Part of USS Minerva: The Happy Wanderer

Mixed Messages

Deep Space
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The Wanderer tried to communicate with the new the new arrival, sending out its thoughts, eager to exchange ideas only to be met with simple stubbornness:

ON, OFF, SAFE, NOT SAFE
ON, OFF, SAFE, NOT SAFE
ON, OFF, SAFE, NOT SAFE

How rude! Not very friendly at all.

But wait! More were arriving at this very moment! Good. Maybe they would be more polite and share more easily.

“Approaching designated coordinates.”

“Drop out of warp and proceed to the beacon, ahead slow.” The stars on the screen returned to their normal shining dot shapes.  In the center of the screen was a slightly larger dot, that grew ever larger.  The beacon

Warren was cautious. With a malfunctioning navigation beacon, the last thing he wanted was to send Minerva flying smack into the path of a fuel carrier, bulk hauler, or starliner. The communications station beeped and the young operator fiddled with the earpiece in his ear. Warren had done the same thing back when he had been an enlisted talkie eons ago.  He smiled at the fact those earpieces still didn’t fit perfectly.

“Fuentes?” Warren asked. He had taken the opportunity to learn the young man’s name and hometown – Tres Quintas, just north of Mercedes, Uruguay, in South America – on the trip over. Warren had also asked him if he was one of the crew who was interested in the approaching heritage celebrations, and got only a noncommittal shrug. Kids today.

“Message from a courier shuttle coming in right behind us, Captain. Switching to audio.”

Minerva, this is shuttle SFC3428. Request permission to come aboard.”

“Pilot, this is Commander Paige of the Minvera; I have to admit you snuck up on us, who are you bringing aboard?”

Minerva,” the pilot’s voice paused, “Manifest, er…Lieutenant Falkenberg, E. J.”

“Falkenburg?” What a surprise! Certainly not an unpleasant one. Warren composed himself to more formally respond. “Pilot, permission granted for personnel transfer. Mike, if you can hear me, come up to the bridge as soon as you’re aboard.”

The gentle beeping of the science station on the far side of the bridge was loud enough to attract Warren’s attention. Fuentes could handle the rest of the official interaction with the courier.