From Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of the Paranormal edited by Buck Weiss. Story by Mike Luoma
Alibi Jones sat on the bridge of his Cruiser watching footage from the mission package sent by SAIF Command. His Covert Ops team’s members were posing as independent contractors to work openly with the Project and the Solar Alliance Interplanetary Force on this current investigation, as a favor to his aunt Anita. His Cruiser was masquerading as the Free Trader A.D. Foster, working the Depot trade routes.
The recording in front of Alibi alternated between a humorless man with a severe crew-cut in a SAIF Commander’s uniform and an Independent Trader dressed in flamboyant maroon, gold and black.
“A haunted ship? Are you kidding me?” Garrison Commander Sharkovski asked.
Alibi knew the man was still new to his post, appointed a few months ago after a corruption scandal cleaned out the old SAIF hierarchy on Depot. He obviously didn’t suffer fools.
“You want me to believe there’s some kind of old, haunted ship out there?” Sharkovski said.
“Look, man, I know you’re new there, I get it. Respect. You don’t have to tough-guy me,” Hector Ruiz said. “Maybe you don’t realize this, but I’m an Independent – ain’t my habit to call in to the SAIF garrison to chit-chat. Just trying to tell you there’s some sort of old alien husk floating out at those coordinates I sent ya. And some kind of spaceman ghost with it that appeared on my bridge, saying ‘don’t let me die’! It was messed up!”
“What sort of cargo are you carrying, Independent?” Shakovski asked. “Hallucinogens?”
Alibi laughed as he switched off the footage. His feline-like Dakhur co-pilot Kat appeared on the bridge and made his way up to his flight seat on Alibi’s right.
“What are you watching?” Kat asked. “Some more of your human com-eh-deeee?”
“Not exactly,” Alibi said. “The mission package. The first report of the ‘alien derelict’ – our ‘ghost ship’ – at least this time around.”
“This time?” Kat asked. “I did not realize there was another time.”
What happens next? Read Hunting Ghosts: Thrilling Tales of the Paranormal to find out.
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