Rog closed his eyes as the vortex pulled Bravo-Four-Zero into its center. The physical sensation of artificial gravity and unexpected g-forces brought back a flood of memories both good and bad.

Rog and his younger brother had spent many hours blasting through the canyons just south of their father’s ranch. Skirting the canyons in their hopper at high speed was not without danger and required absolute trust from your co-pilot. Those times, Rog often thought, brought him and his younger brother closer together than anything else they had done.

“Rog, which gate is ours? asked Chaz. Chaz was five years younger than Rog and had always tried to live up to Rog’s expectations and earn his respect. The age gap eliminated any sort of sibling rivalry and instead created more of a mentor relationship between the brothers.

“Look for gate nine. That’s ours.” said Rog.

“Are you nervous Rog?”

“That feeling in your gut Chaz, that’s excitement. This is going to be no different than a ride through the canyons on our hopper. Besides, we always talked about what space travel would be like. This is our chance.”

“Hey, Rog, there it is, our gate.”

“Wait here Chaz.” Rog walked over to the Hynerian with the data slate. What should have been a rather short conversation became quite animated. Chaz couldn’t hear what was being said, but he had seen his brother’s indignation on many occasions. There seemed to be a problem. Chaz was more amused than concerned and couldn’t wait to hear how Rog had handled the apparent dispute.

“Everything okay Rog,” said Chaz, looking a little more worried now that he could take the measure of Rog’s demeanor.

“Seems they only have one of us listed on the flight manifest. You’ve got a ticket to ride brother,” lied Rog, trying to smile as if everything would be okay.

Chaz stood silent, a thousand thoughts running through his head, trying to comprehend what he had just heard. “Well, you are going to work that out aren’t you. I mean, we were promised we would be on the same vessel.”

Rog looked forlorn, a look Chaz had never seen before. “I’m afraid this is one fight I can’t win. But you’ve got a seat and that is one mighty fine ship. Now I don’t want to hear no back talk. You know I can take care of myself. I know where you are and once I find my passage I will track you down like a wayward pampus,” said Rog with a forced grin.

Rog reached out to tussle Chaz’s hair in part to break the mood and in part to hide the look of falsehood he was sure Chaz would pick up on. Once separated, the chances of a reunion were about nil and Rog knew it.

“Hey Rog,” teased Yul, “closing your eyes ain’t gonna make this ride any easier.”

“Yeah, um, about that . . .”

Before Rog could finish, their little vessel began to shake violently. No one was smiling or teasing now.

Categories: Story, Rog, Chaz, Yul.