How far we’ve come…

This was, I thought, the end of my NaNo.  Then, I kept going.

**

Kit wasn’t especially surprised to learn that Lizette had lost her seat as mayor soon after her return.  After all, she’d basically betrayed the Confederation, even if she had done it to protect her people from another tribute.

He headed down to the medical bay and smiled when he nearly ran into Julian, who was just coming out.  He ended up catching the other man before he fell.  “Everything all right, Master Southmaid?” he asked, as he released his hold.

Grimacing, Julian nodded.  “We’ve got to stop meeting like this, Captain,” he said.  “People will get the wrong idea.”  He shrugged and added, “I was just checking in on Emma.”

Kit smiled faintly.  “How are things between the two of you?” he asked, arching his brows.

Shaking his head, Julian said, “Moving slowly, but… that’s about right for me at this point.”  His brows furrowed.  “Will Master Willows be punished for her duplicity, Captain?  I mean… Dr. Noel died and Alexander was badly injured because of what she did.”

“I expect so,” Kit said, nodding.  He shrugged and added, “As far as the Confederation is concerned, it’s an internal matter – one for the colony to deal with.”  He still hadn’t decided what he would say to Noel’s parents.  It wasn’t the first time he’d lost a member of the crew, but it was the first time one had died on this voyage.  He hoped that wasn’t a sign of what was to come.

Julian touched his arm and gave him a weak smile as their eyes met.  “It’ll be fine, Captain,” he said.  “Whatever happens, this crew will rise to the challenge.  There’s really no such thing as luck, after all.”

“We make our own luck?” Kit said, smirking.

Shrugging, Julian said, “Something like that.”  Then, he nodded and stepped away from Kit.  As he headed down the corridor, he began whistling.  It was a tune that Kit had heard often.

“Let’s see how far we’ve come,” he murmured, as he headed into the medical bay to check on his people.  They had come pretty far, but he knew they could go further still.  After all, there was still the Delta Sector to explore.

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What Happened Here?

So… my group has arrived at the colony of Anchorage and what they find is pretty unexpected.

**

They were in the middle of a field, but it was clear this wasn’t just any field.  Stones dotted the field, spreading out in all directions.

“This… looks like a graveyard,” Julian said, his voice soft.  He looked at Calleigh, who frowned.  “Have you ever seen so many headstones?”

“No,” she said, her voice soft.  She turned to Alexander and said, “I want you to compare the names on the stones to the last census from the colony.  See if… there’s anyone who isn’t accounted for.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Alexander said.  He glanced at Robin, who nodded.  Then, he heaved a sigh of relief and drew out his datapad.  He walked away, heading towards the far corner of the field.  Chewing at his lip, Robin fell into step behind him.

“What do you suppose happened here?” Robin asked as Alexander began checking the names on the stones against the ones in the last census of the colony.  As far as he was concerned, it was like something out of a nightmare.  His mind was conjuring all manner of scenarios, each worse and less likely than the previous one.

Alexander shook his head.  “Whatever it was,” he said, his voice faint, “it was bad.”  He waved at one stone and said, “This family – parents and five children – all died on the same day.  I can’t imagine… some sort of disaster, perhaps?”

He looked around at the field of stones and then looked back at Robin.  “It wasn’t something immediate, though,” he added.  “After all, someone buried all of these people.  Didn’t they?”

“The same person?” Robin asked, his voice soft.  It wasn’t reassuring when Alexander simply shrugged.  After all, there was no way either of them could know the answer to that question.

An Unexpected Fear

A little scene that I wrote between Robin and Julian.  I really like how it turned out…

**

Julian frowned slightly as he glanced over at Robin.  He was a member of the engineering team and Robin was a member of the morale team.  Which made Julian have to wonder what Captain Locksley was thinking.  He shook his head and then leaned over closer to the man beside him.  “What are an engineer and a steward doing being sent to explore a deserted colony?” he whispered.

“Hell, if I know,” Robin breathed back, shaking his head.  He chuckled wryly and then shrugged.  “I figured that the captain wanted to get me as far from Lieutenant Johnson as he possibly could,” he added. Arching a brow at Julian, he said, “Have you been at odds with someone since joining the crew?”

Grimacing, Julian nodded.  “Roberts,” he said, his voice strained.  Even though most of the people from Alistair had made amends with him, Roberts still didn’t care for him or even trust him.  He seemed to take great joy in baiting Julian – poking at him until Julian had taken all he could take and lashed out in anger.  Then, almost without fail, Gretchen would end up scolding Julian for fighting.

“So, are we being punished or are they trying to see whether or not we’re the troublemakers?” Julian asked, arching his brows.

Robin chuckled wryly once again.  “Bit a both,” he said, shrugging.  Then, the light telling them to keep their seat restraints locked went out.  Without waiting for a word from Ken Holmes, Robin loosened his belt and stood.  He shrugged when the other man frowned at him.  “Call it claustrophobia, Commander,” he said.  “I was at the edge of my endurance when it came to being….” he trailed off, waving at the restraints.

“Fair enough,” Holmes said, nodding.  He shrugged and added, “You’ll just have to put it back on when we get ready to land.  There’s not much point in wandering too far from you seat.”

“Be that as it may,” Robin said, shrugging.  He stepped over to one of the cabinets and slid it opened.  He grabbed two water capsules and held one out to Julian.  “Are you thirsty, Mr. Southmaid?” he asked.

“No, thank you,” Julian said, shaking his head.  He smiled when Robin offered the capsule to the other members of the away team.

Schuyler smiled brightly, accepting the capsule.  “Are you thirsty, Carlisle?” he asked, glancing up at his companion.

Frowning, Carlisle shook his head.  “I am not,” he said, his voice soft.  Then, he glanced at Julian before looking back at Schuyler.  Bowing his head, he added, “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome,” Schuyler replied, grinning.  He opened the capsule and began sipping from it.

From My Nightmare

Another fear-related prompt: write about a character meeting someone who reminds them of someone from a reoccurring nightmare.  I had a little fun with this, since the “someone” is so not nightmare worthy…

**

Julian was used to having dreams and then having them come to pass.  That was one of the things that went along with having precognition.  Sometimes, he dreamed about meeting someone long before he ever came face to face with them.  That had been the case with Captain Locksley and with Robin Nolan, as well as many others in the crew.

However, there was something unsettling about meeting someone who haunted your worst nightmares.  That was entirely different, because those dreams had never come true.  The same person was in all of them, but he played a different role each time.  Sometimes, he was the one that Julian was running from.  Others, he was the teacher that scolded him for not having his homework ready.  He’d been a crazed killer or a mean co-worker.  Julian had never expected to meet the man face to face.  Now that he was, he didn’t quite know how to react.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, blinking at Julian with wide eyes.  He seemed so sweet an innocent.

Flushing, Julian looked away.  “Wrong?” he said, shaking his head.  “Nothing’s wrong.”  He cleared his throat and then shook his head again.  “I’m sorry,” he said.  “Was there something you needed help with, sir?”

“Not a sir, just an ensign.  You can call me all,” he said, grinning.  Tilting his head, he added, “Anyway… the lights won’t come on in my cabin.”

“I’ll get to that as soon as I can,” Julian promised him.  He heaved a sigh when Al nodded and hurried out of the room.

A New Life

Julian watched Marissa running around, playing. It was good to see her smiling and laughing again. His brows furrowed. When they’d left home they’d been hoping to start a new life on the new world. None of them could have imagined how things would turn out.

Some of the settlers had gone on to their original destination after they’d been rescued. He’d known that he couldn’t do that. Alyssa was dead now. He could never have that life. That was why he’d joined Lockley’s crew.

Now, he knew he’d made the right choice. They would start their new life here.

Small Things

Ryan growled as the gear slipped for the fourth time. Without thinking, he reached out and grabbed it. “Oh,” he cried, pulling his hand back and cradling it to his chest. Tears welled in his eyes.

“All right?” Julian asked, frowning.

Flushing, Ryan sighed. “I burned my hand,” he admitted. “Stupid! I know it’s hot. So why did I touch it?”

Julian smiled. “Can I help you out?”

Nodding, Ryan told him what needed to be done. Soon the system was working correctly. “And I’m off to med-bay.” It was the little things that reminded them how young he was.

Working together

As her hand accidentally brushed Julian’s hand, she blushed. “Sorry,” she said, pulling her hand back again.

He gave her a faint smile. “Was this what you wanted?” he asked, holding up a wrench. When she nodded, he handed it over to her.

It was always the same when they were alone in the engineering area. She would blush whenever they were working close together. It was hard to even speak to him. Her breath would catch in her throat when he looked into her eyes.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she said.

Ryan knew. “You like him.”

Who’s asking?

Calleigh watched Julian with a slight frown on her face. Few in the crew knew that there were agents on board. From the way Julian watched Ophelia, she had to wonder if he was the exception. If he was, what had given them away?

“Why did you decide to stay on board?” she asked, keeping her tone casual.

Julian gave her a sly smile. “Who’s asking?” he said, his voice soft. “Commander Skyler or Agent Skyler?”

“How’d you know?” Calleigh asked, not answering his question. After all, he hadn’t answered hers.

Chuckling, Julian said, “It takes one to know one.”

‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy

Julian sighed and ruffled a hand through his hair as he walked through the corridor on his way to the bridge. He felt as though he hadn’t had a moment to himself since he got up. Just then, he was running an errand for the chief engineer. He stopped, pressed the button to call the elevator to the upper level and leaned against a wall.

He closed his eyes for a moment. He was glad to have something productive to do. It kept his mind busy and made him feel like he was being useful. However, he knew there was more to life than the constant demands of his shipboard duties.

He felt a tug on the bottom hem of his tunic. His eyes opened and he saw that his daughter was there. “Hello, Darling,” he said. Unconsciously, a smile touched his features.

“Do you have a moment, Daddy?” she said, looking surprisingly serious for such a little girl.

Julian frowned slightly and knelt to look into her eyes. “Certainly,” he said. “What do you need?”

“This,” she said. Then, she leaned in to kiss his cheek. “Love you,” she said, flashing him a sunny smile.

Julian returned the smile and hugged her. “I love you, too,” he murmured. This was why he did everything. Being a member of the crew gave his daughter a home. It gave him the balance he needed – balance he’d lost when his wife died – to take care of her the way she needed him to. He’d never forget that.

the land where even sleep doesn’t exist

Ryan laid in his bed, staring at the ceiling. How could people sleep when the ship was in constant motion? How did they know they wouldn’t fly into something and die? How did they know no one would attack them? His mind swirled with questions like these, as his imagination brought up a million possible ways they could die.

He sat upright in bed and ran a hand through his hair. Grabbing his jacket off the foot of the bed, he pulled it on and moved to the door. There, he shoved his feet in low shoes. A moment later, he was striding down the dimly lit corridors.

He made his way to the mess, without really knowing why. He blinked when he saw that there were others there. He sighed softly and walked over to the table where Julian and Kit sat. “Hey,” he said, dropping down into an empty chair.

Kit scowled. “Couldn’t sleep?” he said, tilting his head to one side as he regarded Ryan.

Ryan shook his head. “I’ve never been on a ship before, you know?” he said. He grimaced and shook his head again. “It’s probably strange to hear, seeing as I developed the time-step device, but… my father’s a monk – they don’t… do space travel.”

Julian smiled faintly. “It takes getting used to,” he said. “I daresay, there will be many sleepless nights until you become accustomed to life on board a ship such as this.”

When Ryan sighed, Kit asked, “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Ryan nodded. Then, he began asking all the questions swirling in his mind. If he could be sure it was safe to sleep, maybe he would be able to relax enough to do so?

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