Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer
The O’Brian Star sat fixed in space between two possible orbits. On maneuvering thrust, we could roll into a pattern over Telavor, shuttle down for some much needed rest while the ship was refitted and resupplied and plot our next supra-light slip. Alternately, we could drop through the nearly non-existant atmosphere of Tel N’akvar, punch a hole into the local mining outpost and load up with enough rare ore to be building a new ship at the other end of the galaxy before the N’akvarans knew what hit them.
It all seemed pretty simple to me as I sat in the upper gunner’s turret, admiring the view, the two planets nearly perfectly aligned with their sun; Telavor casting its massive shadow over the smaller Tel N’akvar.
It was from this vantage point that I had been watching them argue through the window, the Captain and his first mate. They were alone on the bridge, the viewports unshielded and thus unusually transparent from this angle with the lack of outside light. The Captain seemed exasperated, his hands constantly clutching the sides of his head as he spoke, the first mate pacing opposite him, waving her hands wildly in the air, occasionally jabbing her finger at him or smashing both hands on a console.
I wished I could hear what was being said, but I had to assume he’d done something incredibly stupid to deserve her obviously harsh words.
There were many instances where I’d wished the Captain would be sucked out an airlock, leaving the first mate to assume command and open the door to my advances. He was an ass, and she was the normally calm headed, cool tempered beauty that I’d gladly spend the rest of my life under.
Honestly, I don’t know what she ever saw in him.
Snapping back from my reverie, I noticed she was staring out the window directly at me. I froze, trying hard to look like I hadn’t been watching the entire incident.
Then, she waved.
Without thinking, I waved back. We sat frozen there, facing each other across fifty metres of vacuum before she seemed to shake her head and turned away. Around her, the viewports of the bridge opaqued, and I was left staring at nothing but the cold blackness of space.
Minutes ticked away, and I irised open the entryway into the corridor below, straining in the hopes of hearing the sounds of her footsteps making her way from the bridge.
Instead, I felt the rumble of the ship’s engines firing, and the steadily increasing pitch of the sub-light drive as it whined to readiness.
I felt the ship shudder, and then I did hear the sounds of booted feet pounding down the corridor beneath me. The floor lurched beneath my feet, and if I hadn’t been tethered I might have fallen down the access tube.
“Shoot the bitch”, the voice wasn’t my one-day love, “Shoot that goddamned bitch!”
The floor lurched again, and looking out the turret port I realized the entire upper cargo deck, with me and my gun-turret attached, were floating away from the bridge. I stared, dumbfounded as the Captain hauled himself up the ladder into the crowded space.
“She’s taking my fecking ship, blow out the bridge”, I watched as he screamed, and the bridge ports became transparent again. The last sight before we rolled over backwards and my firing options expired was the first mate waving with one hand and extending her middle finger with the other.
I could no longer make out the Captain’s words, I could only think ‘never assume…’
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