Rocketship Patrol

Rocketship Patrol by J.I. Greco Read Free Book Online

Book: Rocketship Patrol by J.I. Greco Read Free Book Online
Authors: J.I. Greco
to you?” Rikki pointed the autorifle at Hackenthrush. “He’s about to get shot. Right between the eyes.”
    Hackenthrush swallowed – the rifle was aimed dead at his crotch. He lightly grabbed the barrel and lifted it, pointing it at his chest instead. “It’s okay, 8724. Go ahead. Please .”
    “Junior Officer Loy needs to see you on the bridge.”
    “The what , 8724?” Hackenthrush asked.
    8724 sighed. “The cockpit, Lieutenant Detective.”
    “Heh, heh,” Rikki chuckled, and whacked his palm against the autorifle’s power stud, slapping it up to full charge. It came on with a dull, teeth-shakingly lethal hum. “You said cockpit .”
    Hackenthrush looked at the autorifle, then at his plate, then back at the autorifle. Then up at the intercom speaker in the ceiling. “Well, if it’s important… we’ll be right up.”

    “What’s up, rookie?” Hackenthrush asked as he climbed up through the hole in the deck and onto the bridge. “You manage to get Jack Benny to come in clear on that thing?”
    “No… sir.” Junior Officer stood in front of the bridge’s main CRT. A mug shot of a slender, athletically built woman in her mid-twenties rotated on the screen. “I took the liberty of running our guest through the DUPES Criminal Database. And good thing I did.”
    “Hey, that sorta looks like Miss Swartzbaum,” Rikki said as he climbed up onto the bridge and saw the mugshot on the CRT. “Only she’s a brunette.”
    Loy nodded. “And her name’s not Swartzbaum.” She pointed at the printout spewing from the chattering dot-matrix next to the CRT. “It’s Hershell. Didi Hershell. Or, it’s Vivian Lee. Or Myrna the Torch. She’s also been known to go by Dorothy Wynant, Maureen O’Sullivan, Minna Gombell, Natalie Moorhead, Nora Charles... Point is, she’s had a lot of names.”
    “And apparently some breast work,” Hackenthrush said, plopping down into his commander’s chair. “ For the better .”
    Loy tore the first ten pages off the printout and walked it over to Hackenthrush. The printer continued to spew behind her. “She’s some kind of criminal mastermind. Look at this record. Hundreds of arrests in dozens of star systems... Grand thefts. Extortions. Confidence games. Rigging elections. You name it, she’s been arrested for it, or is wanted for it.” She scanned the printout, her eyes getting wider and wider. “How is she not locked away for life?”
    Hackenthrush shrugged. “She’s hot. Special rules apply to people like her and me.”
    “Ha!” Rikki blurted.
    “Hot?” Loy asked. “She’s clearly an anti-social psychopath–”
    “Sure,” Cortez said, “blow up one elementary school and they brand you for life.”
    Loy looked up from the printout and past Hackenthrush to see Cortez’s head and shoulders popping up through the hole in the deck, her robomechanical hand on the lip of the hatch, ready to close it, and her other hand around her needler, aimed at the back of Hackenthrush’s head.
    “Hold it!” Loy shouted, fumbling with the printout while reaching for the service raygun at her hip.
    Cortez disappeared down through the deck hole, slamming the hatch shut behind her. A moment later, the wheel spun, and the clank of a locking bolt being fitted into place on the other side of the hatch echoed ominously through the bridge.
    Which is when Loy finally managed to get her raygun out of its holster. She pointed it at the closed hatch. “You’re under arrest…” Her voice trailed off.
    “Don’t look so glum, rookie,” Hackenthrush said, leaning forward to pat Loy on the shoulder. “You’ll get her next time.”

    Hopping off the ladder onto Deck 5, Cortez holstered her needler and tapped commands into the underside of her robomechanical arm. “Still with me, Ship?”
    “I am here,” 8724 said. “How can I serve you?”
    “Lock your controls to me only. Then kill all power to the bridge except for emergency lighting and life support. Then

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