Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

Wings of Night. That’s what Jeffrey thought the ship should be named. Instead, the bonehead Captain James had named her Silverfish.

Jeffrey sat at his small, cramped station going through his pre-launch checklist, face lit by the screens and buttons in front of him.

The head engineer Sparling wanted to name the ship Leap Year and the communications officer wanted to name her Screamer so Jeffrey supposed that they were getting off easy with Silverfish but it still rankled him.

Silverfish are little bugs that eat furniture back in terrestrial habitats, thought Jeffrey. They have no majesty, no sense of mystery.

Jeffrey wasn’t sure Captain James even knew what a silverfish was. He probably thought it was like a huge metallic trout or something. That was a nice image, sure, picturing the muscled fins arcing out of a stream with the dawn sunlight prisming into rainbows through the droplets in slow motion.

The only problem with the name was that this new experimental tesseractive engine housing that they were all piloting was black as a planet’s shadow. That’s why Jeffrey thought that it should be called something darker.

Like Wings of Night.

The scientists wanted to call her Tess because of the tesseract-drive. In fact, they kept making jokes about taking it out for a ‘tess drive’. Jeffrey guessed that things could be worse. At least the captain has asked for their opinion. Jeffrey wasn’t the only person a little grumpy about the choice of name but it would pass, though, as soon as the mission was underway and they had their separate jobs to do.

Jeffrey was the armament officer which, on a sleek vehicle designed for stealth like this one, mostly meant making sure that they were invisible to scanners and, if necessary, deploying the scrambling countermeasures that would fry nearby communication and detection systems so that they could make a clean getaway.

It was a new thing for Jeffrey. He’d always been in charge of what he thought of as ‘actual’ armaments before.

But the prestige that came with this trip would be immense. If they didn’t origami themselves out of existence when they turned on the engine for the first time.

“All hands. Operational stations. Silverfish is go for T minus twenty.”

Jeffrey strapped himself in. A small quiver of fear shivered through him that he stamped down on immediately. Wings of Night actually had an ominous feel to it, he thought. Silverfish sounded kind of hopeful.

Jeffrey made the sign of the cross there in his chair before giving an all-clear response to the control board. He hadn’t done that since he was seven years old.

Let’s go Silverfish, he thought. Deliver us from evil.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows