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2013 Silver Merit Award
1000 Lonely Stars

1000 Lonely Stars



Darkness did not suit her. The warp field outside a rectangular window provided the only light in the room. Very little light. Her mother told her to wait in this room as they had business to attend. “Fine,” she thought. “I’ll bring up the lights.”


“Computer, lights.” Nothing. “Computer! Lights!” Nothing, again. Annisha got up from the chair to... “Ouch!” She tripped onto the floor. A thin layer of carpet lined the room and softened her fall. Undeterred, she picked herself up. “Hello?” No response. She put her hands in front of her as she walked forward. Soon her hand pressed against a metal wall. The seam between two plates felt cold against Annisha’s tiny fingers. She moved to the left, keeping her hands on the wall, until she reached what should have been the door. It was as best as she could figure, but her approach did not cause it to open.


“Hey!” Annisha shouted. She began to pound on the door with her closed fists. The metal doors were constructed such that very little play allowed sound to travel very far. A person three times her size could not do any better. “I want my mom and dad!” She pounded rapidly, her breathing lined with a bit of panic. Nothing. Her assault against the door ceased. She rested her forehead against the door and closed her eyes.




“How is she,” the Romulan named Lovan asked. He remained seated in the command chair of the Tecora. He stared at the observation screen, the warp field display a welcome diversion.


“She’s...resting in the guest quarters,” spoke Maivei. “In the dark. I’ve been told she’s a clever girl. The darkness will retard any attempt of escape.”


Lovan wrinkled his brow. “Surely you disabled all of the room’s devices from which she could gain access.”


“Yes, the first thing I did.” She stopped at the foot of the command chair, then turned to look at Lovan. “It has been hours, Annisha will need food and drink. If she arrives ill they will severely reduce our payment, or cut us off altogether.”


“Very well,” he said with a sigh. “Feed her something, but neither of us should do it. I don’t want any more emotional attachment than she already has for us.


“I’ll see to it.” Maivei said sharply with a nod. Soon she stepped into the lift and commanded it to head to the galley.




Nearly an hour had passed since Annisha ceased pounding on the door. She was lead into the room and it opened then. Perhap it was a trick door, only opening one way. Now she merely laid on the bed, curled up with nothing but the calm of the starfield out the window. It has been her only companion during this lonely journey to her new home. Nijil told her this meant she was traveling faster than light itself. Light shifted into the blue when flying towards it, red when it was going away. From the side as Annisha could see it, the streaks remained nearly all white. It looked like...


Surprisingly the door hissed open. She was right. Earlier she had reached the door. At its threshold stood a large imposing Rihan. Shoulders broad and a large head to boot. The door closed soon after he stepped through. A tiny sliver of light from the outside shown through to reveal the corridor she walked through hours earlier.


“Hello?” She asked into the near darkness.


“Food and drink,” boomed the man.


The dark allowed her to be night vision adjusted. Even though his uniform black she could see two things: One, a metal tray with a cup and bowl, and two, and most distressing, a gun. He placed the tray on the table near to the door. The metal on glass should hurt her ears considering all of the silence she endured. Annisha winched in response.


“Can I see my mom and dad?” She queried into the dark.


“No! They are very busy. Eat.” He turned.


“But...” Before she could get another question out the he stepped through the door. The hiss it made closing echoed. The girl got out of the bed and made her way to the table. The metal tray felt cold as the door. She felt around carefully for the cup. The water within she welcomed without hesitation. Same for the contents of the bowl. It tasted like oatmeal mixed with dried vegetables. Anywhere else and she would have complained.


After about two minutes Annisha gobbled up the food and finished the last of the water. She licked the spoon clean and placed it in the only pocket she had. Seemed the only friend she had now. The trek back to the bed did not result in her running into anything along the way. Again she laid on her side. She curled up as tightly as she might, but kept a view of the window on the other side of the room. The stars now streaked from top to bottom. They reminded her of rain on Romulus, shortly before she left for a field trip off world. The last time she would see her home.


Her father spoke of how the universe could be a cruel place even to the best of people. Cruel seemed an apt description of right now. Why, what was happening? Where were her parents? Perhaps they were making preparations for her new home and wanted to surprise her. As much as she wanted to think that, in her heart it seemed unlikely. She felt sleepy, but not before a realization. The stars streaking out her window were not raindrops on a window, but tears from the heavens.

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