s a vampire, sucking everyone dry on board! Look! His fangs! He was planning to suck the life out of me!” She sobs hysterically, clutching her neck.
What could I have said or done to set things straight? My secret is out. I am what I am. Not a killer, but it matters little. Adam and Eve have been released and have joined the crew for the return trip to earth. They’re alive, and well enough cared for, but I can no longer protect them from the Hierarchy’s plans. I’ve been apprehended and charged with numerous counts of murder, treason, and kidnapping. The silver shackles burn. They’ll feed me bagged blood until I can be brought to justice, back on Earth, in front of my peers. The Hierarchy thinks of everything, don’t they?
Everyone on board will rest easier on the return journey, with acting Captain Renata Toloache in charge…
CJ Alexander writes short fiction for the fun of it. She lives in the historic Mohawk Valley region of New York State.