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Connection - 14

by fortis

~1154 words

Everen pushed around the gloppy food on her plate. It had, of course, been cooked by someone who was firstly a scientist or politician or something else, and secondly a chef. The food on the ship was never exactly great. But Everen had lost her appetite after the murder of Wallen Tallow. Because it had to be a murder, right? You don’t get a triangle lodged in your back on accident. The people investigating his death (it was a makeshift CSI unit, composed of some biologists who knew a bit of forensics) hadn’t come to any solid conclusions yet, or at least they hadn’t made any statements publicly yet. But Everen had seen him. And that couldn’t have been anything but a murder.

The rest of the crew on board looked shaken too. There were a few other people scattered around the mess hall, but there were significantly fewer than usual, and no one made eye contact or friendly banter. The usually jovial-if-stressed environment had become jumpy and tense, suspicious and scared. The silence was oppressive.

And suddenly Everen couldn’t stomach it anymore: not the silence, not the food. She stood up (someone jumped at the suddenness of it) and tossed her uneaten food into the recycling receptacle. She wandered through the tight passageways that were dimly lit to simulate evening. She didn’t realize where her feet were taking her until she was standing again outside the infirmary doors. Unsure of what else to do, she took a breath and walked in.

She was glad to see that the place had been cleaned up. She had partially been expecting to see the team of biologist-police, but it looked like they’d gotten everything they needed from the place. The only one inside was Janna who was staring at Everen with wide eyes.

“Hey,” Everen said with a little wave.

Janna let out a deep breath. “Sorry. You startled me.” She was sitting behind her desk, and the room looked as it always did, as if what had happened earlier was just a particularly bad dream. “Quite a day.”

“Yeah. I got questioned.” It was true, the team of biologists had asked her a bunch of questions that Everen didn’t know how to answer. She’d told them as much as she could, but they’d gone away dissatisfied.

“Yeah, me too.” Janna looked down at a paper on her desk, but it seemed as if she were staring right through it, lost in her own thoughts.

Everen was about to sit on the bed as was her habit when she remembered, and just leaned against the nearest wall instead. “I don’t know what to do or think about or feel.”

Janna gave a bitter laugh. “Tell me about it.”

“I can’t believe someone would do that. Who could it have been?”

Janna just shook her head, continuing to stare through her desk.

There was a moment of silence before Everen said, “I hope they catch them. Whoever did it. I hope they catch them and stick them in the airlock without oxygen and then blast them into the void. This was supposed to be a new start for humanity! We were supposed to–”

“Actually,” Janna cut in, “I think I’d prefer if we didn’t talk about it. Can we just talk about something normal?”

“Oh.” Everen bit her tongue. Of course. Janna hadn’t even invited her in, but Everen had walked in anyway and started talking about it. How insensitive could she be? “Uh, what do you want to talk about?”

Janna buried her head in her hands. “I don’t know. Anything else.”

“What are you working on right now?” Everen hazarded.

“Working out some things regarding landing. If we ever get the chance to actually land this hunk of metal. We’ve gotten new data regarding our destination planet’s gravity system, which is complicated by a nearby massive moon. Honestly, it’s so big I almost want to call them double planets.” Janna went on talk about the numbers and equations and unknown variables involved, but Everen didn’t understand even half of it. It seemed to be doing Janna good though, so Everen kept nodding and smiling.

Everen? Kerra asked, over the connection. You busy?

Vaguely, Everen responded. Janna was pointing at some numbers she’d scratched down. But only vaguely. What’s up?

Just thought I’d let you know that Shandi and all them came by to say goodbye.

So she’s really leaving then, huh?

Looks like it. You sound… sadder than usual.

It was a troubling day.


Someone died. Think he was murdered.


Yeah. Not fun. I was in the infirmary when… yeah.

Oh, Everen, I’m so sorry. Um. Who was it?

No one you’d know. I didn’t know him that well either.

Still. I’m really sorry. I’ll let you go now. I’m sorry for bothering you. Sorry.

It’s okay. Thanks for telling me about Shandi.

Any time.

Everen tuned back into what Janna was saying.

“So with those 3.8885 microparsecs–”

“Wait, wait,” Everen interrupted. “You’re using microparsecs?”

Janna seem thrown for a minute, as if she’d forgotten Shandi was even there. “Well of course I am. That’s what everyone uses.”

“Nuh-uh. I know for a fact that Trillian and the girls down in the control room use light years. I was talking to them just yesterday and they were rambling on about it. Kinda like you’re doing now.”

“Really?” Janna gave Everen a wondering look. “Now I’d never know that. I never talk to them, though they’re nice girls. We just don’t have much reason to communicate other than a couple of numbers. But if they’re having to convert my calculations into light years… Or even worse, if they aren’t noticing my units... Uh oh. I better go have a talk with them, just to make sure everyone’s on the same page.”

“Now that I think about it,” Everen said, “I was talking to the gals in the pilot seats the other day too, and I think they were using AU for the planetary scale.”

“I thought we were all supposed to be using microparsecs!” She ranted. “I’m going to have to talk to the captain about this, so we don’t have any mistakes when we get toward the landing. If those women in the bridge all use AU and then try to use my calculations, we’d end up blasting through the center of the planet.” She squinted at her paper. “I think. Wait, so if that was true, then this fraction would actually be…”

Everen crept out of the room before Janna unloaded more techno-math babble onto her. So the scientists weren’t using the same base units of measure. That concerned Everen, but not as much as the idea that a murderer might still be on the loose. She snuck a look over her shoulder before retreating quickly down the hall toward her sleeping quarters. She doubted she’d get much sleep tonight.

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800 Reviews

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Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:12 am
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...

Fort, fort, fort,

Another long period just passed, giving me plenty of time to think up a creative opening. But alas, I did not. So here we are, just going straight to the review, skipping pleasantries as we do. Getting started...

It had, of course, been cooked by someone who was firstly a scientist or politician or something else, and secondly a chef.

Okay, so this was something I'd been kind of wondering about before, but now my curiosity is solidified. Why do they ONLY have scientists on the ship. I mean, I know they're probably trying to keep the staff as small as possible, and scientists tend to be helpful things to have around when you've got a space mission and such going on.

BUT I mean they knew this was going to be a long-term project. And they brought Everen for communication. So why couldn't they also have brought along a doctor and a chef? Like, it would make sense the scientists having to double as janitors -- no point in having non-essential support staff around. But food and medicine are pretty important to human survival, and you'd think having an extra couple of people around would be worth it, for the comfort and survival of the rest of the crew?

The people investigating his death (it was a makeshift CSI unit, composed of some biologists who knew a bit of forensics) hadn’t come to any solid conclusions yet, or at least they hadn’t made any statements publicly yet.

Okay, so, you've done this in other chapters and I don't think? I've given you my soapbox on it cause it kinda worked. But I'm really really not a fan of parenthetical statements in prose.
There's other punctuation that can work just as well (in this case I think you could straight up replace the () with dashes, honestly, and delete the 'it was' at the start), and I dunno, I just really don't like them in literature. They're super helpful in like personal communication as an aside for something that's not entirely essential but helpful for clarification, but to me they just seem a bit lazy within a story.

Also, the content of those parentheticals made me kinda grin. I can see it now -- biologists who sorta kinda think they know what they're doing playing CSI because they are the "most qualified" for it, even though they're not really qualified at all. I'm v much envisioning my irl friends in this role and enjoying it immensely. xD

She stood up (someone jumped at the suddenness of it) and tossed her uneaten food into the recycling receptacle.

See, here's an example of what I was talking about above. Really not loving that parenthetical aside here. You can totally rephrase that in a way to convey the content without using a parenthetical statement to do so -- and I would definitely recommend that to be something that you try.

“So with those 3.8885 microparsecs–”

This is making me really really wonder if Numbers is somehow related to this mission. Same number of sig figs, nyeh?

~ ~ ~

Dramaaaaa~ I know I shouldn't know the units thing is a thing yet, but having that knowledge, I must say that this is beautiful foreshadowing... or, maybe not quite foreshadowing, but like, setting it up beautifully. I wouldn't be suspecting that at all as a motive or even a possible connection in the murders now if I hadn't read ahead, so well done in giving us some vital information without it being suspicious.

Onward to the next chapter to see what you have in store!

~Shady 8)

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562 Reviews

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Reviews: 562

Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:08 am
FlamingPhoenix wrote a review...

Hi Shikora here with a review.

What I like

I really like how you started this chapter. It got me into the story right away so great job. I also like it that your chapters are nice and long. When chapters are short it just give the story a rushed feeling. It also gives me more time to feel what the characters are feeling.

The plot

I can tell that this death was a big part of the plot, and it's good that you've done it because it puts tension in the air. And that's a great way to get your readers hooked. I look forward to find out what will happen next.

The Characters

There is so much emotion in this chapter. You have got that really well, but I don't think it enough. There friend as just died and stuff. So you know isn't the pain written all over their faces and the things they do. Also Everen I feel like you should go into her head, you know what is the thoughts going through her head. Is she really mad or sad?


I really like the setting you have here, but I feel like it could do with a bit more. Like the room Everen and Janna were talking in for half the chapter, what does it look like? It's just small things like that you have to look out for.
But I really like what you did here.

Everen pushed around the gloppy food on her plate. It had, of course, been cooked by someone who was firstly a scientist or politician or something else, and secondly a chef. The food on the ship was never exactly great.

This was a really good description and it tells the reader how she is feeling inside. So a bit more of this through out the chapter would make it a lot more sand.

So that's all from me. This chapter was really good. If you don't mind could you tag me next time you post? Never stop writing and have a great day/night.

Your friend
Shikora. :D

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483 Reviews

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Tue Oct 09, 2018 5:47 pm
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Que wrote a review...

Hello again! :)

Just a quick note before I get into the review... you probably want to put this chapter in the same folder as your others! It looks like it's in a poetry folder right now. ;)

I don't have a lot of specific stuff for this chapter, but I really like having some chapters from Everen's perspective and knowing what happens to her from her own point of view, and not just Kerra's transmissions. (I wonder if there will also be chapters from Shandi's point of view in the future...?) I know it seemed as if she had nothing to do before, but I strongly suspect that she will become key to investigating this potential murder--she seems very observant!

I also like the details you have here that make it clear that although Everen was specifically chosen for this mission, not a lot of the others have the most specific skill sets, kind of like a hodgepodge of different specialization areas that come together to make a whole. However, it seemed at first as though not a lot of people had woken up yet, and wouldn't until they got closer. Still, when you talk about teams of biologists and people in the mess hall, it seems like a lot more on board than I would've expected.

I think in the other chapter from Everen's point of view she mentioned something about being social and knowing them all, which doesn't seem to be the case here except for with Janna and Trillian. There's also the idea that Janna isn't communicating with the control room and that they're using different units. While that gives us the idea that the mission wasn't entirely well-planned, it's still rather hard to imagine that while Everen is sitting around with nothing to do, the people working on the important calculations and aspects of the mission aren't comparing notes at all, and maybe that's something that could be better explained or changed a little.

The conversation between Everen and Kerra is nice, but I think it could use a little more background. Something like, "Everen zoned out for a moment as Janna waved another paper in front of her face" or just a dialogue tag every once in a while might help it flow a little better and just distinguish who is speaking so that it's a little easier to tell. Also, Kerra said she wasn't fantastic at conveying emotions, and I really wonder what that would look like from Everen's perspective. Can she perceive that there's a strong emotion Kerra's trying to convey, but can't quite get a detailed sense of it? That would be cool to include as well.

I really loved this chapter! I'm very interested in the murder, but Janna's thoughts also make me wonder about their mission and the planet they will be landing on, so hopefully more of that will come into light eventually as well. :) <3


He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.
— Friedrich Nietzsche