Miles didn't know what to make of the mysterious figure that stood before him.
He was bald, wrapped in a lgiht brown cloak, and he was wearing an old pair of loafers. He walked quietly, and, rather suspiciously, confronted Miles Bell. Miles looked down, and met the man's two, gray eyes, staring at him, his quizzical look against his inquisitive look.
"Are you Miles Bell ?"
The two men continued to laugh, as they talked to each other, this time over a different dish of fish & chips.
"Well, Mr. Bell ? Did all of this really happen ?"
Both men smiled and laughed. Earlier, the cloaked man asked Miles to tell him the same tale that he narrated at the diner earlier, and, while Miles felt suspicious at first, got invovled in his own act, and upon winning the heart of the man, was now sitting over a meal of fish & chips.
"I have to hand it to you, Mr. Bells, that's one hell of a story."
"It sure is - helps keep me going."
'Hell, Miles, you should be writing for the Almanac."
Miles was a bit puzzled.
"The what ?"
"The Globetrotter's Almanac to the Globes. It's a publication that they just started recently."
"I guess you've been stuck on this platform for a while. It's a new thing, and they've been getting hitch-hikers, writers, hobos, the lot, all to write for the electronic book. Where an encyclopedia and a travel guide could give you boring details of a palce, the Alamanc would give you tales and what-to-dos... a story like that would make you famous !"
"Well, even if it did, I wouldn't be if I was stuck down here. I mean, news hardly happens, aside from what they show on the TV around here."
"Oh, so you do know about the news."
Miles, smiling, nodded his head, still thinking about the story he told earlier.
"So, I'm sure you know about Clarke ?"
"Big city fell from the sky, a million lives died, yet I was too far away to do anything about it."
As he said this, the cloaked man smiled, as he rest his arms on the table.
"That's real funny...."
"Yeah, it is..... such a tragic event happened at the very moment when I was watching the telly-"
"'Cos I'm afraid I'm goign to have to arrest you."
A look of grim seriousness crept on Mr. Bell's face.
"I'm sure you know what black boxes are, don't you ?"
'Well, every plane, bota and spaceship these days needs one..."
"Yeah, and so do space stations.
Now, here's the thing about Clarke. There were two explosions. The first was a minor one; it just caused some turbulence, and took place mainly in the bowels of the city. A bit serious, but nothing that a bit of evacuation and a proper clean-up couldn't handle. But the second explosion... wow ! That killed a thousand thousand people ! So many lives lost in one big boom !
Miles Bell was starting to worry, as the cloaked man continued to talk in a mocking tone.
"And, that's not counting the town of Fragosus: when Clarke fell, it fell to Earth, becoming one big ball of debris. At least a few thousand people lived in that town, and few of them would know about a giant space station falling on their heads. And, even though Clarke did blow up in one big boom, it was still a big, burning fireball. In fact, despite the intensity of the second blast, the outer walls of the station were coated with enough super-tensile strength material to withstand a nuclear explosion,as well as re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. As such, we're talking about a ball that didn't properly disintegrate when entering Earth, and thus, gathered a lot of impact when it fell all the way down to Earth.
But, as with everything, miracles always happen. And, in this case, despite all the death, and all the damaged, there was one miracle. Clarke had one black box, and it was one that was found only recently, amongst all the debris, after search teams tried uncovering the mess all over the place. It's surprsiing that, where the WDMD and Thomas WIlliams couldn't find anything, a bunch of explorers could. But, anyway, they found a safe, made of the strongest known alloy to Man as of this time.
And do you know what was in that safe ?"
Miles shook his head, slowly.
"They found a nanotech capsule, about as large as a drinking tumbler. And, within all those nanites was information about what went on in a certain egnineering crew, and what was attached to the city just before all that shit happened."
Miles continued to listen intently, and fearfully, as the man continued.
"And you know waht they found ? A space trucker, the sort that delivers goods between the worlds, happened to ahve moved at an incredibly fast speed, before docking itself at Clarke.
And here's the thing. Though you weren't on that truck, your DNA was."
Miles was perplexed.
'What has all this got to do with me ?"
" Well, let's put it this way: a mastermind can orchestrate an event, but not necessarily be present when his minions carry it out.
It just so happened to be that your last hitch-hiking trip was on the SAME space truck that dumped you off at this diner."
Miles Bell slowly recoiled bakc at his seat, as the man, with his gray eyes, and smiling, but glaring, face, read out the lines he was keeping to himself.
He said this, reaching for his pocket, and showing his badge, the unmistakble sword on the Earth surrounded by a gear against a shield. The badge was official.A nd, the man was continuing with the lines that he long wanted to say.
"Miles Bell, you are under arrest for planning and carrying out the destruction of the space station Clarke, Man's first city in space. You are responsible for equipping it's perpetrators, and, as such, responsible for the million plus deaths that resulted from your actions. You have the right to remain si-"
"I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING !!"
As he said this, eyes were all over the diner, as they stared at the two men.
"Come down, Mr. Bells. Just come, follow me, where we can find out why you -"
"I didn't do, damn it ! That space truck, it just dumped me..."
"It was a decoy, and they were willing to -"
"I DON'T BELIEVE THIS !!"
As he said this, Miles jumped onto his seat, and, in a poorly instinctual move, jumped, right out of the window, breaking the glas, as he rushed headlong into the open of the space platform. Bits of glass started to fly everywhere in the reduced gravity, as Miles continued to run in the minimal atmosphere that the platform had. Surrounded by a glass dome with only a small opening, Miles knew he had to escape, even if there was no visible sign-
"Miles, over here !"
As he said this, a woman called out to him, speakign from her own private shuttle.
Knowing full well that he could be walking into a death trap, Miles ran straight for the shuttle, hoping to God that he wouldn't die, whether he be caught, or not.
"STOP ! POLICE !!"
As he said this, a commotion grew amongst the diner, as the detective jumped straight out of the windown, and ran towards Miles.
As he did this, he realised that Miles Bell had managed to get himself into someone's shuttle, and that shuttle had been waiting for him, thus confirming his deepest suspicions about Mr Bell. The detective grinned, as he stared into deep space, and slowly, at the fugitive shuttle.
"You can run, Miles, but you can't hide."