A Cyrius Mess…

Cyrius day walked around the decompression chamber, the sound of his breathing heavy inside the exo-suit he wore to protect him from the coldness of space that now filled the room. He knelt down and poked at a red jellied mass that broke free and started to float across the chamber in the zero-g atmosphere. He watched as it drifted away from him, blending into the surroundings.

It’s been a long four years and I’ve seen a lot of things in that time. Some of those things have caused me to regain my faith in humanity, to believe that there is something worth saving after all. Something that somehow made the Marshal’s star that I wear mean something. Something that says that humanity has a chance.

And then… then there are days like today. Days where all the rest of that good stuff gets thrown out the nearest airlock. I’d say excuse the pun, but, it was kind of intended. See, that blob of jelly floating toward the bulkhead use to be inside of a man named Jason Fletcher. Engineer’s Mate 1st class, and from everything I can ascertain, he was the nicest guy you’d ever meet. Husband, father, Cadet program leader, coach for his son’s Zero-G Ball team.

Just an all around nice guy.

And someone decided to sabotage the decompression chamber he was in, sucking out all the atmosphere. Ten seconds in, he popped and created this Pollock masterpiece I am currently standing in the middle of. Gruesome, I know. But, as I said, earlier, it’s been a long four years.

“So, Marshal, what do you have?” said a gruff and serious looking man through the intercom system. His blue-grey uniform fit him tight, his hair was trimmed neat and just about as tight as his uniform, and his face showed his years in a most unpleasant way.

“Well, other than a really big mess…” Cyrius paused, noting that his response was going to do nothing more than irritate the situation with the Captain even more than it already was, and decided on a better tone. “That is, it appears the chamber was tampered with.” Standing and walking over to the chamber operational panel, Cyrius continued.  “The safety locks were compromised and as soon as the maintenance routine began the doors sealed, the atmosphere vented out and…” He blew his hands apart while making a popping noise.

“You do realize you are speaking about one of my crew members? A man whom I have served with for over three years? Who has a wife and child?” The Captain stood with his hands behind his back, a stern look on his face.

And there’s the tone I was trying so hard to avoid. Ok, maybe not all that hard.

“Sorry, sir.” Cyrius said, smirking to himself inside his helmet. “Truth of the matter is, I don’t know if this was a deliberate attack on Petty Officer Fletcher or if it was just his lucky day.” The captain raised an eyebrow toward him. Cyrius walked over to the monitor and pointed behind him at the mess. “Look, sir. I’m doing my best here to figure out what happened, and so far, other than being this huge enigmatic mess, that’s all I’ve been able to ascertain. And forgive me for being a touch flippant about the whole thing, but, it is just how I work, so I can stay objective about it all. Otherwise, I won’t be any use to this investigation.”

There, that will set things right.

Clearing his throat the Captain responded, “I’ve already lodged my complaint with your superior.”


The Captain continued, “Your replacement will be here in two days.” It was the Captain’s turn to smile.


Trying something new with this character, or at least incorporating something that I have really wanted to do since the beginning with him. The internal monologue, a la Magnum P.I., curious what you, the reader, think.

TWW 440


Published by

R. Todd

MFA from the Queens University of Charlotte ('21), BA in English from the University of Central Florida ('17), Group leader for the Florida Writers Association since 2019, member of AWP and ACES.

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