Archive for June, 2013

It was a small room. It could charitably be described as “cozy,” though the furniture was a bit sparse for that; there was a smallish set of shelves and an end table, both rather simple in style, the latter sitting beside an armchair that was really the room’s only point of comfort. On the other side of the chair was a small metal rack, with a few cables running over to the wall under a cover strip and diverging from there to different receptacles.

The red panda lowered himself into the chair with some trepidation. It was hardly the first time Alex had been in here; it was just that what he was about to do went so much farther than anything he previously had.

He leaned over the rack to flip a switch on the little box that rested there, snagging a cable that ran from it as he sat back up and settled himself.

Well, the only way to see how well this worked was to try it, right?


There was always life on an Imperial vessel, technically speaking; always someone tending to their duties, always someone ready to respond to any problems that arose. But overall, they kept time with the Imperial capitol, and there was a stretch of time in each “day” when most of the activity slowed down or stopped.

Those quiet watches were Sharim’s favourites. The squirrel was quite fond of his fellow-officers, but the constant flood of distractions that plagued daytime shifts made it hard for him to get real work done; he did his best when he could focus. It had only been natural for him to seek semi-permanent assignment to the nighttime shifts. It was a peaceful time, just him and the machines he tended, as he sorted inventory and did what maintenance he could on his own, with only the hangar’s night watch officer as silent company and occasional spotter.


Work had been, if satisfying, also quite wearying; when Matt’s phone rang well into the evening, not a common occurrence but hardly rare enough to signal something amiss, he wasn’t in a great rush to answer it. So long as he did so before it went to voicemail, no harm done, right?

When, just after the third ring, he saw the name on the display, he snatched the handset in such a rush that he almost sent it flying.

“Hello?” he called, still scrambling to bring it to his ear.


Stormchaser glowered at the bulletin board, tail flicking anxiously behind him. Lead pony. It was a vote of confidence, sure, and he wasn’t going to dismiss that out of hand – but when he’d come to grips with the stiff competition he’d face at the Academy, it had actually sounded somehow restful that he might not have more eyes on him than would be on anypony else.

And now, this: lead pony.

It wasn’t too much of a surprise that he’d be working with Comet Trail – he and the Las Pegasus stallion had been neck-and-neck in everything they’d done at the Academy so far, both at the top of the class in everything but raw speed and not far behind on that, both of them agility fliers. But on reflection, it seemed a little bit weird. Why pair him with someone who was already pretty much a match for him? Why not have him mentor a pony who was struggling to keep up, and put Comet Trail in a similar spot with another such pony?

At least if he’d been put in that kind of spot, sure, he’d still have been saddled with the extra responsibility, but he probably wouldn’t have been scrutinized quite so closely as he would be now that his team was the two best candidates here.


The ship’s bridge wasn’t much of a conference room. For that matter, it wasn’t much of a bridge – civilian vessels didn’t need all that much as it was, and in this case, auxiliary displays and a few secondary stations had been shut down and stripped for parts to keep more essential things running. But it was an even worse conference room, with crash chairs and consoles cluttering the open space. The only reason there was enough room for everyone present to sit facing one another was that the engineer was small enough to perch on top of a console.

In fairness, part of the reason for that was that their security chief and loadmaster took up as much space as any two of the others. Kirrik could have sat in his lap, but the Trygg didn’t really want to draw any more attention to their unconventional arrangement than might already be upon it, not during anything remotely official anyway.