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Part of USS Sovereign: Death by the Star and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Chapter Three

March 2400
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Two columns of light formed in the dark corridor that soon disappeared as quickly as they appeared, only to leave two silhouettes behind. The two figures both reached for their suit controls on their left arms and activated their helmet lights which brought illumination to the darkness. Upon closer inspection, the two silhouettes wore two different colored chest plates on their EVA suits. One teal for science and medical, and one red for command. As for who they were, was just about to be revealed when the communicator chirped, informing both individuals that the other party of two had made it and were checking in.

“This is Bazial. Gatia and I have made it to our beam in point and are heading for the bridge.” 

The one with the red chest plate tapped a button on his controls to respond. “This is Ruby. Lane and I have made it to our beam in point and we will be searching for bodies.”

“Remember, Ensigns. Report back to the runabout in two hours.” 

“Copy that. Ruby out.” He then turned slightly at the heels to look at Lane. “Ready for this?”

Lane nodded his head in his helmet. “Of course. Not my first EVA mission.”

Ruby smiled and they both pulled out their tricorders to start scanning for organic material and mass. “Didn't say it was. But being in your field, I'm sure you've seen plenty of dead bodies.” Said Ruby as he began to walk forward, Lane right beside him.

“Yeah, that's an understatement. My first EVA mission was when I was a fourth year cadet on my rotation on board the Pempkin.”

Ruby frowned with a smirk. “Pempkin? Kind of name is that?”

Lane chuckled. “I know. I think it was a joke towards the California Class. Honestly though, they're not that bad.”

“They certainly have their uses. Just don't want to pick a fight with pirates.” Said Ruby.

“Funny that you mentioned that. That was actually my first EVA mission. We found a drifting pirate vessel, completely out of power and I was assigned to the away team to beam over and find out what happened. While half the team tried to restore power so they can search the logs, I was on the half that was looking for bodies, like we are doing right now, to determine the cause of death.” Lane explained.

Ruby chuckled. “My first EVA mission was also when I was a fourth year cadet on rotation. But it was nothing special. Just walking on the hull of a subspace buoy and replacing components that had been damaged by micro meteorites.”

Lane frowned. “I thought they're suppose to have shielding against that sort of thing.”

Ruby nodded his head in his helmet. “They are but for some reason this one had a faulty shield system and it failed to deploy before the micro meteorites struck it. Go figure, right?”

Lane shrugged his shoulders best he could but barely see it in his suit. “Suppose Starfleet Engineering ain't perfect all the time. Something bound to slip through the cracks.”

“Not to mention age, deterioration, etcetera.” Said Ruby as he sighed. “I'm not getting anything on these scans. Let's move further, maybe into the ore cargo hold?”

Lane nodded his head. “Sounds like a plan.” As they made it towards the cargo hold, Lane had to ask. “What's going on with you and Mizu?”

Ruby shook his head, “I don't know.”

“Well you sure seemed upset about her choosing to do more work.” Said Lane.

“We've been best friends since the academy and we have always done things together, always decided our choices in our careers and for her to choose to advance in her career without consulting me is unusual and disturbing.” Ruby explained and as they entered the cargo hold, he stopped to turn on his heels and look at Lane. “Basically I feel like I'm losing my best friend, like I had done something to offend her and she's returned to the amateur times of when instead of being honest and just telling the person what they did wrong, they rather keep it to themselves and leave little hints and force the other person to try and figure it out. It's like a game and it's the one game I do not like.”

Lane nodded his head in understanding. “Some people still do that. It's a habit that has lasted for centuries and does not plan on going away any time soon. I had a boyfriend who was the exact same way. He would get this attitude like I did something wrong and wouldn't tell me exactly what I did, forcing me to figure it out and I absolutely hated it. I tried to negotiate with him, to get him to just come out with it but he refused to give me a straight answer. Basically, the moment that communication failed in the relationship is when there is no relationship and it was hard but I ended up being the one to call it off. I just could not handle the stress and the uncertainty.”

Ruby nodded. “Exactly. Moment communication fails, is the moment of fear that that the relationship is deteriorating. And I am afraid that is exactly what is happening to our friendship. I don't mind that she wants to advance in her career, I respect that. I just thought, as best friends, she would of told me so I could do the same. Being left behind is just…”

“Heartbreaking.” Lane finished for him.

Ruby nodded his head again. “Exactly. But deep down, I feel like something is wrong with her. But that's just me, I could just be overreacting.” He turned on his heels again and began to move further into the cargo hold, Lane followed right behind. They got only a few feet in when their tricorders went off, indicating that they found what they were looking for. They followed the indicators until they found some bodies to which Lane went to work.

But to Ruby, he could already tell something was off. “I don't think they died from us.”

Lane ran a thorough medical scan on the bodies and each one came up with the same results. “They all died from suffocation. Which indicates that the life support failed and they ran out of air. But they died over twenty hours ago. Long before we entered this system.”

Ruby then tapped on his suit controls on his left arm. “Ruby to Bazial, Gatia. We found some bodies and we got some interesting information for you two.”

“So do we, Ensign. Come to the bridge.”

Ruby gestured Lane to move into place and Ruby made several taps to his controls before they were engulfed in columns of light and whisked away from the cargo hold, only to be placed right where Bazial and Gatia had beamed in. This allowed them to make their way to the bridge, or cockpit as when they arrived, barely all four of them could fit.

“What did you two find?” Bazial asked.

“Death to suffocation." Said Ruby.

“Twenty hours ago.” Said Lane.

Gatia looked at the three of them after she re-examined the logs. “This ship was under remote control.”

Bazial looked at all of them, “We need to report this to the captain.”


  • I really enjoyed this moment of storytelling between Lane and Ruby. It's such a useful tool to help us readers learn more about the characters, and it demonstrates the rapport being built between those characters too. It's much easier to like a character when you watch them make a friend, frankly. My attention is rapt, following this disconnect between Ruby and Mizu's friendship. That kind of communication is so relatable. Even beyond the details, I love the choice to really focus on this friendship with all the same narrative heft as if it were a romantic entanglement. It's captivating!

    July 4, 2022