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The Morning After

Posted on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 @ 6:16am by Lieutenant JG Philip Hunter
Edited on on Thu Jan 19th, 2017 @ 6:20am

Mission: Shakedown
Location: Main Shuttle Bay

"Sir?"

A voice... far away, as though through a wall.

"Sir?" There, again, a high-pitched voice. Young. "Sir, we've arrived."

Lieutenant Philip Hunter woke with a start, sat up and immediately cursed his poor judgement; a wave of pain and nausea washed over him and knocked him back onto the shuttle's cot.

"Sir, we've..."

"...We've arrived!" Hunter snapped, "I know, I know. Give me... give me a moment."

This time he raised himself up slowly. He was not a graceful sight, his unkempt hair jutted away from his skull like a startled forest, forced into strange shapes by the familiar cold sweat that accompanied his sleep. His uniform was crumpled and hung limply from his skinny frame. He tapped a couple of buttons on the small PADD-like implant adhered to his temple and felt a rush of relief as electrical impulses reigned in his madly firing brain chemistry, restoring order from chaos. When the device had done his job, he eased himself up and made his way to the shuttle's cockpit to see the sleek curves of the USS Armageddon slide into view.

"Isn't she beautiful?" The pilot gushed. Hunter regarded him in astonishment. The pilot caught his eye and pointed, "The ship. Isn't she beautiful?"

"Beautiful? It's a weapon of war, pilot. The Armageddon carries more fighters than shuttles, more phaser arrays than labs, it's designed to reduce the endless variety and complexity of the universe into glowing slag. Beautiful? You may as well fetishize a bomb." Hunter growled.

"But if you feel that way..."

"Why did I apply?" Hunter sighed, then muttered "They were the only ones who'd take me."

The pair were silent as they glided into the thronging heart of the shuttle bay, here shuttles weaved around one another to drop off personnel or supplies whilst workbees finished last-minute repairs. Dozens of crew dashed to and fro, performing an endless variety of little tasks, making the space work like a hive. The pilot exchanged orders with the flight controller and brought them around to an empty space tucked away in the distant corner of the bay. The shuttle swooped into its perch and settled on deck, immediately it was swarmed by technical staff who began making checks and tapping away at PADDs. With a hiss as atmospheres equalised, the aft hatch opened, and Philip was greeted by an officious yeoman who stood bolt upright to attention before holing out a PADD for him to sign.

"Lieutenant Hunter, Sir! Welcome to the USS Armageddon. Please sign here to confirm your arrival and I will escort you to your quarters, sir!" The officer barked and thrust a PADD in Philip's face with a seriousness that made Philip smile. He turned to the pilot, who was smiling himself.

"Good luck, sir." He quipped.

"Thanks," He said, pressing his thumb to the PADD, "I have a feeling I'll need it."

 

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