Captain Calvert - "Step in line"

Who: Jed Calvert
Where: Blue Dwarf, Jed's Quarters
When: As the BD was being towed
Jed laid on his back in his quarters underneath a canvas tent. He
picked up a warped bottle of a liquid without a label and tipped it
into his open mouth. The bottle was misshapen from being stored next
to a Gyrodynamic boiler in Engineering for the last several weeks. The
extreme heats had given the moonshine a distinct flavour that made
Calvert wheeze as he swallowed. He sat up and pursed his lips.
"Fry mah hide, that's some good sheet." he said.
He looked around at his living space. The Captains quarters were the
largest on the ship, but Calvert's were definitely not impressive. The
few clothes he had were strewn across the dusty floor, covered by
empty glass bottles. Pizza boxes, empty tin cans and chicken carcasses
had been thrown in the corner, not having the decaying food actually
being thrown on the same pile as his clothes was as tidy as Jed got.
He was going to miss this place. He stood up and walked over to the
window, kicking a few items out of the way first.
His view was actually more magnificent than Seymours. From this
vantage point he could look down over the entire ship, and even
further, he could see the ramscoops protrude out of the Blue Dwarf's
tapered nose. He'd never actually stood there while they'd used the
wormhole, but he expected that the view would be brilliant.
Beyond the Ramscoops was another ship. The JMC Pink Dwarf. He squinted
as he looked at the garish colour. He hated it, and he especially
hated it's Captain. He hated how it remained a blindingly bright pink,
unlike the Blue Dwarf's exterior which was covered in so much space
muck that you could barely see what colour it was supposed to be.
Patterson must give special orders every week for the entire thing to
be cleaned.
The shrill voice of Captain Patterson rang in Jed's ears. He shook his
head to try and forget it.
"The Blue Dwarf will be given a complete overhaul, and the crew will
be replaced. " he had said.
Jed hung his head. Gaining Command of this starship had been the best
opportunity in his life, and now it was getting taken away.
"You and the entire crew that has somehow managed to keep that ship
floating will be left on Earth." Patterson had said.
Jed spat into a pot, half missing. "Earth" he said out loud. "What is
there fer me there? Ah belong out hyar! Amongst the stars!"
He looked in his wallet. He probably wouldn't even be able to afford
the trip to his home planet of New Texas. He hated Earth.
He stood looking at the stars for a few moments, pouring more bitter
alcohol into his mouth.
"How's the grand old duke of York today?" said a female voice beside
him, it was silky and playful.
"Jezus!" Shouted Jed, dropping his bottle. He turned to see a woman,
or... partially see a woman. She was semi transparent but emitting a
glow that was illuminating the entire room. He knew he'd seen her
before. "Whut the hell are you doing in my quarters?" he demanded.
The woman smiled and tipped her head. "Sorry." she said genuinely.
"With the ability to go anywhere, I sometimes forget that people have
their own personal space. Would you like me to go?"
Jed was silent for a moment. "Nah. Yer can stay. It's not like I have
beautiful girls turning up to mah quarters every day." he paused to
consider. "Actually, it's more like every other day... but they're
only beautiful 'cos a'hve been drinking."
"You've been drinking now." Said the woman.
There was a moment of silence as she brushed back her curly golden
hair. It would be misleading to say that her hair glowed, because it
did – as did her entire body. She was wearing the same flowing white
dress as when Jed last saw her on the hillside those few years ago.
"So do you remember what I told you last time I met you? I said-"
"Ahm still human." Jed finished. "Ah remember."
"Oh, so you call this living like a human?" she said, waving around at
the mess.
"Hey! Ah'm the Captain, ah can do what ah darn well please!"
The woman smiled. "And you do."
Jed leaned against the window and rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
"Actually yer words stayed with me... 'specially when ah first saw yer."
She nodded quietly.
"What happened to me... it... it changed me." He picked up the bottle
he'd dropped and swilled the contents around his mouth. "Ah can still
taste it."
She gave him a knowing smile. "I know."
Jed gave her a sideways glance and raised his voice. "How can you
know?" he threw down the bottle in rage and it smashed on the floor.
"How do you know what it gorram feels like? Eh?"
She quietly looked down at the ground.
"Who are yer anyway? Turnin' up 'ere and talkin' to me about the past.
Something I've not told anyone!"
"I've been watching you for a while. I just want you to make the
correct decisions."
"Oh so yer some kind of mystical second-guesser?! Well ah don't need
yer. Ya hear?"
She looked up. "Alright. We've been watching your career and very soon
you'll have to make a big decision. Something that will affect the
lives of everyone on your crew, and all of history from that point."
Jed shrugged. "That's whut being Captain's all about right? Making
"Making the 'right' decisions yes. This affects the entire of the JMC,
and the Space Corps."
Jed shrugged again. "And? They're the ones towing me back to that
crummy planet for this hyar ship to be disbanded. Ah owe them nuthin'."
"You ordered some of your crew to sabotage another JMC ship."
"A stowaway and a cleaner. Nobody can prove they work for me." Jed
"Yes, but where will you draw the line? When you get your crew back
you'll command them to attack the Pink Dwarf won't you?"
Jed folded his arms.
"Won't you?" she repeated.
"Ah was thinking about it." Jed admitted.
"But what about the crew onboard? You'll all be criminals. The JMC
will send the Space Corps after you."
Jed shrugged. "We'll see when it comes to it." he said. Then he
unfolded his arms and raised an accusing finger towards the woman.
"When ah last saw yer..." he started. "I asked if you were an angel,
and you said yes."
"I didn't say 'yes' as such."
"You admitted it though!" he accused.
"Well yes. It was easier at the time." her silky voice sounded
panicked. She took as step back as he moved closer to her.
"But you're not are you? You're some kind of trick, some hologram
working for the JMC, making sure I step in line and be a good little
Captain." He stepped closer and she backed further away.
"No. Not a hologram. Please, just listen to me and do what I say."
"Well I 'aint playing yer little games missy. You don't impress me.
Ah'm gonna do what I wanna do."
"You're making a mistake." she warned him.
"Oh am I?"
He jumped towards her to grab her arms, but as he touched her glowing
skin he was thrown back as if a meteorite had just hit him. Jed's back
hit the window behind him and he felt a slight crack. He wasn't sure
if it was his back or the glass, but neither was good.
He slid to the ground and collapsed in a pile next the the bottle he'd
smashed earlier. There was a burning feeling from the palms of his
hands. He raised them to look, and saw red scold marks.
The woman stepped closer and towered over him. She looked down and
told him off like a school teacher. "This isn't over. There's someone
coming, I'll be back later."
She clicked her fingers and disappeared, leaving Jed blowing on his
burning hands.
Seconds later the doorbell buzzed and Efof walked in. "The vending
machines are locked down. I just wondered if you wanted some of my
sandwich." he extended some sweaty bread towards the Captain. "Aww...
I've dropped mayonnaise on the floor. Sorry."

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