Saturday, 31 October 2015

Intruders: Blog the Book 6.3

This week Captain Darrow goes to see Stefan Kozlik about what he saw. To read from the beginning go here. Captain Joseph Darrow looks like Michael Sheen.

Intruders chapter 6 scene 3

Before Darrow went outside he wanted to talk to Stefan Kozlik.  At his apartment, Kozlik’s wife opened the door.  She recognised Darrow's uniform.

‘You must be the Captain from the rescue ship.’

‘Yes, Mrs Kozlik, Captain Joseph Darrow.  May I speak to your husband?’

‘He’s asleep at the moment, but come in and let me make you a cup of tea.  He won’t be long.’

The apartment was like Mrs Kozlik - neat as a pin.  Not a thing out of place, and everything that could shine, shone.  She was a tall woman and carried herself stiffly, and watching her bustling about, Darrow wondered if she ever kept still.  Such constant movement would drive him mad.  He wondered what Kozlik was like, and how he coped.

‘I’m looking into the disappearance of the quartz.  I understand your husband saw something.’

She turned to him with a fierce look.  ‘I hope you’ve not come to mock.  If my Stefan says he saw something, then there was definitely something there, whatever they say.’

‘What’s all the noise, woman? Can’t a man have peace to sleep?’

A square-cut, muscular man came into the room wearing only trousers, rubbing his hand across his short hair.  Darrow rose to his feet.

‘Mr Kozlik, I’m Captain Darrow.  I was hoping to speak with you about the missing quartz.’

A shadow crossed the man’s face.

‘I have an open mind,’ Darrow said.  ‘I just want to hear your side of the story.’

Kozlik motioned him to sit down, took a freshly-pressed shirt from a hanger and put it on.

‘Make us some tea, Mother, and some of your cake.’

He sat down and pulled his chair closer to Darrow’s.

‘I was on guard at the door to the stores, while my arm was mending.’  He flexed his wrist.  ‘It was night period, but I wasn’t sleeping - I had slept in the afternoon, so I would be fresh for the night shift.  We only run two shifts here, as there aren’t enough men for three, but we keep the lights on low during night period, for those who have to work.’  He took a mug from his wife and drank, then continued.  ‘I heard the door open - it’s well-maintained, but you can’t move something that heavy without some noise.  I looked up and there was a figure by the door.  It kind of shimmered, so I couldn’t make it out clear.  It looked sort of human, but with something from the shoulders, like small wings, but I can’t be sure.’  He grabbed Darrow’s shoulder.  ‘But it wasn’t a ghost, I swear!’

The grip on Darrow’s shoulder demonstrated how strong this man was.  ‘Calm down Stefan, I’m not making any judgments, I’m just gathering facts.  I want to know exactly what you saw and heard.  Was there any indication someone was there before the noise of the door lock?’

‘No, nothing.’  He stopped and took a bite out of his cake, watching Darrow.

Darrow drank his tea, and simply nodded, but his heart leapt.

‘When I turned my torch on it, the figure instantly disappeared,’ Kozlik continued.  ‘I shouted and activated the lights in the stores, but there was no sign of anyone and no sign of tampering.  So I called Sean Parry, and he came running.  He checked, but there was nothing missing.  I can show you if you like.’

‘That would be great,’ Darrow said, getting to his feet.  ‘Thank you for the tea and cake, Mrs Kozlik.’

Kozlik put his boots on and led Darrow to the mine dome, navigating the airlock and the change in gravity without a thought.  Darrow scrambled to keep up.  At the stores a man got out of a chair and came to meet them with a smile on his face.

‘Someone new to tell your ghost stories to, eh Stefan?’

Before Kozlik could react, Darrow said, ‘Actually, I think there might be something in it.  Were you sitting here Mr Kozlik, when it happened?

‘Yes. The figure was over there, to the left of the door.’

Darrow turned to the guard.  ‘Have you seen or heard anything unusual Mr - ?’

‘Pavel Patla,’ the guard replied.  ‘No, everything’s been boringly normal.  Hey, Stefan, don’t take it so hard, I was only joking.’

‘Well the joke’s wearing a bit thin,’ said Kozlik.  ‘Captain, do you really think there was something?’

Darrow tried not to show his excitement.  After all, he thought, I still don’t have any evidence.  ‘I’ve still got an open mind. Mr Parry gave me a copy of the video record, and I’m going to get my Engineer to examine it, to see if we can find anything.’

He had brought an electron scanner, which he passed over the lock.  ‘Maybe this will tell us something.  Thank you for your help.’

He left the men and contacted Commander Blackwell.

‘How are the repairs going on the communications array?’

‘They won’t take long, sir.  The damage wasn’t much, but it’s fiddly to replace.’

‘I’ve got a video record I want you to take a look at.  See if anything else shows up under a different light spectrum, and anything else you can think of trying.  There’s an electron scan too.  I’m going back to the Kestrel now, so I’ll leave them in Engineering for you.’

‘Yes sir.  I’ll get to it as soon as I finish here.

[Next week: They break through to the trapped miners.]

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