Author : M.D.Parker
It was a green, semi-transparent liquor poured into the six glass decanters. Gabe, the ship’s remaining pilot, poured each glass with methodical purpose, setting it front of each person in turn. Then the final glass, filled only halfway, was placed at the center of the table.
Gabe sat behind his glass. The chairs had never felt so cold and uncomfortable. For a long moment all just sat in silence without moving. One by one, each set of eyes turned toward the Captain. Nedu stood and raised his glass. Even his tall frame seemed smaller under the weight of grief.
“To our brother. May your next journey be one of peace. May the light of a thousand stars burn to show your way across the void.” Captain Nedu tilted his head taking the contents of the glass down in a single gulp, ingesting all but one swallow as he took the glass from his lips. “I shall not finish this drink, until I make my final jump and join you there.”
“Until I make my final jump,” Renald said as he stood rigid and drained all but one sip from the decanter.
“Until I make my final jump,” Addy said, closing his eyes as he stood to hold in the stream that threatened to release from his eyes. He ran his free hand through his hair and let out a long sigh as he studied the remaining swig in his glass.
“Until then, my friend,” Lyn drank hers down slower than the others, breathing deep as she let the alcohol burn its way down her throat. Her other hand never left the grip of her sidearm. Her fingers had been massaging its handle, wishing to even the score, if only they knew who had done this.
“Until I, I… until I make that final jump my friend, and then we … we will drink as brothers,” Gabe choked his words and pulled the liquid from his glass with reserve. His eyes were watered and swollen. His cheeks hung as heavy as his slumped shoulders.
All five of them held their last sips in front of them and in reverse order they emptied the green liquid into the glass decanter in the center of the table. The room fell silent again, and no one looked at each other. One by one they left the galley.
The Captain waited for their exit, and once it was only his and Gabe’s breath that could be heard in the room, Nedu looked at him and spoke softly. “I’m sorry Gabe, he was a good one. One of the best.”
Gabe nodded his head but did not take his eyes off the now full glass in the center of the table. He wept openly, no longer trying to fight it back. Captain Nedu left Gabe alone in the room. Gabe stood for a another long moment before stepping away from the table. With his head hung low, he looked back over his shoulder as he pushed the button that surrendered the off-white light to the dark.