He sat at the head of the table. His mere presence oozed power, strong body language, piercing eye contact and projected speech. The object of everyone’s respect.
“It’s been a long day and I know you’re all eager to finish but as you understand we desperately need a decision on the current situation.”
Everyone at the table showed nervousness. The man to his left twiddled his pen. The only female crossed and uncrossed her legs before standing and confidently saying,
” As it stands captain we have 3 decisions, by moving off course to avoid the object we will be delayed by approximately five days. If, however, we stay on course and allow the debris to clip our left shaft it may set us off track, probably three days, but we may suffer structural damage. The third of course is to simply destroy whatever this rock is.”
She placed down the pile of notes held in her hand and sat down.
The captain – a tall stocky man, rose from his chair in the office-board-room type enclosure. He strode towards the window, stopped, and turned back to his workers still fidgeting at the table.
“Have we determined the existence of any life on this planet Walker?”
Walker, who had previously been occupying himself by alphabetising his notes, was suddenly woken by the bellowing voice. He clumsily stood and pushed his chair away from the table, sliding his thick round glasses further onto the bridge of his nose.
“No sir. Not as yet Sir. Sorry sir.”
“We’ll resume in five minutes” announced the captain.
There were five sat around the large table, all of whom obviously eased as soon as the captain left the room. They began to idly chat about their trivial day spent aboard the craft. The had been travelling for four weeks now, stress, loneliness, lack of communication and homesickness were bringing them all down and it was a struggle to find things to do during their 12 hour shifts.
Although soft at heart, the captain disciplined the crew in order to maintain and get the best of them all; he did not have any personal relationship with any of them. He believed that colleagues and friends should not be mistaken. Lately his dreams had been troubling him. The dreams, obviously as a result of the stress of his demanding job, were vivid and seemed so real. His attention and concentration was now drawn to his vision of the previous night. He dreamt a baby had entered his life. He had never persued the role of a family man, work came before happiness and although he longed for a child he realistically could not have, it reassured him knowing he was saving the lives of hundreds of babies in his day to day business.
He re-entered the meeting room and everyone rose to their feet. Acknowledging the crewmembers he went to his seat and with one direct sweep of his hand he commanded them to sit. Like synchronised, obedient canines they all resumed their position in their seats. Before the captain could get a word in, a short, skeletal looking man slowly stood up,
“Excuse me sir, as course manager and representative of the workers I feel it necessary to inform you that based on professional judgement the destruction of this unknown object would be the most suitable course of action thank you sir.”
After blurting the long sentence, he breathed in deeply and sat down.
“Well! Thank you Crainer!”
The captain turned to Walker,
“No Sir. Still nothing Sir. Better to destroy it Sir.”
“I’d have to agree sir, the structural damage, although potentially minor may affect engine three, by destroying it we stay on track, besides, it really does seem too small to contain a life form.”
“From Penny’s navigational overview, it seems the destruction would be the best option, we can simply blast an NJA 53, nothing more powerful will be needed. We may have some fragments hit the ship, nothing big enough to damage us though.”
The captain didn’t seem to give it a second thought; he looked out into the dark from the window.
She sat in small clinical room. The four white walls had begun to bore her and she turned to look at the cards and flowers well-wishers had bought her on the arrival of her daughter. She picked up a card that had fallen to the floor, she opened it and read the poem;
‘When looking out into the night sky,
See the twinkle in the dark like the twinkle in her eye.
She’ll make your day, week, month and year,
Congratulations your baby girl is here!’
Smiling she replaced the card and reached towards her baby, asleep in a sea of white cotton. She lifted the child to her chest and looked out of the tiny window.
It was dark now, but the stars seemed to shine a thousand rays onto earth. A shooting star caught her eye, it was the biggest, brightest shooting star she had ever seen and almost seemed to be ablaze.
“Look, a shooting star, a good omen Jessica.” She whispered to her baby.
She made a wish on that star, a wish for her baby.
“Hit perfectly captain. Right in the middle captain. Bullseye!”
However, it was approaching fast and they knew that unless something was done it would potentially