S.S. Fawkes - CF-142AC
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The pain of separation

Posted on Tuesday November 26th, 2019 @ 04:59 hours by Nali Tali

Mission: Hot Couture
Location: Rangalor V

The S.S. Entropy had always been a happy ship, which was more telling of the crew than the vessel. As a ship, the Entropy had her share of problems, mechanical mostly and obliged to the engineer and his assistant for repair. Thankfully those were not Nali Tali’s duties, though they concerned everyone onboard. Still, as a whole, the crew got on well with one another which added an air of sadness to her parting. No one particularly wanted to see Nali go, but the doctor and Captain had conferred and come to the decision that it would be for the best if the Deltan were released to employ her skills elsewhere. And judging by the manner in which the Captain had delivered the dismissal, it gave him no comfort to do so.

Nali’s discharge had not been effective immediately; they had no desire to just put her out onto the first rock they came upon, and so she'd had plenty of time in which to hand off her duties and say her farewells. But two weeks had now passed and the goodbyes were all done and Nali assured Captain Horn that Rangalor V was a perfectly suitable planet to see her disembark. Perhaps there would even be some work to be found, though Nali had some pay saved - enough to ease the urgency for new employment at any rate.

In what would be her last moments aboard the Entropy, Nali Tali was seated at a shared workstation and the bank of viewscreens on the wall in front of her was busy, much cluttered by the multiple windows and frames of recorded video feeds, all depicting Deltans of differing age and gender - even one or two with hair. Nali wiped a tear from her eye and leaned forward to softly touch the image of a small child.

“You have the splendid, dazzling cranium of a magnificent Deltan woman; hair or no hair. Do the other children beleaguer you over this, Luria?” Nali mouthed the words silently as her own self spoke them on the recording.

“I am not set upon, mother. Do not worry.” The child, Nali’s youngest at 9, had already been well spoken, but shared her mother’s adoption of a partly outmoded lexicon. On the screen, Zavis Zurn, Nali’s second comate, stood behind the child and placed a hand on her shoulder, giving her an approving smile.

She’d often shared real time video calls with the members of her large family who at the time were spread out all over Delta IV. These type of exchanges went on for some time - the discussion of familial issues and brief, but heartfelt greetings shared with kin, offspring, friends and ancestors - but even then everyone seemed to know, somehow, that time was a resource the Cosmos could not give them in abundance. Nali’s work took her away from them, but they were always in her heart. Now, looking back, she wished she had never left her world, never spent a moment separated from them. Her family was now three years dead, killed when the shuttle they were on fell under attack by a pirate vessel operating under the Orion Syndicate. Nali’s eyes scanned the feed, straining to memorize every detail. She'd watched these recordings a hundred times before, and each time felt like it would be the last opportunity to be with her family even if it were in this limited capacity.

Each window slowly disappeared until there was only one featuring two Deltan males standing side by side. They were both bald and looked similar enough to be brothers, but they were not. Apparently Nali had a type and it showed in her selection of comates. The two males, Jenzen and Zavis, lifted hands to their foreheads and lips, their greeting of intimacy. In her chair, watching her mates say goodbye, Nali responded in kind then blew them each a kiss, a physical expression the men had never quite known how to interpret.

Behind her she heard the stirrings of one of the crew and she pressed a button on the console; cutting off the video playback abruptly. Nali quickly wiped her eyes, cleared her throat and turned to see Captain Horn standing there holding her two bags - the contents of which amounted to everything she had left in this life.

“It’s time, Nali,” Horn said quietly.

“Of course, Captain.” The Deltan’s voice was high and clear with only a hint of sadness. She stood and collected the data chip from the station.

“You don’t gotta call me Captain anymore, Nali. You never had to. I hope we can part as friends instead.”

“I’d like that Mr. Horn.” She reached out to accept a bag and extended the other hand to give Horn a parting shake.


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