Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
“You’re concerned that we shouldn’t trust the Thorian?” Captain Pueson asked, as if Boro’s response would make any difference as to how this mission would be conducted.
With Surch and Pueson, Boro may have been a bit more unrestrained in his answer, but there was one other individual on the bridge, the Parsk Nahur. The weapons specialist hovered over his console meekly, despite his height, though he loudly announced his presence with the heavy perfume he used to mask his species’ incredibly offensive aroma. Two massive cheek pouches rested on his permanently hunched shoulders and stored and absorbed slowly dissolving food within their fleshy confines. Between this, their lack of hair, and the open nose through which they talked, the Parsk Nahur were not the most pleasant experience to be around. Pueson stood right over him, and Boro wondered how he could stand it. Whoever thought assigning a Parsk Nahur to a bridge position possessed a twisted sense of humour that Boro almost admired.
“I know Mikarik has been vetted to death by those far better at judging character than me,” Boro preempted the pacifying assurances he knew the Captain was ready to sling at him, “but having him here, looking over our shoulders, breathing down our necks. He already makes most of the crew nervous, and having him up here isn’t going to help much. Meslina will certainly be less than pleased.”
“Officer Meslina is a professional, and I’m sure she will handle herself professionally whatever the circumstances. And I would expect the same from you, Commander,” Captain Pueson said in his usually hushed tones, making it impossible to determine if this was an actual admonishment.
“I would expect the same from myself, Captain. But I have my own responsibilities to this crew, which is why I want to be on the record that I’m not happy with this arrangement.”
“We’re not here to be happy.”
“And that’s one of my biggest problems with the Navy, honestly,” Surch chimed in. “If Boro is on the record over his complaint, I want that one to be mine.
A non-committal smile crossed Captain Pueson’s lips. “Thank you, Lieutenant Guraty. What we’re here for is the mission, and you know as well as I that we’re not going to navigate through the expanse of the Thorian Empire without insider knowledge, even while ghosted.”
“That’s just it.” Boro continued, “I still don’t think we need to needle right through it. With enough provisions we could’ve skirted around the edges of Dead Space and no one would be the wiser. No Thorians to worry about on the outside, and certainly none to worry about on the inside.”
“You’re fully aware that we don’t have the luxury of that kind of time.”
“Yes, I’m fully aware that the science team is worried that the wormhole might close before we get there and they have a chance to play around in it. A science team full of Iastret, mind you, who’re not the ones who have to keep this ship together while we’re carrying a fox in the henhouse.”
Whatever the Captain had to say in response was interrupted by the blare of the intercom which the Parsk Nahur flicked on with his fleshy finger.
“Captain, this is Dr. Sufai. I’m in the galley and there’s a uh … disagreement and it might end up needing my attention, so …” As if offered as evidence, the intercom caught the clang of metal in the background, and Pueson turned to Boro.
“Do you mind taking this one?”
“Not at all.”
Surch turned around in his chair and looked up at Boro. “Leaving us so soon? Look at you, it’s like your whole day is ruined.”
Boro only smiled wider at the accusation. “I’m sure this won’t take more than a few minutes.”
“Maybe not, but the paperwork will. Glad it’s you and not me.”
“You sure you don’t want to come up with me, be an extra witness?”
“Nah, I’m good right here.” Surch patted both the steering spheres and turned his attention back to the screen.
Pilots. Boro couldn’t understand it – how they could sit all day in those chairs, but I guess that’s why they made them even more luxurious than the ones set aside for the Captains.
Other than the more utilitarian parts of the ship, like the bridge and the engine room, the Forseti did its best to make its inhabitants forget that they were even on a starship. Heavy-duty blue carpets layered over laminate flooring lined the public areas of the ship, while plasticized wood paneling covered the bulk of its interior walls, giving the reinforced wood a slight sheen but otherwise to an undiscerning eye passing for unmodified material straight from the homeworld. Screens depicting passing scenery were fitted into the walls like windows, creating the illusion that they were not actually hurtling through the bleakness of subspace.
Unlike long-haul passenger liners where most were expected to put themselves in stasis, the Forseti had personal cabins for each crewmember that made efficient use of space but were decorated with the same faux-windows and a few drought-tolerant plants. Boro tried experimenting with a static landscape, but knowing that he was on a constantly moving object made for an unsettling effect.
On today’s visual menu were purple and green flats speckled by lakes of varying sizes. If Boro had to guess, they were soaring over Mrabr, the Mraboran homeworld. It wouldn’t have been Boro’s first pick as he preferred to bask in something closer to home.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.