Ruis and Samba originally entered Ship
is noted that Our last Captain was an Elder, however,
in accordance with
Our programming, a sufficient time has elapsed that a
new Captain may also
be appointed from the genetic code Elder. Acknowledged
Welcome aboard, Captain."
Ruis stood, stunned, as a square silver door rose upward
quiet whoosh and a ramp angled out and down to his feet.
He'd had no notion
he could be named Captain, the highest rank, still, in
all of Celta. The
highest rank ever held by any ancestor. Captain.
go." Samba wriggled in his arms.
wanted to be of a Command Officer rank so he could access
as much of
the ship as he could to begin with. He'd thought he'd
be a Lieutenant, maybe, then work up to a higher status.
right, we'll go!" He walked up the incline of the
short ramp into a
small spherical room. He looked around the tarnished metal
interior as the
ramp retracted and the door closed behind him.
expeditious access requested?" asked the ship.
didn't know what 'expeditious' meant. He shrugged. "Yes."
a deep breath, he crossed the threshold.
was sucked, Fam and all, by a powerful force up a slanting
screamed. Her shriek rose in volume and intensity until
beyond Ruis' hearing, but still battered his ear drums.
flickered before his head, darkened beneath his feet.
inward on himself, both to protect Samba and because the
tube was narrower
than the stretch of his shoulders.
air rushing by him plugged his ears.
swept around curves, slid through twists, always upward.
heart pounded so hard he thought it might jump from his
wasn't really a splat. More like a whoosh-shump. But it
felt like a
spat. The landing on a springy pad knocked the breath
jumped from his arms and swore, running up and down a
looked twice her size with all her hair sticking out.
Her tail was
Ruis said, feeling incredibly stupid. He rubbed his ears.
popped. Standing, he put a hand on the wall and locked
his knees to stay
upright. This day had wrenched his insides in more ways
metal wall beneath his fingers was warm to his touch.
Too warm for
regular metal, more as if it were truly alive. He curled
his hand and
pulled it away.
glared at him, then stared at the gold marking on the
door in front of him, turned her back, and started grooming.
got the idea she wasn't pleased. No, she didn't even need
to talk, let
alone communicate telepathically. Steadying his breathing,
he squinted at
the golden insignia. "Too dim," he murmured.
shivered. He'd just been reminded in the most basic way
Colonists had come from a yellow-sunned, slightly dimmer
stood and dusted his trous off. The quiet was incredible.
noise. No wind. No insects. No animals.
ears strained to hear other sounds than his own breathing
Nothing. He squared his shoulders. Right. This is what
door was wider than the few others marking the corridor,
and of dark red
wood. Though it shone with polish, the surface wasn't
even, deep gouges
marred the smoothness. The symbol showed the sign for
Captain and Nuada's
Sword -- the Captain's Quarters. From what he understood,
the Captain had a
suite, with visual and audio access to the entire ship,
a tradition the
GreatLords' had continued in their Residences.
go IN!" demanded Samba.
Tuned! Next month an additional curse on the ship -- The