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Discovery part 7 by Ronald Faltus
SUMMARY: Gareth tracks down the criminal Sand to the source of the bracelets
The Scry's breaking thrusters roared to life, causing the ship to quickly drop below the speed of light. Programmed to engage the instant it registered a particular distortion, it was very successful at following Sands through all his course changes. However, it did come up lacking when it came to warning the hangover pilot about the sudden halt in speed. Even with the inertial compensators running full, Gareth found himself pitched forward with each stop.
So far, Sands had adjusted his course seven times in the twelve hours since he left Eifrinti, and during that time, Gareth had managed just a few brief naps. Not nearly enough sleep to dry him out and clear his head. This last revision to normal space was particularly hard. He had been in The Scry's galley pouring yet another cup of coffee. Still fighting off the disorientation form the alcohol, he was caught off guard by the sudden deceleration, spilling the entire cup across his hand and down his leg. A surprised yelp of pain followed, doubling the splitting pain behind his bleary eyes. Cursing to himself, he grabbed a wad of loose printouts and began to dab at his scalded leg. Then, not for the first time since leaving Eifrinti, he questions the sanity of what he was doing.
Flowing a certified criminal to who knows were, all to stop him from digging up a few long forgotten graves, is there wisdom in that? Sands had already led him far away form settled space and into rarely traveled territory. Eying the star charts, Gareth couldn't even begin to speculate on the destination. They were so far out, that he doubted that anyone had been in this direction for generations. Labeled the Eelier Expanse by the survey team that mapped the sector long ago, it was dubbed inconsequential due to its lack of resources or habitable planets. There just wasn't anything out here, just a few primordial star systems, a few roving comets, and the Azur Nebula. Nothing that would warrant any interest form settlers or prospectors. The nebula lay directly in the path of his ship, filling the entire front view screen with wispy trails of white and blue gasses, intertwined in a magnificent cascade of light. Sharp tendrils of electricity arced within the stellar nursery, making the nebula resemble an immense thunder storm rolling across sky. Normally fascinated by such cosmic beauty, Gareth paid it not attention. A struggle of common sense raged in his head.
Back at the bar, Gareth's inebriated mind had overruled his common sense, convincing him that he had to follow Sands and stop him. It insured him that this small token of action would begin to erase his debt to the sick and dying on Vergos. It seemed so clear when he was plying himself with liquid courage, as if the universe had reached down and given him a mission to begin to balance his karma. But now a gallon of coffee and a few minutes of sleep later, he was beginning to come close to the edge of panic with the realization of what he was doing. This wasn't what he was cut out for; he was a scientist for god sakes.