Prologue

The Nightingale drifted through space, orbiting a blue sun. They called her a light frigate. Larger than the majority of ships that traveled the stars, but tiny compared to a real warship or shipping vessel. Her design was sleek, aerodynamic even. The Nightingale was the largest class of ship capable of entering a planet’s atmosphere, the largest ship designed to need to ride the wind as well as the void. While ships larger than her were bulky and square, not needing to compensate for air resistance, she was full of soft curves of black metal. She was beautiful.

But she was dying.

Fragments of black metal were near invisible as they floated along next to the wounded ship they came from. A hole from a great weapon gaped in the metal hull and exposed the decks to the void.

In the silence of space, one could be fooled into finding the sight relaxing. Yet inside the broken ship was anything but.

All across the empty laser scarred halls a red light pulsed, warning a crew that was no longer there of the danger that they had already succumbed to. Only in the bridge did one crew member still struggle to save the Nightingale.

He was a droid, a robotic body that could be controlled by any authorized artificial intelligence. His face was a solid lime light behind a glass screen. His metallic outer skin seemed to be clean and polished, despite the ash that clung to near every other surface. The droid wore a blue naval officer uniform, adorned in medals and awards from a career of excellent service.

The droid gripped an ancient wooden ship wheel with one hand while the other tapped away efficiently at a control panel. Nearby there was a loud cracking sound that captured his attention. A panel crashed to the floor and a mass of sparking wires fell through the new gap in the ceiling.

“That’s not urgent.” The droid remarked before returning to his task. His voice, though metallic, was as gruff and authoritarian as any naval officer.

He raised his robotic hand up to his collar, pressing the button on a small communication device. His voice rang out across the ship.

“Crew, this is the Nav Computer speaking, I have the damaged sections of the ship contained. It’s once again safe to leave your bunks and enter the hallways. We have a lot of repairs to do.”

He returned his hand to the wheel and steered in silence for a time, awaiting a response that didn’t come. He waited longer than a human would, before moving his hand to his collar.

“Captain?”

He waited for a much shorter time before he looked to the door, then back to the steering wheel. 

“Split processing.”

A dull lime light began to glow on the wheel, while the light in the droid dimmed slightly. He looked with satisfaction as the wheel began to turn of its own accord. With efficient militaristic movements, the Navigator marched out into the bridge.

 

He wandered the halls, listening, calling out for survivors, but finding none. In time he arrived at the last place he had wanted to look and saw the thing he had hoped not to see. All eight of the bays flashed the red words on their windows “Emergency pod: Launched.”

He was alone.

An automated voice added insult to injury.

“All pods launched.”

The lime light beneath his visor flickered and dimmed just a little. The droid stepped up to a small panel by one of the launched pods and pressed a single button.

“Captain, is your pod still in the area? The Nightingale is safe.”

The only answer came from the ship itself.

“All pods launched.”

 

The lonely droid stared at the intercom. His light flickered and grew even dimmer.

 

“All pods launched.”

 

Hours went by as he stood perfectly still, his light growing ever dimmer.

 

“All pods launched.”

 

A loud clattering in a nearby room shocked the Navigator out of his stupor. His light powered back to full as he realized: someone’s still on the ship!

He clutched at the communicator on his collar and his voice crackled out across the Nightingale’s intercom.

“Attention, whoever is still aboard the Nightingale, please report in. According to galactic law, you are now acting captain until Captain Constantine arrives back on the ship.”

There was no response asides from another nearby clatter. He decided the response was unlikely to come and set out into the hallway, eager to seek out his new captain.

She wasn’t far away, only a few rooms over in the medical bay.

The little baby reached once more from her crib, knocking another surgical tray to the floor. Her giggles of delight were largely drowned out by the clattering metal.

The droid stared at the laughing baby from the doorway, unsure of what to think.

“This could be a problem,” he stated to no one in particular.

The little captain grinned and grabbed another tray.

4 thoughts on “Prologue

  1. I hope you all enjoy the adventures of Annie, it’s one of my favourite stories!

    I apologise if the prose is ever a little odd, this chapter and the next are ported from my original version which was a screenplay. I’ve rewritten some and adjusted others, but weird things might have slipped through the cracks!

    Like

    1. Glad you liked it!

      Yeah, it’s adapted from a screenplay I wrote which was all in the present tense. I thought I corrected them all, but I’ll give it a second read! Thanks for the feedback!

      Like

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