Joshua ‘Toggs’ FitzPatrick,
Cockpit, 2200, August 12th, 2743.
It was a straight and stead course, as it had been for the past couple of months. Aside from maintaining the current route and navigation system and ensuring nothing out of the ordinary was happening to the ship, he had very little else to do.
During these six months, he had gotten through four books and thirty-two films. He was slowly coming to an end of his fifth book, 2001: A Space odyssey. He found it didn’t actually live up to the hype despite being a book of space age antiquity fiction. “Hitchhiker’s guide is much better.” He said to no one but himself as he set the kindle aside. “Properly shouldn’t be reading stuff like that, considering that we’re going to the planet of the dead.” He joked while the boot steps got louder as they closed in on him.
“Captain wants us all to meet in the map room in twenty minutes.” Nadya leaned against the wall near the hatch, folded her arms across her lean chest. Her deep smooth accent carrying softly, but distinctly across the space.
“And hello to you to kitten.” Josh shifted himself to an upright position, taking his outstretched legs off the control panel. The chair rotated as he came to find Nadya stood before him, always vigilant, always commanding. “What if we suddenly go through a crater field or get caught by a meteor storm? I can’t be dallying with maps while the ship is torn the shreds.”
“Twenty minutes,” she repeated, her gaze turning icier—if that were possible--before turning her back to him, and muttering under her breath. “Plenty of time to take a shower.”
Grabbing his jacket, he dashed out to follow her. “Don’t worry. We haven’t been past anything dangerous in four months; I doubt a black hole will suddenly devour us.”
She said nothing as the pair carried out down the metallic shaft of the ship. Nadya said little, this he was used too. Though he liked to think she had a soft space for him, or she tolerated him. She hadn’t hurt him so he thought he was doing a fine job of not invoking her wraith. “You should be excited; this is a big deal for us. We’re pioneers. Nobody has been to Titan in in years! Now we’re turning up and we get to find what Paladin left behind…”
There was more silence between the two before he spoke in a more hushed, more serious tone.
“…We get to find out why they abandoned it.”
This, was the most intriguing aspect of it all. Josh had always been into the quirky aspects of life, the what and the why. He certainly wasn’t one for conspiracies but Titan had always been interesting to him, it was the chief space-farers ghost-story. He heard it all at the bar’s in the docks on Earth and Mars and every other space station. Each one had a theory; each one had a tale to spin. Sometimes he came across the odd one or two who claimed to have been down to its surface.
‘The planet is haunted.’
‘The planet is home to aliens who didn’t want to be disturbed.’
‘It’s a concentration camp.’
‘The planet houses a god!’
‘It’s a paradise filled with whatever desire you could wish for!’
To say that he was excited was an understatement, from not only a payment aspect, but also that of discovery.
“I’ll head to the map room if you want me to leave you alone,” He offered.
Nadya shrugged. “No matter, I should really shave anyway. Catch you later.” He signalled off with a mock salute before heading back to his quarters.