The Story of RAGS Chapter 4 – The Journey
A yellow light flashed several times and a horn was heard throughout the ship. Over the intercom came the voice of Pete, the Senior Master Chief of the ship, “ATTENTION! ATTENTION! ATTENTION! LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF, ‘THE PRINCESS MILLIE,’ PLEASE MAKE READY FOR TAKOFF!”
Abernathy completed tying down a load from ‘MANU’ that he was working on with Brent and Quinton, two big Black Labrador Retrievers and headed toward the ready room. Along the way, he met up with Lorena and Rigo, two friends that he had, and they talked a little while they made ready for takeoff.
Rigo asked, “Hello Abernathy, How have you been doing lately?”
“Just wonderfully, Rigo, I have met some pretty nice people on the last voyage and on the planet ‘MANU.”
“Coming through! Make Way!” They turned as one and saw a contingent of soldiers coming and moved out of the way.
“Platoooon! Halt!” Barked the stocky bulldog. “Platoon! AaaaTenHut! At Ease.”
The platoon of bulldogs stopped, came to attention and then relaxed. Abernathy, Rigo and Lorena watched in silence. When the bulldog in front finished talking Abernathy asked who these people were under his breath.
The Sergeant turned and faced the small group, “I am Ross,” the sergeant of this troop of soldiers. We are the ship’s protection and members of the Galactic Federation Military.” He boomed. “These are my men. He nodded at each as he named them off; Husam, [Master of Arms] Hector, Rodrick, Morris, Davey, Mamadu, Landeros, Khalifa, Waheed, Grisby, Dario, Hergon, WoJo and Romar.” Each of the muscular bulldogs nodded in turn as their name was announced.
Without further ado, he turned to his troops and barked, “AaaaTenHut! Fallout!”
The soldiers snapped to attention and then began finding their seats and strapping in for the takeoff.
“Well, that was interesting,” mused Lorena, “I guess we had better find our seats and buckle up too.”
Abernathy found his seat and clicked the harness around him, pulling the straps tight. A few minutes later, the rumbling deep inside the ship began, and the weight increased as the ship slowly lifted from the launch pad. As in the first journey, the heavy weight only lasted a few seconds, as the ship lifted, and then dropped to nothing as they reached the outer atmosphere and into space.
The green light flashed and everyone hit the jettison on their seat belts and floated up out of their seats. This time, Abernathy was more experienced and didn’t fight the lack of gravity. He maneuvered toward Cargo 7, where he knew Miss ‘D’ was waiting to give more directions on the load, and to his boss Jack, for his work assignment.
After his first shift, he decided to explore the ship a little more and headed first to the lounge in the aft of the ship on level 42. The ‘Starlight Lounge’ was a favorite place for the crew to meet and relax in between shifts. He watched a show as he sipped his water, brought by a white poodle named, ‘Sharmeen.’
On the stage there was a crew member, doing a stand-up comedy act. His name was ‘Dominic,’ and he did impersonations of the members of the crew. It was hilarious as he knew most of the members that he did impressions of and he had their voice and mannerisms perfectly. He mimicked Miss ‘D’ and her tough no-nonsense commands. He also impersonated Jack, his boss, a Jack Russell with a caffeinated mile-a-minute manner of talking, while he darted back and forth talking to you. He thought that it must be the breed as his friend Ingram was, if anything, even more animated than Jack.
The ‘Starlight Lounge’ was bathed in laughter as Dominic finished his act. This act was followed by two Twin Pekinese sisters, Quwanna and Quintella, who sang a lovely duet. After that, their husbands, Garth and Labaron joined them for a short skit, and a few more songs. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Walking back to his bed for a bit of reading and some sleep before his next shift in Cargo 7, he turned a corner and saw the most amazing sight. There in the hallway ahead stood the most beautiful bird he had ever seen. He stood still, frozen to the spot as he stared unabashedly at the creature.
“Abernathy!” Came the familiar voice of his friend, Doctor Maya. He blinked and saw that gathered around this huge beautiful bird were his friends, Germano, Terry, Afra, Jnaibi and Dr. Maya. He walked slowly toward them, never taking his eyes off the bird. So incredible were the, ever shifting, colors, designs, and patterns of the creature that he was mesmerized. He had never seen anything so beautiful before in his young life. Around this bird, a soft golden glow seemed to pulse in waves, that were almost audible in nature.
As he reached the group in the hallway, Germano asked, “Are you okay, my good friend?”
Blinking, as if waking from a dream, Abernathy finally took his eyes from the bird and looked around at his friends, “Aaaah Yyes.” He stammered. “Sorry, I am just stunned. I have never seen such a lovely bird before.”
Rose’s laugher was musical, “I am afraid we have never met. I am the ship’s Psychic Counselor, Rose. Most people have this response the first time we meet. I am a ‘Bird–of-Paradise,’ from a line of empaths that are legendary for their ability to combine with the person I am talking with. Maybe ‘Combine’ is not the exact word I mean, but it explains my ability the best.” She smiled at him.
Abernathy bowed his head to her, “I am Abernathy,” he said. “Cargo Crewman First Class, Cargo Hold #7,” he announced proudly. They chatted for a long time and eventually during the voyage, they became good friends. He would schedule visits between her appointments and they would just sit and talk. She was a wonderful person and he enjoyed her company immensely.