This is an older short, one that I hesitated on including in the Fireplace series. It's fine, just so rough and incomplete. Still, it sets the stage and the mood for something. What that is, I don't know yet. Thanks for the support, all of you. These are fun, but knowing some of you read these Friday Fireplace Tales is one of the most rewarding things I've experienced.
He stood on the bridge, a grizzled old man.
Fresh from the recyculater, his neuro-implants buzzed just like the holo-band clamped to his arm. It contained his identity, his credits, and a holo-video he watches sometimes.
On the metal plating surrounding him, moss and slime fight for superiority, corroding the paint, the wires, the steel itself.
The galaxy is pulsating as it dies.
In here, on the ship, away from the radiation that beats its hull and softens it, the cold glass reflects like synthetic psycho-actives, the nothingness bouncing off. The nothing of space, black holes soaking up the light.
The ship’s engines might determine its place in space but it’s still his home. And she will always be the same.
He will leave soon and his ship will fly, sailing in and through the starry fields and empty blackness.
So much had his eyes beheld. So much had he seen. The grizzled old man locked in the coordinates. It would be his last command to his ship, the SS White Sparrow.
It was time to leave this space, to go to new corners of closer places. To learn new things without travelling. To settle. To wither. To die.
This ship and its captain were about to say goodbye to each other. Neither said that word of departure. He wanted to believe he would see his ship again.
The ship had no thoughts, only vibrations attuned. It would take a long time to shake the echo the old man would leave.
A heavy sigh and he hit the switch to take him to his final destination, a planet where every old rogue, hunter, and smuggler spent the rest of their days, where he would live in the lap of pre-purchased retirement.
He gave one final thought to his current life. It wasn’t tempting to keep. He hit the flyxercore button and saw the universe spin into a spiral of lights and refractions.
One single light pulsed.
The ship ran through a dispersion field, dissapaiting all organic matter on the SS White Sparrow. The grizzled old man became a cloud of gas and crystalline dust. His plants and feline companion were also evaporated.
The space ship kept on dutifully heading to its final coordinates, a scrap-stripping fleet, floating next to the event horizon of a quasar wormhole. It was the final resting place of so many old rogue, hunter, and smuggler’s ships.
The recently detached holo-band dropped onto the moss-covered grating, flickering imagery of a woman, long dead, came dancing from its holo-projector.
The universe continued on with its galactic pulse.