I’ve changed some names around. I changed Aran’s mother’s name from Zoe back to Danyelle, which was her original name. Danyelle Hawkins is now Summer Hawkins. (I’ve changed her name so many times it isn’t even funny!) I’m currently editing the names in the previous chapters. I’m also currently working on chapter eight, so there may be a few days before the next post. As usual, any feedback would be great. Thanks for reading!
He closed his eyes and fell easily into a deep sleep. Visions of his mother once again flooded his subconscious. Her curly, light brown hair fluttered gently around the nape of her neck and shoulders. Her light blue eyes seemed to dance merrily as she smiled at him. The smile quickly faded as her eyes now seemed to plead with him. The sadness they now invoked began to gnaw at his insides. Tears began to fall as she mouthed words he couldn’t make out. He strained his ears to catch any sound but it was still to no avail. Aran then took a deep breath and relaxed as he tried to center on her features once more. As he took another deep breath a small, faint voice whispered into his ears.
Aran gave her a quizzical look as if to say “what.” She seemed to perk up at the thought she was finally getting through to him. Her soft, gentle voice seemed to sigh in relief.
“The jewel of Ananke is on Solundo, the moon of Centratta,” she said, her voice coming in stronger. “The jewel of Ananke leads the way to Aushen.”
“What?” Aran asked as she smiled.
As she did, her features began to fade out and disappear in a light haze. The faint, annoying beep of his alarm finally seemed to get through to him as he groggily sat up in his bed. He rubbed his eyes vigorously as he then shook his head. He tapped it a few times to help clear it up. He easily pushed himself out of bed and walked into his small bathroom to clean up a bit. He heard his door beep as he was washing his face.
“Yeah,” he said as he dried his face off with a towel.
“It’s Hot Rod,” came the reply.
The door slid open, allowing Hot Rod to slowly cross the threshold. He looked a bit unkempt and Aran was sure he wasn’t fully awake, but he was glad Hot Rod was ready to go. He was the best pilot in Starfleet and Aran knew that experience would ultimately be needed.
“You might want to hurry,” Hot Rod told him as Aran finished getting ready. Summer’s waiting for us at the lift and she still doesn’t look happy.”
“She can wait,” Aran replied as he made one last look around to make sure he had everything he needed. “How many times did we have to wait on her?”
“Quite a few,” Hot Rod replied nodding his head in agreement.
They walked out into the corridor as the door slid shut behind them. They turned toward the lift as Aran slung his gear over his shoulder. Summer was still waiting by the lift and Hot Rod was right, she didn’t look very happy. The scowl on her face was flushed so livid that Aran figured it would be best not to say anything to her all. He just nodded in her direction. She returned with one of her own with a nose that was turned upward.
All three entered the lift, with Aran touching the inside console. The lift doors slid shut and the familiar whir sounded as they were taken down to the ground floor of the general quarters complex, where a drop ship was waiting for them outside the complex. Ramon stood by the drop ship talking with Dessie and Lieutenant Gomas. He noticed the three of them walking towards the drop ship and quickly took a quick look at trio. As his eyes swept over them, the look on his face was becoming less assuring. Aran was sure the sight of Summer’s eyes being somewhat puffy-eyed and Hot Rod looking somewhat unkempt probably did not look to endearing.
“Oh look, the welcoming committee, “Hot Rod commented under his breath.
Aran tried to suppress a grin at Hot Rod’s comment but wasn’t for sure if it had been successful. He was sure his friend was not expecting Ramon to be there to see them off. Aran was also sure Hot Rod would be blaming him for this later.
“Morning, Admiral, “ Aran said offering his hand for Ramon to shake, which he did. “I do believe we’re waiting on Av and then we’ll be ready to shove off.”
Aran saw the dissatisfaction in Ramon’s eyes as he looked at all of them. He turned and spoke to Lieutenant Gomas and shook his hand before the Lieutenant walked up the ramp into the shuttle, followed by Dessie. Ramon then turned back to the three of them.
“I hope none of you are taking this lightly,“ he told them. “This mission is both important and critical. You don’t have time for hurt feelings or foolish behavior. If any of you have a problem with that, then leave right now. I will find you an assignment you will definitely not like.”
The three of them stood there, stung by the words that came across like the crack of a whip. He then looked directly at Aran when he spoke his next words.
“The conduct of the crew reflects on their commander. I will not tolerate behavior like this.”
“I’m sorry, Sir,” Aran apologized. “It won’t happen again.”
Ramon nodded and gestured for them to board the shuttle. Summer, followed by Hot Rod walked up the ramp while Aran stayed where he was. He checked his wrist-com and then watched Ramon leave the docking bay and take a lift back up into Starfleet Sentral. Growing impatient, he checked his wrist-com again. He knew they were scheduled to leave space-dock in a matter of minutes but Av hadn’t showed. One of the irritant quirks about Av was his tardiness. He was like clockwork in that regard.
“Aran, what’s the holdup?” Hot Rod asked as he walked half way down the ramp.
“Av,” came the reply. “It never fails with him.”
“Just leave him, he’s not that important!” Shouted Summer from inside the shuttle.
The lift doors slid open once again and Av came hurriedly out carrying his gear. Aran gave a great sigh of relief before giving Av a look of deep consternation. Av was still quite agitated about having to go on the mission. The look he shot back at Aran confirmed it.
“Oy, I’m coming you sadistic git,” Av retorted. “I swear to me god you’re as dodgy as a Calanian in heat, you bloody swamp donkey!”
“Nice to see you, too, Av” Aran scowled at him as they walked up the ramp.
“Why is it so bloody important fo’ me ta go?” Av asked him. “You never did tell me.”
“Because for one, you’re a damn good engineer,” Aran replied. “And two, I didn’t want you to go and get into some kind of trouble and get booted off of Moon Base.”
Av just snarled as they both took a seat and buckled their selves in. “Ya still a git,” he muttered under his breath.
Aran smiled and shook his head as the ramp closed behind. They both took a seat to the left of the shuttle. He looked up to see who was sitting in front of him. Unfortunately it was Summer and she was giving him a hard blazing look that for the life of him, Aran couldn’t figure out. He still didn’t know why she was so mad at him. He didn’t want to believe it was his promotion to mission commander. If it was, why did she always expect to win every time they were both up for something. He hadn’t expected it, that was for sure. Aran also knew the reasons why and understood them. Apparently Summer didn’t on either account. He only wished they would get along, because they didn’t need any added distractions.
“Engineer? Really?” Av muttered indignantly, breaking Aran out of his thoughts. “”You bloody got me on this suicide mission to engineer? This is a bunch of…”
“Calm down, Av,” Aran told him. “You’ll be impressed with Darkata.”
As Av folded his arms, still muttering obscenities, Aran turned and looked out a small port window and saw the grayish outline of the Montigo, which used to be Ramon’s ship. How long had it been? Three years? Three very long, miserable years since he had been aboard that ship. He could still see Paul’s body being carried out by the medics. He closed his eyes and the memories of that day flashed before him. While in the middle of doing so, Aran felt a firm grasp on his shoulder. Looking up, he saw that it was Hot Rod.
“We’re here,” his friend told him as the shuttle bay doors on space dock slowly opened.
The shuttle slowly eased it’s way in and gently lowered itself down on the bay floor.