The Precious Tableau (Chronicle)
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He's a ship mechanic, so attuned to the quiet hum of the vessel that he can detect faults ahead of even the most sensitive of machinery. He finds a serious flaw in the control component of one of the ship's main engines, a flaw that will make its thrusters burn out and its core systems drop offline if not resolved in quick time. Going against the orders of his superiors and the captain of the ship, he overrides security access codes of the ship, accesses the control component and fixes it just in time to save everyone onboard the ship.
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He's a station operator who miraculously averts a crisis that would have seen the station and everyone on it decoupled from its orbit and flung out into deep space.
Life as a busking music performer on the station is hard, but he's got talent and drive, always one step ahead of the heavies and the cops as he plays his tunes and attracts money and admiration. Passersby stop to listen and find themselves captured in rapt admiration. He doesn't pay them much mind, for he is in this for the music and the thrill, but one person catches his eye. She kneels by his keycard and touches hers to his to leave some credits, but makes another transfer of data as well. After he picks up and leaves, he inspects the day's earnings and finds that she gave him something else: Her publishing company's contact information.
Her personal contact information.
He's at home and sends her a line. She responds. It's a little stilted at first but they soon find common ground and a nice tempo. Eventually they move over to audio and talk for hours.
He's a secret agent for CONCORD, sneaking into dangerous pirate territories.
As a famous actor, he tries to remain unrecognized in his private time. Some non-famous person recognizes but does not unmask him during a vulnerable time, and in return he gives her a role in his latest movie.
There's a family scene, and he's the man of the house. Her, him and a dog, all of them resting together at home after a long day, quietly enjoying each other's presence. The dog is very clever and even has his own room. The dog obeys when he's told, and when the man and woman are together, the dog doesn't bark or demand attention.
He's a famous author, renowned for his knowledge of the human psyche.
He's a soldier in the war.
He's lying beside her, stroking her back. There has been no deeper intimacy, just touch. She turns away-
He's lying beside her, stroking her back. There has been no deeper intimacy, just touch. She turns towards him and says, "I love it when you do that. I wish you'd do it forever."
They're at the operating table. He's about to make the incision. He's a brilliant doctor, able to sense illness and any corrupt body functions merely by his heightened sense of touch. He is so in demand that he can barely keep up.
He's at home, where he gets his messages answered. Every one he sends. Every one.
He's at home, but does not get his messages answered. It's because something terrible has happened, something he senses so strongly with his sensitive mind that he rushes off, gets over to her house and discovers that it's on fire. He breaks in and manages to save everyone. Even the dog.
He's a spy, doing undercover work on a station, and sniping those enemies foolish enough to wander within his crosshairs.
He's worried about the messages, so he's breaking into the house to make sure they're all right. He does not wake up the dog. He absolutely does not wake up the dog.
He's a prosecutor who shows proper understanding to innocent people wrongly accused, while properly punishing those who need to be punished.
He visits her and helps her look for the dog, who's gone missing. It doesn't turn up, and in the end she admits that she never wanted a dog; she only wanted him.
A peaceful scene, a slow sunrise on a beach somewhere, with the surf sloshing onto the sand, and a tiny breeze cooling off the warm rocks, and nobody around at all.
It's a tableau. They all stand there: him, her, and the dog. They stand frozen, looking at the camera. They're smiling. Everyone is happy.
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It's a tableau. They all stand there; him, her, and that damn kid. She's smiling, so beautifully, and so is he, and so is the kid, who keeps his mouth shut, who doesn't wake up at the slightest bit of noise and is happy and alive.
He's a capsuleer, flying free, unfettered and undoubted, heading towards the stars.
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