Welcome back to the continuing story to Captain Jaxx. Hope you are enjoying it so far.

***

The silence of the hallway is oppressive.

Where I expect a place full of sound and motion, I am greeted with a long expanse of gleaming metal. There are none of the background sounds that I have come to expect from an installation. There is normally the hum of power flowing through conduits and the trill of a computer somewhere off in the distance. It’s strident cry alerting everyone to its need for their attention.

I step out into this wall of silence. A soft luminescence springs up from the floor and begins to pulse a few feet out from where I am standing.  Alone, but not unobserved, I take a few tentative steps along the corridor and watch as the light continues forward. Feeling more confident that I understand what is expected, I confidently stride deeper into the Kossun  outpost.

The silence extends beyond the physical as well. Any place where sentient species congregate provides a warm blanket of minds to act as a buoy when everything else is bleak. I only know that there are beings here because HAL has told me as much. Their capabilities to shield their presence from even my casual awareness is astounding. That they are able to keep me from accessing the systems of the base is another prodigious feat. As a captain, I integrate immediately with a ship of any size unless forcibly ejected by another Talent similar to mine. The ability to connect with something other than a ship is incredibly difficult and not worth the pain that it takes to accomplish. Yet, without this binding I am usually able to tell the general condition and functioning of systems that are nearby. In this hallway, absolutely nothing.

My footfalls echo as I continue to follow the light onward. Knowing that I am being watched yet having no way of telling is a very strange sensation. I feel very much like an alien creature in the zoo and wonder when the keeper will pull back the curtain to show me the horrified spectators. I keep a tight lid on the anxiety that is building inside. There is nothing that I can do to change what transpires and standing firm in the face of adversity costs me nothing at this juncture.

I have nothing left to lose.

The light meanders on for a good length of time. I pass many doors and connections hallways. The metallic sheen on the walls providing a distorted reflection of myself as the only company on this journey. The light ends at a large round door that is a matte gray. The dull coloration stands out against like a blemish against the gleaming brightness that has filled my vision on the way here. The door irises open into a large hangar bay, the contents of which are not visible from where I stand.

I step onto the hangar floor and feel the vibrations of a welcoming system. The lights spring on as I step further in and several feeds of data spring in front of my minds eye. Despite the warm comfort of being enveloped in an operating hangar, there is only one thing that I can focus on.

In the center of the hangar sits a ship. The physical space that it takes up is palpable to me but the feeling of it within my head is indescribable. Where I have been bonded to ships before and felt like it was a good fit, this puts those memories to shame. Even from a distance I can feel each system on it just effortlessly flow into my Talent. What normally takes me weeks of trial and error, is completed in a mater of seconds. The ship goes from being a thing that occupies space to being an extension of my being. The rightness of the feeling is almost orgasmic in it’s intensity.

I walk up to it and run my hand along the fuselage. The powerful energy of a perfect connection literally glitters along the skin of the ship where I touch it. The look of the ship is unusual but fitting for what I am planning to do. Terran ships are normally colored in a garish fashion to make them stand out among the fleet. Each Captain declaring to the rest his superiority via brutality of the pigment that colors their ship. This ship forgoes these childish theatrics and is covered from stem to stern in an a beam-scattering black.

Human ships are harsh and angular seemingly with the thought that by having a harsh visage they will forestall violence. The beauty that I am caressing has none of this. The harsh angles are replaced by sweeping arcs creating a much more pleasing aesthetic. The bridge sits low on the front like the trunk of a pachyderm. A short neck connects it to the bulk of the ship which has four sets of wings, Each one located equidistant from the other on the front and back of the ship’s body. They each house gravitic drives allowing for silent atmospheric flight. In addition to these, each wing houses photonic cannons the likes of which I have never seen. The range and power usage data that I see on them shows that this ship is much more than just a transport. Despite the military grade weaponry, the ship itself has the cargo capacity to carry one hundred tons. The whole configuration reminds me of a manta ray that I saw at a preserve on Delta Prime. It has that same quiet grace that I associated with that fish swimming in that tank.

I complete my circuit around the ship and stand back to admire what is soon to be my new home. I will be on planets and stations but I can already tell that this ship, it is well and truly home for me.

I toss back my head and trow out my arms and spin around laughing like a child. I spin until the feeling of vertigo forces me to stop and I bend over with my hands on my knees gasping for breath.

“He’s beautiful!”

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