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[2007: SEP-OCT] The Most Important Day of Your Life


Epsilon Delta
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((Helsinki Crater, Europa, Sol System))

Tsodi Rama never asked for much, just a solar sail and an all-terrain multi-cabin vessel with a high yield warp core and a decent replicator menu. All she loved was to break local sailing records and spend latinum on deep space gear.

Her father, a surgeon, never liked the fact she chose her own surname. She was a Sato like her mother and the daughter of the Sumataran clan. Rama was a self-elected name borne of too many ancient Earth books -- all probably about religion or spirituality. A selfish choice, but the irony did not strike her poorly. She enjoyed the contradictions. She was that kind of girl.

Chosen surnames. Ancient Earth, spirituality. Her father shook her head. This poor girl is doomed.

Singh Sumataran tried not to move about the cabin. His daughter’s piloting terrified him. Tsodi tended to choose the shortest distance between two points, even if those points were obstructed by trillions of pieces of particulate matter. Her ship, a solar sailer with a faster-than-light engine, had been through countless unknowns, every known kind of aquatic and celestial storm and many, many graveyards. Even if there was a meteorite shower or a high concentration of gas or sentry navigation or a regional demilitarized zone, such aforementioned obstacles were never seen as problems. To his daughter, Tsodi “Rama” Sumataran, all obstacles were challenges to be surmounted. Anything remotely artificial or resembling a nebula was to be crossed and traversed over without the slightest regard for what the captains of other, possibly armed, spaceships might think. If you were not a planet or a star, to his daughter you were just another mortal.

From the viewscreen, Saturn's ring came up from under the ship, fast. At their speed and distance, he could see the ring was really into rocks and dust.

“Aren’t the rings, beautiful, Dad?”

Everytime something new or crazy comes up, she gets more excited, gets crazy about space rocks. Singh checked his own pulse. How many cosmic questions do you have to poke around in that overstimulated brain?

Her mother arrived from the rear personal quarters. Singh noted, but remained aloof to the fact she was dressed head to toe in a unisex, body suit that, most of the time, she wore while on Earth, while swimming. Sun looked very good for her age, because she swam and had taught all of her family how to save themselves and/or a drowning child. She handed Singh a glass of sugared tea.

"Have one. It'll take your mind off your seething mortality."

Singh barked loud enough for the two-man cabin to shake, "That's not funny. I may be a doctor but I have a completely well-adjusted fear of shipwreck."

"Shipwreck? This is interstellar space, Singh."

"We're near plenty of planets, Dad. If we had to crash on a something deserted, it would probably be a large city on moon. They’d assist us with a tractor beam."

Singh nodded, he drank his tea and looked at his daughter from his passenger chair, for a long time. It was too long. But it was the only thing that distracted him from the particles crashing into the shield. From the corner of her right eye, Tsodi could tell her Dad was staring at her.

"What are you going to do with your life, Tsodi?"

She threw her arms up and swung away from the console. This topic had sprung up a lot lately.

"Singh." Her mother intervened. She stood from her seat. " We've gone through this."

"Yes, but I would like to know once more, what our daughter has done with her herself."

"She worked for my company, Singh, and she would do until..."

"Until it became clear…"

"I'm not going to medical school."

"She found a calling."

"Which would be Starfleet, Dad."

"Of course." Singh massaged the creases on his dark, balding brow. His hands did expert work of a pulsing artery -- an artery that belonged to surgeon, who had never seen such headaches such as the ones from the last few days. He envisioned the last time he saw a phaser burn -- and far worse. "I can't stand the idea, and you know why. We've been over why this is probably going to get you killed, or maybe get me killed or most likely your mother -- "

"Dad!"

"Singh!"

"What!?!” He stood up, bumped into a bulkhead and sat down. They all remained silent, but Sun took the tea back and offered it to Singh after he'd regained his pride.

"I've heard of appeals to pity, but you went too far, dear."

"Dad, there is no way enrolling in Starfleet Academy is going to get mom killed." She looked at her mother. For months, she had been fine. She was getting better every day.

"Singh, I'm perfectly healthy. It's over. What would be a tragedy is if we sabotaged our only daughter's future with irrational speculations that have no bloody medical basis."

"Now you're talking like me! Why am I losing this argument?!" He sipped the tea, sat down and picked up his personal access display device. "I'm going to read my journals. Sorry, I keep bringing up your uncertain future, Tsodi -- I mean, how uncertain the future can be. I'll be in your mess hall."

Her father shuffled out of the pilot's bay. Sun sat down with her daughter, who seemed to be piloting on automatic. She was young and full of that spirit only the young seemed to possess for a short part of their lives. What would be a great tragedy, it seemed to Sun, if such youthful exuberance was unique to simply humanity. Perhaps that was why she wanted to go -- to see if others were like her.

Tsodi opened a hailing frequency. Sun glanced at a familiar brightness registered on sensors. She looked past the view of the moon at the Sol star, always more interesting, this close to Earth.

"SS Hyperis Oceania to Spacedock, requesting permission to land."

"This is Spacedock, you are clear. Please follow navigation protocols, Hyperis Oceania. Decelerate to half speed impulse."

Sun whispered, "Slow down, Tsodi."

"Sorry!" She failed to contain her smile.

"It's all right, you're excited."

"I feel like a little girl."

Edited by Rama
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