Captain Gildenstern sat alone on the bridge of the Ballard. The ship was quiet, the engines offline, and the reactor core on standby power. There were a few lights burning on the various control panels, but the majority of the washed out blue light came from a single projector. It was rare the bank of projectors was turned off, it seemed strange to see the cold steel bulkheads the were usually covered by floating maps, systems diagrams and projected images from hull mounted cameras.
A young girl, perhaps seven or eight played, chasing a brightly colored ball. She was blonde headed, and obviously related to the captain. The grainy nature of the projection betrayed its age. The data reel might be twenty ot thirty years old, predating the current generation of TriD projectors by at least a decade.
"It seems life is not without a sense of irony." he said aloud, his voice sounding strangly metallic and alien in the iron womb of the bridge. Most of the crew was away on Europa, enjoying what human contact and cheap beer they could afford before pushing off into the soul crushing darkness beyond Jupiter.
Most people assumed that traveling to the edge of the solar system was safer than taking the jaunt through dimensional space to another star. They were wrong. Deep missions beyond Jupiter had poor success rates, most turned back, and no type mission had more missing ships, more lost crews.
He felt the weight of the gun in his shoulder holster, an archaic weapon of blued steel, powerful.