Sidetracked

Characters: Robert Evers

The lift was eerily quiet, well, eerily quiet compared to any kind of human system. Six of these Minbari/Vorlon abominations, and Bobby still couldn’t get over the differences from earth’s technology. At least someone had been smart enough to change the beds for the human crew members. They may be Rangers, but they were still human.

The slight noise from the lift ceased, doors splitting open, and Bobby stepped through into the hall … deck 2. The doctor was most likely in medlab one, on deck 8, but Bobby had a lot of experience when it came to being new on a ship, and he knew that sooner or later everyone needed to cool off, and on the Phoenix, it looked like this was where they came. He grinned and walked toward the lounge’s entrance.

Bobby was dressed in a light jacket and shirt, a pair of loose jeans, and some worn boots. His rank had been left behind in his quarters, something he usually did. He had been an ensign for his entire career, despite his extensive knowledge and experience. His lack of a steady residence probably was the major contributor to this, not serving under a single captain long enough for them to evaluate him and change the title from Ensign Evers to Lieutenant JG. He hoped that this post might change that.

Shrugging off the thought, he entered the lounge and grinned at what he found — a lounge, not unlike many other he had been in. Warm, inviting, and alive. All that Bobby was missing was something nice and sweet to quench his thirst. He strolled to the nearest service station and ordered a mug of moonshine, lifted it from the cubicle, and then went to find a table near the large windows to watch both the people that entered and the vast space outside. Quickly settling into a chair, he plunked the mug on the tabletop and looked off to the great outside.

Most people thought of it as a great, cold, unforgiving, and desolate expanse, waiting to claim another ship to its unending list of lost souls, but Bobby saw space as the total reverse of that. Space was only as intimidating as you let it be. It was not void, it was active and animated, changing constantly. You were never alone in space. Each star was a sun, with worlds circling it, each world with the possibility of life, each life a new friend to ally with or a foe to battle with, but always something. You could travel forever in space and continue to encounter new beings. You were never alone. There was always something else out there, something new to engage and learn from. Exactly what the Phoenix’s mission was right now, to find out what was there. To travel into Vorlon space and see what treasures and traps had been left behind.

The moonshine left a familiar taste in his mouth as he drank it, refreshing himself and bringing his mind back from his wanderings. He was continuing to amaze himself with his philosophical tendencies, a sort of habit he had never expected himself to acquire.

A light shifted outside, then the entire starfield began to bend, points of luminance changing their positions. The Phoenix was on the move. A Whitestar and another ship came into view, then began to sink back into the starscape as engines ignited and the Phoenix pulled away from them, heading deeper into the former Vorlon territory. Something new had happened. Perhaps the captain situation had been cleared up, something that Bobby’s papers had been very sketchy about. They mentioned Captain Narsh, Fleet Captain Freise, and now there was something about a Captain Hale. Whatever was going on, nothing would be revealed to him here that he couldn’t find out faster by asking the CMO. Once again, he was departing for deck 8 and a meeting with his new superior.