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Shooting stars were always a bad omen.

 

One zipped past while Eo, a young novice of the Voyager crew, stared out into the night sky from the window of a frigid starship observatory.

 

Eo watched the comet pass until the sparks from its tail fizzled into the ink-black space beyond the glass of the port. A small uprising of excited gasps from his comrades then filled the silence of the observatory. A group of astronauts made light conversation on how rare it was to see a comet at their distance from their home planet.

 

Eo's profile, made all the more boyish with his elvish nose and soft chin, remained hidden in the observatory's space, but an ocassional starlight would highlight his black, messy hair-coils or illuminate his brown eyes that were bent under his brows in deep thought.

 

Alike other captains in the observatory, his uniform was all-white and made of a material close to leather with many buckles and pockets for required gadgets or weapons. Eo's cape, white with a black underside, proudly displayed his rank as it blanketed his shoulders and ankles.

 

Eo noted there were higher-ups in the observatory who had also come to destress after a long day on-duty. They, the Commanders, wore all-black clothing paired with an intimidating pair of sleek, ebony boots and a long, inky cape. One Commander he couldn't quite place met his eyes, and nodded faintly across the room.

 

Eo's lips remained stuck in a thin line as his eyes lowered to his shifting white boots. His thin, caramel-skinned fingers filed once against the sill of the ice-cold port.

 

"Eo," greeted the deep voice from Comnander Bog.

 

Eo didn't flinch, expecting the voice to emerge last from the meeting room.

 

"What kind of face is that to make?" Bog inquired, now beside Eo. "You just had a successful mission." Bog had to mention, with a slight nudge to Eo's stone-like stance: "your first successful mission, may I add. Good work."

 

Eo chuckled, an automatic response to seeing the shadows of Bog's lopsided smirk in the starlight. His throat felt dry when he mumbled, "I was just following orders."

 

"Precisely." Bog tensed his jaw, and then searched for a constellation before him. "I suppose I should tell you the news."

 

Eo glanced to Bog to go on.

 

"The Commanders and I did not approve your promotion this year."

 

Eo sighed, and appeared even smaller than he already was.

 

"However, we have approved you for another mission. This time, to Mars. A few of the Space Academy kids need a chaperone for their first field trip out-of-planet. You're a wonderful listener, Eo. You're patient and a great teacher, not much like the other captains. Not everyone gets to have the privilege to be a role model to the students."

 

Eo left his starvigil and stalked towards the exit of the observatory. "Tell 'em I'm not interested," he tossed behind him.

 

Bog clopped his black boots swiftly behind Eo's heels. "I thought you'd be thanking me! Not every captain gets three ridiculously easy missions in a row, you know!" Bog called in exasperation. Eo was an incredibly fast walker in a temper, and Bog quickly grew winded trying to follow him on the runway towards the bunkers. "What exactly is your problem?"

 

Eo's cape swirled around furiously and he barked, "no one around here is taking me seriously!"

 

Bog glanced to a comrade who strolled by curiously.

 

Eo continued, more quietly. "I am the only captain not in an exploration route, and you've done nothing to change that. You're supposed to be my friend--you were supposed to tell 'em I'm ready for a real mission!"

 

Bog shut his eyes, exhausted at saying the same things in so many ways to his friend. He decided not to be vague. "You need more experience!" Bog faced Eo. "For all I know, it could be by pure luck that you're still alive."

 

Eo folded his arms.

 

"Your crew still doesn't respect you, your self-defense is sloppy and violent, your navigation technique is average at best, and you can be unreasonably late to meetings."

 

"It's not like I'd miss anything. It's just jelly donuts," Eo muttered to himself, hearing Bog's criticisms for the first time.

 

Bog blinked curtly and met Eo's volume with a serious overtone. "Do this mission, even better than the last, and I'll consider doing a little more... persuasion. Maybe you can be a Commander sooner than you think. There's nothing more I'd love than to have you working right by my side, like old times." Bog's rare smiling wrinkles arose near his eyes and mouth.

 

Eo felt Bog's glove land gracefully on his shoulder. Eo's early memories with Bog, as his then equally-naiive co-captain of his starship, flashed before his eyes. Like a telepathy, they both giggled at one embarrasing incident that had sent them to maintenance duty for nearly a light-year.

 

"Alright, when do I start?" Eo relented. He held one raised brow at Bog for what exactly his new mission had in store.

 


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