Home > Fiction > ‘A funny thing happened on the garden path…’ Part 5

‘A funny thing happened on the garden path…’ Part 5

February 2, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Two hundred and sixty-three days after Day 0


Captain Messner sat at his desk on the bridge of the Archimedes, lead frigate of the 22nd Intraplanetary Defense Force, like he had done every day for the last four-hundred-something days. It was one of those days he wished he could have stayed in his room, undisturbed and in bed, maybe with something good to read. He’d always been meaning to finish the e-book his wife had sent him for New Years.


Nothing was happening.


It had finally reached even the densest member among the Archimedes’ skeleton crew that when space was big, it was as proportionately empty. In empty space, nothing happened.


Messner fidgeted in his seat, as he tended to do after long periods of sitting at his desk, required by his rank to be awake, aware and in office for at least eight hours of the ship’s day cycle. His hand accidentally brushed the antique toy spaceship on his desk, drawing his attention toward it.


It was a family heirloom of sorts, a model which spoke only of the old understandings of space travel and while obsolete, Messner liked to keep on his desk as a talking point so new crew members could approach him without being nervous.


The toy had the nerve to include windows in its design, a feature that frustrated Messner endlessly. Windows served two purposes in space; the first being to create a weak point in the structural integrity of the ship. The second to remind anyone who looked out into the vastness of space that they were small, insignificant, and likely to have a nervous breakdown at the realisation.


Had anyone been able to see outside the Archimedes, they would have seen only stars and the single burning sun, Theos, keeping the inhabitants of the twin planets Theos Alpha and Theos Beta alive. The Archimedes was simply one ship in a long line of ships policing the system to prevent any skirmishes from breaking out between the colonies, as their political war over which planet was officially the first and therefore Theos Alpha tended to erupt into actual violence every second or so decade.


Today though, there was no violence. Only trading vessels moving slowly from satellite to satellite.


Navigations Officer Huff broke Messner’s concentration of the history around his antique to alert him of a small anomaly passing through the system. It was small, relatively so compared to the Archimedes according to the size the radar was telling him about the physical form, and giving off heat similar to that of an asteroid. Messner ordered the NO to calculate the predicted trajectory, not that it was necessary to do so, military procedure would have caused Huff to have been halfway through the task already. He was a fine man, one with a career in mind. Unlike the many he had served with who performed their duty only for the civilian rights and retirement money.


It was deemed the anomaly, which was now to be classed as an asteroid of unknown origin, would pass through the system without going significantly near anything important. To be expected, but at least Messner was not required to warn anyone about the object.


As part of his duty, Messner was required to name the asteroid.


He called it ‘Aquitaine’.

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  1. Halcyon
    February 2, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Never thought about that window issue when spaceships~

    • February 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      Yeah, otherwise you might accidentally the whole ship.

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