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   Chapter 29 No.29

Black Sunrise By Christina Engela Characters: 5365

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

Fred moved with determination towards the launch bay. He knew where he was going, and it wasn't somewhere on the ship. It was somewhere else, beyond the launch bay. It had taken him this long to find something interesting enough to reinvest his time in, and now that he had, nothing was going to stop him. He'd had enough of traveling the stars now – especially the same old ones over and over again.

He turned a corner, recognizing the off-duty helmsman just as he screamed and fainted. He needed a change in his life. It was like seasons – and that was just his point – there weren't any on a ship. It was the same old thing day after day. There was no change here to keep his biorhythms interested in life, nothing to make his sap flow, to make his xylem and phloem really pulse. No fresh air either, for that matter – except maybe for the breath of it he had when Mei was here – and that's exactly what he wanted back.

The launch bay doors opened for him and Fred kept on going, onto the cold metal deck grid. It seemed the computer was getting used to him. After five years, it was cold comfort. The shuttle had just arrived and the Captain was just walking down the ramp. Johansen still looked a mess. It didn't help his mood much, seeing the plant… walking towards him.

One of the crew on the Lexington had filled him in on current events. Even showed him a video clip of the abortive invasion of Deanna, the super-keg of Sherry landing smack on top of the alien ship, blowing it to smithereens. The Space Fleet crew had gathered round to watch with him – for the umpteenth time – and spent a l

a rather dull example anyway.

The shuttle pilot had come down the ramp and was watching the exchange with interest. The Captain had just finished shaking – um – extremities, with Fred. It looked kind of weird. Having his hand gripped – and firmly – by moving branches was even weirder for Johanssen. It was creeper – uh, creepy. The pilot was a moonlighter – a graduate professional out to see the universe, have some fun and sow some wild oats. An irritating 21-year old marine biologist from Kentucky back on Earth, he'd already written three White Papers on newly discovered alien species and had already won the Nobel Prize for breeding a strain of transparent blowfish in a fish tank on the rec-dec. "You should see them!" He used to brag to the other crew, who couldn't. Gods only knew what other great things were on their way. Sod.

"Captain?" The young man asked, noting the strange expression on his skipper's face. Johannsen seemed to be resisting an urge to rub his hand on something.

"Gotta go lie down, I'm bushed" He murmured. "What do you want?"

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