Wapun used the boost of post-acceleration forward momentum to race up the rest of the hallway and catch the nearest Vertical Transit to the bridge.
From there, it was just a question of appearing neater and meaner than anyone else on the bridge.
“Far scanners, report,” she demanded, entering her command chair from the side opposite the ensign whose sole duty was freshening the Captain’s Cup.
It was magical thinking, and Wapun hated it on bad days. But, just like the Naehyn breathing live into the gravity generators, it worked. With annoying accuracy.
In the eternal battle between rationality and superstition, there was no greater early-warning detection system than the Captain’s Cup. No matter how advanced the scanners, no matter how sensitive the passive detection systems, the best and first method of telling something was about to go very wrong indeed was ripples in the Captain’s favourite hot beverage.
Thus, there was always a piping hot cup - it had to be very hot so as to be allowed to sit and cool - set in a special part of every bridge of every ship. Even those that had owners and no captains.
If it was irrational, but it worked, it was not that irrational in the first place.
Wapun’s was a mixture of hot water, bovine lactate, sugar, drinking chocolate, more sugar, caramel, and perhaps a stray molecule of caffeine, crying because it was alone.
Tartaczevski turned to deliver her report. “Sir, we have the wormhole stabilised at five AU and closing. Advanced scanners have picked up a hollow metallic object drifting towards us. There appears to be no fuel and it’s not broadcasting. Atmosphere inside is a typical carbon-form-friendly mix of oxygen, nitrogen, and random harmless pollutants. Life signs… are dubious.”
“…effing called it,” muttered Wapun under her breath.
“How, exactly, are they dubious, Tartaczevski?”
Hevun’s Ambassador. Available on Smashwords February 14th 2014.
Hot beverages are functionally important.