Stall

Characters: Dr. Mira Trassano

Mira Trassano trudged down the corridor to her quarters. She stared blindly at her feet on the deck and saw nothing of the damage to the halls. Finally, she found herself in front of her room fumbling to open the door. The exhausted Centauri practically fell into her room when the door condescended to open. The only reason she didn’t immediately stall out and collapse into a heap was the large plant that had fallen over the entry way.

Mira stood and blinked at the plant. She remembered the plant. It lived in the corner with a SunLamp. “I wonder how it got itself all the way over here,” she muttered in fatigue-slurred Centauri. The plump doctor carefully climbed over the plant and set it upright once more. “I’ll move it in the morning.”

Turning around, Mira saw the state of her quarters for the first time since the before the Wake. Then, she sat beside her plant and cried.

Her bed was scooted up into the kitchenette area and the plant was in front of the door. Her couch was laying on its back and the table was over by the bed. The chair and her personal shrine appeared to be trying to share the same space at the same time. Everything that was once in a cabinet was now on the floor and all her clothes were exactly as she had left them, strewn everywhere.

“I just want to sleep…. I just want to sleep.” Tears streamed down her face, as the very capable Dr Trassano was overwhelmed. Finally, she pulled herself together enough to crawl into her bed in the kitchen and take off her clothes. Curling herself into as tight a ball as possible, Mira finally got what she wanted …sleep.


 

The street was crowded, but happy. People were everywhere, shouting and laughing and buying and selling. Mira stood in the middle of it all and stared in amazement at this perfectly normal slice of life. It had been so long since she had seen Homeworld, seen this street market, that she stood for a few moments simply savoring the very air.

Mira felt the weight of a basket on her arm. Oh, she thought. Mother must have sent me to market. But, I’ve forgotten what she needed me to buy. Frowning, she decided to go ahead and look for a bit, hoping that something would remind her. With a sigh of pleasure, her frown smoothed away and Mira started off into the crush of the crowd.

There were so many shoppers that Mira couldn’t see what any of the stalls were selling. After a few moments, she managed to elbow her way to the edge of the stall. Catching sight of the offerings, Mira gasped and tried jerk herself away. But, the crowd pushed in behind her and trapped her where she was. Mira was helpless to do anything but stand there clutching the edge of the stall and staring at the display of dismembered heads, hands, and feet.

Frantically thrashing, Mira finally wrenched herself away from the crowd. But, not before she saw a woman pick up the head of Captain Hale and begin to haggle over the price. Captain Hale’s head turned in the woman’s hand and looked directly at Mira. A keening wail accused, “You let me die!!”

Suddenly, the whole crowd froze and turned stiffly towards Mira. Mira could see now that the shoppers, whom she had assumed were Centauri, were actually her fellow crew Rangers. Each one was a familiar face. Each one was dead. The head of Captain Hale was being held by Ranger Matsumoto. Matsumoto had a gasping wound in her side through which Mira could see the lungs expanding and deflating. Kim held Hale’s head higher and Hale screeched again, “You let me die!! I want a body!!”

“She’s right, Mira.,” whispered Ranger Darquin. He whispered because a massive piece of bulkhead protruded from his throat. “It was your fault. Because of you, we all died.” Mira spun around in a circle as the dead Rangers closed in on her, nodding their agreement with Darquin.

“The least you could do is give the Captain a body. Don’t you think she deserves one?” Ranger Morgan said from the ground where she slithered, dragging useless mangled legs behind her in a bloody trail.

All Mira could say was a weak thin, “nnooooo….”

She was helpless as Dr Brannon, trailing her entrails, approached with a laser scalpel and very neatly removed her head. Mr Carter, missing half of his skull, put Mira’s head in a tray.

Ranger Matsumoto handed Dr Brannon Hale’s head. Mira could only watch from the tray as Hale was sutured onto her body. The tray was slowly filling with blood.

Hale turned and looked at Mira. She grinned and carefully picked up Mira’s tray. “You really should have tried harder, you know, Doctor. Then, everyone wouldn’t have died and you wouldn’t be here right now.” Mira wailed softly as Hale carried her to a stall. Ranger Santiago, armless and legless, perched on a stool behind the stall and nodded agreement with Hale. Mira’s head was carefully placed on the top of a pile of body parts.

Santiago began to chant, “Spare parts!! Get your spares here!!”

The other dead Rangers descended on the stall and Mira screamed as hands poked and prodded at her.


 

Coming awake with a strangled scream and a jerk, Mira went from the bed to the vibe shower in one motion. Hoping that she might be able to wash that horrible dream away, the Centauri stayed in the stall for quite sometime. When she finally emerged, she spared a glance for her kitchenette and decided to try the Lounge. They might have been able to throw together some sort of meal by now. Dressing hurriedly, Mira only took extra time to go through the pockets of her old robe and transfer all the random items into the pockets of a clean one. Then, without a backward glance, the doctor fled her quarters.


(C) 1998 Mona Hinds. All rights reserved.