Life Boat

“What did you do on the ship anyway?” David asked, his voice booming in the confined space.

Bernard grunted. The words trickled out of him slowly like oil spilling from a can. “Engineering. Tinkerer. Making sure things ran properly. Good money. Respectable job. Made the time go quickly.”

“Is that important? Making time go quickly, I mean?”

“Sure. Why not? It’s not like I enjoyed the work.”

“Then why do it at all?”

“Gotta do something. Job is everything.”

David mulled over that for a while and then the younger man asked the question that all young people ask most: “Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why is job everything?”

Bernard scratched at grey stubble on his cheek. “Well. I know who I am, I guess. And when people ask me what I do, I can answer them.”

They were quiet a while, both lost in thought. Each stared to the side of the other’s head, as if trying to see through the walls to the dark beyond. The ambient sounds of the life boat began to press in against both men’s hearing again, until Bernard finally cleared his throat to speak.

“And you, young David? What did you do? I’m guessing kitchen from the looks of your uniform. You a chef?”

David laughed and his laugh had a rusty quality, as if it had been corroded from years of disuse. “Nah. Just a kitchenhand. I was working my passage across to Centauri.”

“And what were you going to do when you got there? Had a job lined up, did you?”

“No.” He thought for a while. “I guess I was going to see what happened.”

Bernard frowned at that but didn’t comment. After several minutes he said, “So. No ambitions beyond kitchenhand?”

David’s almond-shaped eyes flickered to his for a moment then away. “No.” He shrugged. “Just seeing what’s out here.” He gestured at the walls but meant space.

Bernard stretched his back and groaned. “Helluva way to see it.” He slapped the bulkhead above him.

David laughed uneasily again. “Yeah.”

 

It had been nearly a full day since they’d fled the smoke, the panic, bundled themselves into the cramped pod and jettisoned from the ship.

***

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed reading your “one of a kind” story. Keep up the writing, your’e an inspiration to all aspiring writers.

    BTW Star Trek Sci Fi Blog is running a Star Trek Competition. The winner gets three cool dvd box sets. Enter now and make it so!

  2. Thanks man, if I win, I’ll donate them to an American friend (who does the best Kirk voice ever).

    The One of a Kind story is just one of those ‘beginnings’ that comes to you while you’re staring out the window. Once I send the first draft of the novel out to the feedbackers in a month or so, I’ll potter with that story more.

    Take care, man and keep on trekkin’…


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