07 Sep

Completeness

Captain's log, 20:18, 22 February 2214
Location: Junkpile, Lambda 1 system
Status: Stationary
Log recorded: Med Bay, inside isolation curtain

 

This is Captain Warwick reporting. I am no longer the ex-captain of the Starwalker: for the past two weeks, I have been back in command, though until yesterday I was too unconscious to know it. Chief Cameron and Starry have been filling in for me.

I reviewed the logs of our retaking of the ship and I can find no fault with what happened; like any plan, it lasted only as long as it took us to initiate it. I don’t think there’s any need or reason for recriminations; everyone’s aware of the things we could have done better and we’re all trying to move on now.

The good news is that we succeeded in freeing the ship from the pirates and are back in control. The bad news is that we paid a high price in the process. Two crewmembers in stasis, the rest injured, and me… well.

Starry wouldn’t show me the logs of what happened on the Bridge. I remember the bomb going off but I don’t remember being hit. I heard Starry screaming and then everything stopped.

I’m told that I had some serious internal injuries. Most of it is healed now; just some damage to my liver and kidneys left to knit back together. A few more days and it’ll be fine. Those are the easy parts to fix.

I can’t feel my right arm or shoulder. The new medic, Dr Valdimir, says that he blocked the nerves to keep me comfortable. The cap over the place where… where my arm used to be is designed to keep it in the best condition for a replacement. That means that it prevents healing to prevent scarring, keeping the wound as raw as possible. Under it, I think the nerves are all screeching. All to make it easier to reattach what I’m missing. I’m glad I can’t feel it.

If I don’t look at it, I can pretend that it’s still there. It’s just numb, as if I’ve slept wrong. I guess that’s part of why the doctor put my shoulder to sleep, too: something about neural shock and not letting cerebral pathways adjust.

Starry and the crew are worried about how I’ll react to losing my arm. I think they’re waiting for me to shout or break down into tears, and honestly, I’m surprised that I haven’t. Yet. Perhaps that part is still coming.

I felt fine until Valdimir asked me if I wanted my own arm back or a cybernetic replacement. That’s the closest I’ve come to vomiting since I stopped drinking, and it took an hour for my left hand to stop shaking, as if it was afraid I’d lose it too.

Valdimir left me alone after that. He’s not happy about me being awake and I wonder about his motives.

Starry told me about Is-Tech’s refusal to help us with our medical needs. She sounded so furious that I’m led to wonder what they said to her and just how desperate she was to bring us here. She won’t talk about why she’s so upset; when I ask, she changes the subject and starts talking about what we’re going to do next.

The question about where we should go is not an easy one to answer. Is-Tech has given us funds and guidance, but I don’t think anyone is convinced of the value of their gifts yet. Time travel seems to be the safest option, but there are some technical issues that Lorena needs to clarify before we can make a decision. I haven’t had a chance to talk to her yet; there has been a lot of catching up to do, and Starry has insisted that I get a lot of rest, even though I’ve been asleep for two weeks.

To tell the truth, I’m not sure why she woke me up. She seems to know what she has to do and Cameron is more than capable in my absence. I get the feeling that Starry has made most of the pressing decisions already and just needs me to rubber-stamp them for her. There’s still enough programming in her to want a captain to lead, even if it’s in name only.

I don’t think she’s told me everything she has in mind. I know that she’s got the heavy drones out in the debris field, scavenging parts. She says that she has outstanding repairs to make before we go anywhere and she won’t miss out on such a rich source of supplies, even if it is all old, broken, or decommissioned. Her maintenance drones are nowhere to be seen, catching up on the work that built up while they were busy looking after me and the Lieutenant.

I was surprised to find Lieutenant Laurence here in Med Bay when I woke up. All of the other injuries have been dealt with and the rest of the pirates are down in a cargo bay but, like me, the Lieutenant suffered too much for Starry’s facilities to fix. He sustained damage to the cybernetics in his shoulder and legs, and several of the implants had to be deactivated before they did something permanent to him. He can’t walk until they’re repaired, which will take a cybernetic technician; Dr Maletz could have done it (it’s one of his specialities) but Dr Valdimir’s skills are purely biological (and, interestingly, psychological).

I think Starry has been talking to the Lieutenant privately, inside his isolation curtain. I caught a thoughtful look on his face after it dissolved earlier. I must ask Starry what that was about, add it to my growing list of things to check into. Only two weeks and there’s so much I’ve missed.

I haven’t had a chance to do more than a cursory check of the new crewmembers’ files. Starry is nervous of them, which is natural considering our track record, and she’s not the only one. Cameron is wary for security reasons, while Lorena is worried that they’ve been sent to spy on the project. I’m convinced that Is-Tech has an ulterior motive behind sending them; or at least, behind choosing these people for these roles. From what I’ve seen, they have the skills that Is-Tech need on board rather than what we need to replace missing crewmembers.

Is-Tech. They lied when they hired us, lied to the Judiciary, and now they’re leaving us out here on our own. I can understand their corporate position but that doesn’t make my job as captain any easier. I’m expecting an Is-Tech ship to turn up at any moment and ask us why we haven’t left, like they told us to. I’m not sure what to tell them but I think Starry has a few ideas. I’m tempted to let her speak her mind, too.

She seems different now, even under her anger. It’s hard to say what’s changed but she’s not the same ship who dwelt under a pirate yoke. What else am I missing?

 

ELLIOTT: (over internal comms, from inside Med Bay) Hey captain, you decent?

CAPTAIN: (looks down at himself, sitting in the bed with a sheet pulled up to his waist. Medical patches dot his torso, monitoring and regulating his body, and a plain white cap covers the stump of his right arm just below the shoulder. Otherwise, he’s bare.) Yes.

 

ELLIOTT: (steps through the isolation curtain and eyes the captain uncertainly) You got a minute?

CAPT: (waves away the holographic display hovering above his lap) Of course, Monaghan. What is it?

ELLIOTT: (glances at the shimmering blue drop of the light curtain) Have you, uh. Seen Starry’s avatar since you woke up?

CAPT: (frowns and shakes his head) No, not any of the times she’s spoken to me. Why?

ELLIOTT: I was just– see, Lang Lang said something yesterday about how she missed seeing the avatar. That got me thinking, and I asked a couple of the others, but…

CAPT: But what?

ELLIOTT: No-one’s seen it since we took the ship back.

CAPT: Have you asked her about it?

ELLIOTT: (shifts his weight) No. Are you kidding? She’s so touchy as it is, with all this shit from Feras.

CAPT: What do you think the problem is?

ELLIOTT: (frowns at the toes of his boots) I dunno. (A silence falls between them, pressing until he goes on.) She usually only hides like that when she’s upset.

CAPT: This was before we got to Feras? Do you know why she’s upset?

ELLIOTT: How would I know that?

CAPT: She talks to you more than the others. You know her.

ELLIOTT: (shifts his weight) Oh. Well, uh. It’s probably because of what happened. With Maletz and Wong and… (He glances at the captain’s right shoulder.) …everything.

CAPT: She’s blaming herself?

ELLIOTT: What do you think?

CAPT: (nodding) And being turned away by Is-Tech isn’t helping.

ELLIOTT: More like the last straw. Fuckers.

CAPT: I see.

ELLIOTT: So, uh. Just thought you should know. You can do something about it, right?

CAPT: I’ll do what I can. You should try too, Monaghan. You might have better luck than me.

ELLIOTT: (stares at the captain) Me?

CAPT: Yes. She’s very attached to you. Respects your opinion.

ELLIOTT: She’s attached to the whole crew same as me.

CAPT: (smiles quietly) Really?

ELLIOTT: (rubs the back of his neck) Well. Um. If you say so.

CAPT: Just be her friend.

ELLIOTT: (flips a sloppy salute) Aye aye, cap’n. (He huffs a sigh and heads out of the isolation curtain’s bounds. The projection ripples in his wake.)

 

That isn’t a good sign. Once we got over the shock of the avatar (especially because it looks so much like Danika), we were pleased for her. It helps her to connect to the crew more. Regular AIs might not have them – and shouldn’t, if the experts in computers and crew interactions are to be believed – but Starry is anything but regular.

It’s worrying that she isn’t using it now. She has changed so much since she was activated and I can’t help but wonder what – or who – she is turning into. How many more ways can she change before she is who she should be? It’s easy to forget that she’s only a year old; that’s not much time to figure out your place in the world.

And who does she have to guide her? Is that why she woke me up: because she’s afraid of what’s happening to her and needs someone to make sure she doesn’t become someone she doesn’t want to be? Or is it just that Is-Tech wanted to give her a new captain and she had to show them that they didn’t need to?

I thought that there was something hard under her anger and that’s what was different about her, but now I’m not so sure. She’s more fragile than she looks: soft inside her metal shell.

Starry and I make a strange pair. We are weak and strong in opposite ways, physical and emotional. That’s part of what she needs from me: balance.

I have a ship who needs emotional support. Put in those words, it sounds ridiculous, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Once upon a time, I had a lover who gave that to me, who was strong when I was weak. Now there’s a part of her that has lost its way and I must return the favour. There’s a beautiful karma in that.

Besides, if I’m busy, I’ll have less time to think about my situation and the choice I’ll have to make about my arm.

 

CAPT: (takes a breath) Starry?

STARRY: (voice only) Yes, captain?

CAPT: I need you to give me a full situation report.

STARRY: All right. (Holographic readout displays ripple onto the air above and around the captain’s bed.) Where do you want to start?

 

End log.

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5 Responses to “Completeness”

  1. mjkj Says:

    Awwww…

    Indeed she needs emotional support 🙂

    *gives Starry many hugs* 😀

    Wow, she must be in so much inner turmoil – I hope the captain can smooth that out a bit…

    So, is Starry manifesting a hologram (or even multiple ones) of herself right at the end? – or are those holographic displays coming alive only for the status reports?

    *looking forward to the next updates*

    mjkj

  2. Targetdrone Says:

    @mjkj – hmm sounds more like holo displays… no avatar

    and i really hope starry gets out of that with her cheerful personality somewhat intact… war can leave bitter scars after all, nothing i’d like her to have…

    on that thought…. might come in handy the new doc also knows his way around psychology… that is , if he is genuine, he might be able to help starry resolve some of her deeper and more personal problems 😉 (and damn… now i have to picture a ship lying down on the couch …..)

  3. Melanie Says:

    mjkj – sorry! The projections at the end are holographic readout displays, not her avatar. I’ll add ‘readout’ in there to make it clearer. 🙂

    Targetdrone – yeah, Starry’s growing up a lot right now. The new doctor might come in useful for her, but the question is: why did Is-Tech send a psychologist?

    Hee hee, a ship on a couch. Hugging a cushion. That’s too cute!

  4. Retsof Says:

    Heh, ship on a couch… I still have to wonder if anything they are scavenging is of the “puts big holes in things” variety. Of course, a big cannon strapped to Starry’s side would mess up her profile pretty bad… I like how Elliot is being all shy about her. The girl went into your [i]brain[/i] man! Get a clue. Too bad she’s in a funk, I hope a chat with the captain can help her out. Erm… there was more I was going to say but I forgot what it was… Ah well, until next time.

  5. mjkj Says:

    Awww … indeed – I would like a picture of that…

    *comforts Starry* I hope she will be all right and comes back to her more cheery and carefree self … and I hope the captain can help her there.

    Thank you, that made it clearer 🙂

    mjkj