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Out of the Mist

Out of the Mist 

Just after midnight Kirel stepped out of the command lift with Lt Cdr Moore, commanding officer of Starfleet Command’s runabout, Osprey.  Neither spoke.  Instead they wandered slowly along the overhang of the commerce deck, each one trying to make sense of what had happened in the mist of nebula 231. It made no sense.  

The nebular mist of soft, wispy hues, pale pink intertwined with beige, cream, aquamarine, deep yellow, and vividly glittering gold, that swirled around one side then the other seemed to be ordinary..  The mist seemed to be no more than what other Oberth class science vessels experienced.  To USS Rodman’s Commander Trajan, it was “the chance of a lifetime”. and it should have been.

“It’s like they ate them up,” mused Moore as he leaned against the mezzanine railings.

Lifting a brow, Kirel joined Moore at the railing. “Explain "ate them up”.”

“It’s a saying, ma’am. The mist acted like more than a mist.  It was like… well… some kind of animal.  Or maybe several animals.”  He shrugged into a sigh.  “Like a gang that wanted all they could get.  Or maybe a group of…. A group of nebular snakes?  The group got bigger and bigger. Gees… it’s hard to explain.”

“The group of…?”

“The nebular mist, ma’am.  It wrapped around the ships and wouldn't let go."

“And the crew?” asked Kirel as she crossed her arms and leaned against the railing.

“Dunno, Captain,” he sighed. “Medical has them quarantined until they find out… whatever they have to find out."

"...which is the usual procedure, Commander. Walk with me." 

A slow, even walk down the stairs to the commerce deck drew little attention.  Most of the stores were closed, Drankum’s Bar still had few patrons, and Chez Antonio was closed though it was always open to Kirel.  

Cloistered in a corner of Chez Antonio, they relaxed, put aside their ranks, and enjoyed a drink. Or two.  Or three or four.  Kirel was more adjusted to drinking than Moore, but he seemed to enjoy it.  Discussion of the nebula became off limits, though it did pop up once in a while.  They seldom discussed the nebula, though it did appear occasionally. Several hours later, bells chimed 0300 above the commerce deck’s waterfall.

Moore almost dropped his drink into the... well, into the drink. 

“Zero three hundred, Commander,” said Kirel casually as she put aside her Romulan Ale.  “Time to enjoy a much-needed rest.  And,” she continued when Moore began to object, “that’s an order.  I will inform you when the medical complex is open for visitors.”

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