This short story was written for a competition. Well I wasn’t short listed so here it is for you. The story had to include the words: democracy, dentist, and Andromeda. Since I don’t have a word limit here I’ve edited it just a tad. Enjoy.
Nicola heard the sound of keys hitting the bowl in the hall. She got up from her desk and dashed to the hall to great Sam. “Good day?”
“I’m a dentist,” Sam said, “people came in, I poked their teeth, same old same. You?”
“I’m a xenoarchaeologist I looked at stuff.”
Sam smiled as she hung her coat on the hook and placed her shoes on the shelf. “Any interesting stuff?”
“Now that you mention it there was.” Nicola turned on her heel and headed to the kitchen.
“Do you want me to guess or…”
“I was approached today by a Doctor Jeremy Fujisaki.” Nicola set two mugs on the counter.
“Should I recognise that name?” Sam said from the doorway.
“No.” Nicola tossed a tea bag into each mug. “He’s a xenoanthropologist. I used several of his books for my thesis. Anyway he’s planning a trip to Andromeda and wanted me to go along.”
“You can’t be serious,” Sam said.
“I am.” Nicola tapped a finger as she waited for the kettle to boil.
“Ships that go to Andromeda don’t return.”
“You’re only saying that because no ship ever has!”
“Nicky.” Sam took her arm. “Its too dangerous.”
“Is it? For all we know there is simply a bar in Andromeda that servers the best Mimosas in this part of the universe.”
“Oh,” Sam said, “so now you’re planning to go out without me! How would you be traveling?”
“Fujisaki has some naval contacts. They’ve agreed to loan him a Saratoga class corvette.”
“Great,” Sam said, “a ship named after a battle that we lost.”
“The ship itself is called Akijama Maru,” Nicola said ignoring her. “This could be the trip of a lifetime.”
“It could be the end of your lifetime.”
“Sam,” Nicola said, “are you actually telling me you don’t want me to go?” The kettle boiled and Nicola poured the water.
“Have you told this guy anything?”
“Of course not,” Nicola said, “I said I’d ask you.”
“So this is a democracy then? You’re saying I get a vote?”
“Of course, baby” Nicola said. “I’m not going to go unless you’re okay with me going.”
“Why are you not scared?” Sam asked. “You know the stories.”
“The last expedition to Andromeda was the Phivlas 89 years ago. Technology has come a long way since then.”
“Oh come on.” Sam crossed to the fridge and got out the milk. “The Phivlas had space travel when Elizabeth I was on the throne! Their technology 89 years ago was still better then ours is now.”
“There will be a Phivla contingent on the ship.”
“Okay.” Sam added the milk. “what’s precipitated this anyway?”
“There’s not enough of our own galaxy to explore?”
They carried there mugs into the living room and sat on the sofa. “A scientific mission in the milky way isn’t very sexy. The planets just have a designation, MK421 or whatever, traveling to Andromeda fires the imagination.”
Sam nodded. “Do you think they could use a dentist?”