Dexter Liu’s decision

(Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.)

His instincts won over his desire to finish his mission quickly and Dexter Liu hurried down the corridor toward the medical lab. The lights in this corridor worked properly, lighting his way then dimming behind. His bare feet carried him at a trot down the long hallway, passing junction after junction.

The med lab was near the rear of the ship, close to the hangar bays. When Dexter reached the final branching of hallways, he paused to listen. He heard nothing but the throbbing hum of the life support. He smiled to himself.

He turned right, away from the elevator that led to the massive hangars. His confidence returned and he checked the watch on his left wrist. He chuckled to himself when he realized he still clung tightly to a suede slipper. Dexter dropped the shoe, then thought better of it; he might find a use for it before he reached the bridge.

He bent over to retrieve the slipper. Just as his fingers closed on the hard sole of the shoe, he felt a rush of air across his back. Dexter dropped to his knees. He twisted his head to look down the corridor toward the med lab, but he saw nothing out of place.

He whipped his head toward the elevator. His eyes widened as the doors to the lift closed silently. He watched the numbers flip on the display next to the door. The numbers stopped at the bottom, the entrance to the hangar bays.

Dexter Liu’s heart rate increased. He could feel the thudding of his pulse in his temples. In horror, he saw the green lighted numbers begin climbing. Fear screamed in his ears, urging him to run. He turned away from the elevator and scrambled to his feet, letting the terror fuel his flight.

Just past the corridor junction, the short hallway widened into a dining room. Dexter recalled the wall map and decided this must be the crew dining hall. He tore past the metal chairs and tables with their super-weighted legs and into the adjoining kitchen. He ignored the sparklingly sterile area as unimportant and continued his dash toward the medical lab.

Another corridor, lined with doors leading to larger rooms, loomed just past the kitchen. The locked doors all lead to various fitness and leisure rooms. A crew in space needed regular exercise to maintain muscle mass and flexibility.

A shadow flitted by the windowed door of the main gym as Dexter sped past. His steps slowed, then stopped. He backtracked to the gym’s door and gazed at the window high in the metal door. Nothing moved inside the room.

Dexter Liu waited, willing his breathing to equalize and his nerves to calm. He listened intently and was rewarded with the sound of the digitized keypad being depressed on one of the nearby locked doors. He spun in a circle, searching for the origin of the noise. His eyes were drawn to a room several doors back toward the kitchen.

The dojo, where most of the crew gathered to learn hand-to-hand combat in the forms of ancient martial arts. Curiosity drew Dexter toward the door.

He took several steps then paused. He heard voices, low and urgent, coming from the direction of the dojo.

Dexter’s feet, with a mind of their own, slid backward, carrying him away from the beckoning voices in the room down the hall.

But his feet stuttered to a stop only seconds later, when a light flickered on in the distant med bay.

Dexter Liu stared at first one anomaly then another. He needed to get through the medical bay to reach the bridge to complete his mission, but the flickering light suggested he might have to contend with an awakened crewman. On the other hand, the furtive voices in the dojo might mean he was already in the middle of a flanking maneuver.

Which way should Dexter go? Continue toward the medical lab with its many sleeping crewmen and mysterious light? Or should he investigate the voices in the dojo, hoping to outmaneuver any enemies? You decide.

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5 thoughts on “Dexter Liu’s decision

  1. Drats. What do you pick when you want to do both? I guess the immediate thing for me would be to investigate the dojo. Everyone is supposed to be asleep, and there are clearly voices coming from in there.
    If I were a cat, I wouldn’t stand a chance. Curiosity would get me every time.
    In the sixth paragraph, it starts “Dexter Liu’s heart race increased.” I think you meant rate instead of race.
    Excellent tension building through this section. I watched the new Alien movie recently, and while I enjoyed parts of it, it was predictable, which took away from any possible tension or scariness of the story. My point being, I’m enjoying your story much more and I think the tension is fantastic. I hope you enjoy writing this tale as much as I enjoy reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for catching the typo. I try to make sure I don’t have any, but sometimes it happens.
      I am enjoying this story. Quite a bit, actually. I’m very happy you are, as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh thank goodness you’re enjoying it. I had this thought that you came up with this idea that took off, and now you were being forced to write it. It doesn’t sound forced, but I know writers can create beautiful work sometimes even when it’s painful to write the story.
        I find that sometimes. I force myself to write, and it takes me ten times longer to write the smallest section than it normally would, but when I read it later it sounds no different than a section that flowed easily.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can’t write when forced. Which is why there’s such a large gap between this section and the previous one! I’ve opened up the draft for this section at least a dozen times and never made any progress, all while knowing I had to get it done. Then, it just hit me while I was doing dishes. LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I love that when that happens. I usually have my ah-ha moments when I’m showering or exercising. I’ve even found that just talking to someone else about the problem gets my brain working. I don’t know why hearing the problem out loud seems to give the brain a new way to examine the problem and work it out.
        I’m frantically trying to catch up on blog posts. I’m so far behind. This summer is going to be so hard to stay on track and keep up. I’m not sure how I will manage. Hmmm…something for me to ponder while I keep reading. Have a great day!

        Liked by 1 person

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