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Storytime Blog Hop: The Scorpius Gate

The following story is part of a Blog Hop of speculative fiction short stories. You can find more stories, by other writers, in the links at the end of this story. The writing spans the spectrum of speculative fiction, so if The Scorpius Gate is not to your tastes there will likely be others in the links you would find are. Please, enjoy the stories.

The Scorpius Gate began as an idea for something I am planning to be backstory in a series I am working on. I have taken this opportunity to write a short story that explores what happened that made the Scorpius Gate worth being a part of the world I am building.

The Scorpius Gate
by Sandra Fikes

Champagne glasses lifted throughout the room in response to the flood lamps that illuminated the distant ring platform of the Scorpius Gate.

“I think I just felt my stock prices go up a good twenty percent.”

Ezra LaVellen smiled in silent agreement to the comment from somewhere off to his right, the speaker lost amid the leaders of twenty-odd corporations there to celebrate the arrival of the first civilian transport shuttle using the Port gates. The future had not looked so good for LaVellen Engineering since the company had been at the forefront of technological advances that made possible the real time broadcast of the celebration to company stockholders on hundreds of colonized worlds.

“I hear the transportation committee has already signed off on another two hundred Port upgrades.” Benton Warren slapped Ezra’s back with a pat that nearly spilled Ezra’s champagne.

“I thought they were waiting until next week to sign that?” said Ezra as he looked up.

Benton smiled, “I have a source in the committee. Wanted to be sure my shareholders would get their investment’s worth.” Benton tapped his champagne flute to Ezra’s, “You and I, my friend, are going to have a lot of very happy shareholders.”

Ezra rather liked the thought of the impact real-time civilian transport would have on his company’s bottom line. “To the future,” he tapped his flute to Benton’s. There was an outburst at the back of the room before they could drink and the men turned to see someone shove his way toward the press cameras set up to capture the shuttle’s arrival.

“Shut it down! Shut them all down!” If the man had not caught everyone’s attention with his entrance he had with his shouts. Security quickened their paces and the man responded by cutting an evasive zig-zag through the crowd. “You don’t understand what you are doing! You’re going to kill everyone! You’re going to destroy the universe!”

“And here I thought they were screening the crazies out.” Amelia Preston’s voice was unmistakable, the woman always managed to sound both condescending and warm.

“There will always be a few anti-Port travel fanatics with the clearance to slip past security,” said Ezra.

“Perhaps in your company, but not in Preston Enterprises. We are very selective of who we provide security clearance to.”

Ezra just smiled over the rim of his flute glass. LaVellen had multiple military contracts and was known to be the most secure of the three’s companies. His grandfather had utilized those contracts to develop buffer advancements for the Alcubierre drive design that allowed safe intergalactic travel for manned ships. The military had been thrilled to move their troops with the same technology that had allowed unmanned ships to accelerate well beyond light speeds without perceivable displacement of time to the on-board systems. It had been the dream that one day civilian’s would enjoy the same real-time transport and now Ezra was watching that dream unfold.

“So,” Amelia turned her smile toward Ezra, the disruption forgotten now that security had silenced the man, “What is LaVellen planning next?”

Benton also turned toward Ezra, “Yes, we always do well when we follow your lead, where are we going next?”

Ezra chuckled and sipped his champagne. “I don’t know… maybe we will see what is beyond our galaxy?” The three shared a brief laugh before the room’s light was washed by an orange tinge. Amelia and Benton’s gazes refocused past Ezra, who turned just in time to see the second combustion of atmosphere from the ring’s maintenance passages.

As the shock faded Ezra began to catch snippets of overlapped discussions around him; Concern for the lives on the station, concern for the lives on the approaching ship, concern for what the disaster might do to stock prices.

* * *

It had been two days since the shuttle crashed into the Scorpius Gate. Two days since Ezra had considered sleeping. He stared at the crowd assembled in the next room. The reporters and their cameras had a clear view of the wreckage created by the unbuffered lash of energy from the braking transport.

“They called off the search for survivors,” said Ezra, sensing Benton behind him.

“Damn.” Benton leaned against the wall. “We could have used some good news to start this press conference with.”

Ezra nodded. “I will be starting with condolences to the families and friends of the lost, and a promise of support to the care of the injured.”

“Are you sure that is best?” The speaker stood behind Ezra, who was not even sure what company the man was with. “What if you begin with a statement on the overall safety of port travel. Make that the focus.” A low murmur of agreement flowed through the assembled corporate leaders.

Ezra shook his head. “The focus should be on the lives that were lost and our dedication to make port gates safer.”

“Ezra,” Amelia’s voice cut easily over the start of protests and all looked to her as she stepped forward. “We all agree that it was tragic, but those lost lives were not our fault. We need to reassure those watching this, and there are a lot of eyes on this, that port gate travel is safe.”

Benton nodded, “She’s right. We can not open ourselves to being responsible for this.”

* * *

Amelia Preston stood as a regal figurehead for the company officers assembled on the press stage. “I want to begin by assuring everyone that Port Gate travel is perfectly safe. Preliminary investigations indicate there may have been sabotage involved in the recent disaster…”

“Hey, aren’t you… I recognize you from somewhere. Are you famous?”

The question drew Ezra’s attention away from the nearby news screen and back to the injured man he had just given a bottle of water to. “Me?” Ezra smiled and shook his head, “No. I’m nobody. Just someone helping where I can.”

Please visit these links for more Speculative Fiction short stories by members of this Blog Hop:

Secret by J. Q. Rose
Journal of Anah by J Lenni Dorner
The Vineyard at Mar Mozambique by Karen Lynn
Stealing Space by Barbara Lund
The Day I was Clever by Katharina Gerlach
Never kid a kidder by Angela Wooldridge
The Color Of… by Chris Makowski
Nightmare by Erica Damon
Pick Up Lines by Bill Bush
V is for Vortex by Elizabeth McCleary
Deep Dive by Juneta Key
Bugs by Gina Fabio

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