Outside stars sprinkled the sky like salt crystals on a black velvet cloth. Inside, glow strips edged the floors of the corridors, giving just enough light to see where one was going, conserving energy in the artificial night. In their quarters the occupants of the little starship were all sound asleep. In the room adjacent to the small medical ward the doctor had his head resting under his feathered arm and made little peeping sounds. The cook was sprawled on her back in a nest of pillows letting out a grating snore that could rival the sound of colliding planets. The two pilots were curled up together, their long tails wrapped around each other in a warm ball. The Engineer lay contently bubbling in a puddle of his on ooze and the first mate slept soundly in shallow tank of warm water. All was peaceful except the captain's cabin.
Rover rolled over again, mumbling unintelligably in his sleep and becoming even more tangled in his blankets. His face was slack and tranquil for the moment, the two fingers on his right hand twitching slightly as if writing. But it was only moments before something changed and his eyebrows lowered into a frown. His breath quickened, his hand closed tightly, lips trembling in in silent conversation. Red curls began to stick to the beads of sweat that formed on his forehead as his head moved vaugly from side to side, his face pinching in distress. He took in a massive gasp. His eyes shot opened and he bolted up in bed.
Rovers chest heaved and his heart thudded in his ears as he stared wide-eyed at the far wall, all the pictures and sounds racing through his head a moment ago vanishing in an instant, leaving his mind blank. All that remained was a cold terror and a sense of sickening loss that made him want to throw up.
With a trembling hand he grabbed his old battered cowboy hat from the bedpost and set it firmly on his head. That calmed him some. He took a deep shaky breath, trying to steady himself. Just a dream...just a dream. Just a dream that had scared the living daylights out of him him for as long as he could remember. What was even worse was he didn't even know what it was that woke him up screaming.
He threw the covers off of him in frustration. Without changing out of his striped pajamas he padded out of his cabin.
tap tap tap.
The sound resounded through the water of Flyspur's sleep tank.
"Blue, wake up. Your about as fun as kelp."
Flyspur groaned groggily as he sat up, rising some out of the warm, bubbling water. Rovers's eager grin was just inches from his face. "What?"
"We've never been inside a black hole before! Come on. Let's go find one."
Flyspur blinked, trying to bring his sleepy mind into focus. "In your pajamas?"
"Yep. Black holes are tricky broncos. You got to lull 'em into a false sense of security so you can sneak up on 'em." With that he disappeared out the door, no doubt heading for the cockpit.
Fluspur sighed, slipped out of his watery bed and reluctantly followed. His friend had had another bad night.
(Rover and Flyspur belong to me)
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