The only way to communicate with the world outside the event horizon of an Alcubierre field was to launch a probe. Only large ships were equipped with such probes, since they required a jump drive of their own to survive the transition. The Bethesda was a large ship, but not big enough to have multiple communications probes. As standard procedure for freighters, she was equipped with only a single probe, to be used in emergencies. Therefore the freighter was forced to drop out of FTL for any kind of communication.

Sending and receiving messages from a particularly long distance took the better part of an hour depending on distance to the relay station. From these stations however, communication was instantaneous regardless of distance as the messages were patched into a quantum entanglement switchboard, known by most as a QuE board.

If it was safe, the crews of the gunboats would rendezvous on the Bethesda to mingle and stretch their legs while communications took place. The crews of the August and Shakedown were of interest to the boys from Alpha four as there were five women between them; three on the August and two from Shakedown. Unlike the Zephyr's NOVA team, there were only five crew members on each gunboat, and the male counterparts were fiercely protective of their female crew; especially when it concerned NOVA. There was, after all, a rivalry between them. Suffice to say, Sergeant Carter was constantly performing damage control to avoid unnecessary scuffles.

They had docked to the Bethesda one final time after having reached their destination at the edge of the target system. There was time to burn as they waited for the freighter to prepare for the interstellar jump they were about to perform. Logan came to the mess hall late and went to the counter to make coffee. Michelle, the pilot from the August, was already getting herself something to drink when he arrived. He only knew her name from a prior conversation, they had never met before now.

Logan smiled. "Hi."

Michelle just grinned and walked away with her drink.

"Well, that went well." Logan said to himself. He turned around after pouring himself a cup and noticed she had sat at a table alone. "Hmm. Ah hell why not?"

She shook her head when she noticed him walking toward her. "What're you doing?"

"I'm sitting down to drink some coffee, what're you doing?"

She sighed. "The reactor will be ready for your jump in three minutes tops, and after that you'll never see me again."

"Well, then I guess we have no time to waste, my name's Logan."

She smiled. "Michelle."

They shook hands.

"So how's the Navy?"

"It's a job. How's... whatever the hell you are?"

"I'm NOVA"

"I know, I just think it's a waste of resources."

"You and the rest of the Navy apparently."

"I've been boarding party before." She said. "I don't see why we need it outsourced to you guys."

Logan frowned. "You know, you weren't lying about there being very little time to talk. I'd rather not spend it arguing about our jobs... that was a bad choice of conversation on my part, sorry."

"No need to apologize."

"You'd rather I just walk away wouldn't you."

She laughed. "What makes you think that?"

"I don't know, I suppose it's what I expect."

"Well, contrary to popular belief I'm not a complete bitch."

"Contrary to popular belief I'm not at all a smooth talker."

She smiled. "I've noticed." There was a moment of silence as they both drank. "So why'd you want to talk to me anyway?"

Logan looked over his shoulder to the guys at the table behind him. "Well, I had the choice of talking to... or rather enduring a conversation with the group of ugly deranged men I'm cooped up with for months at a time or, to talk to a beautiful young woman who I've never had the chance to meet yet."

"Do you think you have a chance?"

Logan stopped and thought for a second before answering. "A small one, but I'd be throwing it away if I didn't try."

A message over the intercom echoed through the mess hall alerting the crews that the freighter was ready for interstellar travel.

"Times up." She said, getting up out of her chair.

Logan rose as well. "It was good to finally meet you."

"Same." she said, finishing the last of her coffee as she walked toward the exit. She stopped shy of her crew waiting for her at the doorway and turned around. "Hey." She yelled.

Logan turned around. "Yeah?"

She smiled at him one last time. "If the situation was different... You'd have had a pretty decent chance." she said, walking off.

Logan was in shock, standing next to the disposal with his mouth hanging open.

"Hey dipshit." Kevin yelled. "Let's go."

Logan was still staring at her as she walked down the hall. "Damn..."

The End

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