Saturday, January 7, 2017

Star Trader Update - Academy Brats .020.2

The parents departed about an hour ago. Everyone had a tour of the ship and were introduced to my crew. I was sure to point out the emergency supply cabinets, inset in the walls of each of the rooms, which contained helmets for everyone.

After I escorted the parents off the ship, I left the kids to settle into their quarters while I checked our time for departure. I told them I would meet them in the vid room in another thirty minutes. I ran the ship on Earth time just for my convenience and to keep my internal clock in sync. Their home planet day was only two hours longer so they shouldn’t experience too much lag.

I wanted to talk to them all together without the parents before we departed – lay some ground rules for the voyage.

“Per your instructions, our passengers are all gathered in the vid room,” Ma-rye-a informed me. “We have clearance to leave on your command.”

“Thank you. I’ll let you know when we’re ready to embark.” I headed for the lounge.

When I arrived, they were all checking out the Comfort chairs. They didn’t really get to try them out when I showed them off to the group earlier. I noticed they had all obediently changed into the spacer suits I provided. All of the suits were black, but trimmed in different colors, so in the case of an emergency I could spot who was who quickly. Mims was trimmed in white, Tiff in pale pink, Drake in pale blue, and Callen in a pale green.

“Morning everyone.” I took my place in front of the huge screen. Ma-rye-a was listening in and immediately displayed our first image behind me – a beautiful nebula we would be passing through on our way to the academy. “I am pleased to see you have all changed into your suits. If you explored your rooms, you found that I have provided you with three suits for the journey. Unless you are showering or sleeping you will be wearing these suits. You should practice getting into them quickly, and you should keep the one you are currently wearing handy on the trunk at the foot of your bed.

“As I explained to your parents while you were given the guided tour of the galley and introduced to Mody and some of his wonderful creations, your suits, in conjunction with the helmets located in each room behind the emergency panels, will protect you for twenty-five hours in total vacuum. Please familiarize yourselves with the location of the panel in each room.” Ma-rye-a displayed a blueprint of the ship behind me with the location of the panels highlighted in red.

“On the sleeve of your suit is a pull cord. If you are jettisoned for any reason, pull that cord and it will emit a continuous distress signal. You can be revived, even if you don’t have a helmet on, after short exposure to space, but we can’t revive you if we can’t locate you.”

“Don’t you think this is a little overkill? I mean, we are just on a joy ride to the academy.” Drake piped up. He was frowning. He looked around at the formally happy faces sitting in their new gaming chairs.

He wasn’t being a boisterous jock. He was trying to lighten the mood for his friends who looked apprehensive.

“I have found space is a very unpredictable place.” I tried to give them my experienced Captain look. “I don’t want to frighten anyone, but I like to be prepared.”

“It is good to be prepared,” Mims spoke up. “I for one, feel much more comfortable knowing what to do if a crisis arises.”

Well, Mims was a little suck up, but I was not going to complain. In this case, it was nice to have her take my side. Her boyfriend gave off an invincible attitude. Callen looked a bit apprehensive and Tiff was sitting on the edge of her chair.

“Really there are only three rules to follow aboard my ship.” I wanted them all to be comfortable and I wanted to be their friend for the next four weeks, but it was also my duty and responsibility to see them safely from Point A to Point B. “All three rules are for your safety.” I held up one finger for emphasis. “Number one: Do what I say, or what I say through my crew giving you instructions.” I started to tick them off with another raised finger. “Number two: Do whatever we say quickly and without question. And finally, Number three: help each other if there is an emergency. Understood?”

Drake nodded, Mims said, ‘understood,’ Tiff spouted, ‘aye, aye sir,’ but Callen didn’t respond. He was lost in his own thoughts as he picked at the stitching on his Comfort chair.


He looked up and nodded. “Sure.”

With that out of the way I moved on to more pleasant conversation. “Have any of you ever taken a space trip before?”

Our jock immediately spoke up, “I’ve been on lots of trips to games and my folks vacation regularly in the Vibrid Belt.”

So, the eldest was well traveled in his galaxy anyway.

“I have been to the Vibrid Belt too, but never out of the galaxy.” Mims smiled. “We took a trip to Novus 2 once. It’s a Rec planet. Lots to see and do.”

Rec planets seemed to be the ‘in thing’ in galaxies that had more than one Class M planet in their system. Some big corporation, usually M-Tech, would lease the planet from whoever claimed it initially and turn it into a recreational facility with all the latest tech, exhibits and rides. I heard from some of my trading buddies before I came on this mission that I should take the time to visit Novus 2 before I finished up my assignment. It was one of the newer Rec Planets. One friend said it had a great Mesozoic Era exhibit area with all the latest gizmos, including a full-on hunting experience with a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a herd of Edmontosaurus. The dinosaurs were not real. That kind of genetic tinkering was outlawed long ago, but they had really improved the animatronics of large exhibits like that over the years. They could be very realistic looking.

“I’ve been to some concerts off world and to Novus 2.” Tiff shrugged. “I think practically everyone has. It’s so close. You can go for a weekend.”

Callen even had something to contribute on this subject. “Antons’ parents took us there. We really enjoyed it.”

“Well, then, this is good news. You are all experienced space travelers.” Ma-rye-a threw a chart up for me to show them points of interest along the way. “We will pass by Novus 2 and 1 on our way out of the galaxy. We’ll make it to the edge of the Falstaff Nebula where we will take a jump through a Window making it in plenty of time to get you enrolled in the Galactic Academy for next term.

“So, none of you have ever made a ‘jump?’” I asked to confirm. There would have been no reason to jump in this small a galaxy.

They looked at me with shocked faces.

Mims was the first to form words. “My father always says you shouldn’t ‘jump’ through space windows.”

“Did our parents know about this?” Drake demanded in a tone verging on belligerence.

“I logged my flight plan with the NET, per Regs. Your parents had an opportunity to review and comment, or log an objection. They didn’t.” I rested my hand on my blaster, not that I would have ever considered using it on one of the kids, but I was not going to allow anyone to think I was soft and they could gang up on me and mutiny.

“What’s the matter, Drake? Afraid of a little ‘jump?’” Callen’s voice had an edge to it. It was a challenge.

I was immediately aware these two had history that was not in their dossier. If Drake would have been a Dar-dolf I would have seen his hackles raise.

“All that could go wrong is a Free Rider floating at the exit and we all go splat in a major collision that condemns us to be floating space debris for eternity.”

Drake was coming up out of his chair.

“That’s enough!” I said, as I stepped forward and put my hand on Drake’s shoulder. Luckily, he was off balance and I easily forced him back into his chair. “There will be no ‘splatting’ on my watch. I have been through this window many times. It is well traveled and therefore inspected on a regular basis by Galactic Forces. There won’t be an incident, but it will be an exhilarating ride and I want you all to take a ‘MoRem’ or motion remedy before we jump so you won’t have any unpleasant side effects.”

Callen grinned tauntingly at Drake. I wondered if they would be okay in their bedroom together. What was the issue between them? I would have Sam and Horus monitor the room closely for any sign of disturbance.

“That’s it for now.” I stepped back from Drake and he remained seated. “Make yourself at home. If I am not available, you can call for any of my crew and they will be happy to assist you.”

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