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Another Step Along the Way

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    Senior Member

  • Game Masters
  • 275 posts
Science Ship Pythia
Deep Space

Eric sat in the near darkness of his room studying the three dimensional star guide in front of him. Following his hand movements the chart rotated and twisted, giving him a different vantage point. With a sigh of disgust he tossed it aside and moved to the next set.

Almost silently the door hissed open behind him. Only three people on this ship had access to his room, and he was one of them.

“Still searching?”

“Always” he said without turning his focus away from the current model.

Meg placed the second of the two cups of coffee she had carried in down on the table to Eric’s right. She walked around behind his chair, taking in the holo projection. “Billions of stars and you are looking for three specific ones in a specific configuration.”

“You think that would make it easy, wouldn’t it?”

“No comment.”

Eric cradled his chin with his left hand and tapped his cheek with his index finger. Meg waited a pregnant moment before she spoke again.


“Because it is important.”

“I mean, why is it important?”

Eric sighed. “I don’t know yet. It is. Something to do with the Project.”

Meg turned away from him at the comment to hide the disgust and anger that swept over her. They were the last two remainders of that awful experiment, now that ‘Pestilence’ and ‘Famine’ were confirmed dead. The ignoble end of those two, and in fact the twenty four others that had come before them, did not bode well for either her or Eric’s fate.

Eric threw another set of stars into the virtual trash can and slumped forward in his chair, grasping his forehead in both hands. This was one of many things he had to do. That it was taking so long…

Meg felt the emotion welling up in Eric. At the conclusion of the NUSA Civil War she had finally run him down. Throwing rank and duty aside she had set out to end him, once and for all. Like now she had sorted out his unique energy through the layers of all the other lives at that horrible battle. She had him, broken, beaten, the death stroke at hand.

Illumination had almost come too late.

Eric felt Meg’s weight press into his back, her arms snaking over his shoulders to cradle his head gently. She touched her cheek to his, letting her warmth flow into him. She spoke softly “It will be alright, Eric. Everything will happen as it should.”

Eric smiled, reaching back somewhat awkwardly with his right arm to return Meg’s embrace. “I know. Thanks.”

The moment passed. Clarity gripped Eric as new emergent pattern presented itself. “Rod. Kes. Dom. Dwer.”

“Your old squad?”

“Yes.” Excitement tinged with anticipation flowed over him, the melancholy of the previous moments all but forgotten. “The old squad. A new squad. It is time to go back.”

Eric stood quickly, gathering himself up and shutting off the display. The room lights came on as quickly as the holo projector faded. He turned with a grin to Meg. “Megadami, I’m going to ask a lot of you. I’m sorry for that.”

Meg blinked rapidly at the change. Living these last two years with Eric had taken some adjustment, but he largely forgot exactly how overwhelming these mood changes of his could be for both their senses. “When have you ever been any less demanding?” she asked mockingly.

“If you weren’t up to the challenge, I wouldn’t ask.”

“Your confidence is endearing.”

“Anyways… I’ll need you to keep on searching out here. Watch over the investigation as you see fit. That needs to be primary.” He picked up several data pads and handed them to Meg. “I need these delivered to people. Mainly N.U.N.I.”

Meg accepted to pads, thumbing through each in turn. She stopped on one of the last ones. “The anomaly? I assume for Doctor Mitsuye?”

Eric stopped in his tracks, going rigid. Meg instantly read the change, the wave of equal parts remorse and regret emanating from Eric. She knew she had inadvertently opened an old wound.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright. Really.”

Meg clasped Eric’s hand in both of hers, guiding him to turn to face her. “No, I know it isn’t.”

Eric smiled weakly. “You know me so well.”

“Yes. You made a choice. Right or wrong, you made it. The alternatives…”

“…are just that, alternatives.”

Meg brought her hand up to cup the side of Eric’s face. “You take too much, Eric.”

“Always will.”

“At least this information will let Heather go home.”

“It doesn’t seem like enough.”

“Don’t you be petulant with me” Meg started in her semi-mocking tone. She held up the data pad to emphasize her point. “With the good Doctor or with that other frigid bitch maybe, but not me.”

“Perish the thought.”

“I’ll make sure the information gets to her, and it goes through enough hands that she won’t be sure it came from us.”


“You really don’t want to see her?”

“Dr. Mitsuye needs to concentrate on other issues, as do I.”

“I didn’t mean that her.” Meg dumped the stack of pads into a nap sack. “You’re leaving right now, aren’t you?”

“A quick jump to Eden, I’ll disembark with normal commercial traffic. Keep the ship safe in my absence.”

“You are NOT taking my Phoenix.”

“Now why would I take that NUSA variable piece of shit?”

Meg cuffed Eric playful upside the back of his head. “Remember, sweetie, your ass belongs to me.”

“Keep dreaming. No, I’m going to take one of the shuttles.” Eric paused for a moment. “There is… one more thing.”


“If it comes to it, you have to make sure Ryu Connor, Roderick Swee and Kesendra Vrelkas survive.”


“Just promise me that, Meg.”

Meg closed her eyes. She could feel the conviction in Eric, the utter seriousness the drowned out any dissenting opinion. “Of course, Eric.”

“Thank you. I’ll be back soon.”

Meg waited in Eric’s quarters for a full hour after his departure until she felt the first welling of a tear.


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