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...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Part 2 of SCUM by J. A. Johnson

Simikus twisted his sudden scowl into a smile. "Back here. Follow me." He led Ograd deeper into the shadows behind one of the huge sewage flumes that delivered the Rock's waste to the recyke center. With his face concealed in shadow, Simikus allowed himself a wicked grin as he thought back to the day, just a cycle ago, when Ograd Paxa had shipped in to Omega Station and come to work at the plant, one of the few places that asked no questions when hiring.

They bore a striking resemblance to one another, he and Ograd, more than enough for his purposes. Simikus was hard pressed to view Ograd's arrival as anything short of divine intervention; it was as if he'd been sent straight from the Core.

And that being so, Simikus had promptly adapted his plan to incorporate the convenient newcomer.

"That's far enough, I haven't got all day," spat Ograd. "Give it to me."

Simikus turned to face his co-worker. "My pleasure," he hissed just as he jabbed one of his prods into Ograd's throat and activated it.

Ograd went rigid, gagged once, then collapsed into the sludge. Simikus was on him at once, holding him below the viscous filth.

At last Ograd ceased thrashing and floated limply, face up in the sludge. Simikus stood up and checked the time. Five minutes before shift change. He glanced back toward the main sludge tank. No sign of the surveillance drone.

"Nub, eh. Thought that was funny, did you?" he asked Ograd's corpse. "Well, it's a pity you're no longer here to appreciate this." Simikus removed a small surgical device from his coverup pocket. Acting quickly, before Ograd's tissues began to die, Simikus removed the third finger of the dead Nicovan's left hand. Then, resetting the device, he used it to heal up the wound.

"There now, that wasn't so bad, was it?"

As he put the surgical device away, Simikus congratulated himself for having thought of amputating his own finger, which would serve as an identifying mark. He missed the digit, but not for much longer.

Next, he took the prod he had used to incapacitate Ograd, one of many he'd modified over the years for various purposes, and set it to overload. He stuck it in the dead Neek's right hand. Everything was in place. As the prod began to whine, Simikus turned and splashed a safe distance away, into a side corridor.

Only a few seconds later the prod exploded. Sludge and sewage ignited in a rolling wave of fire. Alarms wailed and frightened workers headed for the exits, on to meet the incoming shift in a rush of panicked chaos.

Amid the confusion, Simikus slipped away, leaving the sewage plant and his past behind him…forever.

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