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I wasn’t sure I was going to make it today. I’ve been so busy the last few days with Round #3 of the Flash Fiction Challenge that I hadn’t gotten anything prepared. Still, I’m under the wire. Our month of sci-fi can continue.

Fleet 9

It was easy to understand their reluctance to seeing one of their own as the killer. God knows, I’d probably be the same way if it was someone I’d known and worked with for years. As the centuries pass, the people on ship had to become like family. Maybe even closer than that. They were your only constant link to time. That had to be hard to face.

On the other hand, I didn’t have that issue. Someone was killing people and the Captain had just painted a target on my forehead. Part of me wanted to smack her for that, but part of me was strangely okay with it. I’ve always been able to think a little clearer when someone is trying to kill me. It’s maybe not the healthiest response, but it’s saved my butt too many times to start grumbling about it now.

I needed to start getting things together. I had a lot of work to do. I had to learn the ship, check it over, prepare for one of the most dangerous maneuvers in space travel, and find and eliminate a list of suspects. Before all that though, I needed a good night’s sleep and a change of clothes.

Right on time, the Captain’s voice broke over the bridge from the intercom. “Bridge, this is the Captain. Mr. Stevens, have someone show Mr. Wade to the Third mate’s cabin and get him some suitable clothes. He’ll be staying with us for awhile.”

The eyes of the bridge crew locked on me. All except for Mr. Stevens. The commander remained at his terminal, seemingly unphased by the order. He keyed a switch. “Aye, ma’am,” he said.

When he looked up and noticed everyone staring in my direction he caught my eye and shrugged. He rapped a knuckle hard against the edge of the console, like an old style nun slapping a ruler down. The effect was immediate. People twitched back to their tasks like I’d never existed. Stevens smiled at me briefly. “Trips,” he barked. “Take the third mate to his cabin and see he’s outfitted properly.”

The dark haired woman stood and grumbled a throaty “Aye, sir.”

She was an impressive woman. Nearly two meters tall and practically rippling with the type of lithe muscle she could only have gotten from years of ballet or years of martial arts practice. She moved gracefully toward the hatch I’d entered from and paused just long enough to grunt at me. I was guessing it wasn’t from ballet.