Welcome to the tenth installment of Captain’s Journey, the continuing story of Captain Jaxx.

***

The ship is a looming presence in the hangar.

I stand here transfixed by anticipation. It runs through my body like an overdose of Thelaxian Spice. Every nerve in my body is firing at once but the fear of losing the feeling keeps me from moving even an inch. It has been over a year since I have been on a ship of any sort. I savor the feelings of anxiety and elation that a this new ship engenders. These emotions are tinged with fear as I do not know how this new facet of my existence will change the experience.

I break the spell and take the few short steps to the bulkhead hatch. I lightly lay my hand on the security panel and feel the pulse of the ship as it scans my palm for the first time. The energy output is slight, yet it sends tingles up my arm and down my spine. The door slides open silently and a low warm light shines out from interior of the ship, welcoming. I step inside and feel a pressure that I hadn’t realized existed dissipate. The feeling of relief is almost indescribable. The fear and anxiety that been picking at the edges of my awareness fade under the onslaught of so much positive emotion.

I stand there luxuriating in the feeling of having a ship once again. The hard edge of need, now blunted by the presence of a ship around me. The nervous energy of anticipation begins to build again as I await the final connection. Instead of a slow rolling awareness of the systems and functions of the ship, I am overwhelmed by the appearance of a strong personality within my mind.

“Fuck! You’re alive!”

“Yes sir. I am a Kossun ship. We are all sentient synthetic organisms.”

The veracity of this statement is inescapable as his memories of awakening in a spaceport flood my awareness. The memory of each new emotion experienced is like a burst of joy inside my head. The two strongest that he shares with me are the first trip outside of atmosphere to cruise the infinite silence of space and the moment I stepped foot on board.

I have no time to process this revelation as he bombards me with information. Instead of a stream of data, I get a running commentary along with each system that spring up in my minds eye. The wave of sound that hits me is overwhelming at first. It takes me a moment to compartmentalize each station. As I filter each feed, I see how this will be done automatically when each new crew member is added, provided they are Talented. He will tap into my ability and create a gestalt of every Talented individual on board. Each flow will be directed to the person most suited to handle it. I will be able to enhance the performance of both the being in charge of that station as well as the ships level of responsiveness as well.

The enormity of what we can accomplish is astounding. The need to find a good fit for each position is something that becomes a necessity instead of luxury. If one of the pieces of this puzzle is off, the force multiplier that is present will decrease significantly.

Still reeling from the overwhelming nature of what has just happened, I manage to find my voice. “What is your name?”

“My name is Chikara. It means void-spanner. I thought it appropriate.”

“It is a very good name. My last ship had a similar name. I know that you are very excited to begin our travels, I got that from that big burst of happy you gave me just a moment ago. The thing is, I want you to go into this with your aware of what is in front of us and of what I am capable.”

“I understand. You want to be sure that I am making an informed decision and am not doing something that may possibly be detrimental to my existence.”

“Good. We are on the same page then. I’m going to share with you the events that have led up to our meeting. You follow me so far.”

“Yes.”

“OK. After I share these memories with you, I want you to take some time to think about them. Cogitate upon the consequences that joining up with me. I’ll give you some time to do this. I would say sleep on it but I know that you do not sleep as I understand it. Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

With that one word, I open up. The sharing of the memories is instantaneous yet the pain that is contained within them seems to go on for an eternity. I teeter on the precipice of despair as I complete the transfer.

“It is a lot of baggage that you have to look at and process. I don’t expect you to understand everything. I want you to understand the danger that I and what I am doing entails. I will come back at the beginning of next cycle and ask if you are still up for this journey. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Yes I do Jaxx. Instead of treating me like a thing that has no options, you are treating me like an equal.”

“Good. I will be back soon.”

I turn around and walk out of the ship. The feeling of elation that had buoyed me since coming into the hangar is gone. I keep my back straight and eyes front as I march my way out. Once the door shuts behind me, I slump forward onto my shoulder on the wall in front of me. I may have just lost the first ship that I’ve ever truly wanted with all my heart and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I hope this choice doesn’t break me.”

I push myself off the wall and slowly make my way back to my quarters to wait for Chikara’s response.

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