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The Cosmic Donut: Season 1, Episode 2

By A.N.G. ReynoldsPublished 7 months ago 13 min read

“I’m going to go kill my boss,” the man said cheerfully, still high off the seven Bitter-Blue Nebular Bite donuts he had just scarfed down.

Han blinked. Did he hear that correctly?

“Pierce—” Han began, looking across the shop at his friend.

“Yes,” Pierce said without disengaging the thousand-yard stare he had locked on his computer screen or pausing as he hunted-and-pecked on his keyboard. “You heard him correctly. He said he’s going to go kill his boss.”

Han wasn’t certain what to do with that information just yet. He cleaned up the dishes on the counter. The odd man wasn’t a criminal. If he were, he wouldn’t have left The Cosmic Donut without being arrested. But, since he was not a criminal, Han had no information on him, where he worked, who his boss was, or how likely he was to actually carry out his threat.

All he knew was that a strange, beige man with a cybernetic ear, dressed in dingy work clothes came into his shop depressed, ate seven Bitter-Blue Nebula Bites with unnerving speed, and left revitalized enough to at least say that he was going to kill his boss.

Han sighed.


“He’s a mid-level weigh station manager named Torin Hask from Epsilon Quarter. Not married, no children, one brother who is a politician in the M’toh Republic, one sister who works on Pluto, no criminal past — as you are probably aware — and makes a measly twenty-five thousand credits a year.”

“You have to get off my wi-fi.”

“I’ll pay half the bill this month.” Pierce’s right eye disengaged from the computer screen to look at Han. It blinked independent from the other eye, which would have looked like a wink if Han hadn’t known Pierce so well. “Do you want to know who his boss is, though?”

Han turned to wipe the counter studiously.

“Is his boss someone I know?”

“No,” Pierce shook his head gently, trying to avoid feedback from his asynchronous eyes. He failed and his left eye bobbled back and forth rapidly. “But it could be interesting.”

Han’s mouth twisted as he thought. He finally threw the towel he was holding into its bucket behind the counter, splashing the front of his apron with cleaning solution.

“Fine,” he said, making a ‘hand it over’ gesture at Pierce. “Give me the name.”

“Irom Wicem.”

Han’s eyebrow shot up as his mind was politely flooded with all the information the local police database had on Irom Wicem. Then it dropped as he processed the information he’d been given. His frown deepened as he sorted through the data that had materialized in his memory.

“You’re wrong, I have met him,” he finally said.

“Really? How?”

“Two decades ago. I had some dealings with his father, Hasdrubal Wicem,” he scowled as he rubbed the side of his neck. “I don’t like Has Wicem.”

“He might cry a little if his son is murdered by Mr. Hask.” Pierce shrugged, twitching from the feedback his left eye was still experiencing.

“There is no way that man, who just ate seven Bitter-Blues, will be able to kill a Wicem. He’d have to be a man who could eat a dozen.”

“Then when do we leave?”

“I didn’t say we were leaving.”

“You literally picked up your coat to leave just now.”

Han clicked his tongue in frustration as he realized that Pierce was right. He turned off the flickering holographic display that served as The Cosmic Donut’s menu, letting it take a half-day. It seemed to appreciate the rest . He double-checked that all of the burners, fryers, and ovens were turned off in the kitchen and killed the lights on his way out, then strode to where Pierce sat. As he put his coat on, he met Pierce’s errant right eye with a withering glare.

“Just Unify and we’ll go,” he said.

“Will do.”

Pierce’s eye snapped back into synch with his left one and for a moment they both stared blankly at the computer screen. Han leaned over to try to make sense of what he was looking at, but the code was too complicated and full of shorthand to be translatable for someone without an altered brain like Pierce’s.

Once Pierce had said goodbye to whomever he was talking to on his laptop, he completed the Unification process. As his eyes came back into focus, his computer switched from the convoluted nightmare that was the quantum language to something that actually made sense to Han.

“What do you do? Spending all day thinking like that?” Han asked, gesturing vaguely to the computer.

Pierce blinked thoughtfully, trying to figure out how to explain the multilayered projects he worked on. He opened his mouth to speak once, then closed it again.

“Sorry, Mr. Han,” he said. Han gave him a disappointed but understanding nod.

“Come on, we don’t want Hask to get too far away.”

Pierce stowed his computer in his bag while Han flipped over the store’s ‘OPEN’ sign to ‘CLOSED.’ The two turned out the rest of the shop’s lights and locked up. The boulevard was just beginning to fill with the early afternoon crowd. Pierce pointed in the direction he had seen Hask walk, and Han started down that way.

“Do you have his work address?” Han asked.

“Yes, but he is only two blocks that way,” Pierce said, pointing to the right.

“Stop breaking into the station’s security feeds,” the older man chastised .


Han grumbled in frustration as they stalked toward Hask’s location. Pierce looked at him with a passive, curious expression.

“Isn’t that kind of what you do? Break into the station’s security computers for criminal profiles?” he asked.

“No,” Han replied, “they graciously let me into their criminal database.”

“That’s very gracious of them,” Pierce said as he raised his eyebrows and pried for more information.

“It is, yes,” Han nodded in agreement. Then he pointed at a figure that was practically skipping down the boulevard. “There’s Hask.”

“He seems cheerful,” Pierce observed as they picked up their pace.

“That can’t be good for him. He might die from too much cheerfulness,” Han muttered as they caught up to Torin.

“Hey, it’s the donut guy!” Hask said with enthusiasm as he kept walking. Then, his face fell slightly with concern. “Did I not pay you enough for the donuts?”

“No, no, no,” Han said, speaking quickly and without pleasantries. “You paid way too much. What do you mean you’re going to kill your boss?”

“Oh, yeah,” Hask returned to cheerful. “Thanks to your donuts, I finally feel energized enough to do it.”

Han rubbed his face in exasperation, pulling Hask to a stop.

“You can’t kill your boss,” Han said sternly.

“I know it is probably a stupid idea,” Hask replied. His tone took a somber note.

“Go with that instinct,” Han encouraged.

“I can’t let him keep running the weigh station books like he is, he’s a regular crook.”

Han let out a sigh and fell into thought. Pierce watched the two for a few minutes, silently taking in the scene and making mental notes. His expression was intense, to say the least. Hask finally noticed Pierce’s largeness as he stood there and startled appropriately.

“You’re bigger than I thought you were,” Hask said with a gulp. Pierce shrugged apathetically. Torin leaned towards him curiously. “How do you do the thing?”

“What thing?” Pierce asked.

“The eyes in two different directions thing.”

“It was a gift from an ostrich, back to the topic at hand,” Han interjected. “You cannot kill your boss, energized or not.”

“I can’t let him keep doing whatever he wants,” Torin said with distress.

“We could lure him to the shop,” Pierce suggested to Han.

“He’s not a stupid crook like some of the other ones. He doesn’t have any active warrants out,” Han said. “If he’s like his father, he’s been extra careful not to get into trouble with the law around here.”

“Maybe Hask here can get us the information we need to arrest him,” Pierce said, pointing to the mid-level manager.

“Oh, whoa, I’m not good with conspiracies or espionage or anything like that,” Hask said, immediately putting his hands up. “I was just going to push Wicem off the upper deck— make it look like an accident.”

“How tall is the upper deck?” Han asked.

“Ten feet or so.”

Both Han and Pierce fell silent.

“So, you’ve thought this through very carefully, haven’t you?” Han finally said.

“It’s my best idea, okay?” Hask said, taking offense.

“It’s a horrible idea. You will become a criminal and I don’t serve donuts to people in prison,” Han said.

“With one exception,” Pierce commented.

“The wrongly accused get donuts in prison,” Han corrected. He pointed to Hask. “You will not be wrongly accused if you kill Wicem.”

Hask put his hands on his hips and kicked his foot in agitation.

“Fine,” he eventually said. “You just need me to get you a copy of the books or something?”

“Not me,” Han said. He turned and gestured back down the boulevard. Hask hesitated before Pierce made a motion for him to follow Han.

They needed a plan.

Five days later, Pierce sat on the edge of his favorite seat in The Cosmic Donut. He had no idea how Han managed to remain so calm while serving the last of his lunch rush customers without an inkling of worry or panic. This was why Pierce had never gone into anything more exciting than diving into the quantum language and fiddling with humanity’s intragalactic stock market. He could sort of fight, he could be intimidating, but he couldn’t wait.

The file sat, staring back at him from his computer screen. Pierce hadn’t even been able to enter Asynchrony to work on his other job while he waited. He was too afraid he would get the timing wrong for their plan. His leg bobbled up and down nervously.

“Tsk,” Han clicked his tongue, crossing the now empty shop to give Pierce a cup of tea. “I am not going to give you coffee next time.”

“Probably a good idea,” Pierce admitted, picking up the teacup. It clattered against his teeth as his hands shook. Han let out a sigh. The door chimed cheerfully as new customers came in.

“—don’t know about this, Hask,” said a young, athletic man with an authoritative voice.

“Trust me, Mr. Wicem. They are the best,” Torin said with a grand smile and sweeping gesture across the shop.

“I suppose if they got you out of your rut, they’re worth a try,” Irom Wicem said as he and Hask went to inspect the pastry-filled cases.

Han glanced at Pierce. Piece bobbed his head up and down, pressing the enter key on his computer. A small, cartoon parrot flew across the screen, picking up the email he sent and disappeared. Now the only thing left to do was wait.

“What can I get for you?” Han asked as he returned to his post on the other side of the counter.

“I think I need some of those Bitter Blue things Torin keeps going on about,” Wicem said, smiling a toothy, prize-winning smile. The young man’s pale green eyes stood out against his light brown skin.

“How many would you like? The limit is seven in twenty-six hours,” Han said.

“I’ll take all seven, please,” Torin said. The man became a puddle of nervous sweat. Han hated working with amateurs.

“I’ll just try one of his, and a cup of coffee,” Wicem said.

“Fake the books and steal my donuts, why don’t you?” Torin muttered under his breath.

“What did you say?” Wicem shot him a wide-eyed and furious expression.

“I said—” he began a scathing retort.

Never again would Han deal with amateurs.

“You answer to me, Hask.” Wicem rose to his feet as he spoke, pointing at Torin and then himself in a sharp, angry motion. “I have never—”

“What about that Amn Frigate last week?” Torin sprang out of his chair. He beat Wicem in height, but if anyone were to take wagers, Han would not bet for the colorless man with a cybernetic ear.

“I don’t know what you are talking abou—” Wicem raised his voice.

“You are just like your father,” Han loudly set a cup of coffee in front of the young man.

“Excuse me?” Wicem demanded. He did a double-take and frowned. “How do you know my dad?”

“Let’s just say that, if you knew who I was, you would probably be more interested in killing me than yelling at Hask,” he replied.

“What?” Wicem demanded, taken aback.

“Did you upload that file yet, Pierce?” Han asked.

“They’re taking their time, Mr. Han,” he replied with a helpless shrug.

“Alright, then, sit down and have some donuts,” Han gestured to Wicem.

“I don’t think I want to. What did you mean by what you said? How do you know my dad?” Wicem demanded. Han didn’t reply but went to get the Bitter-Blues for Hask. Wicem wasn’t patient and leapt over the counter in a smooth motion, reaching out to grab Han.

The shop owner didn’t even look towards the young man, grabbing his outstretched arm in one hand and his collar in another. Han pulled him close, his tone authoritative and level.

“Do you really want to make such a serious mistake?” he asked.

“I think so,” Wicem said with an ugly sneer on his face.

“If you do,” Han said, tightening his grip as the young man lunged forward, “I’ll never tell you where your mother is.”

Wicem froze. His wide, angry expression morphed into one that was alarmed and full of disbelief. Han held his gaze. That hesitation was just long enough for Wicem’s arrest warrant to ping in Han’s mind.

“Now, Pierce,” Han said calmly. The man jumped and immediately called for the police.

“Where is my mother?” Wicem demanded.

“You will do your due diligence, you will admit to all charges, and you will serve your time in prison for fraud and then, on the day you get out, come to this shop and I will tell you,” Han said.

“What if you don’t?” the young man asked.

“Write to your father and ask him about Han Hae-in,” the shop proprietor said. “He’ll call me a lot of colorful names, then tell you I’m the second most honorable man he’s met.”

Wicem’s grip slipped slightly. His angry expression twisted into desperation as the police barged into the shop.

“Swear to me that you’ll tell me when I get out,” he growled.

“I swear on a dozen Bitter-Blues that I will tell you where your mother is once you get out of jail,” Han replied. Wicem slowly let go of Han and hopped back over the counter to where the police waited.

Han clicked his tongue in frustration as he wiped off the boot prints Wicem left behind on his counter.


spacescience fiction

About the Creator

A.N.G. Reynolds

AKA: Ang! [Rhymes with 'Sang']

Sci-fi novelist, STEM gal, certified dork, and someone who can't wait to live in the future.

New 'The Cosmic Donut' stories coming imminently...

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