Chapter 27: Good-Bye
A somber mood enveloped everyone on the deck of the ship as they gathered in the torpedo room and stood erect in a circle around a missile casing, which had been hollowed out and fashioned into a coffin. Its black siding mirrored the emotions of those gathered. Solaris, though back online, refused to associate with the others, her sadness as deep as theirs. The loss of Brie left a vacant hole that none could fill.
Brie lay in the casing; her mousy brown hair framed her fair skinned face. Her closed eyes gave the appearance of being asleep.
“We gather here to say farewell to a member of this crew,” came Rynah’s hollow voice. “Member… listen to me talk as though she meant nothing.” Rynah choked back a tear, remembering that her last words to Brie had been cruel. “Brie never wanted to be here, but I yanked her from her home for my own purposes anyway. My selfishness is what killed her. But that is not how she would have seen it.
“People think that real courage is running into a fight. Well, that may be bravery, but true courage is putting your fears aside. Real courage is giving your own life so that others may live.
“Brie had her fears, and many times, I scolded her about it, but what I never told her, or anyone, is that I shared the same fears. In the end, Brie showed more courage than I will ever possess. She did what was necessary to save us all, even at the loss of her own life. You will be missed, Brie.”
Once Rynah had finished, Alfric stepped forward. He looked upon Brie’s still form in the tube, his stern face had softened and portrayed his grief. He took the talisman (a simple pendant with a rune on it) from around his neck and placed it in Brie’s cold hands. “May Odin welcome you into his halls.”
Tom and Solon remained silent. There was nothing for them to say.
Rynah closed the tube encasing Brie’s body. Together, the four of them lifted the coffin into the torpedo hatch and sealed it. Rynah pulled the lever. With a whoosh, the missile casing with Brie’s body jettisoned into the empty vacuum of space. Rynah glanced one last time at the others before heading for the command center of the ship.
“I am sorry, Brie,” whispered Solaris with remorse, but no one heard her.
Floating among pin pricks for stars in the desolate cold of space was a single missile casing: Brie’s coffin. Days had passed since it had been deposited there and before a lone vessel, the size of a space station, appeared next to it, having detected the coffin on its scanners. Using a tractor beam, they captured it, bringing it aboard their ship before jumping into hyperspace, and disappearing just as fast.
The story continues in book 2: Solaris Seeks.
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