Tycho and Asher

Tycho and Asher in their space cadet uniforms



Onboard the interstellar ship Athens, two young cadets, Tycho Krauss and Asher Taffet, navigate the delicate balance between duty and camaraderie. When Tycho, brave and headstrong, sustains a grave injury, Asher’s world tilts off its axis. Asher grapples with emotions he never anticipated.

Interstellar space


The soft hum of the spacecraft’s engines filled the living quarters as Tycho Krauss, a 13-year-old cadet, changed from his uniform to off-duty shorts and t-shirt. His sandy blond hair framed his bright blue eyes which always seemed to radiate optimism and friendliness. He was a young explorer, undaunted by the challenges of an exploratory mission that took him far from everything he had ever known.

“Hey, Tycho, check this out!” called a voice from across the room, snapping him out of his thoughts. Tycho glanced over and saw his best friend Asher Taffet tinkering with a piece of machinery. Tycho went over to Asher, curious about what had piqued his friend’s interest.

“Whatcha got there?” Tycho asked, his eyes flicking from the gleaming silver object in Asher’s hands to the warm brown eyes of his friend.

Asher grinned and held up the device. “I found this in one of the storage compartments. It looks like some kind of navigational tool, but I can’t quite figure it out.”

Tycho studied the device, his mind racing with possibilities. He loved solving puzzles, especially ones that involved unfamiliar technology. “Let’s see if we can crack this together,” he suggested, excitement lighting up his face.

“Deal.” Asher handed the device to Tycho, who studied it intently. The two friends often bonded over their shared love for learning new things and challenging each other intellectually.

They were together in the spacecraft’s living quarters. The walls were adorned with smooth, metallic panels that shimmered under the dim overhead lights. In one corner, a table with an interactive holographic display served as their multipurpose workspace. The bunk beds they slept in were tucked away in another corner. A small desk was bolted to the opposite wall, its surface covered in various books, datapads, and manuals pertaining to their studies.

“Okay, I think I figured it out,” Tycho announced after several moments of tinkering. “It probably is a Kepler-Brahe Astrogational Interface, though I’ve never actually seen one. But it fits. It’s kind of an outdated tool, but maybe they keep some around as backups in case the ship’s brains malfunction. This button seems to activate the coordinates input, and this dial adjusts the trajectory.” He demonstrated, his fingers deftly manipulating the controls.

“Wow, you really are a genius, Tycho!” Asher exclaimed, watching with admiration as his friend expertly navigated the device’s functions.

As they continued to work with the device, Tycho couldn’t help but feel a growing sense of excitement. This exploratory mission was just the beginning of their journey together, and he was exactly where he wanted to be.


Tycho stood in the center of the starship’s training complex, his eyes scanning the room as he prepared to lead his fellow cadets through the next exercise. The hum of the engines and the soft glow of the control panels created a calming atmosphere amidst the sleek design and advanced technology that surrounded them.

“All right, everyone,” Tycho called out, his voice steady with authority. “We’re going to run through simulation sixty-four: debris field navigation. Remember, communication is key here. Let’s stay focused and work together.”

As the group of young cadets nodded and assumed their positions, Tycho couldn’t help but glance over at Asher. His best friend’s features—a mop of dark hair and warm, brown eyes, and a kind face—made him stand out among the other cadets. Tycho felt a sense of pride in knowing they were making this journey together, and his friend’s presence helped him feel at home, even in deep space half a light-year from Earth.

“Ready when you are, Captain,” Asher teased, flashing a playful grin.

“Very funny, Ash. Just make sure you’re on top of those thruster controls, okay?” Tycho replied, allowing himself a small smile before returning his focus to the task at hand.

The training exercise began, and Tycho quickly fell into the role of leader, barking out orders and guiding his team through the projected debris field. His heart raced with adrenaline as he navigated the challenges, each command delivered with precision and confidence.

“Port side, increase thrust by fifteen percent!” Tycho shouted, feeling the slight shift in the spacecraft’s movement as they narrowly dodged an incoming asteroid.

“Nice call, Tycho,” Asher said, his fingers dancing across the control panel. Tycho could see the admiration in his friend’s eyes, and it fueled his determination to excel. As the exercise continued, Tycho found himself relying heavily on Asher’s expertise, silently appreciating the way they complemented each other’s skills.

“Almost there, team!” Tycho encouraged, his voice straining from the effort. “Just a few more maneuvers, and we’ll be clear.”

With a final burst of speed, the spacecraft emerged from the debris field unscathed. The room erupted in cheers and high-fives, and Tycho felt a swell of pride for his team.

“Great job, everyone,” he said, catching his breath. “Keep up this level of teamwork, and we’ll be ready for anything that comes our way.”

As the cadets dispersed, Tycho turned to Asher, who met him with a wide grin. “Not too shabby, Captain Krauss,” Asher said, clapping him on the shoulder.

“Couldn’t have done it without you, Commander Taffet,” Tycho replied, his heart still pounding from the excitement.


“Hey, Tycho,” Asher said, nudging his friend with an elbow. “Remember that time we tried to sneak into the officers’ lounge?”

Tycho laughed, shaking his head. “Yup! I remember our curiosity was killing us! Commander Runciter was trying to hit on Lieutenant Emm, and she was having none of it. And I swear she noticed us and kept him busy while we made our escape. We would have been in so much trouble.” The memory of their shared misadventure was a vivid one, and it brought a warm sense of camaraderie to them. Their laughter filled the room, bouncing off the metallic walls of the spacecraft’s living quarters.

Back to business, Tycho asked, “So, you ready to learn how to operate the new X-9 Hyperdrive Interface?”

“Absolutely!” Asher replied, his enthusiasm evident in the way his eyes sparkled. He was always eager to learn, especially when Tycho was the one teaching him.

“Okay, first things first,” Tycho began, gesturing toward the sleek, futuristic console before them. “This is the main interface. It’s where you’ll input all your commands and receive crucial information about the hyperdrive’s performance.”

“Got it,” Asher nodded, studying the panel intently.

“Great. Now let’s start with the basic controls,” Tycho continued, patiently guiding his friend through each step. Asher listened attentively, occasionally asking questions or requesting clarification. The two worked naturally together, their minds in perfect sync.

“See this dial?” Tycho asked, pointing to a small, glowing knob on the console. “This controls the speed of the hyperdrive. Turn it clockwise to increase speed, and counterclockwise to decrease it.”

“Seems simple enough,” Asher remarked, reaching for the dial and giving it a gentle twist.

“Careful!” Tycho warned, placing a hand on Asher’s shoulder. “We don’t want to accidentally launch ourselves into hyperspace during practice.”

“Right, right,” Asher agreed, realizing the potential danger of their situation. “I’ll be more cautious.”

“Good. Now, let’s move on to the navigation systems,” Tycho instructed, his voice steady and calm as he continued the lesson. Asher was a quick study, and he loved learning new things.

“Thanks, Tycho,” Asher said warmly, once they had finished their session. “I really appreciate your willingness to teach me.”

“Aw, of course, Ash,” Tycho replied, clapping him on the back. In fact, he felt honored to be training Asher.


“Ready for lights out, Ash?” Changing into shorts, Tycho glanced over at his friend who was tinkering with some kind of gizmo.

“Sure, just let me finish putting these tools away,” Asher replied, mimicking the way Tycho carefully placed each tool back into its designated slot in the toolbox. Tycho had been rubbing off on him since they had been sharing quarters. He was now more organized.

The living quarters were small and efficient, designed to maximize space while still providing the cadets with some semblance of privacy. Their bunk beds had metallic frames that were cold to the touch but were softened with plush mattresses and thermal blankets. After a coin flip, Asher now occupied the top bunk, while Tycho was in the lower one.

A few personal belongings were scattered throughout the room, serving as reminders of the lives they had left behind on Earth. Tycho had a worn stuffed bear from his childhood perched on a shelf next to an old family photo; Asher had a tattered sketchbook filled with drawings of landscapes and loved ones he missed dearly. These items brought a sense of warmth and humanity to the sterile environment of the spacecraft.

“All right, all set,” Asher said, closing the toolbox with a soft click and stowing it beneath the desk. He moved over to the control panel near the door, where a myriad of glowing buttons dictated the conditions within the room. Asher pressed a button that dimmed the overhead lights, casting the room in a soothing twilight hue. He, too, changed into a pair of sleeping shorts. Another way Tycho was rubbing off on him: since Asher had left home, he no longer slept in a t-shirt.

“‘Night, Ash,” Tycho murmured, already tucked into his bunk, hands behind his head as he stared up at the bunk above him. “Sweet dreams, buddy.”

“Goodnight, Ty,” Asher replied, climbing into his own bunk and pulling the blanket snugly around him. As he lay there, listening to the hum of the engines and the soft breaths of his best friend below him, Asher felt a surge of gratitude for his life. He was happy.


The metallic clang of the basketball hoop being hit by a ball echoed through the spacecraft’s zero-grav gym as Tycho and Asher floated in midair, their laughter mingling with the hum of the engines. In the zero-grav room, a simple game of basketball became both more challenging and exhilarating. The two friends had grown adept at maneuvering in the weightlessness, using their legs to push off the walls and propel themselves through the air.

“All right, Ash, it’s your turn,” Tycho said, his bright blue eyes twinkling with mischief as he tossed the ball to his best friend. “Let’s see if you can do better than my last shot.”

Tycho and Ash playing zero-grav basketball

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“Watch and learn, Ty,” Asher retorted playfully, his brown eyes meeting Tycho’s gaze with determination. He adjusted his grip on the ball, aimed carefully, and launched it towards the ceiling above the hoop with a confident flick of his wrist. The ball sailed through the air, spinning in a perfect arc, bounced off the ceiling and down into the net without touching the rim.

“Nice one!” Tycho exclaimed, clapping his hands together in genuine admiration. “You’re really getting the hang of this.”

“Thanks,” Asher replied, grinning from ear to ear as he retrieved the ball. “But I’ve still got a long way to go before I can match your skills.”

“Don’t sell yourself short. I think we’re pretty even,” Tycho said.

Catching his breath, Tycho glanced around the recreation room, taking in the futuristic design that surrounded them. Sleek, silvery surfaces gleamed under the soft glow of LED lights, while holographic displays showed vital information about the spacecraft’s status. Though they were in a confined space, Tycho felt a sense of freedom and possibility amidst the stars.

“Wow!” Tycho said.

“What?” Asher asked.

“It just hit me again. You know, sometimes I can’t believe we’re really out here,” Tycho said.

“I know,” Asher said, feeling awe himself.

As they floated there, suspended in the weightlessness of space, Tycho and Asher shared a quiet moment of reflection. Then, with a renewed sense of camaraderie, the two boys returned to their basketball game, their laughter echoing through the spacecraft as they reveled in the simple joy of friendship and the boundless possibilities of the future.


They had reached Actaeon, a planet under consideration for colonization. The exoplanet’s sun dipped low in the sky, casting eerie shadows across the alien landscape. The landing party split up. Tycho, who had a keen interest in xenobiology, was in his element exploring the dominant life form in the area: mysterious grey fungi that seemed to pulse with an inner light.

“Be careful, Tycho,” Asher warned, as he hesitated before heading off in another direction. “We don’t know what these things are capable of.”

Tycho frowned, feeling a pang of loneliness without Asher by his side to share his excitement. He knew that one of the reasons they were sent on this mission was to learn to work independently, but it didn’t make the distance any less unsettling.

“Relax, Ash,” Tycho said. “I’ll be fine.” He knelt down and retrieved a small scanner from his utility belt; he’d use it to study the fungi. The fungal caps were like umbrellas made of stone, shielding the delicate gills beneath. A soft glow emanated from the network of mycelium stretching across the forest floor, pulsing gently like a heartbeat. As he leaned in closer to study the fungi, he noticed something odd: a sudden pulsation, as if the organism was inhaling.

With a sudden burst, the fungi expelled several small, needle-like projectiles directly at Tycho. They pierced his uniform shirt, embedding themselves into his chest and stomach. Tycho’s eyes widened in shock, and he screamed as the needles burrowed deeper into his flesh. Searing pain bloomed across his body like fire.

“TY!” Asher cried out, rushing to his friend’s side. His heart pounded in his chest as he saw Tycho react to his injuries.

Blood bubbled up around the needles, staining Tycho’s shirt a dark crimson. His breaths came in short gasps, each one more ragged than the last. As Asher reached his side, Tycho managed to choke out, “Ash. It hurts…”

“Stay with me, buddy,” Asher pleaded, cradling his friend in his arms, rocking him gently, holding his hand. His voice cracked as he fought back tears.

Tycho’s vision blurred, the pain overwhelming his senses. He grasped Asher’s hand tightly, trying to anchor himself. In that moment, the two boys were no longer mere cadets on an alien world; they were brothers, and Asher was Tycho’s lifeline.

“Help me, Ash,” Tycho whispered, his voice now barely audible and fading away.

“I promise, Ty,” Asher vowed, his voice thick with emotion, but he had no idea what, if anything, could save his friend.


As Tycho fought for his life, Asher watched through the glass with a mixture of awe and terror as the doctor painstakingly removed over two dozen alien spores from his friend’s chest and stomach. They didn’t come out cleanly. They had little barbs on the ends which caused them to rip Tycho’s flesh as they were pulled free, causing even more bleeding. Luckily, Tycho was unconscious and his chest and abdomen had been treated with a local anaesthetic. The doctor also injected him with regenazine. He would heal very quickly with no lingering evidence of his injuries, his flesh good as new. After regenazine, scars were a thing of the past. But Tycho was not out of the woods yet. Despite the doctor’s precision, it was clear that Tycho was still very ill. Residual chemicals from the spores had entered his system, and some of these toxins were exotic and had no precise antidote.


The sickbay’s sterile white walls closed in on Tycho as he lay on the medical bed, tubes and wires snaking across his body. Asher sat beside him, gripping his hand tightly and refusing to leave his side despite the doctor’s gentle insistence.

“Please, Doctor Rasmussen, just let me stay,” Asher pleaded. “He’s my best friend.”

“All right, you can stay,” the doctor relented, softened by Asher’s devotion. “But let us do our work.”

“Will he be okay?” Asher asked, his voice barely audible, fear gnawing at his heart. “Can I give him some blood?”

“I’m doing what I can, but the poison from the alien mycelia is still in his system,” the doctor replied, her eyes conveying empathy and concern. “All we can do now is wait. I’ve already given him one unit of blood. We use synth blood now, anyway, unless there is a shortage. But thank you, sweetheart.”

“Can I… talk to him?” Asher hesitated, swallowing hard.

“Of course. It might even help him,” the doctor encouraged, giving Asher’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze before leaving them alone.


Tycho’s eyes fluttered open, and he looked around the sterile room, disoriented. “Asher?” he croaked out, his throat raw and swollen.

“Hey,” Asher said softly, gripping Tycho’s hand tightly. “You’re awake.”

“Where am I?” Tycho asked, his voice barely audible.

“Still in sickbay,” Asher explained, relief washing over him like a tidal wave. “The doctor managed to get those spores out of you, and your body seems to be successfully fighting the toxins, but you need to rest while you recover.”

After a brief conversation with the doctor, Tycho was released to their shared living quarters, where Asher helped him settle into bed.


That night, as Asher tried to keep himself busy, Tycho suddenly retched, his body convulsing violently, sweat running down his chest and back. He vomited, his body rejecting the remnants of the alien poison. Asher rushed to his side, gently rubbing small circles on his back to help calm him down.

“I’m cold,” Tycho murmured.

“Shh, it’s okay,” Asher murmured, holding Tycho until the tremors subsided. Realizing his friend needed more than just words, Asher climbed into Tycho’s bunk, wrapping a protective arm around him.

“Is this… all right?” Asher asked hesitantly.

“Y-yeah,” Tycho whispered through ragged breaths, leaning into Asher’s warmth. Neither boy spoke again, but their closeness brought comfort, and they both drifted off to sleep.

When morning came, something had shifted between them. The bond that had always been there seemed to have deepened overnight. They communicated without their usual boyish chatter, relying upon glances and unspoken signals, their connection evident even without words. Weak and suffering from a splitting headache, Tycho leaned on Asher for support, not caring if others noticed their newfound closeness.

Together, they returned to sickbay, seeking medication for Tycho’s chills. As they walked side by side, their silent communication spoke volumes. Tycho had survived a harrowing ordeal, Asher had been by his side throughout, and they had uncovered something precious: a stronger love that had always been there, waiting to surface.


The steady hum of the starship’s engines vibrated through the classroom floor, as Tycho fumbled with his data pad for the third time that day. He glanced over at Asher, who was also having trouble concentrating on the lesson. Their eyes met and held for a moment, each seeing the confusion mirrored in the other’s gaze before they quickly looked away.

“Tycho, are you with us?” asked Professor Mendoza Paz, her voice dripping with skepticism. Tycho’s cheeks flushed as he stammered out an apology.

“Sorry, Professor. I’m just still a bit shaken from the accident, I guess.”

“Understandable,” she conceded, softening her tone. “Just try to focus, all right?”

“Of course, Professor,” Tycho mumbled, trying to push aside the lingering images of Asher’s concerned face hovering above him as he had regained consciousness after the close call. It wasn’t the fear of nearly dying that haunted him now; it was the unspoken emotions that danced behind Asher’s eyes, reflecting the same turmoil churning within Tycho’s own heart.

“Psst, Tycho,” whispered Asher, leaning closer. “What did I miss? I zoned out for a minute there.”

“Uh,” Tycho hesitated, realizing he hadn’t been paying attention either. “I think we’re discussing the gravitational pull of binary stars or something.”

“Thanks,” Asher murmured, biting his lip and turning back to his own data pad. The simple action sent a shiver down Tycho’s spine, causing him to lose focus once more.


In their shared cabin, the air was thick with tension. Tycho lay on his lower bunk, staring up at the bunk above him while Asher paced around the room, seemingly unable to settle. The silence between them was heavy, punctuated only by the soft sound of Asher’s sock feet against the floor.

Tycho Krauss and Asher Taffet by SaltineLane

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“Hey, Tycho,” Asher began hesitantly, “I was thinking since you’re still recovering and all, maybe it’d be better if we shared the lower bunk? In case you need help in the night or something.”

Tycho’s heart raced at the suggestion, but he feigned nonchalance as he replied, “Yeah, sure, that makes sense. I mean, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course not,” Asher said quickly, his relief palpable. He undressed and climbed into the bunk beside Tycho, their bodies close. The warmth radiating from Asher’s skin made Tycho’s breath hitch in his throat.

“Goodnight, Tycho,” Asher whispered, his voice tinged with uncertainty.

“Night, Asher,” Tycho whispered back, trying to ignore the way his chest tightened at the warmth and weight of his friend pressing against him.

As they lay together in the darkness, each acutely aware of the other’s presence, their thoughts swirled around the unspoken feelings that threatened to overwhelm them both. For now, though, they found solace in sharing the same small space together, the tender intimacy of their nighttime closeness offering a reassuring comfort for them both. And so, at night, they continued to find reasons to share Tycho’s lower bunk, neither quite ready to face the truth that lingered just beneath the surface.


A sliver of light cut through the darkness in the dormitory room. Asher squinted, turning to face Tycho, who was sitting on the lower bunk. They had been studying together for hours, their textbooks and notes scattered haphazardly around them. The room was filled with the soft hum of the ventilation system and the faint smell of dust and metal.

“What are we now?” Asher asked, his voice low and uncertain.

Tycho answered without hesitation. “We’re best friends! You’re my brother. I love you! You’ve been my brother since we ran into each other on the playground that day in kindergarten!”

“Friends? Brothers. Yes, of course. But wait,” Asher said, swallowing. His brow was furrowed with worry. He shook his head. “No. It’s more, now.” He looked right at Tycho. His heart beat faster in his chest, and he couldn’t help but feel vulnerable as he awaited Tycho’s response.

Tycho looked into Asher’s eyes, and this time answered softly, with tenderness. “I love you, Ash,” he murmured, reaching out to place a hand on Asher’s shoulder and pull him in.

Asher’s heart was now racing, but he managed to choke out a shaky “I love you, too, Ty.”

They held each other.

As days went by, rumors started among their peers that Tycho and Ash were a couple. Rather than deny it, they decided to embrace their feelings for each other. At first, they were timid about showing affection, but as time went on, their resolve and courage grew stronger. They held hands in the hallways and smiled at each other during meals, no longer trying to hide their relationship.

One night, in the bunk they now shared every night, they lay side by side, fingers entwined and hearts beating in unison. Tycho turned to Asher and spoke softly. “Did you think people would be so accepting of us?”

“Never,” Asher admitted, tracing patterns on Tycho’s arm. “I always thought there’d be, I don’t know, backlash, or something. But everyone has been so kind.”

“Maybe the world is changing,” Tycho mused, his eyes reflecting the faint light of the tiny LEDs they’d stuck to the ceiling.

“Maybe,” Asher agreed, a feeling of warmth and contentment filling him. “I’m just glad that we’re together now.”

With that, they leaned in and shared a tender kiss, and they held each other close. In that moment, they knew that no matter what challenges the future might bring, they would face them together, as one.

Tycho and Ash head and shoulders

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