Gone Before

gone before...

The sun glinted off a small object, tumbling slowly end over end. Maxwell breathed slowly, smoothly, and pushed away from the airlock with his legs. He saw in his rear view video feed the ship receding quickly. A moment watching this, and Maxwell whispered, “Select Ranged Target 122798, cross-hair image superimpose, forward feed.” Now he saw the tiny cylinder approaching in the reticule the tracking computer provided.

He breathed again, air like silk in his throat slipping away. The image steadily grew in his visor, and merged almost seamlessly with the glinting, blinking thing he saw with his eyes. A jet on his suit fired once, instantly opposed by another, and the two objects became one.

Maxwell brought his arms slowly towards his face, and muttered another command to the computer. A few hisses and thumps and his velocity relative to the tumbling object slowed to a crawl. Slowly, slowly, slowly. His fingers touched the object, and he expertly opposed the spin with one hand and caught it with the other.

He drew his legs up, and spun slowly around. Maxwell examined his prize, and read the inscription: James Montgomery Doohan (March 3, 1920 – July 20, 2005)
The stars spun in his visor as he rotated, and he tucked the cylinder, shiny but slightly pitted, into a belt loop and pushed some webbing around it, then tugged the covering tight. He smiled as he noted the ship coming into view again. “Let’s take you home, Scotty.”

Commander Jai Tiberius Maxwell, Chief Engineer of the United Earth StarShip Enterprise, first of its class, landed feet first on the airlock hatch.

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