She tucked the wayward strand of hair behind her ear one final time and regarded her solemn reflection in the mirror. Haunted eyes, not unfamiliar to her, stared back and raised the hairs on the back of her neck. The mouth was set in a rigid line and yet she held her head high. Smoothing her dress uniform again, she turned around and headed out the door.
The crewman she met in the corridor gave her a brief nod before bowing his head and allowing the captain to step into the turbolift before him. Only the captain needed to state the desired deck, they were both going to the same place. She kept her head held high and her hands were clenched into fists.
The lift halted and she walked out. She walked down the corridor, almost hearing his voice beside her, almost feeling his hand on her shoulder, telling her some extraordinary tale of woe or bravery. Her steps blended with those of the nameless, faceless crewman.
The double doors opened and she was greeted with a sea of nodding heads. More faceless crewmen and some dear friends. She could still hear his calm voice teasing her or comforting her. The dimpled smile reassuring her. She unclenched her hands and clenched them once again, trying to draw some comfort from the effortless action. She made her way slowly, seeing his eyes twinkling as he told her about the altercation in engineering at 0700 hours, to the front of the crowd.
Silence inundated the small room, and howled in her ears. Her head held high, she gazed over the crowd, wishing that she had been in that shuttle. The captain cleared her throat and glanced out into the darkness of space before saying, "How do you say goodbye, when you never really said hello?"