Eric Lahti, a fellow author, blogger and member of the Indie Author Support and Discussion (IASD) group on Facebook issued a challenge.
Produce a short story of 1,000 words or less inspired from a choice of supplied graphics.
My response is ‘To Go Boldly …‘, a story of desire and duty.
New York City, New York
“Jim darling,” Penny Kirk said, her eyes misting. “Please be careful out there.”
“Don’t worry love, her husband said. “I’m equal to the challenge, and you know I must push myself or I can’t get through the day.”
“I think 25 years with the New York Police Department proved what you’re capable of, so you need to learn to take it easy.”
He leaned forward and kissed his wife. “I’m not with the NYPD anymore, so I can’t understand why you worry so much.”
“You might not be, but you’re one of the only independent Extra-Terrestrial Investigators in the country, so I wish you’d join a government team.”
“I’m onto something this time Penny,” he said, his eyes gazing into those of his loving wife. “I promise if nothing comes from this theory tonight, I’ll apply to join the government team out in Phoenix, okay?”
“Okay darling, but I’ll still worry until you come home.”
“Remember your promise.”
“I know, I know,” she said, and the promise always lifted her from her morbid mood about her husband’s obsession.
“If you ever disappear I have to ask James Jnr to swear to carry on your full names in the family line.”
He nodded. “That’s my girl,” he said and reached out to touch a framed scroll near the door. He winked at his wife, lifted his overnight bag and was gone.
Penny sat at the breakfast bar next morning drinking a black coffee. She stared at the scroll her husband had fitted on the wall beside the main door the day their son was born, and dimples appeared in her cheeks.
James Jnr had already left for school. Before leaving, he’d kissed his mother, and then as he’d left the house he’d touched the framed scroll and looked back at his mother with a broad smile. “I’m real proud of Dad, and I’m gonna be just like him.”
Penny lifted the remote control and flicked to the news channel.
‘This is Cathy Soames from NYRTV reporting from Central Park.’ The young blonde stepped back to allow the cameraman to pan around the area, and the broadcast continued.
‘It was on this bridge in the early hours of the morning when a bolt of lightning struck the bridge. There had been no rain, thunder, or lightning previous to the unprecedented broad flash of bluish-white light. Two eye-witnesses were sleeping rough in the park, and both said they recognised a man who’d been standing on the bridge prior to the flash.’
A photograph of Penny’s husband in NYPD uniform took up half of the screen, and alongside it, a recent newspaper article showing him with a large telescope.
Penny Kirk was unaware of the coffee dripping over the breakfast bar until it spilled onto her bare legs. As she listened to the reporter, the words became a mumbling message, and the TV screen blurred as tears filled Penny’s blue eyes.
“No,” Penny whispered. “Please don’t let it be-,”
The doorbell disturbed her plea to whosoever or whatever controlled these things. She went to the door in a daze, not bothering to deal with the damp front of her coffee-stained dressing gown. She opened the door and stared at the two uniformed officers.
“Hello ma’am, I’m Patrolman O’Brien, and this is Patrolman Jefferson ….”
Jim looked around his sparse but comfortable accommodation, and before leaving looked out across the vast complex of the Space Academy to the new ship. It was built near the academy so it would serve as an inspiration.
The magnificent craft was completed and awaited the crew – a select bunch of highly trained people who were prepared to tackle a five-year long mission into the unknown. They would be led by the youngest captain in Earth’s fleet.
Jim stopped at the door and gazed at the glass-framed scroll which had been handed down through generations. For the first time, he read it aloud.
“James means supplanter – the one who replaces. Tiberius was the strong Roman Emperor who ruled for over 20 years. Kirk, a family name derived from the ancient Church of Scotland, and earlier from the Greek for Lord’s House.”
“I will make you proud,” The captain said, as he gently placed a fingertip on the frame in the way he did every day. “I’ll strive to make you as proud of us, as we’ve all been of you.”
Jim placed his hand over his heart as he read the request at the bottom of the 280-year-old scroll, ‘Please bear this name with pride, remember the full meaning of your inherited name, and be prepared to go boldly toward the future.’
It was signed James Tiberius Kirk, New York City, USA – 1975.