Nav Officer Decker stood at the ships star chart holo-terminal staring into the blackness. No one had been out this far since the first war, these clusters were almost foreign to the young helmsman, he’d studied them in training, but actually traveling through them was different altogether. He peered in awe at the blinking lights before him noting their location and destination. Right there in the cluster of stars and planets, in the dark reaches of space, was Korr.
Korr was a garden planet, ripe for colonization, and if the thrice-damned Zerg hadn’t reared their ugly heads out of their hives it would already be home and haven to Terrans. Decker had the luck of having been stationed on a vessel outside of the Queen of Blades swath of destruction and managed to avoid having to actually encounter the beasts. The holo-vids and broadcasts from the core worlds displayed enough of them to make him count himself lucky that he never had.
“You excited son?” Decker jumped, the captain startled him from his thoughts. “Oh, yes sir, I’ve read that before the war Korr was rich with vespene and resources, like a treasure trove waiting for us… Sir.” Captain Stewart stood taller than Decker, and broader, heck bigger in every way it seemed. He had a fatherly air about him, not cruel or harsh, but firm and powerful. He had obviously seen military service at one time but he refused to speak of it to any of the crew, brushing it off as “Old days.”
“Who cares about all that? Resources are what the bureaucrats and businessmen care about, if you’re in this for the money then I’ve got news for you son…” Captain Stewart turned and headed to his console. “Money’s no good on the ground of a lost planet.” Decker sputtered “Well… I mean… It should be an excellent place to start a colony, lots of resources to build from.” The captain grinned at him a broad toothy smile “I’m teasin’ you boy, now, bring up the sector charts and go get yourself something to eat, I know you’ve had your eye on that colonist girl Sophie and I think it’s their dinner time.”
With a blush and a stuttered “Y- yes sir!” Decker walked briskly from the deck leaving the captain and the other helmsmen behind. In his hurry he didn’t notice the man in the hallway until he shoulder-checked him by accident. The other man was toned, rugged and sporting a day’s growth of hair on his jaws, sideburns and shorn scalp. He wore a tank top and what looked like cargo pants and not much else.
The man stared down the navigation officer with a scowl and Decker winced back at the man’s stare and apologized. Decker suddenly wanted more than anything to just get away and down to the mess hall. The man snorted through his sinuses in a menacing grunt and Decker hurried on with his head down, too flustered to be curious about what had just occurred. The gruff man continued in his path toward the bridge.
Decker found himself hurrying toward the mess hall, brushing past people hoping to catch the bespectacled brunette that had drawn his attention on this voyage. Some of the Dominion marines were finishing chow and elbowed him out of the way as he walked past, into the cramped dining quarters. He slowed himself and tried to compose himself as he approached the area where the colonists were eating and scanned for Sophie before spotting her sitting with her family.
He began to approach her table and barely took note that the lights dimmed slightly when he looked at her, he was completely smitten. He thought nothing of it until a couple of the colonists also seemed to look around and take note of the sudden change in illumination. Decker looked to Sophie again and put on his best “confidence” look so as to put her at ease and she just smiled at him, that smile that made his bones melt.
He shrugged off the electrical problem and took a couple more steps toward her when it happened. A deafening shriek of metal on metal resounded through the ship and everyone was tossed to the side as the ships gravity generators tried to compensate for… something. Decker’s foot slammed to the deck floor and his whole body felt like lead as the artificial gravity drives overcharged for a moment, causing sudden distress among everyone in the crowded dining hall. Decker pulled himself toward Sophie, who’s eyes were wide with fear as everyone was suddenly launched into the air when the grav engines died.
Panic ensued in the crowded confines of the dining hall, the lights flickered and people floated up from their seats, only to be slammed down again, hard, as the drives engaged once more, trying to compensate. Everyone was quiet for a moment, stunned, wondering if it was over, when the drives failed again and the whole ship lurched. Harnesses popped from the walls for emergencies and people fought each other for use of them.
Decker pushed off from a table toward Sophie who had nearly become lost in the confusion and got her to a wall harness and frantically strapped her in. The throng of people then swallowed him up, pulling and pushing, frantically screaming against the alarm klaxons, arms and legs moving Decker away from the wall. He quickly found himself tumbling, flailing franticly and carried by the mass of scrambling people, away from the safety harnesses, away from Sophie.
His last memories before falling unconscious to a misplaced boot to his head was a tear in the plasteel wall and the view of the on-rushing planet coming up at them, then darkness.