Archive for November 28th, 2011

28th November
2011
written by amber

On the Galactic Phoenix

There is nothing so calming on a stressful day than sitting in a darkened lounge watching the stars fly by, Wendy mused. Especially calming was the knowledge that she wouldn’t be disturbed. The Pleiades Lounge was a passenger lounge. The staff lounge didn’t have a view, didn’t have formfit lounge chairs, didn’t have dial-a-drink. But no one – no passenger, no other staff member – would find her here. She was the only one awake.

The Galactic Phoenix carried 100 passengers and 80 staff, all but one slumbering in their cocoons now that the excitement of departure from Oberon Station had ended. That Wendy had been given the first one week shift was an indication of her reliability, first shift was always the busiest, dealing with lots of cocoon problems (most due to the passengers not following the rules) as well as running the regular system checks and inventories.

She’d been on her feet all day and still had a weight anomaly to look into. Phoenix Mind had told her the likely source was in this very lounge. She’d done a quick look-see, then surrendered to the siren call of the formfit chairs and the streaming stars on the other side of the viewing port. She’d dealt with problems like this on other voyages. Once, a passenger had paid the Station crew to secrete a cache of precious metals inside the walls of his cocoon. Not only had the weight discrepancy been detected, but his cocoon malfunctioned, nearly costing the man his life. Every other incident had been what she expected to discover this time – a wonky sensor.

But as she lay in the formfit chair and relaxed deeply, a movement in the corner of the lounge snagged the corner of her eye. Turning to look directly at the source, she saw nothing, but sensed something. Reluctantly levering herself to her feet before the chair was ready to release her, Wendy strode over to the corner, where nothing but shadows could be seen. She reached out and grabbed a shadow made solid, dark air with substance. It struggled in her grasp.

“What are you?” she cried.

The form shimmied, and became visible. A young man in a plated suit. “My name is McCormack. I guess I’m a stowaway,” he told her.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

This story is dedicated to Wendy McCormack, who was the successful bidder at a charity auction at Pure Spec. Watch for further episodes of this story, under the category ‘Phoenix.’