Chapter 39 - Arianis

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Terris stared at the magnificent destruction of the singularity.  Red-gold plasma streamed from a destabilized star, reaching out in a beautiful undulating arc toward the event horizon of the black hole.  Around the accretion disc were gasses in a thousand colors, each blending into the next.  Though the young man knew the rate of transfer from star to singularity were awesome, the whole scene appeared to be motionless, like a vivid, textured oil painting upon the velvet canvas of space.

After an appropriate length of time, Silas spoke in a reverent whisper.  "I have to pee."

Captain Valeri punched the pirate in the shoulder blade.  The strike was playful but caused the man to stagger forward a step.  "Where is your sense of occasion, Wolf?" She demanded.

"Apologies, fine lady."  He grinned.  "Mother Nature cares not for such trifles."  He threw a hand over his shoulder as he departed, indicating the monstrous spectacle beyond the ship. He turned at the head of the catwalk and pointed to Terris, backpedaling as he shouted.  "Avis is mine."

Terris nodded his response and focused on Haden who answered his unspoken question.

"No communications.  I'm not registering life anywhere in the solar system.  No asteroid field.  No planets.  All Gemini related constructs are absent."

Terris glanced at John and Valeri.

"A little down time wont hurt us." He said. "I'll let you know if anything pops up."  The two exchanged glances and Terris looked back toward Haden, pretending he hadn't seen the silent message.  Withonly a muttered farewell from John , the pair departed.  The pilot watched them go from the corner of his eye, registering the subdued spring in their steps.

"Haden, full stop, please.  If Avis wants us, she knows where we are.  Everyone good?"  Terris asked Haden.

"Marcus, Ghost and Kenos are in medical.  Kenos appears to be studying the appendage collected from the Arian carrier.  Dawn is in pilot's quarters."

"Alright.  I'm,"  His voice faltered as he analyzed Haden's statement.  "Pilot's quarters?"

"Yes, Commander.  Technically, they are your quarters, but Dawn's belongings are within.  She is securing them for storage."  He paused.  "I've asked if she would mind company, Sir."

The young man considered this.  He wasnt really tired and didnt have any other way to pass time.  He really did want to check up on her, though.  "Thank you, Haden."

Almost immediately, her voice sounded over the command deck.  "Terris?  Everything alright?"

He smiled.  "Yes.  Waiting for Avis to make contact and dont know what to do with myself."

"Come visit me.  I'll show you around."

Terris turned and Haden fell into step beside him.  At the base of the catwalk overlooking the hangar bay, the AI veered right toward the sleeper berth.  Though an individual could shower inside the pods, the open room shower to the left provided a more mundane approach.  He felt a twinge of embarassment as he considered his last encounter there.

He paused to examine the sleep pods, his mind considering the charged glance between John and Captain Valeri a few minutes prior. "Haden, could John and Valeri fit into one of these?"

"Hardly, sir.  John can barely breathe inside a sleeping pod, such is his size."  The AI quickly deduced the source of Terris' puzzled expression.  "When passing through the medical bay, a door to the right leads to a three-room convalescent ward.  Recovering patients may rest there, undisturbed."

"You caught the look, too.  I hope they have a good nap."

"I didn't observe any signals, but I have deactivated my sensors in the room they've chosen.  I am well versed in human... sleeping... protocol, but the Captain seems to be excessively vocal."

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