Author : Javen J.

“Bring her down.”

On command, a barrage of fusion bursts flew out the side of the federal heavy-orbiter, through the silence of space, and into the PV Song Bird. Each burst blazed like a miniature solar flare. Captain Roger Benet watched the bombardment through the orbiter’s crystalline bridge wall. He stared through his own reflection and watched his order eviscerate the Song Bird. He avoided his reflection, and his eyes. Roger Benet surveyed the destruction with his father’s hazel stare.

“Vaporize the debris. No loose ends.”

“Aye-aye Captain.”

* * *

Five minutes before the destruction of the Song Bird, Jenna’s image came alive above the graphics interface. Her breathy, gasping voice flooded the bridge. “Roger? ROGER!?”

“Darling, I’m here.”

“Roger! Oh god, Roger, they think I took something- they deactivated the engines- I didn’t take anything- I don’t know what to do- What should I do?” She sobbed uncontrollably. “I-I need help Roger. I . . . what do I do. Tell them I didn’t take anything. Help me Roger!” She wept furiously.

“Darling, I need you to check yourself . . .” Captain Benet stepped closer to his wife’s image. “Check for any blemishes or breaks in your skin. Whoever did this could have planted it in your body. Are you itchy or rash-ing anywhere? Do you have any unusual discoloration or-”

“NO! Roger FedFleet’s message said this already. They must have hid it in the ship- let me look through the ship- it . . .”

“Calm down. Darling, you don’t understand what’s happening.”


“Jenna!” Roger’s inflection became stern and imposing, “You need to CALM . . . DOWN!” He did not speak with a husband’s understanding, but with the utilitarian timbre of a starship captain. Jenna immediately stopped crying. “Jenna, a sample of an . . . unusual genetic-weapon was stolen. Song Bird can’t house it . . . but you can. You will notice some kind of change. Check yourself again.”

Her wide eyes were bloodshot and begging. “Darling I checked myself a dozen times.” Her anxiety grew. “I don’t have it! Please tell them Roger.”

“I will Darling. I’ll be in touch.”

“Thank you. Roger . . . I love you.”

Roger smiled at her, and said as a husband, “I love you too.” His wife’s image disappeared just as quickly as his smile. Captain Benet perched himself in front of the crystalline wall with the hard and cold demeanor of a gargoyle. He gazed for only a moment.

“Bring her down.”

* * *

The cooing of the energy recycling system filled Captain Benet’s quarters. He left the bridge without formally relieving himself, but Lt. Commander Reltan Johanes had followed silent orders before. Captain Benet sat and saw the Song Bird’s demise, in the grain of his desk.

After the orbiter’s fusion chambers were cold, Roger Benet walked to the lavatory. He placed his hands in the sink and cool water ran over them. He pooled the water and splashed his face. The liquid soaked his collar and misplaced his tears. He focused on the mirror. He looked at himself. His irises were smoldering gray. Father.

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