Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 81 Literary Challenge #3 : My Haven
06-03-2011, 12:03 PM
Hello and welcome to our writers challenges!

Today we start the two-week run of the third Lit Challenge: My Haven
Which area of your ship is where you feel most at home, most in your element or simply withdraw into to boost your mood? In the laboratory of your science vessel, breeding a delicate fungus? In the torpedo bay of your Raptor, having a lone plate of blood pie? How do you get some private time if you really need it?


This is the writer's thread.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an index page of stories HERE.



The rules may change from one to the other, but I'd like to give a quick recap each time. These may grow as we move on, so feel free to also give feedback!
  • Each Challenge will run for two weeks. For 2 weeks we will sticky a subject and have at it.
  • There are no right or wrong entries. If you write 500 words of 3000: Write what inspired you and what your thoughts on the topic are - with one tiny mention:
  • Please heed the rest of the forums' rules when submitting your story!
  • Each poster can have one entry per character. Feel free to edit you post however to fix typos, add stuff or remove stuff as you see fit during the next two weeks.
  • After two weeks time, the thread will be locked and unstickied. If you wish to write on this topic after this time, there will be a place for this in the "Latecomer" thread.
  • We'll have two threads: One to post the stories, one to discuss the stories. *I will allow cross-linking between these two threads!!*
  • I will index your story by name and title (if you have one) for future reference.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 82
06-03-2011, 12:52 PM
.................................................. ...................Solitude.

...The sound of the chains rattled against the cold stone like wall as he tried one more time to free himself. Some strange alien fungus that shifted colour from green and yellow to brown and red, lay all around him. In some places it was even moving towards him; for what purpose he could not say, but he was convinced, even in the dank light that his boot was being slowly dissolved.

...The air was rancid and stuffy and it was becoming harder to breath with each passing hour. Would he die through lack of food or lack of clean air was about the only question Admiral Tanar now faced as he awaited death. He was at least thankful the fungus would not have time to eat him, at least not while he still lived.

...It had been at least five days since his capture, while visiting his homeworld of Cardassia Prime. It had been such a simple ploy by his captures. While reminiscing on past mistakes on the surface, he had been beamed back to his ship for some unknown crisis. After entering his access codes for his private terminal he found himself feeling dizzy. His eyes became heavier with each blink as he struggled to remain conscious. The room seemed to melt away around him until darkness engulfed his world.

...He had woken up here, in this godforsaken cell. Who had taken him and why, had been his first thought and he had drawn only one conclusion; The Undine. They had both the technology and the motive and this cell, where he lay rotting was most certainly their style.

...The ship that he had boarded must have been some advanced reproduction, possibly holo technology, simply to gain his access codes and to capture him. The fact he was still alive could only mean they still had need for him, yet the lack of food seemed to contradict that. Perhaps they did not know his species needed food? Perhaps they did not care?

...Yet a more pressing matter than his own fate had occupied his mind for the past five days. To what end would they now use his codes? If he had gone missing his codes would be worthless, changed immediately on his disappearance. That meant that they must have replaced him with an Undine agent. A spy, on his ship, one of the most powerful in the Federation. He shuddered in the cold musty air. Cardassians so hated the cold.

...He closed his eyes and tried to think of the heat. His mind escaped back to that of his ship. In the bowls below the engine room, was a Jeffries tube that ran between three EPS conduits. It was a small narrow space and often uncomfortable, but it was warm, far warmer than the crew were accustomed to, and no one ever ventured down there unless the conduits were redirected during maintenance. At the end of the corridor was a small junction that was barely large enough to hold one person, yet the Admiral would often go there and sink down into a corner with a good book or a PADD containing the latest tactical reports. In that tiny space he found his solitude; a time to think about their mission, the war, the coming darkness that seemed to loom on the horizon. For a few moments each day he was happy.

...He had originally just increased the temperature of his quarters, as anyone would have expected but he found people would drop by with a report or a query only to be assaulted with a wall of heat as they walked through the doors.

...He could see the discomfort as they entered the hot, dry room, and Starfleet uniforms were not always the most casual of uniforms to wear. Commander Jenne, the Andorian, in particular found his quarters the most uncomfortable, and when Ensign Johanson was almost physically sick in his room he decided to spare them, and himself, any further torment and find his own spot. It was inappropriate and selfish for the captain to spend all his free time in the holodeck, so after much exploring he found his sweet spot.

...Now he had all the solitude he could handle, while an Undine imposter almost certainly now commanded his ship.

...Suddenly, a sound broke his daydream. The far wall started to move as its organic mass parted. The bright light burned his eyes and he tried to look away. A figure stood in the doorway towering over him. His solitude, both physical and mental, had been broken.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 83 Observation Deck 7
06-03-2011, 04:14 PM
The stars themselves seemed to smile upon the Normandy. It'd been only three days since Commander Arachnidus 'Vadam transferred his flag over from the USS Luna, and things had gone much smoother than anyone could possibly have expected. About five days ago, the Engineering Crew christened the warp core and Slipstream engine in a ceremony from which most of the new ensigns received a hangover and friendly mockery from their friends as a token of remembrance. A day later, the ship was ready to launch. Arachnidus stepped out of his new ready room, which was just as spacious but far nicer looking than the one on Luna, and gave an order he never thought he'd give.

"Lieutenant Lawson, spool up the Slipstream drive. Set coordinates for Bajor. Initiate slipstream countdown, set for seven minutes. Go to warp four as soon as we leave drydock."

"Aye, sir" the lithe conn officer replied, the excitement in her voice almost palpable. The Normandy was a Vesta class starship; a nearly thirty year old design that had proved itself more than resilient in it's pathfinder ships, Vesta, Aventine and Esquiline. After a redesign in 2395, the Vesta was recommissioned and the Normandy's keel laid. It took almost eighty billion credits worth of resources, fifteen years and six complete redesigns to get the ship out of the yards and into the very capable hands of the crew of the USS Luna.

The launch and trip towards Bajor went off without a hitch. Within two weeks, the Normandy would be able to reach the Federation member world and dock with DS9 for a final check and fitting before the ship went off on it's trip through the wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant, where exploration had just picked up nearly 40 years after the end of the Dominion War. The trip would take a bit and the ship was new, so, Arachnidus, having the heart of a five year old boy, decided to explore his new command in a bit less than a formal matter. He (and, much to the chagrin of decorum, Lt. Lawson) had found Observation Deck 7, just below the forward part of the primary bridge and above the senior staff quarters, to be the most relaxing place to be alone. Or in the company of a lover, which the captain would never admit to anybody but his friends.

The deck was small; only about 20 metres wide, curved along Deck 1, which rose from the primary hull, and 8 metres from the windows to the walls to aft. But, just as with the rest of the ship, it had a fully functioning suite of electronics, and a view that made any holodeck question it's reason for existence. The rest of the crew generally ignored the deck, as it's location on the ship was inconvenient; either that, or nobody had the time yet, what with the Normandy having been in flight for about 72 hours, for the first time at that. Arachnidus chuckled at the fact that he was feeling guilty about his desire for the cause to be the former. He already had his quarters and ready room, taking up the crew's FOD felt fairly greedy. Captain's prerogative! he thought jokingly.

As he looked out the window, the Commander felt entranced by the glow of the Slipstream conduit. Right now, Normandy was punching a hole in space time- an artificial wormhole. Unlike warp drive, which merely distorted the space around a ship, allowing it partially travel in subspace, but still within the standard universal plane, Slipstream Drive creates an aperture to subspace, while the ship is encased in a warp bubble and specialized shielding, allowing the ship to travel at speeds that would be roughly equivalent to Warp 12 on the current scale. It wasn't perfect; transwarp was still faster, what with being near instantaneous, and the ship needed to be designed to fit the Slipstream- a sleek hull was required in order to negate the friction from the atmosphere of nebulous protomatter that normally existed in subspace.

But none of that mattered to the captain, because right now, he looked out of the window and saw something only a few hundred people had ever seen. To the port and starboard of his ship(directions had no real meaning in space without a center of reference), the blue shimmer of protoplasmic matter bombarded against the shields as the vessel plowed through, while to the fore, was the blackness of space and streaks of FTL warped starlight. As the ship traversed the reaches of Federation space, the HUD on the window displayed local stellar formations, anomalies, and data for the captain's review, all forwarded from his ready room and customized to fit Arachnidus. Here, the captain saw everything his science teams saw, and could review every report from his officers. It wasn't the bridge, but it felt just as good a place to relax and work as any other.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 84 Guidance
06-03-2011, 05:22 PM
The battle had been costly, 17 dead, many more wounded including several Bridge crew, damage that would take weeks to repair, it was a hard earned fight, and the crew of the Blacksabre were still earning it.

Krovennan had been sitting at his desk for seven hours, he would have been asleep three hours ago normally, but now, he had to sacrifice sleep to do the most daunting job any Commanding Officer faces, stacked around him were piles of PADDs indicating damages, wounded crewmen, and worst of all, deaths.

Lieutenant Christina Mallinci, she had been with Krovennan since the Blacksabre-B, and one lucky shot from the enemy launched her into a broken bulkhead, the piece that pierced her chest killed her instantly.

Ensign T'kol, a Vulcan woman new to Starfleet, she had only been on the ship a week, working in Engineering, an EPS conduit blew half an hour after the battle, it took an hour before the wounds to her face finally claimed her in Sickbay, she would have been in constant pain.

Krovennan looked through PADD after PADD, another half hour, and the ack of sleep was grating away at his patience. Just when it seemed he may soon be finished, Tallasa walked in, the Andorian First Officer deposited a stack of PADDs almost as tall as her torso, the moment she placed the PADDs down, she walked out, she had seen the look Krovennan gave that stack before, she new what was about to happen.

Krovennan stared for what felt like hours, but was in fact five seconds, before finally losing his hold on his Vilscaran temper, and gaining a hold on his desk, Heaving, Krovennan tipped the desk onto it's side, there was an almighty crash as the PADDs fell to the ground with the table, Krovennan stared at the mess for a moment, before leaving his Ready Room, moving quickly across the Bridge, and disappearing behind the closed door of the Turbolift, the Bridge crew had made sure to work silently, no-one wanted to give Krovennan reason to become angrier.

The black and silver object stood silently in Krovennan's quarters, it stood out against the rest of the room, filled with items that moved and beeped in a thousand different ways, this stood motionless, a isnland of calm in the storm. Krovennen walked into his quarter's and stood in front of the object, getting down on one knee, Krovennan crossed his hands across his chest, both palms on his pecs, thumbs interlocked, when this was done, he lowered his body and head, bowing to the item with the makeshift wings on his chest, it made sense when he was bowing to a harpy.

The representation of the Harpy Mother was pristine, her right hand reaching out in front of her, as if offering a hand of guidance to whomever bowed before her serene and caring face, Krovennan bowed, and opened his mind to relive all that had happened, mentally confessing to this diety, Vex Manna'Mordeth was a religion that required little from it's worshippers, preferring to ask rather than demand, Krovennan bowed right now of his own volition, he held the bow for several minutes, whn he stood up, he felt better, there was no great knowledge, no divine intervention, just the simple feeling that Manna'Mordeth knew his plight, and she would watch over him.

Half an hour later, Krovennan finished all the reports laid out on his recently turned upright desk, there were no more outbursts nor feelings of despair, Krovennan knew that that statue was a sanctuary to him, it helped him through tough times and without it, he would not have been where he was today.

Krovennan returned to his Bridge, sitting in the captain's chair, the Blacksabre-E had been tractored back to Earth and was undergoing reapirs, it would take a while, but it would be done, Krovennen allowed himself to relax, there was nothing more to do but watch the traffic between the station and Earth, until next time, where he would return to his quarters and pray again and again, the one time he truly felt like he was at peace.
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 85 Holosuite 4
06-03-2011, 05:32 PM
The Resolution was a fine ship, with a fine crew, but ever her Captain needed a break from time to time. With the state of the Federation, Mark Sharp was one of the younger Captains within the fleet, having risen from the ranks of an Engineer. He missed that job; the problems were less… problematic and never on the verge of an all-out galactic war. Most of all he missed that sense of satisfaction of a completed job, the hum of the warp core and the cute blonde he used to work beside.

The ship was ordered to return to Earth Space Dock, to take on supplies, rotate the duty officer crew and to replace part of the port nacelle which had sheered clean off when a Ferengi merchant tried to ‘negotiate’ his way out of a long prison sentence after a run in with some, in his words, ‘Legitimately acquired Borg technology’. In long travel times such as this, Mark could escape to his haven; Deck 11, section 3, just past cargo 2, take a left, a right, another right, remember to smile at the crew, everything is fine, a final left and there it was, Holosuite 4. Not the biggest on the ship and it often malfunctioned, but it was hardly used in a part of the ship where the weary Captain could go undisturbed for an hour here and there.

As he approach the door, he tapped the panel to open his favourite program. Being of Scottish nationality, one would expect him to go to a place that reminded him of home, the lush Scottish hillsides with breathtakingly beautiful skylines, lochs and treelines that would go on for miles. However, this was not the destination choice. The doors swung apart with the familiar ‘whoosh’ of the pistons on each end, signalling Mark to leave behind his training and relax.

The moist and humid air hit him like wall, but also embraced him like a welcomed and long missed friend. The heat was sublime and he could already feel the sun warming his skin, reaching deep into his bones. The breeze that came off the sea breathed new life into him; the sand at his feet began to warm his soul. He was in perfection, he was free.

A small tropical beach on a deserted island was his sanctuary. Mark didn’t know if such a place existed back on Earth as he had created his hideaway here on the ship, not that he cared anyway. With each sound of the gentle sea waves lapping against the shore he began to unwind, the beat of his heart began to match the pulse of the slow and sultry waves. Taking his boots off he finally felt the warm sand and the shells between his toes, if anyone was about they would have heard his sigh of relief. A log hut lay ahead, a modest structure to say the least, open on one side, facing the beach, letting the light shine in, the thatched roof rustling in the breeze as if to welcome him home.

His jacket was thrown against the floor as he picked up a book and a pen, something never seen in the days of PADDs and Bio-Neural Gel Packs. Sitting himself on the lip of the wooden floor, his feet resting on the spot on the sand where the sea met the beach, he began to write…
“Captain’s Log….”
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 86 The Torpedo Room
06-04-2011, 07:17 PM
As told by Vice Admiral Bob:

I love the torpedo room. So quiet; so peaceful. No one ever comes in here. The only people who do are the crewmen assigned to inventory the torpedos and since I know their schedule, I'm guaranteed solitude.

Solitude, that's why I'm here. Sure my ready room and quarters can be left alone at my very order but there is something about the torpedo room I find peaceful. There is no hum or beeping. There is only a small communications speaker that I manually unplug whenever I enter. I keep a reclining chair in here and the crew know to leave it alone. When I am in here, only a Red Alert brings me to the bridge.

Why do I feel the need to get away? It probably started with my childhood. I grew up in rural Alabama in North America on Earth. I would sometimes head into the woods alone just to be with my thoughts. The only thing you could hear was the sound of the wind blowing through the trees. Walking in the woods, I felt alone. I felt peaceful. When I went to Starfleet Academy, I would always go walking in the mountains nearby. Just to be by myself.

My first commanding officer thought it was weird that I would use the torpedo storage room for solitude. But I really had no choice. Ensigns didn't get private rooms. And despite the fact I enjoy being around my crew, sometimes I want to be alone. Far removed from everybody and everything. I want to be in the silence of the torpedo room.

This is my refuge. This is my quiet place. Nothing and no one bothers me in here. When I am here, I'm...

RED ALERT! Admiral to the bridge!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 87
06-05-2011, 03:47 AM
The Assumption of Our Captain on Risa or
Some Like It Not

by
D.A. Peters
..........Jack regrets taking leave on Risa--almost as much as leave, in and of itself. Walking along the shore, she thinks the sun sits too perfect, like nectarine syrup, on the horizon. Waves break and the waters roll along her toes. That warm, 39.1 degrees centigrade. The temperature behind the bussard collector.

..........She sprays lotion over her hands. Her family came from a human ex-pat community on Andoria, before the war broke. All she remembered needing there were thermal layers lined to block UV rays. Here? People expected her to walk around half disrobed with the callous sun beating down at 39.1.

..........On arrival, she felt... exposed--yet she wore shorts and a shirt.

..........A Vulcan diplomat and his entourage sit just a few rows down. A clean, bowl-cut and those sharp ears--sharp enough to know whatever his next lecture would be, it would--at least--be heard.

.........."The question of 'free' Borg-" He looks toward Jack and her Starfleet satchel. "-the question does raise the issue of whether we can justify continued destruction of their ships. Were you aware there are children aboard the drone ships?"

..........Jack doubts if his companions aren't aware. The Vulcan saw her bag, the ship insignias and patches running up the armband. His lecture aims for her. Thoughts of screaming at him like the Andorian children at recess in her youth play through Jack's mind. Kick dirt at him and she's another drunk sailor. Ignore him and he'd sit content in his most logical deductions. Ferengi itemized their neat, little deductions. While running aid to Reman in the Haarkona system, she'd once told a Ferengi Daimon where to itemize such deductions, in what orifice, and with how much force. Jack smiles at this.

.........."Perhaps, this young woman can offer her insight?" The Vulcan turns. He wants dialectic.

..........Smile fading, Jack stood up. The implant on her left brow arches.

.........."Don't the Vulcans euthanize?" She lets the word escape her lips like a computer system failing. Without a break, she waves her hand and runs into the water. She breathes long and hard and dives...

.............under the water, she holds her knees to her breasts. It reminds her of the ship. The one place she felt was her haven, her home. At the bridge, diplomats' lectures didn't give her pause. She knew how to outmaneuver a Romulan Warbird, how to stand against a Klingon carrier and send a few more good men and women off to Sto'vo'kor. She could immerse herself in work, just as she could at the bottom of the wading pool. No breaches. No need for Structural Integrity Fields. Just immersion.

..........Yet, here she sits, at the bottom. Warm water all around her. The same 39.1 degrees that broke her down outside her post. The smell of the Borg nanites like cheap synthale. She smelled it in the showers in her quarters anymore. 39.1 degrees. Hot. She didn't know why she chose it but she brought it on herself. She'd shower until her skin ran redder than her uniform.

..........Her thoughts drift toward her leave ending--this detour on Risa over as soon as possible. She tells herself that her XO could use the leave time to see his family. It's settled. I'll re-assume command; let him relax. Assume command. Assumptions.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 88 Quiet work.
06-05-2011, 12:59 PM
Lt. Commander Torin
Chief Engineer
USS Challenger

The halls of the USS Challenger are empty as Torin makes his way down the corridor. Next week the ship will undergo it's first test runs leading up to its official launch in a month. Torin had working late working on the Antimatter injection system that Starfleet felt wasn't up to regulations.

He Grunts as he approaches the holodeck and punches in a code to open the doors. He checks the arch panel and energizes the grid. He places an Isolinear chip into a waiting socked and commands "Computer, Transfer program Torin Delta-3 and activate program.

Its takes the computer less than a second to access the information. Suddenly the Yellow Grid morphs into the shape of a small shack sitting on a hill inside the forest. All around birds can be heard chirping. The early morning sun warming the cool day. To the East the grand vista of forested mountains rise and fall. The valleys filled with an early morning fog.

The shack is rather therad bare and made of wood. It's North and East sides are completely open to the air. Inside lie a couple tables holding various abandoned projects and several shaping tools. A stool sits in front of a pottery wheel. To each side of the stool there is a large Pit framed in wood and a large basin of water.

Torin breaths in the air and shrugs off his uniform jacket as he approaches the shack. He carefully folds his uniform and places it on the table. He then unhooks an apron from the wall and puts it on as he sits at the stool. He turns and leans over the pit, his elbows resting on the wooden frame,Then thrusts his hands into the clay halfway up his forearm. The wet slimy surface felt cold.

He closes his eyes and listens to the sound around him as he kneads the clay between his fingers. He sits there for several minutes doing nothing but kneading the clay. Finally he pulls a clump from the pit and carefully sets it on the of the wheel. He gives the wheel a couple of experimental spins as he examines the clay. Satisfied he begins to spin the wheel in earnest.

He closes his eyes once more letting his hands work the clay into shape only looking down every other minutes to check on its progress. He leans his head back to let the sun hit him more fully in the face as he works. Suddenly he stops and glowers at the vase. He lets out and exasperated sigh that sounds more like a snort as he examines the vase closely. He then sees what his fingers already told him was there; A Large piece of Grit near the base of the vase.

Glowering he reaches for one of his tools and begins to carefully extract the grit. He eventually works the grit loose but in the process the base was destroyed ruining his work. He stares at the misshapen vase for a few minutes then sets it on the table next to other misshapen and unfinished pieces of pottery.

He then begins his search again through the clay pit taking his time to find the perfect clump of clay. Satisfied with a patch he begins his work anew. Carefully molding the Vase. Applying more water to keep the surface smooth. He takes his time and enjoys the sun. No responsibilities. No one waiting to use the holodeck. Just him and his work.

No pieces of grit interrupt his work this time and he begins to carefully and delicately carve patterns in the Vase using one of his tools. Hours pass but Torin does not notice. All there is is him and his clay. Finally he finishes his work and leans back to admire it. He turns to look out at the mountains and at the Sun nearing its apex in the sky. He looks back at the vase and stands up. "Computer, save this project for replication. Save program and transfer all data to external storage. End Program."

The vista quickly vanishes and his uniform, once supported by the table falls to the ground. Torin looks at his hands for a while and flexes his fingers. The holographic mud has vanished but his skin still remembers the cool sensation.

He stoops down and retrieves his uniform as he heads for the exit. He pauses at the arch to power down the grid and retrieve his chip. He glances back at the Holodeck and taps the chip against the palm of his hand a few times before heading out and back to Utopia Planitia.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 89 Sanctuary
06-05-2011, 09:11 PM
Maybe I’ve been in space to long. Maybe it was those harsh few years scraping out a living crammed shoulder to shoulder with other frightened, half-starved, and dislocated survivors of the Borg. Whatever the reason, I’ve become accustomed to being in space and surrounded by people. I spend very little time alone in my quarters or in my ready room. In fact, I use both for storage. And, my doctor, Dren, has to order me to bed to sleep more often than either one of us would like.

Every night, I walk the decks of my ship. I make it a point to know every soul that steps aboard my vessel. If I am going to be responsible for their lives, I should know who they are. I don’t understand Starfleet’s attitude that Captains should be elevated above the crew. We’re all in the same boat. What affects one of us, affects all of us. We depend on one another for survival. That has always been the Tobarrii way.

During my off hours you can often find me in the ship’s lounge sharing a synthoholic beverage with an ensign or some other member of the crew. We sing songs and tell tall tales. I’ve taught them a few Tobarrii drinking songs, and they have shared their cultural songs with me. It has brought us all together. It has made us a family of sorts. This crew, this ship has become my Ka’terri. Lieutenant Fausto has shared his tales of these musketeers on Earth that followed the spirit of Ka’terri with their motto “All for one and one for all”. I couldn't think of a better way to describe it.

When I am forced into seclusion for sleep, I open a comm. channel and listen to the ship breathe. I see my ship in every detail. Ensign Haro is struggling with a stuck power relay. Lt.Cmdr Coujoyquu is in sick bay again. I think he’s secretly interested in Nurse Oxourhiqu. They make a good match. Lt. Commander Pourchea is practicing her Micordian Lute. Its sweet melodies enchant us with its Siren call. Stobomoe’s zoo and the alchemist laboratory where concocts his homeopathic remedies fill the ship with a symphony of aromas.

However, there is no where I would rather be than in the thick of it: seated center stage in my captain’s chair; Ceathoo at the helm; Oriellas on the comm; Rymor at Tactical; and Ros at the Engineering Station; flying head long into a new adventure.
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 90
06-06-2011, 06:31 AM
A Quiet Stroll
Jaro Antar settled into the command chair on the bridge of the USS Scimitar, taking the night watch allowed him to skim through the engineering duty roster his deputy had arranged without being pestered. The roster was, much like its author, coldly efficient. Antar made a mental note to remind his lieutenant about the importance of shift breaks and was about to edit in the standard break rotation when the internal comm. channel chimed open.

“Commander Jaro, he is doing it again!” The voice sounded very much like that of the standard Starfleet computer, however the whiney tone gave away the emotive subroutines the A.I. had developed in the last year.

Antar chuckled under his breath and used the chair console to change the angle of the view screen. The long, gently curving nose of the ship’s Dervish class hull descended away from the camera until a tiny figure was visible at its tip.

***

Kyle looked down past the ledge of ablative hull plating his gravity boots were clinging to, and into the vast blackness of space. A few metres beneath him, the hull would curve back into the huge concave housing of the deflector dish. The hum of the ship was a distant throbbing that faintly vibrated up through the soles of his boots. Out here the universe was silent and unhurried; waiting to be discovered and marvelled at. All Kyle could hear was his own measured breaths and the beating of his heart, just a few minutes of peace, alone with the universe, to take away all the stress and distractions. A small red light in the heads-up display of his suit alerted Kyle to the fact that the Computer had now made five attempts to contact him after he had switched of the comm. unit. No doubt it would have more questions.

***

“Humans are strange at times.” Observed the computer as Antar watched the small figure make its way back up the nose of the ship. “I have observed over one hundred and ninety three different relaxation rituals exhibited by the crew. Only the Captain goes for a walk on the hull. Lieutenant Hendricks uses her Alcove. Commander Tharg performs something called “Stand Up” in the holodeck, people laugh at him, it is very peculiar. Commander T’Lara plays with blocks...”

Antar barked out a laugh that startled the young ensign at the helm. “I can assure you that’s not playing. Check your data bank for Keethara blocks.”

The space suited figure had disappeared from view, “Computer, open airlock three for the Captain. Oh, and don’t mention the blocks to anyone.”

The computer responded with a cheery, “Yes Sir!” and Antar went back to amending the duty roster.
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