Sunday, December 30, 2012

Star Traveler - Special Delivery: Recovery



     I stood outside the shower in my cabin and looked at myself in the mirror. I look a damn sight better than I did two weeks ago when I first came back on board. The meditation, vigorous exercise and limited drugs have done their work. I have some color in my cheeks and when I stepped on the scale and found myself two pounds lighter, there was a smile on my face. I have confidence I am going to get through this. There hasn’t been a nightmare in sight since starting Dr. Morie’s regiment. I think the Doc knows what he’s doing.
     I’m going to get a new haircut when we reach the artist colony. Maybe a new black spacer suit to go with the cool leather boots with all the buckles my crew gave me for Christmas. Nothing makes a girl feel better than some new duds. Forget ‘you are what you eat.” ‘You are what you wear!” Clothes do make the woman in my book.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Star Travelers - Special Delivery: Stray Bot



“Sam, there is a bot in the hallway outside the lounge,” I called to my security/maintenance chief. “Is there anything I need to know?” It wasn’t a normal occurrence to see one of his bots just sitting – not doing anything as far as I could see.
“Nothing to concern yourself about, Captain,” Sam answered. “Just doing an electrical upgrade to the vid system. Didn’t want you to walk into a mess, so I put A4 out there to intercept you.”
“I wasn’t headed in, just past,” I explained. “I didn’t know we were due for any upgrades.”
“Something Cassie spotted on the NET last time she was surfing. A bit of a recall issue that I can do a work-around until we get to the Destiny where I can pick up the replacement part,” Sam said.
“Good deal. Will it be done by this evening? I was going to use the lounge for one of Dr. Morie’s biofeedback trainings.”
“I’ll have it ready by 1900. Will that do?”
“Fine. Thanks for staying on top of things.”
As I walked away the bot slipped silently in the door through a crack just big enough to accommodate its width.

*****

“Merry Christmas!” My crew all sang in unison.
I was standing in the doorway to the lounge totally shocked into speechlessness.
The room had been transformed into a winter wonderland. In the far corner were a group of three trees in graduating sizes all covered in snow, decorated in small twinkle lights with glass icicles hanging from each limb. The carpet was covered with some sort of artificial snow that felt and crunched so realistically under my boots that I expected it to be wet when I reached down to touch it – it wasn’t. When I raised back up it was snowing on me, but not sticking or getting me wet. Sam must have installed some sort of simple imaging chamber unit. There now was a fireplace in the room where there had been a vid consol. It crackled and actually gave off a wood smell and heat. A plate of Christmas cookies and a mug of hot chocolate were sitting temptingly by my chair.
“Isn’t it wonderful?” Cassie gushed. “It was Ma-rye-a’s idea, but I did the shopping.”
“Sam set it all up,” Ma-rye-a explained.
“We were so afraid you would want to come in when you found the bot outside the door this morning,” Moby said.
“We all thought you wouldn’t mind us spending some of your credits for the surprise. I authorized it,” Horus confessed. “If you don’t like it…”
It wasn’t that I didn’t like it. I loved it. I could hardly talk for the lump of emotion in my throat.
“I love it,” I finally choked out. “I lost track of time. I had no idea it was Christmas.”
“That’s what you get when you stay plant bound too long and don’t have a ship’s log to keep up,” Ma-rye-a gently chastised.
A tear rolled involuntarily down one of my cheeks. I wiped at it with my hand. Something bumped my foot. When I looked down it was A4 with a box of tissues on his back.
“We knew you would need some,” Sam explained.
“Let’s open presents,” Cassie sang excitedly.
I hadn’t even noticed there was a pile of packages by my chair all dressed up with ribbons and bows. This was going to be a Christmas to remember.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Star Traveler - Special Delivery: Just two little pills



I stood holding the two pills in my hand, a glass of water in the other.
“Go ahead and take them,” Ma-rye-a coached. “We’ll watch over things while you sleep.”
I only hesitate an instant. I down them before I change my mind. It has been ages since I had a good night’s sleep, free of nightmares.
Ma-rye-a turned on Dr. Morie’s meditation/relaxation recording. He was giving instructions to lie down and relax. His voice was soothing as he started at the top of my head and worked his way down describing the act of releasing tension one body part at a time.
“Breath in cool, calm air… Breath out warm, tension filled air.”
The sound of ocean waves as the undercurrent to his soft voice eased me slowly and gently to sleep. It would be the first time in over three months I slept without waking up in a cold sweat. Bless you Daniel. Good and honest friends are hard to find.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Star Traveler - Special Delivery: Back on board



“It is so good to have you back onboard.” Cassie almost cooed. “There hasn’t been anyone to share with in ages.”
I feel mean leaving my crew for so long unattended. I know many people would say I am giving them feelings they don’t have as AI’s, but they would be wrong. I honestly believe Daniel managed to endow my crew with feelings for me and each other. The only thing they lack is the tactile. Disembodied voices cannot give you a hug when you’re down. Sometimes a person just needs the human touch.
“I’m glad to be back and sorry I left you all so abruptly,” I apologized.
“It’s all right,” Horus said in his cultured English accent. I realized I missed that lovely tenor voice. “We all know how much you needed a nice long break.”
One of my favorite cranberry/orange scones appeared in the prep unit at my elbow. Moby was showing his pleasure at having me back by keeping me supplied with loads of tasty munchies and my favorite drinks.
“Thank you, Moby.”
“You’re welcome, Captain.”
“I have the secure storage area in the bay clear, cleaned, and ready to accept cargo,” Sam announced.
“Excellent, Sam.”
I turned my attention to Ma-rye-a. She had been quiet since I came back onboard. I was sure she listened in on Dr. Morie’s and my conversation earlier. I was rough around the edges and soft in the middle during his eval. I knew Ma-rye-a was more aware of how much things got out of hand for me and my emotional state then the rest of the crew.
“Are we ready to head out, Ma-rye-a?”
“On your command,” she replied.
“Take us out then.”
Safely back in the security of my ship, surrounded by my attentive crew. A quick delivery to an exciting locale with interesting people. Things were getting better all the time.

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