Sunday, 23 July 2017

Zoology ~ Episode Fourteen

(All rights reserved. All characters and events are fictitious, any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental.) 


Grove wanders around the half-completed three dimensional model of the galaxy beginning to fill a large portion of the flight deck, watching its convoluted, scrolling shape and intricate billowing gas clouds slowly unravelling in front of him.
At the front of the flight deck, up near the navscreen, the pilot is briefing them on the last eight hours. Seems they missed quite a landing party. Stowaways, space junk, space walks. Cressida and Yume seem keen and so Grove leaves them to it and carries on with his restless pacing, past the holo-weaver, past the maincom and then back round again.

'It's like having a caged tarantagon in the room.' Yume gestures with his head towards Grove.
'He'll be alright. It's the nature of the beast with him. Don't forget, he's used to being in hazardous environments, dealing with extreme creatures. He comes across as a loner but once on-planet, you'll see, he'll be a team player. His resume is exemplary.' Daniel hands Cressida the log key.
'Not convinced.' Yume replies.
'And this Truro, what's the deal with her?' Cressida asks, slightly annoyed to have missed all the action.
'Stowaway. Normally I'd confine her to quarters but I've put her on the payroll. She has an interesting skill set which could come in handy. I've put a tracer in her so you'll know where she is at all times and tasked Cme with keeping an eye on her.'
'Skill set?'
'Taught to fight as a child by the infamous Mistress Ban.'
Cressida whistles, impressed for once.
'Anyhow, at the moment I've placed her on my shift rotation. Aliya is sorting out a berth for her as we speak. So, you three are free to start mapping the planets of this solar system and work out which is the best place to start. I want to clear this system ASAP so we can start exploring the galaxy but until the holo-weave is finished, this is home. Any more questions? Good, then I am off for some shut-eye. See you in eight.'

Daniel nods an acknowledgement to Grove as he passes him on the way to the deck lift and Grove replies with half a smile without interrupting his step. As Grove nears the front of the flight deck, Yume waves him over.
'Stop the pacing and help with this.'
Cressida sits in the pilot's chair, feeling it mould to her shape and inserts the log key into the maincom. 'OK, I have the maincom. Let's get to it! Who wants to see where we are?'
Grove reaches Yume near the navscreen just as Cressida hits reveal and the real-time view from the viewdeck is projected up on the navscreen. Grove stops in his tracks as the solar system expands in front of them.
Yume reels off what he can see, methodically logging the planets in succession. Sun. Twin planets with meteor field. One, two, three gas giants. Asteroid belt... It suddenly occurs to him Grove is no longer pacing but standing transfixed by the view. He gestures to Cressida to notice who raises her shoulders in a shrug. 'So, a scad for your thoughts, Grove. You seem intrigued by our new home.' Yume asks.
'Hmm? Oh yes... yellowish sun, still quite young. Looks like the asteroid belt might be spawning planets. Likelihood of life is small, quite literally, doubt there's much in the way of sentient life but the twin planets, the gas giants, it reminds me of... '
'Great!' Cressida's sarcasm cuts through his sentence. 'Non-breathable atmospheres, my favourite!'
'Reminds you of?' Yume ignores Cressida's comment.
'The first solar system.'
Yume stares at the view. Grove is right. A young solar system. Before Old Earth. At a time when Earth and her satellite planet Theia are about to impact. Twins battling against gravity. The young gas giants, enormous and violent. The star, still tinged violet, smaller, fiercer. Like a snapshot of young first solar system.
'A goldilocks system.' Yume surmises.
'Yeah, exactly.' Grove turns and grins at Yume, a huge, all-encompassing grin, full of optimism and enthusiasm, catching him off guard. Yume hadn't imagined Grove to be the kind of person to grin.
'Goldilocks?' Cressida asks.
'Good for life. Not too hot, not too cold.'
'I have no idea what you two are talking about.' Cressida replies. 'What scans do you scientists want to run first? I want this up and running so I can do a perimeter run on the ship.'
'Perimeter run?' Grove asks.
'She, quite literally runs the length and breadth of the ship.' Yume smiles, 'Far too much like hard work to me.'
'You should try it, Yume, might help you find your six-pack.'
Yume snorts and pats his stomach. 'Quite comfortable as I am, I'm sure they're safe in their somewhere.'
Cressida turns to Grove. 'It's a ten kilometre run if you're interested.'
'He's got scans to do.' Yume points to the mapping desks.
'The ship's fine anyway. perhaps another time.'
'Yeah, well. I'm not taking your word on that. I'll see you both later, I'm on the intercom if you need me.'

Grove doesn't know why he said that. It made no sense, how in the five galaxies would he know whether the ship was OK or not. But somehow, he does know. The ship is just fine, thank you.

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