"I just don't get it," the new
"He's just sitting there. Fleets Hellene and Persia
are already on station, Roma is less than five hours
out despite the Tiber falling behind. We have the
farthest to go, and we're
drifting while he
Captain White studied his pipe. "Nobody understands
scouts, son, but Vogel there is the best in the Navy.
He sees through hyperspace like nobody's business.
He's why we got the farthest assignment."
Part of Runs With The Wind's mind was following the
conversation, but it was pushed to the side.
Eight thousand light years
was the farthest he'd ever been
from Earth, and it got harder and harder to commune
with the ancestors.
It didn't help that the steam and isolation of the
sweat lodge that normally facilitated the journey
had to be supplied by his imagination.
After what seemed like hours, a dot in the distance
expanded into a hawk, his power animal. It flew low
past him; he turned to see it alight on the bent arm
of his grandfather. With minimal conversation, they
took in the majestic desert panorama together. After a
few minutes, Grandfather passed the bird to him and
slowly walked away, disappearing around the mesa
before them. He smoothed the bird's tail feathers,
stood, and crossed the control room in a few swift, long
Looking far away through the forward window rather
than at the console, he turned the
knobs until he was
satisfied, and said "You are free to navigate. ETA 26 minutes."
The navigator's "That's impossible!" almost drowned out the
executive officer saying "Iowa acknowledged; Iroquois
acknowledged. That's everyone, Captain."
The captain watched with a wan smile as Vogel left the
bridge; he gestured to the stars and ordered "Engage!"