What Is Omega Station?

Omega Station, aka the Rock. A barren, airless asteroid on the outermost edge of the galaxy, home of the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. Dotted with commercial, military and residential domes, the outer surface is the place to live for those who can afford it or are lucky enough to work there.
But the vast majority of the Rock's residents don't live in the surface domes; instead, they have tunneled downwards, moving ever further towards its fiery heart. The upper levels are safe, comfortable, secure—or as secure as anyone can be on
Omega Station. The lower levels, now; they are home to the detritus of a double dozen races and species, all living in uneasy juxtaposition, fighting, loving, eating—and being eaten.
The Rock's location in space, the last real port before exiting the galaxy, has made it a valuable commodity to many governments and private corporations, as has the addictive drug straz, which grows only in its recycling vats. Control has been taken and given in a hundred bloody battles over the years, but those who live in the lower levels—and further down, in the Depths—are often barely aware of whoever claims to be in charge.
No one, really, rules the Rock, whatever they may claim, however many weapons and warriors they throw against it.
For the Rock is eternal…and it has many secrets...and many stories...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Part 15 of SCUM by J. A. Johnson

Eversyn regarded Caravello for a moment, then Simikus. The manager turned his desktop computer screen toward the Connie. "See," he said, "the door scanner even confirms it. Wilfor Kudisi."

Eversyn scrutinized the picture on the screen then studied Simikus. If there was anyone on the Rock with a need for tight, efficient security it would be the Starview Lounge, since everyone—who could afford it—frequented the place. The captain had no reason to question the scan. Still…

"You know what they all say about Neeks. They all look alike," Eversyn said. Everyone but Simikus laughed at the insult. "So I'm sure you won't object if I run a background check on your friend."

"Of course not." Caravello's smug grin stayed firmly in place. "I understand."

Petrified, Simikus watched as Eversyn laid the data pad atop the desk holoscreen.

"Don't worry, Wilfor, it's just routine," said Caravello, his tone calm and reassuring.

Simikus nodded meekly, but he was trapped nonetheless. His forged Ograd Paxa ID would be all but useless now, since the only officially registered identification he had was as Simikus Giff. He had planned to remedy that detail after he had been paid his fortune. If he tried to run, the Connie would definitely arrest him and run the check anyway.

As he walked what seemed like the thousand meters to the desk, Simikus became aware of the angular case of ka'frindi biting into his chest. It's just ka'frindi, he reminded himself, perfectly legal. Eversyn would simply assume it belongs to the Starview. They serve it on their menu, after all.

"Place your palm on the pad," Eversyn instructed.

In utter defeat, Simikus wiped the sweat from his hand and complied. With all three of his eyes closed and his breath held, he waited for Eversyn to slap a pair of sono-cuffs on him.

But he didn't. Simikus half opened one eye.

"Is it broken?" he asked.

"My apologies, Master Caravello, Master Dyll," Eversyn said, ignoring Simikus.

Rudof shrugged and smiled. "No apologies are necessary to me, Captain. You're just doing your job; which, I might add, is more than can be said for your predecessors."

"Indeed, Captain; I completely concur with Master Dyll," murmured Caravello.

Eversyn pocketed his data pad and rose.

"I hate that I missed our dinner, Rudof. And, unfortunately, I must be on my way again. The more I think about that explosion at the sewage plant, the more it troubles me."

"How so?" Dyll asked. He rose, obviously preparing to walk the Connie captain to the door. A blush spread over the captain's face at this sign of courtesy from the Rock's richest resident. "Do you think the missing Nicovan are responsible?"

"Possibly. But it's just as possible that they're dead and that the real culprit is still at large."


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