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Dueld taJoot

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  1. “... and welcome to Starbase 118.” The automated greeting finished playing on the screen in the shuttle’s passenger compartment, as the station’s logo faded out. The hatch chime sounded over the hiss of its seals releasing. People stood up and started gathering their stuff. Given the long trip from Earth, Dueld hadn’t been thrilled that he had to shuttle to the starbase, rather than ‘port over. But the Platuk had received new orders after it passed Japori, and it could barely afford to slow to impulse long enough to boot them off its hangar deck. Since the shuttle was going to have to park at 118 anyway (until the Platuk could arrange to get it back), they all ended up taking the scenic approach with it. And that turned out to be okay, because it was a pretty awe-inspiring sight. This, _this_ was why Dueld had entered Starfleet. Trojan-II spacedocks were among the most staggeringly massive engineering achievements the Federation could boast-- the size of small moons, every cubic centimeter intricate and integrated and active. As they’d curved gently in toward one of the small craft decks, Dueld had allowed himself a moment’s hope that he’d be posted here, rather than out on some ship in this sector. Ships were cool, no doubt, and they had their own engineering attractions, but this-- this was where he wanted to be. He wanted to help design _these_. Once the passengers in the seats closest to the door had cleared the aisle, Dueld bent over to haul his carryall out from under his seat and sling its strap over his head, slipping the tightly-bound club of his hair out of the way. ‘Silver grape candy floss,’ that’s what Zanyo from first-year Astronomy had called Dueld’s hair. Zanyo was from Risa, and he was blitzed out of his mind at the time, and there were at least two other Catullans at that house party. But somehow everybody heard about Zanyo’s comment, and Dueld got stuck with the nickname ‘Floss.’ Whatever. It was always going to look a little weird with gold Engineering uniforms, but if four years of being greeted with “FLOSS!” didn’t make him shave his head, a little aesthetic dissonance wasn’t going to do it either. At least not immediately. And hey, maybe the gold wouldn’t last forever. He could get it changed. He wasn’t huge, he’d only just passed his Academy close combat training and he’d never be the muscle on any mission, so intimidation was out. But there was probably a petition or something. Or once he’d rebuilt a couple of floors on this place and people moved more freely and breathed more easily, he could mention it to somebody grateful. Let Sciences wear gold for a while. That could happen, right? He stepped out of the shuttle, checked his PADD for the way out of the hangar, and got going. First he’d go remind himself that grass and clouds and trees existed, and then he’d check out traffic flow in the commercial sector. Overcrowding brought out the worst in most humanoid cultures-- time to see how they were handling it here.
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