The Stars Didn’t Blink

The stars didn’t blink
As Yars stared out the window
Space could be so lonely

Ten million people
In one aluminum can
Drifting through space

Yars floated gently
He preferred to be weightless
The job weighed too much

Dover entered room
“Captain, you are needed now.
Your comm didn’t work.”

Yars turned comm back on
Wanted moment of quiet
Moment is over

Yars asks what is wrong
Dover reports some good news
Possible planet

Yars walks onto bridge
Gravity weighs down on him
Just like his duty

Can’t do this again
Yars thought as he looked at it
I’m getting too old

Of course that’s not true
Two thousand years was a blink
For the immortals

“Sir, the council waits.”
Dover said from behind Yars.
Yars sat and closed eyes

Yars felt his mind lurch
The communication link


Yars stood in center
Council members all around
Yars prepared for fight

President Bea nods
She joins Yars in the middle
The room falls silent

“Today our hopes live.”
President Bea started out
“The end is in sight.”

Orbit is perfect
Plentiful water, oxygen
Goldilocks type planet

Bea puts forth motion
Change course immediately
Head for the planet

Senator Vex stands
“I wish to hear from Captain Yars.
What are your concerns?”

Yars takes a deep breath
He knew someone would ask him
Still didn’t like it.

Yars addressed the group
“I have two major concerns,
Fuel and the timeline.”

“The burn to change course,”
Yars said, “would leave little fuel
In case of trouble.”

“What about the sail?”
Asked Bea. “It uses no fuel,
Just the solar winds.”.

“It won’t work,” Yars said.
“Solar winds are too weak here.
No stars close enough.”

Yars brings up display.
“Our current heading allows
For resupply soon.”

Bea became upset.
“We have waited long enough.
We must change course now!”

Vex began to laugh.
“You have waited long enough?
Are you immortal?”

“You know I am not,”
Bea said, “but us mortals need
A glimmer of hope.”

“The people live, die
Hoping they will see the end.”
Bea said. “Why not now?”

“The ship’s crew,” Yars said
“Believes in the same mission,
But the ship comes first.”

“Without that,” Yars said,
“We all die, and hope is lost
To the great silence.”

“Do you protect hope,”
Bea said, “or protect the ship?”
“They are not the same.”

Yars felt his cheeks flush.
“What are you trying to say?
This ship IS Earth’s hope.”

The senators stood
The shouting began to build
Yars knew he had lost

Yars held up his hands.
“Peace! Peace I say. Sit back down.
I will heed your choice.”


“Right now?” Dover asked.
“Not right away,” Yars replied.
“Need to train someone.”

“No one wants your job.”
Dover replied. “Too much crap.”
“Why would they take it?”

“To live forever?”
asked Yars. “That might be enough
to entice someone.”

Yars physically flinched
He didn’t like what he heard
But he still listened.

“Besides, I can’t train
someone quick enough,” Yars said.
“It was just a thought.”

Dover stared at Yars
“As long as it stays that way.
We would miss you, sir.”

Dover left Yars there
Yars sipped his drink, lost in thought
About his future.

Solemnly the ship
Drifted through the silent black
Its future unknown.


Ten years pass slowly
Floating through the long dark night
Yet Yars was worried

“Air handler is down
On deck ten,” Eunice told Yars.
“Switched to the backup.”

“Third one down this month,”
Yars said. “That is a problem.
Same thing as before?”

“I haven’t checked yet,”
Eunice replied, “but I bet
It’s those same damn bugs”

“We have to stop them.
Those things are out of control,”
Dover said to Yars.

“You don’t think I know?
I am two thousand years old,”
Yars said standing up.

“Where are you going?
Are you fetching your walker?”
Asked Dover slyly.

Yars looked to Eunice
“Have Dover check the air lock
Without a space suit.”

“Yes sir,” Eunice said.
“Maybe he can get the bugs
To follow him there.”

Dover made a face
“I’m not a bug whisperer.
They give me the creeps.”

“They make you buggy?”
Yars said wearing a wry grin.
“I couldn’t resist.”

Dover shook his head.
“Don’t you have something to do?
Something Captainy?”

Yars smiled and walked out
It was good to joke around
But back to the bugs

Yars opened handler
Green bugs crawl out to meet him
Yars grabs one and eats


“The bugs are spreading,”
Yars said to the senators.
“They are everywhere.”

“What are you doing?
How did they escape deck twenty?”
Asked President Bea

“We do not know how.”
Yars admitted. “We need time
To figure it out.”

“While in the mean time
The bugs cause more malfunctions,
Everywhere” Bea said.

“This is a high tech
Space ship,” Vex said. “No system
Can help weed them out?”

“Something can be found,”
Yars said. “It just takes some time.”
“It was not foreseen.”

“We do not have time.
This is not acceptable.
Do your job,” Bea said.

“My job?” Yars asked Bea.
“My title is Captain, not.

“As you said before,”
Bea said. “Crew is immortal
To protect the ship.”

Yars physically flinched
Bea continued “Unless you
Don’t want that burden.”

Senators murmured
Yars inwardly cursed himself
He had failed again.

Yars blindly lashed out.
“If we had stayed on our course
I would worry less!”

Senators shouted
Tempers flared, decorum fled
For once Yars felt lost.

Vex calmed the crowd down
“The captain’s doing his best.
Let’s give him some time.”

“We will give him time,”
Bea said. “But our patience is
Not unlimited.”

Yars nodded to Bea.
“Understood, I’ll get it done,
And report back here.

“Would this be a time
To reinstitute training
For more crew?” asked Vex

“Why? Is there a need?
We are dealing with the bugs
Already,” said Yars

“A fresh perspective
Might be quite the help,” Vex said.
“A just in case thing.”

“People can help now.
This is not just a crew thing,”
Yars said in response.

Yars looked hard at Vex
He didn’t expect this push
What was Vex doing?

“If you want training
I need your help to select
Candidates,” Yars said.

Vex bowed down his head
“I would be honored to help
Find you good people.”

Yars cut his comm link
He was getting way too slow
New blood might be good


Vex left his comm room
Things were proceeding nicely
Now for the next step

Vex called for Clarice
He smiled as she came to him
He truly loved her

“There is hope,” Vex said
“The captain has reopened
Our chance to be crew.”

“But how does that help?”
Clarice asked. “There is no chance.
They won’t take us both.”

“Leave all that to me.
I have it under control,”
Vex said. “This will work.”

“Just think, forever.”
Clarice said. “Never dying.
Never leaving you.”

“Just don’t tell my wife,”
Vex said. He gave her a kiss.
Abigail be damned.


The door chime sounded
Yars didn’t want visitors
But he opened it.

Bea greeted Yars’ stare
“We needed to talk alone.”
Bea said. “In person.”

“How about a drink?”
Asked Bea. “That might be a start.”
She stood there waiting.

Yars moved to the side.
“I can use a drink,” Yars said
“Or maybe twenty.”

Bea pulled out a flask.
“A peace offering to you.
This was made on Earth.”

Yars raised an eyebrow.
“That stuff is older than me
And that’s hard to find.”

“Come now,” Bea started.
“You were born on this vessel.
I did my homework.”

“In history class?”
Asked Yars. “I know they teach it.
Makes things damn awkward.”

“That’s not true,” Bea said.
“The ship is older than you.
That’s easy to find.”

“Did you know,” Yars said
“That we replace every part
In one hundred years?”

“Nothing is the same
since the ship left the Earth.”
Yars said. “Nothing is.”

“Except for this flask.”
Bea countered. “But it’s a good thing.”
“The Earth is no more.”

“That’s what they teach us,”
Yars said, “but is that the truth?
Sometimes I wonder.”

“But we could return.”
Yars said. “Once this is over.
Discover the truth.”

“You could,” Bea answered.
“But that would long after
We all have moved on.”

Yars raised an eyebrow
“Not all of us,” Yars countered
“The crew could do it.”

“Is that what you want?”
asked Bea. “What would you do then?
How would that help you?”

“I became Captain
to find out how the ship worked.
What is next?” Yars asked.

“Finding our new home,”
Bea said, “ends our quest at last.”
“Gives us a new start.”

“Not the crew,” Yars said.
“For us we will be finished.
Nothing left to do.”

“Why do you say that?”
Bea asked. “You can help us shape
the society.”

“I do not agree.
Crew really has the power,”
Bea said. “We are sheep.”

“Is that how you feel?”
asked Yars. “I’ve always tried to
keep you in the loop.”

“You have done your part,”
Beas said, “but you have last say.
That can’t continue.”

“When we find New Earth
The power needs to shift back
to mortals,” Bea said.

“What say would we have?”
asked Yars. “an equal voice or
would we become sheep?”

Bea recoiled back.
“Maybe sheep was a bit strong,
But the idea fits.”

“You could advise us.”
Bea continued. “It would help.
Give us perspective.”

“Perspective on what?
How having no family
ruins life?” Yars asked

“Or you keep asking
why you still do it,” Yars said.
“Why not end it all?”

Bea tried to break in,
but Yars continued, “Really.
That’s our perspective.”

“ Do not try your games,”
Bea said. “You met your goal by
being immortal.”

“I won’t see my goal,”
Bea said. “I won’t live that long.”
“But I still strive on.”
“You’re getting too good,”
Yars said as he took a swig.
“Once again you win.”
“You don’t have to lose,”
Bea said. “We both have duties.
We both are human.”
Are we still human?”
asked Yars. “Or are we different?”
“Like Neanderthals.”

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