By Morgan Hannah, Life & Style Editor
It was never in the cards to become a captain, but when my sister Malory signed up to explore space, I had to follow. It turns out I was pretty good at this space geographer stuff and flew through the ranks while flying through space. Soon, my days as an observer were over and I found myself in engineering. Then, shortly after that, I was working on the Bridge—scanner’s relay. From there, it was an easy transition to first mate and then captain. Malory, on the other hand, never made it past lieutenant—and never forgave me. Now, do I think I was responsible for her inability to rank up? No! But might I have had something to do with it…? Maybe.
My sister is a gifted person. She has many talents but fitting into a corporation isn’t one of them. When we were young, out of high school and getting jobs, I was the one who applied to franchises and chains for their stability, structure, and job perks. Malory always had to go for the one-offs, the independents, the off-the-beaten-path places. She said they fit her style more—a free spirit. An adventurer. Which, come to think of it, may have been her ticket into space geographer training… I just wish it wasn’t also what pushed her to be so risky, so insubordinate.
Let me back up a little. Back when we were both Lieutenants, Malory and I had gotten into a fight. The captain at the time, Captain Rogers, needed an away team for first contact on an unexplored alien planet with no obvious life signs, but very obvious vegetation formations—something we desperately needed to back up our replicator systems. With sleeves rolled up and hair loose, Malory insisted that she was right for the job, but with the strong gravitational pull of the planet and my natural piloting skills, Captain Rogers and I thought it best that I take a shuttle craft down to the planet’s surface. Malory protested strongly and was dismissed as the away team, led by myself, went over our mission briefing. Little did we know, Malory launched an unauthorized mission of her own to prove… I don’t know that she could do it?
I cannot forgive myself. If anyone had to, wouldn’t it have been better that I had died? Then at least Malory and our baby brother back on Earth could’ve seen each other again. They always had such a strong connection.
Now, years later and captain of my own Starship, I’ve been searching the quadrants of space looking for all the planets with a strong gravitational pull. But not quite like Xexon. And something about this planet jogs my memory in a familiar and painful way. I have to believe that it’s the right one. I have to believe that Malory is down there, and that she’s alive.
Continuation of this exciting adventure next week!