Ask any of the fleet captains, and they will all tell you that a captain’s relationship with the ship is intimate. Deeply so, in fact. A ship is as much part of the captain as a spouse. In fact, ask any spouse of a fleet captain, and you’ll here there’s a bit of jealousy, that the ship often gets more attention. It goes beyond the captain, though. Most members of the crew take pride in their ship. She’s family, and there’s not a fleet engineer out there that wouldn’t treat the ship like his own flesh and blood child.
So on a day like today, when a ship is decommissioned, be it honorable discharge or scuttling due to damage, Captains and crew will stand, salute, and shed tears in the final moments while the bagpipes play. Peter Flynn did just that as the remains of the Cerberus were towed to the nearest star, to go out in death in a final flash of brilliance.
“You never forget your first, eh, Captain?” Chief Engineer Eric Wallace said next to him. The grizzled, some would say ancient, man knuckled tears from the corners of his eyes.
“No, Chief, you don’t. She was a fine ship. I’m going to miss her.”
“Aye. I think—I think I’ll be retiring. I’ve outlived too many of them. Time to settle down, try some gardening.”
I can understand that. It’s going to be hard to go to a new ship. May be months before one is even available. Maybe I should do a rotation at a shipyard, see them birthed for a while.
“Come on, Captain, let me buy you a drink and we’ll trade stories of her.”
Flynn smiled. “Sounds good, Chief.”