River of Forgetfulness # 82 - Close Up Scans


[Cargo Shuttle Ozuma - Flight Deck]

The coffee was hot and black. Pilot Eric Davidson (NPC) examined the outer lip of the plastic coffee cup to insure he did not miss a drop of the precious drink. The shuttle was on autopilot along the predicted course to the "anomaly." Davidson was a veteran pilot, retired from the "Black Lotus" Marine Fighter Squadron out of Starbase 514 after the Dominion War. He did not retire voluntarily. He had a mental breakdown when his entire squadron was lost in a battle.

"You're lucky the Captain didn't ask the Chief Science Officer along. I've visited Starbase 47 several times. Only met her once. She's a Caitan. They have massive paws and claws to match. I like cats though. I wonder if she purrs," Davidson said.

Rosalie Bailey tried to ignore him. "Please program a return course to the Starbase. Set a delay in the navigation system, in case you are unconscious."

"What do you mean? I can fly Ozuma with my eyes closed," he said defensively.

"Whiskey and coffee. The aroma is unmistakeable. I wouldn't care if we sitting in a lounge on SB47. I'm paying you to fly straight and clear headed."

"One drink is all I've had. It's been almost 16 hours. And you still owe me that kiss." Davidson programmed the navigation console.

Bailey felt a lurch in the shuttle. She grabbed the edge of the bulkhead to steady herself. "I'll give you a fat lip if you break any of my valuables. What's going on?"

Davidson took the Ozuma out of autopilot and slowed to a quarter impulse. "Take a look at that." A cylindrical probe floated on the port side. "The probe has lost propulsion. It looks like it's been out here for centuries."

"Federation scanners, do your work," Bailey said as she pushed several buttons. "Can you get closer, maybe we can net it for that Caitan you're fond of."

"Shields up. How long are we staying here?" Davidson asked. He gulped down the rest of his drink. He started to sweat.

Bailey looked at the forward window. It was an eerie sight. She glanced down at the scanner readings. "Pre-animate matter? The anomaly is a subspace rift. Turn us around Eric. The rift is growing. We're 10,000 kilometers from the rift edge. Eric?" Bailey turned toward Davidson.

Davidson wasn't talking. He was moving his jaw and lips but not a word came forth. Red lights flashed on the panels. Bailey pulled him from the seat and tossed him backward. She touched the navigation console. Ozuma turned 180 degrees around and started its return journey toward the Starbase.

"Eric? Can you hear me?" Bailey asked him. She knelt down next to him.

"Where am I?" Davidson asked. His eyes blinked rapidly.

"Shuttle Ozuma. Oh, you had me scared. You want to take the helm."

"Who are you?" he asked shyly. He remained on his back looking slowly around the metal hull and cargo crates, feeling like it was his first time.

"I'm Rosalie. Are you feeling okay? We've been flying for the past 16 hours or so. Do you know where we are going?"

"No. You're Rosalie. We're on the shuttle Ozuma. Then who am I?" Davidson asked.

Bailey stood up from him and looked around for something. She didn't remember what it was or why she was there. In a moment, she didn't know who she was or where she was. And the man on the deck, she didn't know who he was either.


Rosalie Bailey Shopkeeper Starbase 47