Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Part I, XI

We left the safety of the space dock and headed out into space.  I hadn’t realized how much I had missed the thrill of being on a ship moving through space.  Seeing the stars move around you; I always imagined they tipped their hats at the ship as it left humanity and entered their territory.
  And then there was a tiny, electronic beep.  The moment was shattered.
  “We got our first assignment, captain,” Twitchy said.  I sighed.
  “What is it?” I asked.
  “There are three space moose traveling down the freeway from Heshq to Imatak,” she summarized.  “We have to get them out of the way and back into open space.”
  “From Heshq to Imatak,” I repeated.  “Wait, that’s like two days from here.”
  “Only one,” Batnter corrected.  “This thing has really good engines.”
  “All right.  Set course.  Let’s go.”
  Batnter moved the ship further away from the dock and picked up speed.
  “Estimated time to arrival, twenty-five hours and fifteen minutes,” he said to the universe in general.  I nodded vaguely.
  “So…  Now what?” he asked.
  “Now what what?”
  “We are on our way to help the greater good.  Yay for us.  It will only take slightly over a full day to get there.  What would you like us to do in the meantime?” he clarified.
  I didn’t know what to say.  He had a really good point.
  “I happen to have a deck of cards here,” Rimana said, grinning.
  “You’re saying we should play poker or something?” I asked.
  “What would you suggest we do?” she asked.
  “I don’t know how to play poker,” Twitchy said after a long pause.
  “We should teach her,” Carter said.
  “I concur,” Batnter said.
  “Well, teaching isn’t the same as actually playing, right?” I said carefully.
  “Indeed not!” Rimana said.  “We won’t be playing poker, we will be instructing our fellow officer here on a very important matter.”
  “Do we have a table or chips?” I asked.
  “I have a small table in my room,” Carter offered.
  “And I have chips,” Batnter added.
  “Great, go get them,” I ordered, feeling a smile creep onto my face.  The two men stood and went to the elevator.  “Rimana, in the future I will let you give all the motivational speeches,” I decided.  “You have a wonderful way with words.”

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