Thursday, October 10, 2019

ItB 001: Mourning Has Broken


Captain Caden Stillwell didn't answer immediately. He was sitting on the floor of scrubroom, letting hot water cascade over his head and sipping occasionally from the contraband bottle in his hand. He recognized the voice, of course, but he wasn't sure whether to be grateful or irritated that Celia had come looking for him.

"How long are you planning to sit in that shower?" She was standing just outside the curtain now.

He brushed the water out of his eyes and looked down at the bottle, then back up at her shadow on the curtain. "Until I use up all the hot water."

There was a long pause, then movement outside the curtain. She couldn't be... that would be... She pulled the curtain back and stepped into the shower with him, every bit as naked as he was. ...insane. She nudged him with her foot and he scooted over; she immediately sat down beside him, one shoulder in the hot shower and the other pressed against the smooth wall. "I know for a fact that the water is heated by a tap from the ship's reactor," she told him. "The Majesty will literally fall apart before you run out of hot water."

"That does put a crimp in my plans." He offered her the bottle and she took it, keeping her thumb over the mouth until it was out of the running water. She took a long pull, then looked at the bottle speculatively. "Good stuff."

"I've been saving it." She handed him back the bottle and he took another drink. "Maybe I'll just stay in here until I finish the bottle."

"Maybe I'll help," Celia said. She looked at him. "You going to be okay after that?"

Caden nodded. "I just need a chance to drown my memories and obliterate my consciousness, and then a solid twenty-four stans of sleep. I'll be fine."

"You'd better be. I'm not taking the Ultima Ratio out without--"

The alarm hit them both at once. The siren in the scrubroom was redundant; the alert and its attendant information came straight through their implants, scrolling orders across the inside of their eyes even as it repeated them into their auditory nerves. They exchanged a glance; then Celia and Caden both were moving, Caden to shut off the water and Celia to scoop up the bottle and slap the lid on it before they charged out to get back into their uniforms.

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