Author: Junoh7 PM
Ten years after his father's death, Daniel is kicked out of the Flight Academy and left behind. But a single event changes his life and his entire world around him.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Adventure - Chapters: 4 - Words: 25,195 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 11-16-12 - id: 3074987
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Grace could feel the warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze as it rolled through the wheat stalks around her. She was lying beneath the sky and she sighed because this moment was perfect. There was complete happiness here and she never wanted to leave. There were no worries. She turned over and lay on her back. The clouds were a beautiful white and she felt like she could reach up and touch them. Except she couldn't.
She couldn't really feel any of this. Grace's heart fell into her stomach when she opened her eyes and she knew the truth.
She was lying on top of the covers of her bed, in her uniform. She hadn't even bothered to undress before lying there. The dark curls of her hair flowed behind her on the pillow. She hadn't been sleeping, she was just closing her eyes and remembering the way the sun touched her skin. She wanted to feel the waist-high stalks brush against her downturned palms. But she knew she would never feel it again.
Grace blinked hard to hold back any kind of emotion. If she could bottle it up, maybe it would go away. Her chest tightened when she thought of seeing her home vanish and the billions that were lost indefinitely. She was fighting a losing battle in her heart, there was nothing they could do for them and she was expected to deal with it. They were all expected to deal with it, because everyone had to stay strong. She had to stay strong.
She needed something or someone to drag her out of this pit of grief. She didn't know what or who it could be, but she needed it more than anyone could ever know.
An incoming call alerted her as she started closing her eyes again, trying to sleep but failing. She couldn't sleep anyway since the incident and that had been a week ago. Grace opened her eyes and swung one leg over the edge of the bed. She reached for the touchpad on the end table and pressed 'Answer'. The blank, glass screen by her bed came to life.
Officer Taylor's face appeared on the screen and he coughed. "I'm sorry for disturbing you, Miss Parker, but Dr. Buren would like to have a word with you in the Infirmary today on your way to your shift."
"Did he say what for?" She asked quickly, noticing that Taylor was coughing because her uniform was partially undone. She immediately buttoned it back up when she realized it.
"No, he did not. Would you like me to send you an escort?"
Grace shot him a look, "No, I think I can manage getting to the Infirmary on my own, thank you." She probably shouldn't have been so harsh on Taylor, but she knew that was probably her father's request that Grace be escorted everywhere. And she was growing quickly tired of the Captain's subliminal reasons for everything. Like the boy who was assigned Ambassador. She threw that thought away quickly.
"Very well, then. See you at your shift." He ended the video call and the screen was once again blank, leaving her alone in the quiet suite.
Grace and the Captain both had suites that suited their ranking on the ship. She, at first, insisted that Kyle take her cabin because he ranked higher than her, but he refused so he would look generous in the eyes of Grace's father. Personally, the extravagance was too much and what did she need with five rooms when it was only her? She had seen the cabins that held two parents and five children and they were given only two rooms. Why was she given so much space when it could've been assigned to someone who actually needed it?
Her bedroom was separated from the living room by a half-wall. The living area looked like someone had exchanged the furniture from the White House and placed it in her living room instead. Which, if she considered it, they probably did because of the Relocation and Exchange Act. Most of the masterpieces, like legendary works of art, and valued furniture on earth were replaced, and the original was placed aboard the Legacy. Though, it was unfortunate because the real owners weren't even around to use it anymore. So she had to walk past the Mona Lisa and a Monet in her hallway every morning before she took a shower.
Her kitchen and formal dining room were gifted with beautiful porcelain plates that Grace was afraid to touch; they looked like they could crack under very little pressure. She often wondered if someone important was supposed to stay here, but never made it aboard the ship.
Above her glass dining room table was a crystal chandelier, but she didn't eat in there because the quiet of being by herself was too much. There would have been drywall leading along the living area and the dining room, but instead there was a long glass window that allowed Grace to view the black void that surrounded them. She could've closed the metal shields on the inside of the thick glass, but most of the time, she preferred to see the stars.
Grace quickly got ready and left her cabin to walk to the Infirmary. Every officer she passed, stopped and saluted, most greeted her with 'Good Mornings' or 'Good Evening, Officer Parker'. This usually embarrassed her but she did her best to keep a straight face. Instead, she nodded and continued on her way.
When she stepped inside a tube to take her to C Deck, a hand caught the door before it closed. Kyle stepped inside the elevator and smiled at her. He stood next to her and held his hands behind his back.
"How did you sleep?" He made small talk, looking over at her.
"Fine," she lied and handed him a file, "here are the reports we're getting back from a scouting droid in the Titus Galaxy, tell the Captain there's nothing there, Dietrich was wrong." Dietrich was an astrophysicist on earth before the incident and who had claimed that there was rich life on a planet in the Titus Galaxy; Grace always thought he was a moron anyway, so this only confirmed it.
"Ah..." Kyle didn't bother opening the file; he tucked it under his arm instead. Grace knew she should probably return the favor by asking him how he was doing, but she couldn't. She didn't have room for pleasantries.
After a long few moments of silence, the tube stopped where Kyle needed to get off. He paused for a moment before leaving, but Grace awkwardly looked ahead and only caught his eye for a moment. Kyle got the hint and left the elevator without another word. When the tube doors closed, Grace unfroze from her stiffened position and she sighed. She pressed the button for the Infirmary and the doors closed once more.
Grace arrived at the Infirmary a few minutes later and she was greeted by the receptionist. The Infirmary consisted of rooms where patients could stay and rest while they healed. The medical bay was for patients with wounds that were more severe, it was a very uncomfortable place to be because that's where most people died.
There were a handful of nurses and only three doctors on the ship that Grace knew about. Dr. Buren exited a patient's room and spotted her at the receptionist's desk. He walked toward her from the hallway.
"Miss Parker, thank you for coming. I have something that needs your attention. Come with me?" He asked her with a polite smile; Grace nodded and walked with him. She looked around the Infirmary as they walked; she had never been inside this part of the ship before.
"I understand you once studied to become a doctor, am I correct?" Dr. Buren asked as they walked through a hallway.
"Yes, but I chose Navigation." Grace cut off that subject of the conversation. She didn't want to talk about herself. She appreciated Dr. Buren, but she wasn't comfortable with getting close to people as of lately. Ever since...well, never mind.
"Then you are quite familiar with the progression and stages of carcinogens?" He asked. She looked at him as they walked. Even hundreds of years later, a single word still provoked silence and uncertainty.
His polite smile had disappeared and he looked at her with sadness, "Yes. But this is something different," He looked worried, "Something we didn't see coming."
He picked up two face masks and handed one to Grace, by the look on her face she seemed confused so he quickly explained.
"The masks are for precautions only. But the cancerous cells seem to spread at an alarming rate, in almost seventy-two hours the patient is gone. It's not contagious now, but it's always evolving."
"So, instead of the vacuum of space slowing down the cells," He continued, "They speed up."
They arrived outside a patient's room, the door was barely ajar and Grace could hear the heart monitor's rhythmic beep. She did as Dr. Buren said and strapped the small mask around her nose and mouth. They entered after Dr. Buren gently knocked on the door. The middle-aged woman lying in bed was not bothered because she was fast asleep.
"This is a peculiar case; she has not been entirely affected by the aggressive carcinogens. The cancer isn't killing her as fast as the others." He explained, stepping closer to the woman's bed and pulling out her charts.
"How many victims?"
"Eight, I'm afraid. After the third case, we began monitoring what was happening. All died within three days of their first symptoms. This woman has lasted five without hardly any deterioration."
"Has she been given the same treatment as the other eight?" Grace extended her hand for the chart, and Dr. Buren gave it to her.
"Who is she? What's her-" She read the name at the same time the patient room door opened. Daniel Walsh stood frozen inside the doorway; he looked at them both, then at his mother lying on the bed.
"What are you doing here?" He spat, his voice dark. Grace felt like she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She stumbled for the right words. She was not a doctor and did not have Daniel's permission to be in there, so any defense she came up with would be useless.
Dr. Buren came to her assistance quickly, "I was consulting with Miss Parker about your mother's condition."
"I didn't ask you." Daniel snapped. Grace was surprised at his tone; she had never seen him this angry. But she had only known him for a week, so that didn't say much and he usually kept to himself on his shifts.
"I didn't know she was your mother, If I-" She began.
"You're not even a doctor! Why are you here in the first place?" Daniel barked.
"Get out." He stepped back, holding the door open further.
"Why do you bother asking, if you won't let me explain!?" Grace asked, her voice getting higher. She felt her cheeks flush.
"I don't need explanation from a sneaky girl looking for her next science experiment!" He yelled. Grace wasn't backing down.
"That's bold! Is this the alcohol-deprived you talking or the pathetic academy drop-out?" She was in his face and knew she had gone too far. He looked like he wanted to slap her, and she wouldn't have blamed him if he did. There were rumors of his failure at the Los Angeles Flight Academy going around the ship, and everything many of the officers had been whispering came rushing out of her mouth before she could stop it.
"W-what's going on, Danny...? Why are y-you yelling...?" A small voice asked from the bed in the room. Daniel pushed Grace aside and came to his mother's bedside.
"Nothing's wrong, Mom. Go back to sleep. Please, get some rest." Daniel held her cold hand. Grace's emotional facade almost cracked when she saw the weak woman pat her son's hands. She reminded her of someone who was now gone and who Grace could never get back. Her chest tightened and her throat locked up. Here it was again, the emotions she had bottled up, trying to break free. Dr. Buren unknowingly saved her from a breakdown by putting a hand on her shoulder, steering her toward the door.
"We'll be going, Mr. Walsh. I apologize for this," He spoke quietly to Daniel.
"Don't ever let it happen again." Daniel didn't look at him; he didn't even speak over his shoulder. He stared coldly at his own hands wrapped around his mother's. She had never seen so much devotion and loyalty. Grace reminded herself that she was upset with her own father as of late, but she didn't know what she would do if he were to become deathly ill. She tried to shake off this horrible feeling.
Grace and Dr. Buren left the room and stood silently in the hallway, unsure of what to say to each other.
"I should be getting back to my rounds, I'm sorry for bringing you into this, I was only inviting you in there for a second opinion. It's entirely my fault." He said.
"You knew she was Mrs. Walsh?" Grace looked at him, waiting for an answer.
He sighed, "Yes. But I thought he was on duty on the bridge. I did not set you up." Dr. Buren explained. Grace put her hand up; she didn't want to hear anymore.
"Tell my father, Officer Connerly will fill in for me for my shift, he's already on duty anyway. There's nothing to report on anything, the scouting probes don't return until 05:00 tomorrow morning." Grace stated, "And on the rapid spreading cancerous cells, we need to find a source. Test the food, water, any resources. But first, check for any amounts of radiation. Don't overlook anything that could be considered too small of an issue. The smallest things could cause most problems." She ordered. Dr. Buren nodded and walked off.
Grace now stood alone in the hallway, Mrs. Walsh's clipboard in one hand and a heavy pressure in her chest that could crush the ship on its own. She knew what she needed to do, even though it went against her philosophy. Grace wasn't good at apologies, but she leaned against the hallway's wall and waited anyway.
Two hours later, Mrs. Walsh's door opened and Daniel stepped out. Grace had been waiting this entire time for him to come out. She had been planning on what to say, of course. But the one time her brain failed her, she didn't know if she could say anything at all. He looked at her with very tired eyes, like he was being generous enough to allow a window of opportunity for her to apologize.
When she stood there, her mouth moving like a gulping fish, he talked instead. "Why'd you wait out here? Looking for another science fair show?"
"No." She snapped out of her moment of feeling sorry for him. He never failed to irritate her like no one else could.
"How about this? You mind your own business; keep to your own duties on the ship. And I'll stick with mine? Since you're not a civilian, I don't technically have to deal with you at all. Then you won't have to be around my deprived-alcoholic self." He was harsh and she deserved it. Daniel walked away and left her alone again in the Infirmary hallway. She stood there, feeling exposed. No one had ever really talked to her like that in a long time. Grace usually got whatever she wanted, though she wasn't always given everything; she worked at it and never failed.
The mess hall was large room, quite like one of the hangar bays, but metal columns supported the tall ceilings in the room and giant, thick-glassed windows were placed in the walls so the officers and civilians could enjoy the beauty of space. When Grace first saw it, she thought Daniel's great-grandfather must've really liked to live places with a great view, because most of the ship was covered in glass. Of course, emergency shields slid down in case the outer layer of the window was cracked not even an inch.
Not many were in the mess hall at once, because civilians and officers were given certain lunch hours so the cooks could prepare for each crowd. Grace joined the short line and was given an appropriate amount of nutrition from each food group. A cup of milk, a type of meat or fish, vegetables, and sometimes bread.
She normally would've sat with a group of officers; she saw them smiling at each other and laughing about anything that would occupy their minds on something else rather than their lost families and destroyed homes. But she spotted him eating alone, like he had been doing all week, and took her tray over to his table. He was reading a decent-sized book while he ate his food; he didn't look up when she approached him. She would just have to remember how to sympathize, since she hadn't done it in so long.
"I came to apologize." She stated, bluntly. Grace noticed the officers that she usually sat with were looking over at Daniel and her with curious expressions. She ignored them and looked at Daniel without touching her food. He closed his book and set it down beside him, he then concentrated more on eating instead of saying anything. Grace took this as an invitation to sit down. She placed her tray on the table and sat down quickly.
"Well? Aren't you going to say anything?" She inquired.
"Aren't you going to eat anything?" He looked at her untouched plate.
"I can't stomach it if I'm upset." She admitted. Daniel stopped and looked up at her.
"Is this what you look like when you're upset?" He said with a mouthful of food. She didn't appear to be bothered at all, which confused him. Her back was straight as she sat on the metal bench and she looked perfectly poised.
Grace rolled her eyes, "Yes, I am upset that you haven't accepted my apology." Daniel shrugged like he considered this. They sat for a moment in uncomfortable silence.
"I'm sorry I called you an alcohol-deprived Academy drop-out." She muttered quietly.
He looked up from his food, "Pardon? I didn't hear you."
"I didn't hear you say anything."
"I said I apologize!"
"For what?" Daniel looked at her innocently.
Grace slapped the table, startling several others at the table nearby. "You're so annoying!"
She knew he was getting pleasure out of making her angry, which in turn, made her angrier. It was a vicious circle.
"Am I interrupting something?" A charming voice asked. A young man appeared beside Grace and Daniel and beamed down at them. Grace had no idea who this man was, but he was somewhat attractive with a perfect smile. His face and short blonde hair were dirty and he wore the standard orange and yellow jumpsuit that the hangar bay mechanics wore.
"Will!" She noticed Daniel's face light up like he hadn't seen him in a long time. Daniel stood up to shake Will's hand, but Will seemed to ignore him and sit down right next to Grace. She looked coughed and scooted away to allow personal space.
"And who do we have here? My name's Will..." He grinned, holding out his hand for her to shake. She took it and forced a small smile, which felt like her face was cracking. Will was certainly charming and he smiled a lot at her.
"Officer Parker, Grace Parker. Chief Navigator." She introduced herself. He whistled in surprise.
"Chief Navigator? That's pretty nice. Smart and beautiful." His words were like melted chocolate and the compliment made her look away from his studious eyes. She found herself looking at Daniel, who looked angry. As always, she thought to herself.
"I don't remember you from the LA Academy, where did you study?" Will asked. He looked genuinely curious about who she was and where she came from.
"Atlanta. Sherman's Academy," She answered.
"Sherman?" He looked impressed, "That's the top of the line, am I right, Daniel?" Will didn't even look at him; he only kept his eyes on Grace. Daniel grunted while he continued to eat.
"Don't mind my friend Daniel; his manners must've stayed back on Earth." He chuckled at this, "He doesn't care for the academics anymore, since he was kicked out and everything."
Grace quickly looked at Daniel; she didn't know he was kicked out. The other officers were saying he dropped out. But Daniel didn't meet her eyes, he was glaring at Will.
"He was, what?" Will looked over at Daniel curiously, "he was top of the class, and then he was kicked out? It was pretty bad."
"You were top of your class?" Grace looked over at Daniel who was growing angrier.
"Yes! He was the best pilot in the EAF." Will just kept unloading the facts.
"Okay!" Daniel laughed nervously, it was the fakest laugh Grace had ever heard. He looked like he wanted to kill Will.
"Well, it was nice seeing you, Will. Maybe I'll stop by the hangar bay sometime? We can catch up!" Daniel stood up and held out his hand for Will. Will nodded and shook his hand. He grinned at Grace.
"Okay, okay! I see when I'm not wanted." He laughed, "You two lovebirds probably have some talking to do."
Grace almost spit her drink all over the table. She choked and laughed, "No! No! We're not a couple." Daniel's frown deepened.
"Well, I'm sorry," Will clapped Daniel on the back, "I'll be seeing you two later!" He then happily walked away with his tray and disappeared out of the mess hall.
Daniel and Grace sat there for a moment in stunned silence. She wanted to say something about what she just heard, but couldn't find the words. Once again, she was speechless when it came to Daniel Walsh.
"Don't worry about it." He already knew she was trying to console him. She leaned forward, trying to keep quiet.
"Why didn't you stop the rumors on the ship about you dropping out?"
"Because I don't care what other people think of me." He said sharply. She was taken aback. "We're all pretty screwed up now, I think." He continued, staring at her. He was right, she thought. Grace bottles up her emotions, her father stares at the black void of space for hours in silence, and the officers during lunch laugh and joke because it's too painful to think about home.
His eyes, she thought, were an emerald green that she found interesting to look at. He annoyed her to no end, that's for sure. He was difficult and he constantly insulted her. She looked away from him and found herself contemplating something, and when she did she usually fidgeted.
The ring. The ring was gone. She looked down at her left hand quickly, then at the floor like she may have dropped it. There was nothing on the floor. Her chest tightened with panic.
"What?" Daniel noticed her looked around nervously.
"M-my ring." She was truly hysterical now. Grace stood up and tried to look around and see if she could spot the ring from that angle. He is going to be furious, she thought. She started checking her pockets frantically. There was nothing there. She held her hand on her forehead, trying to think.
She paced back and forth by the table, lifting up her and Daniel's tray, she even started looking under other people's tables. Daniel watched her walk around, her eyes wide with panic and anxiety. She came back to the table, mumbling about something.
"Hold on, you mean this ring?" He slipped out a diamond ring between his fingers. Grace gasped and took it from him.
"Did you take it from me?" She questioned.
"I didn't steal it, if that's what you're asking. But he did." Daniel nodded toward the direction Will had gone. The charming young man she had just met had attempted to steal a priceless ring from her. He stole it right off her hand. How can someone do that?
"Why would he do that?" She asked Daniel.
"Because he could, probably." He said matter-of-factly. She stared down at the ring for a moment.
"So, who's the lucky guy?" Daniel asked nonchalantly.
"What?" Grace looked up quickly.
"That's an engagement ring." He pointed out. She didn't know what to say. Once again, speechless.
"It's none of your business." She stated defensively, lifting her chin. Daniel sighed angrily.
"Fine. If you want to keep playing this game of cat and mouse, I quit. I don't care what bastard you're going to torture for the rest of your life. I was just being polite." He snarled and stood up. Grace gasped at his rudeness.
"That's fine, Mr. Walsh." She scoffed and crossed her legs like she didn't care, the argument was over. Daniel took off with his tray, threw the remaining food in the fuel depository shoot and stormed out of the mess hall. Some of the other occupants in the room glanced at Grace then went back to eating.
The next morning, she didn't wake up because she hadn't even slept. Grace tiredly fixed herself a cup of coffee in her kitchen, stirring the contents with a spoon. She knew she was going to have to sleep restfully sometime soon; accidentally dozing off on her shift wasn't like her at all. At least, as far as she knew, no one had noticed her closing her eyes for a moment on the bridge.
No one really knew what to do, except maybe the Captain. He had instructed them to go through old archives and find some kind of lead that could show them where to start looking. The scouting probes would return any minute now and Grace needed to be on the bridge when they did, she was Chief Navigator after all. Scouting the stars was her specialty. But she didn't look forward to going to the bridge today; she would have to face Daniel after their arguments yesterday. She didn't like arguing with him at all, but they could never find a common ground. On anything. When she wanted to push, he wanted to pull, and vice versa. He was impossible most of the time and she noticed immediately that he didn't treat her like the other officers do. They usually smiled and greeted her politely. But him, no he didn't act like them at all. Whenever she passed him, or they were on the same shift, he scowled and always questioned her on her assignments. It infuriated her, because no one had ever questioned her credibility before. She hadn't been wrong about something until yesterday. When she trusted Will for a brief moment.
She hadn't seen him again. After the mess hall incident yesterday, Grace went down to the hangar bay to confront him for trying to steal her ring. But he was nowhere to be found. She even asked around and no one had seen him for a few hours. Grace started to grow irritated that she couldn't find him working, when it was his shift. Either he was dodging work, which was against the codes on the Legacy or he was hiding from her. She found the Chief Mechanic, Bradley, who was also Will's boss and asked him about Will's whereabouts. He told her that Will had called in sick and was no longer working for the rest of the day.
Grace would have to confront him later; she didn't have time to chase the man all over the ship when she had duties to attend to.
But when she thought back about what he had done, she kept forgetting that Daniel stole it back for her. He must've got it back when they shook hands. She didn't know how he did it, but it made Daniel even more puzzling to her. He was difficult and rude, but a good person.
When she finished preparing her coffee, she poured it into two plastic cups and left her cabin. It was an early morning on the ship, some civilians and off-duty officers were jogging on the large track in the exercise arena. The arena was four stories high, filled with exercise equipment, a colossal running track and a swimming pool. There were many swimming pools on the Legacy, but this one was specifically built for exercising.
She stepped inside a tube and rode it all the way to the bridge. When she arrived, the bridge was quiet except for the Captain ordering Ian possible coordinates and the footsteps of the bridge officers walking around the room, exchanging information. She noticed Kyle was on one side of the navigational board and Daniel was on the opposite. Neither of them were speaking when she approached the board, which she found strange but quickly dismissed it when she set down the coffee.
Grace was in the process of handing the second cup of coffee to Daniel, when a hand intercepted it and took the cup from her. Kyle smiled at her.
"Thanks, I was starting to doze off."
She almost said something, but thought differently of it. She was growing irritated at the fact that every time she tried to reconcile with Daniel and offer a truce, something would get in the way. She was close to just giving up.
"Ah, Officer Parker is here, we can start." The Captain noticed her arrival. Grace felt ashamed that she had taken her time to get here, and she knew her father was disapproved of her not being punctual.
"Two out of the three scouting probes returned from their search grids. The third must've malfunctioned, we lost contact last night." He continued.
"It could've been destroyed." Kyle offered.
"That's a good assumption, Officer Stevens. But who do you think destroyed it?" Captain Parker asked.
"There's no one out there that could've destroyed the probe," Officer Taylor spoke up, "we're alone." He said the last part darkly.
"That we know of," Kyle countered.
"There's no evidence that other beings exist out in space, we're it." argued Taylor, his face growing flush.
"I highly doubt that ancient civilizations in space destroyed the probe, but it could be likely that we are not alone. There are some types of evidence found on Earth that point to these sort of things," Grace stated, "I'm not worried about extraterrestrials, we need to find a suitable planet that we can terraform. That was the point of the probes."
"The point of the probes was also to see if there was anyone else out there too, we can't simply ignore another civilization if we run into them." Kyle pointed out.
"Are we seriously arguing about aliens right now?" Ian interrupted; he smiled like he couldn't believe what he was hearing. Grace noticed Daniel hadn't said anything yet, he stood by the navigational board in silence, listening.
"The third probe never came back, end of story." Taylor glared at no one in particular. The bridge was silent for a moment, and then Daniel finally spoke up.
"What about theOdyssey?"
Almost everyone looked confused, like they weren't sure what he was referring to. Ian shifted uncomfortably like he didn't know what to say.
"Why are you bringing up some old story, Walsh?" Kyle asked, harshly.
Grace took this moment to come to Daniel's defense; she looked at him then to the rest of the officers at the board. She couldn't believe she didn't think of the Odyssey before. He was right, again.
"The, um, Odyssey was a ship." She said, "It left Earth around one hundred years ago. It was a part of a mission to find other planets like Earth, but they never came back and we lost contact with them. It was a disaster and the Cooperative International space programs were discontinued."
"Why wasn't this mentioned earlier?" Taylor looked spooked, like he had just seen a ghost. Grace had never seen a man as muscular and powerful as Taylor look so pale before.
"If there was contact with the Odyssey, it would've already happened. We sent out our distress signal a week ago, there's been no word from anyone or anything else." Kyle said.
"A week doesn't seem appropriately long enough; they could answer us months from now. They may not even been range." Taylor argued.
"When does it become your call to decide when we've waited long enough for their answer? Never, Officer Taylor. So let's stick to something we both know, you with your staff officers and me with making decisions for this ship. The last thing we need is false rumors flying around about some lost mystery ship," Kyle glared at Daniel for a moment, "And you starting a wave of unnecessary fear through the ship."
Grace sighed; she didn't appreciate Kyle smiting Taylor down on the bridge. But he was first mate and Taylor was already spooked about the return of the Odyssey. She saw Taylor's jaw clinch, but he said nothing. Taylor had about fifty to seventy-five pounds on Kyle, but she didn't think he'd try to settle their argument physically, especially on the bridge in front of the captain.
"Are we done?" Captain Parker asked them, patiently. Grace and the others nodded, apologizing quickly that they had wasted valuable time arguing about aliens and mystery ships.
"Good, now we can move on to another pressing subject. Officer Parker, what has Dr. Buren and his team discovered?" He continued, nodding at Grace to start.
She felt uncomfortable talking about it, knowing Daniel was standing right next to her, but she would have to continue anyway.
"Dr. Buren discovered a type of cancerous cells that spread throughout the patient's body within a few days." She swallowed a lump in her throat, "Space does not slow down the cells, and it has been speeding them up. This could spread through the ship quickly if we don't contain it." She finished. The entire bridge had come to a standstill. Everyone was staring at her, waiting for her to say she was only joking. But everyone knew she never joked about anything.
"So, it is contagious?" Captain Parker asked.
"No, not yet. But it could be in a matter of weeks or months. We don't really know anything about it, other than at the rate it spreads through the human body. Treatments of radiation have been near useless."
"How long is the period after diagnosis to death?" The Captain pressed her with questions.
Grace swallowed again, she felt like melting down right there onto the floor when she thought of the poor woman in the Infirmary in so much pain. She looked at the people in the bridge, some of them staring at her with wide, frightened eyes. "Three days." Grace said quietly, her heart dropping to her stomach.
Captain Parker sighed, no one talked for a moment, and no one could even breathe. He looked at Daniel.
"Mr. Walsh, your assignment is to contain this and keep the civilians under control." He then spoke to the entire bridge full of staff officers, "This information does not leave this room! Am I clear?" He was answered with a loud 'yes, sir' from the entire bridge.
"Officer Taylor, Mr. Walsh will have the ability to look for Jack during his assignment, assist him with whatever security he needs."
Officer Taylor nodded, "Yes, sir."
"I'm being messaged down to the engine room," Kyle excused himself and saluted to the Captain.
"Alright, Officer Stevens. Officer Connerly, send out more probes to the last known location of the Odyssey, specifically the grid where Earth lost contact with them."
Ian nodded and saluted, he quickly left the bridge to travel down to the Navigation room. The probes would be waiting to be ejected from pods on the hull of the ship.
"And Officer Parker." Captain Parker called her name. She tensed up.
"Assist Mr. Walsh, he will need your knowledge on the matter." He ordered. Grace opened her mouth to say something; she couldn't believe he was partnering her up with him. It was one thing to try to apologize to Daniel, but that was over with, she had decided she would stay away from him. Now she had to work with him?
"No arguing, just do it." Captain Parker was writing something down on paper. He already knew she would try to argue. Daniel didn't look happy, of course, but he didn't say anything.
"Very well, but one condition." Grace negotiated. Captain Parker sighed tiredly and looked at Grace expectantly.
"And what's that?"
"Mr. Walsh reports to me, no diplomatic, neutral-ground Ambassador stuff." Grace demanded. Daniel looked at her quickly, then at the Captain like he wanted to say something in his defense.
"Fine." Captain Parker dismissed them, and Daniel followed Grace as she walked out of the bridge. They entered the tube that would take them to the Civilian Community cabins.
"I didn't know how controlling you were, until now." Daniel confessed with a smile. She rolled her eyes; of course he knew she wanted to be in charge.
"I thought you were done playing games with me?" She looked to the side and up at him.
"Who says this is a game?" He looked back at her. Grace looked away, her face getting hot. She changed the subject quickly.
"I see you're enjoying your uniform." She pointed out, brushing off some lent on his upper sleeve. Daniel looked down to see what she was brushing off.
"It fits." He commented. Grace noted the once torn material on his sleeve was now sewn up. She would know, because she had sewn it up herself. She shook her head to get the memory of the once bloody uniform off of her mind.
"Here is the report that Dr. Buren sent to me this morning on the research progress," Grace handed him a folder, trying to ignore that their hands brushed against one another's. Daniel looked through it quickly as Grace stared up at the decreasing numbers above them.
The tube doors opened and they came face to face with Kyle. Grace saw Daniel close the file as they stepped out of the tube.
"Hey, I thought you were in the engine room." Grace said, confused.
"I was," Kyle only looked at her quickly, but he was glaring at Daniel. Daniel glared back. There was so much tension in the hallway, it was becoming obviously uncomfortable.
"Have you two met before?" Grace asked, suspiciously. Kyle stopped glaring at Daniel and smiled at her. He then chuckled nervously.
"No, of course not." Kyle stuck out his hand.
Grace noticed Daniel didn't shake his hand. She was quite embarrassed to admit this, but she went ahead and said it. "Mr. Walsh, this is my fiancé, Kyle."