Stranded

Science Fiction.

A group of people, heading towards the Gathering of all the families, go through an unstable Nexus point into an uncharted region of space where they discover their ancient roots, lost in the passages of time until now.

Status: Rough plotting, but needs a seriously detailed plot outline. Have a few scenes written, but nothing more.

*****

“You don’t have to manhandle it, you know,” screamed Charla.  “The damn thing is already broken.”  Blood clotted just below her nostrils, more blood staining her bright blue uniform.

A man, grey hair at his temples, stood to the side as the doctor straightened her nose.  He folded his arms in front of him.  “What was it this time?  Insubordination?  Merely having an opinion contrary to your own?  What?”

“An opinion contrary to my own?  Is that what you think this is?” asked Charla.  She brushed the doctor aside and stood up, squarely facing the captain of the Jona.  “Do you have even a little bit of a clue what Raiph is like when no one else is around?”

He rolled his eyes.  “Not this again, Charla.  We’ve settled this…”

She scrunched her eyes.  “Have we?  Galen?  From what I recall, he offered to marry me, a solution you found acceptable, but I did not.  And still do not.  Do you know how he tries to manhandle me?  Do you find it acceptable behavior that he tries to assault me?”

“There’s no proof that he’s ever attempted to assault you…”

“And because I’m your daughter, you can’t possibly find it in you to give me the benefit of the doubt.  Because that wouldn’t be fair to him.”  She shook her head in disgust, then hopped back on the examining table.

“The Gathering is a good time to find you a mate, one with his own ship.  Then you won’t have to put up with Raiph any more.  Or me.”

She shook her head.  “Galen.  Father.  You wouldn’t be saying that if mom were still around.  You know that I’d make a better captain than Ghai ever will.  But you’re bent on the old ways.  Just because he’s older.”

“This isn’t the time or the place for that argument, Charla.  But at Gathering, we will find you a husband.  It’s time for a solution.”

“You could always sell Raiph’s contract.  Oh wait, you can’t.  No one else wants him on their ship, either.” She sneered.  “Sometimes, Galen, it does actually pay to listen to instinct.  Not everything has to be by the book, logic and reason.  Emotion has its place to.  Mom wouldn’t have liked you tearing your heart out just because she died.  She wouldn’t have…”

“Enough.  You will not speak of her that way.”  Galen had turned white, his lips rimmed with red splotches.  His voice was soft, barely audible.  He turned and left sickbay.

“Angel, you’re an angel.  Thanks for fixing me up.”

Angel smiled.  “You’re welcome.  But please, try not to break it again.  It’s going to ruin your lovely profile.”  Angel was tall, taller than Charla, who already stood taller than many men.  “So what really happened in Engineering?  The unofficial version?”  Angel cleaned up the bandages and detritus left behind after bandaging first Raiph’s wounds and then Charla’s.

“First the whistling and catcalls.”  Charla rolled her eyes.  “You know I wouldn’t deck him over that – it’s not worth my time or energy.  But it’s been progressing.  He grabbed me a few times, and I hit him back.”

“Hmm.  I didn’t see the reports.”

“Because there weren’t any.  As far as I was concerned, it was dealt with unofficially and effectively.”

Angel nodded.  “I can see that.  There was a guy I worked with once…”  Angel smiled.  “But you’ve heard the story.”

“Yeah, guy grabs, you elbow him, he sings soprano.”  Charla and Angel laughed.

“So what happened?”

“I caught him in Recycling, doing what, I have no idea, when he didn’t need to there, and when I asked, he refused to give me an explanation.”  Charla shrugged.

“That sounds a bit odd.”

Charla nodded.  “It is.  I might have let it go, but then he deliberately picked a fight with me.”

Angel frowned.  “Like you caught him off guard and he needed a diversion?”

Charla nodded.  “Which only makes me more suspicious.”

“Naturally.”

“But father won’t want to hear any of this, not until or unless there’s incontrovertible proof.”  Charla stiffened her spine, straightened her shoulders, and put a stern expression on her face in imitation of her father.

“What now?”

“Now I go back there and see what I can figure out.  There has to be a reason for what he was doing.  Mel’s not sick, is she?  None of my readings indicate anything.  Can you run a double check?”

Angel walked over to her desk and sat down. She typed commands into the console and, satisfied, looked back at Charla. “I’ll know soon enough, and as soon as I do, I’ll let you know.But I don’t know how Raiph could make a Jona sick through Recycling, let alone why he’d want to. He knows as well as anyone that if Mel gets sick, then we’re all dead. We’re not close enough to any other Jonas if anything goes seriously wrong.”

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