“CMDR .. chu..? Shoe? MunChuuChrr?”
Xavier stood from his seat next on the public concourse, and went to go talk with Hoard Orbital’s Search and Rescue agent. The overworked bureaucrat shuffled about the notice icons on his holo display as he tried to find the specifics his neural interface conduit and soft A.I. assistant bundle insisted were there.
“CMDR, we appreciate the report. However no, the additional pods have not been recovered.”
The agent’s tone was flat, polite but matter of fact. Xavier felt a lump in his throat with the news about the additional escape pods from the wreckage he had come across.
“I’m, what, sorry, but not recovered? There were six out there. And I took the two I had cargo space for. I sent out the other’s coordinates, heading, speed, all of it with a flash bulletin through the system network. I..’
Taking a deep breath, the S&R agent raised a hand, and started to raise his voice briefly to cut Xavier off.
“You did everything you could, with the circumstances you were given Commander... Listen, you didn’t lose four lives today, you saved two. That is the nature of our business Commander, stealing life like crumbs from death’s massive maw. Now, please, I can’t play therapist any more today, alright?”
Xavier still felt a bit stunned, and as if in a dream, but nodded his head.
With that he turned and went to leave the S&R kiosk on Hoard Orbital’s lower bay area. The agent was right, Xavier knew it, that didn’t make it easier. The two escape pods Xavier had recovered, the two daughters of a family en route to Darlton Base on Una 5. The four left, the girl’s parents who were xenobiologist on a research grant to study the aquatic life on Una 6, and two other academics on a speaking tour regarding recruitment of STEM students into the Federal Navy's office of special projects. It wasn’t clear yet what disaster had befallen the 'Una's Torch' an ASP Explorer research vessel, the pride of Una Institute of Technology university, and why its FSD had dropped from super cruise so violently that the hull had experienced catastrophic failure. An inquiry on the university’s side would maybe find answers as they engaged in salvage efforts.
Still Xavier caught himself clenching his fist so hard, that he felt the pain of his nails in his palms and ache of his fingers from the strain. Guilt, as if because he was a Commander of a ship, somehow he was able, expected, to somehow always prevail against the uncountable disasters that space had in its arsenal at every instant. Now a bitter and numbing shower of reality was falling on him. Commander or not, space was indifferent and cared little for human effort or ability. The void of the Milky Way was a fickle mistress, forever churning her residents about.