Later, on the bridge, we sat in silence, only the light of our individual displays providing illumination. We went about our work, waiting for the crew’s votes to roll in.

A question niggled at my brain. I swung my chair around, presenting it to Harrigan.

“Captain, why a vote? Why give the crew a choice this time?” I asked.

He was quiet for a moment, and then he said, “I have captained this ship for a dozen years and have led this crew into and out of danger for much of that time. Space travel is not without inherent risks, more-so given the sort of cargo we tend to carry.”

He heaved a deep and weary sigh. “In all that time, I have made the decisions, as befits a captain, and demanded my crew follow — which they have done, willingly. Now we have the option to press forward, to expand the borders of our known universe, to make history. You have convinced me it is the right thing to do, carto, but I am convinced, too, that it is every crewman’s right on this ship to also make that decision for himself.”

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