- III -
Alex Clancy found her in the lower level of the Nest, standing close to the large forward floor-to-ceiling windows and staring at that pulsing cloud which had once captured the fascinated attention of most of the crew. The marvel had long gone and not just because of the revelation that Aphrodite contained life forms which had possessed a number of Eagle’s
crewmembers. The unique nebula had also almost become a death trap for the ship and once it had been spat out, it had lost much of its stunning bright and beautiful colors and turned into an almost gray and unappealing mass, not unlike a thick cloud of smog or dust.
“How did it go?” he said as he joined her.
“About as expected,” Nora said without otherwise acknowledging his presence. “The captain has formally closed the investigation.”
“How does that make you feel?”
She turned her head to glower at him.
Clancy quickly raised his hands. “Sorry, old habits,” he said. “But I can tell you that I feel somewhat unsatisfied by the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that we don’t have a bloodthirsty killer on board but after all the work we put into the investigation, it would have been nice to have some sort of pay off.”
She nodded and looked back out of the window.
“Of course it’s not as if we didn’t uncover plenty of other untoward behavior. There’s Gedar’s seemingly out of control love life and the many people who wouldn’t have minded teaching him a lesson, then of course the fact that Charlie Colcord stole her fancy shield modifications from him back at the Academy and whatever was going on between him, Culsten and Hopkins.”
That gathered him another look. “It doesn’t matter anymore.”
He held that look for a moment and then nodded slowly. “I have my own theories about that,” he said but then quickly continued when he noticed her less than pleased look. “However I think I’m just going to keep all those to myself.”
“See that you do.”
For a moment they simply stood there, side-by-side, staring at what remained of Aphrodite together.
“For what it is worth, Lieutenant,” he said, “it was a pleasure working with you on this case. I thought we actually made a pretty good team.”
“Yeah, we did, didn’t we?”
He couldn’t help but smile at that. “Well, I shall leave you to it then. And I suppose it would be inappropriate for me to wish that we will work together again considering that it would mean another murder or the like,” he said and turned away to head towards the exit.
He stopped and looked back.
Nora took a couple of steps towards him and they faced each other. “I might enjoy that, too. Without the murder of course,” she said, her voice sounding somewhat flat.
“What do you say I buy you a drink?”
She smirked. “What is it with humans and that idiom? There are no drinks to be bought on this ship.”
He shrugged. “I suppose it just has a ring to it.”
But her face turned serious again.
“Laas, sometimes it just helps to talk.”
She looked at him suspiciously. “To a counselor?”
“How about to a friend?” he said and held out his hand.
Nora looked at it for a moment as if she had never seen an outstretched hand in her life. Then she nodded and shook it.
Together they walked over to a nearby table, ordered drinks and started talking for a long time.