Time To Stretch the Legs

Characters: Roland DeVries

No matter how much he shifted, squirmed, and wiggled, the bloody itch just wouldn’t go away. DeVries sighed heavily, his breath momentarily fogging the supposedly fog-proof perspex of his helmet. The Thunderbolt Starfury was supposed to be one of the most advanced fighter-class ships available, but no matter how advanced the technology was, the ergonomics still sucked. A beep in his head set brought his attention to his HUD.

“What,” he asked. Since a rather unpleasant experience while in a Centauri POW camp, his “rear-seater” and partner, the Narn swordsman T’rar, had only been able to “speak” visually. “Yes, I’m uncomfortable and tired and sore. And, no, the meditations and training aren’t helping. So don’t go all Zen on me, ok?”

Another line flashed across the HUD’s field. “G’juon, Zen … whatever,” Roland groused. Sometimes, T’rar’s serenity could be infuriating. But this time he was right. After hours of patrol and now flying circles around the remains of the White Star, he was letting thinks get to him. He felt almost impotent hanging here in space. A Ranger was supposed to be patient, but DeVries had always felt more comfortable when on the offensive. As things were now, he was feeling…creepie. Maybe it was the aura of death the area seemed to emanate. Like the “force” that seemed to draw Soul Hunters like flies. Whatever it was that was making him feel uneasy, the sooner the Phoenix was under way again, the better.

Another beep from his headset drew DeVries out of his mental drifting. “Desell One to Storm One.”

“Storm One. Go Desell.”

“Desell’s One through Four outbound to relieve you. Return to Phoenix.”

Roland twitched his control stick, spinning his fighter around to see the organic lines of the Minbari fighters heading toward him. “Roger, Desell One. Storm Flight returning. Storm’s Two, Three, and Four, this is One. Form on my wing.” Out of the corner of his eye, DeVries saw the shuttle departing the derelict. He’d escort it in and then, a smile crossed his face for the first time in hours, then he’d have a chance to stretch his legs at last.

Copyright (c) 1998 Smith Self. All rights reserved.

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