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Father's Choice  
Written by Dawkus  
Friday, 10 September 2004

Father's Choice

In the vast darkness of space a ship plowed through the edge of an asteroid belt. The ship was spherical in shape with an extended bulbous front that contained the ships' living quarters. Floating down a hallway in the underside section of the "bulb", was a muscular man who appeared to be in his mid forties. The man moved down the narrow corridor by using a set of rungs attached to the starboard wall. When he reached the end of the hallway, a door slid aside to reveal the control room. Inside was a large circular space almost completely covered by computer screens and control buttons. Four acceleration chairs were set in the center of the room.

"Greetings, William Tyler," a rather beautiful contralto voice floated throughout the room.

 

"Hello, Jumanah. System report," the man replied as he made his way forward to one of the chairs.

"All systems functioning properly on 'Tell me three times.' Boosters and main engines are offline," the voice had now centered on the chair as William Tyler buckled himself in.

"Initiate engine warm up sequence."

"Initiating."

A small, vibrating hum spread across the two-level, 8 compartment spacing vessel. Tyler realized he was holding his breath. He let it out.

"Plot a course to the Marinus System." Tyler felt a tightness in his chest. What he was planning was treasonous at best, but he had to do this. He had to find his son.

"Course laid in, William. Engines will be online in three and a half minutes. Shall I fire boosters when they are ready?"

"Yes, Jumanah."

"Oh, and William?"

"Yes?"

"Today is my birthday. You haven't wished me happy birthday." Jumanah's voice had a reproving tone.

Tears came unbidden to William's eyes, and rolled off his cheeks to form small shiny bubbles in the air. Hidden sensors detected the floating globules, and air vents came online and sucked the moisture away.

"I'm sorry, Jumanah. Happy birthday and best wishes."

"Thank you, William. I love you."

A sob burst from William Tyler's throat. "And I love you, Jumanah. I tell you three times."

 

God, how he missed Jumanah. All he had left to remember her by was his ship's computer with Jumanah's voiceprint encoded into it. Jumanah had died three years ago, during the Bali Massacre. William had still been in the military then and had been wanting to retire for quite some time. High Command wouldn't let him, though. He was considered too valuable a resource to be placed back into the civilian population. William was on assignment when word of his wife's death came. When he received the transmission about his wife's death, he locked himself inside his compartment until they allowed him to retire. Now his son, Sachiel (a sub-administrator on the planet Marinus), was missing, and High Command forbade William to search for him.

"We'll see about that, won't we Jumanah? They won't take our only son from us, too."

Jumanah's voice replied, "Engines online. Firing boosters, brace for jump."

Tyler gripped the side rails of his chair until his knuckles turned white. "Take me to my son."

The ship streaked forward in a brilliant arch of light and winked out of existence.

 

To Be Continued...

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