DOA

Though it had taken a mild coating of dust on its’ trip through the dockyard, the hearse still gleamed an elegant black as it came to a silent halt at the cargo bay ramp. As two men in mourning attire climbed out of the vehicle, the mortuary’s limousine arrived. It pulled around its’ mate before stopping to idle.

The men, large, muscular specimens, unfolded a gurney behind the hearse’s cargo hatch. A moment later, they extracted a shipping coffin, which glided easily from one conveyance to the next. The coffin itself was unremarkable, an aluminum box ringed with a half dozen utilitarian handgrips. The lid was sealed by a narrow bead of weld, and covered with black and yellow caution tape to which an alliance transit tag had been affixed. Once they’d been met by Amelia Garrison, the strange little procession made its’ way up the cargo ramp, into Lunar Veil’s hold.

The mortician’s eyes scanned the now familiar environment. The unruly dogs appeared no better contained, though now it was the mohawk and a young boy who made the attempt. She noticed Chavez. The woman now wore coveralls and had her hair pinned back to reveal a mild smudge to one cheek…apparently her infiltration had gone without incident. “Excuse me,” she called out above the noise, “I’m Amelia Garrison, Garrison and Hayes Mortuary,” she offered her card. “Delivering remains and one passenger. We are expected.”

“I’m just the mechanic.”

Garrison produced a thick envelope. “These are shipping documents, death certificate, remains transport permit, and the coffin seal registration,” she said. “I’m bound by law to present these to either the vessel’s captain or its’ medical officer. Would one of them be available?”

Marisol turned, her eyes lifting toward the catwalks. “Don’t see the captain,” she observed, “but our doc’s on the job. Wait here. I’ll go get ‘im.”

She walked briskly aft, past the two cold shouldered deckhands and their chaotic pack of dogs. The infirmary door was open. As Marisol leaned in, she took in the sight of the third deckhand…the looker…seated upon a countertop. One glance told the tale…legs crossed to emphasize the appearance of thighs, a slight arch of her back to offer breasts for prominent display. Dorian leaned against the padded table, his expression subtle, and one hand extended to receive the small box clasped in the woman’s fingers.

Marisol rapped on the door frame. “Excuse me, Doc,” she said. “Coffin’s here. The funeral people need you to sign for it.”

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