JANE IN SPACE
Miss Polly Connor
Chapter 6 – In Which Ghosts Are Abroad Amongst The Stars
“Titans of music, art and literature,” he’d continued, “all ready to civilise those savages. Or at least, keep them relatively quiet and productive. The boffins reckon it’s as likely as anything to quiet things down, barring knockout drops, or rubber bullets.”
“Have fun,” he’d added, with a coldly genial wink the Captain’s way. “Who knows, you could get a little culture yourself, Cap! You’ll be so highbrow I won’t know you!”
So he signed off, leaving the Captain fuming gently. And with a cargo of brilliantly gifted frozen fish-fingers, or near enough.
And now. Fast-forward to the scheduled early spring drop-off flight – now hi-jacked by another ship, carrying the usual surly, unruly mining staff as bags and baggage. (Its captain volunteered into it as forcibly as Jon had been.) It was eerie to walk the corridors and tread the flight-deck of his own shuttle, and to feel how sparsely it was populated, compared to the usual press and throng of passengers as well as crew. (Still more eerie, to remember where the missing passengers were, and in what condition.)
The company shuttles ran on a tight budget, and functions were duplicated as little as possible. The Captain could walk the length of the shuttle’s narrow thoroughfares and scarcely encounter a stray ensign or wandering technician, scurrying past on urgent errands.
But however small, the crew was closely knit. Enough so that the Captain had developed something approaching a sixth sense, regarding every member.