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Part of Starbase Bravo: Sundered Wings and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

New Beginnings and All That Sort of Thing

Various: Alberna Colony, Mellstoxx system
January 2390 / May 2400
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Ten years ago: Tassemir System, Alberna Colony

“They hate me. I ruined everything for them.”

“I doubt that very much, on either count.”

Two women, one with flame-red hair barely out of her teens, the other with long dark locs that flowed across her shoulders and age-wrinkles around her eyes, sat beneath a flowering Qyidda tree. 

Alberna Colony smelled like peaches and candy this time of year, when the Qyidda fruit ripened and the harvesters were all working furiously to process, store, and ship the fresh fruit. The younger woman, Muninn Musgrave, glanced up from the twig she was methodically breaking between her thumbs. She wondered, not for the first time, if somewhere out among the stars Adeyemi had a family of her own. The older woman never talked about her past, despite that she listened endlessly to Muninn.

“You don’t know them,” Muninn said after a time. “They wanted me to make something of myself. I think… they wanted to prove that all the risks they took were worth it. Oh, I don’t know…” she tossed the bits of stick away.

“Well, perhaps that is all the case,” Adeyemi said. She smiled at the horizon, where the big red sun slouched slowly toward evening. “But what about you? Would you like to finish what you started? Join Starfleet? See the galaxy?”

“I see plenty of the galaxy as it is.”

Adeyemi laughed, a wonderful bray of good humor that bounced around the Qyidda orchard like music. “Spending all your time on little colony worlds, listening to an old neo-zennite ramble on about consciousness and enlightenment?”

“I like the karate, too.”

“Ah, well, in that case…” Adeyemi winked. But then her face grew serious once more. “No, attend when I say this, please. If you leave this thing unfinished, if you don’t go and challenge your own failures, they will have mastery over you. This moment in time will be your companion, your dark bedfellow, forever.”

“You make it sound so dramatic. So serious.”

“Well, it is.” Adeyemi shrugged. “A matter of life and death, in fact. Live with the knowledge that you chose not to go down that path, maybe die regretting it. We’re all just summations of our choices. Trees forever branching in the direction of the sky. And besides… I know that this haunts you. Your parents may have pushed you toward the dream of Starfleet, but it became your dream as well. You could do good work there.”

Muninn thought on this for a time, and as always Adeyemi seemed pleased to let the silence linger. 

Returning home. That was the big question, or part of it. She could not quite disentangle returning home and attending the Academy, as if one bled into the other, like watercolors spread on wet paper. But either choice would mean facing up to her parents, as well as facing up to her own failures and fears. She caught Adeyemi watching her.

“You know I’m right,” Adeyemi said, brown eyes warm.

“Yeah,” Muninn said after a moment, “I know.”

They sat there together in silence until the sun finally went down behind the trees, and the haze of the golden hour spread throughout the orchard. And, as she sat, Muninn began to plan. 

Ten Years Later, Present Day: Mellstoxx System, en route to Starbase Bravo

 

“Entering Mellstoxx system now, please prepare your belongings for departure.” The musically feminine computer voice standard across Starfleet floated from the ambient speakers in the wall and ceiling of Muninn Musgrave’s small berth. She sat up on the edge of the bunk and stretched, feeling a growing tingle of excitement and impatience.

After six days at mid-warp, she had finally arrived. 

The SS Albatross did personnel runs through half the sector and had the routine down to a level of efficiency that would make a Vulcan’s heart go pitter-patter. Muninn glanced at her two bags of personal possessions, double-checking her earlier packing and mentally categorizing everything they contained. Keepsakes from her travels, a few framed photos, her diploma and various degree plaques, and clothes. Like most everyone in the 25th century, her uniforms and much of the simpler clothing she wore came direct from the matter-energy replicators standard across the galaxy. But what computers could do perfectly, sentient skill and artistic effort could always do better. Most of the clothes she owned, that weren’t simply nostalgic (like her old Captain Proton T-shirt), were hand-tailored designs modeled after antiques from Earth’s distant past. 

“Computer, would you open a viewscreen, please?” 

The computer answered her husky Mezzo with a bright chime. A moment later, a holographic screen materialized in the air before her, pre-centered on the distant shape of Starbase Bravo. Muninn exhaled a quiet “Wow” as she took it in. It reminded her vaguely of a mushroom, with the same shield-crown as the older Spacedock-Class starbases. But Bravo’s trunk was thicker by far, and at the trunk’s mid-section a mass of disc-shaped modules and protruding docking bays gave her design a certain bulk that the more streamlined Spacedock lacked. 

Between her two years of solo-travel across Federation space a decade earlier, and her extended time at Starfleet Academy, Muninn did not feel like a stranger to space travel or the impressive vacuum constructs fielded by the many species and governments of the galaxy. A fair number of the century-and-a-half-old Spacedock starbases were still in operation, like the one in Earth orbit, and they were impressive gargantua on their own. But this new Guardian-class starbase was something different. Eschewing sleek and elegant for sheer weight and power, she clearly represented Starfleet’s desire to marry the diplomatic and scientific design philosophies of the past with the strategic and military necessities of the chaotic present. A marriage which could not fail to impress.

Muninn briefly thought about the old Regula-class starbase above Alberna Colony, and of her final goodbye to Adeyemi there all those years ago. She made a mental note to compose a letter to her old friend and mentor as soon as she settled in aboard her new post; it had been almost two months since their last exchange. 

A chime sounded again, and the computer’s ambient voice spoke throughout the transport. “Docking with Starbase Bravo, Sector India-Navy in five minutes. Please remain in your quarters until the captain gives the all-clear.”

“Here we go,” Muninn said to herself as she hoisted her bag over her shoulder. “New beginnings and all that. What-ho.” She grinned as the familiar excitement of a new post tingled across her shoulders. Somehow, this felt like the step she’d been waiting for. 

Comments

  • I have to say this entire post was a BIG MOOD. You wield your words expertly to convey a sense of things, beyond simple facts and information. The colony smelling like peaches and candy, and watercolours sppread on wet paper, are both such delightful turns of phrase. The mystery of Adeyemi's history is terribly evocative, drawing me right in, as did my curiosity for the details of Muninn's apparent failures. I have to assume the Muninn who joined Starbase Bravo is a very different woman ten years later, but I hope she brings with her a couple of those secrets from her past.

    June 8, 2022