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SealHammer
Jul 3, 2010
Click to understand my bad faith posting.

A stranger arrives.

In.

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SealHammer
Jul 3, 2010
Click to understand my bad faith posting.

Recon
769 words


Jupiter loomed in the port-side window. Yannick stared out at the giant and sighed. “We’ve gotten ourselves in some poo poo, huh?”


Captain Lang didn’t look up from the manual he was hunched over at the helm. “Aye, Mr. Moore.”


“Will they send someone for us? They wouldn’t just let us die out here, right Cap?”


“Union had a skeleton fleet even before they ordered this op. The chances of them picking us up this far out are slim.”


Ventilation hummed low, the only sound in the otherwise still air of the bridge. The dim overhead lights, now on emergency settings along with the rest of the functional systems, cast long shadows across the seats and consoles. Yannick's face was caught in chiaroscuro by the light filtered through the porthole, wide-eyed and anxious. “The data’s still intact, though?”


“It is.”


“Is it everything we hoped?”


Lang dog-eared a page and closed the manual, setting it on the nav console beside him. “That and more. Impending deployments, supply base and garrison locations, comms and crypto: everything we’d need to put a knife in the Coalition’s gut and get away with it.” He lowered his head, eyes fixed a thousand miles past his feet. “If the engine flare-out didn’t kill our own commo, I’d burst the data to Titania Command and be done with it.”


Yannick pushed away from the window, letting himself drift across the bridge to the comms station. He pulled himself in front of a screen, hitting the switch to bring up data stores. “Battlegroup should still be at Ganymede, yeah? We could try ejecting the DSM, see if they pick it up on radar. That or the emergency beacon.”


“We’re in the dead-center of an enemy fleet with no way to reliably aim an ejected module, even with the docking thrusters. So, if by some colossally unlikely chance it manages to clear their scouts without getting picked up, there’s no guarantee it won’t just coast off into a lazy orbit. The beacon… well, it’d get found by them before us.”


Yannick sighed and settled into the seat at the comms station. The two ruminated in silence. After a time, Captain Lang picked up his manual and opened to the dog-eared page. He studied it for several moments before turning his head toward toward his first officer. “Do you regret getting involved in this, Yannick?”


He shrugged. “I didn’t have much going on at home before the war kicked up. Just helping mom and dad run their campaigns at Hummel Station. It was safe, I guess. Financially secure. Dreadfully boring.”


Lang nodded, listening intently.


“They tried to stop me from commissioning when the first shots were fired over Mars. I just wanted to get off the station and do something of my own. Couldn’t bear the thought of being part of a political family, leisure be damned.”


“Youth: headstrong and endeavouring.”


Yannick chuckled nervously. “Something like that. I suppose I’d rather be bored at home than dealing with this poo poo… adrift in contested space.” He waited a moment, then tentatively added, “What about you, captain?”


Lang was still for a moment, as though devoting his entire body to consider the question. His answer was curt. Deliberate. “Before the war, I was a chemistry teacher on Titania. High school. Before that, I’d been an operations officer on a Coalition destroyer.”


Yannick sat up in his seat and turned, eyes widening. “You worked a Coalition ship?”


“Aye.”


“Then how did you --”


“Was never an embargo on personnel between the two governments. Got along well enough that civilians were free to move as they pleased. As for why I’m now running a Union ship…”


The air in the room stilled, politely waiting for him to continue.


“Well, they wanted guys who knew their way around the other guys’ boats. Wouldn’t take no for an answer.”


Yannick stared. “Goddamn. I didn’t think we’d do something like that.”


“Me either.”


They sat for several moments before Captain Lang levered himself out of the helmsman’s seat.  “Ventilation just stopped. Other systems will follow soon enough.” He tossed the manual across the cabin to the first officer, pages fluttering in the microgravity. Yannick grabbed it and found the dog-eared page.


“That details how to spool up the beacon. Do that, then prepare the suits and vacuum guns for action.”


Yannick nodded with a measure of uncertainty, stood, and made his way off the bridge. Lang sighed softly and pushed across the room to the port-side window. He stared out at Jupiter, the giant sitting fat and content in the viewing aperture. Laughing. “Some poo poo, indeed.”

SealHammer
Jul 3, 2010
Click to understand my bad faith posting.

Maybe I'll write something less badder and more gooder.

In.

SealHammer
Jul 3, 2010
Click to understand my bad faith posting.

I, too, would like to write a non-alcoholic alcohol story.

SealHammer
Jul 3, 2010
Click to understand my bad faith posting.

This seems like a perfectly trainwrecky prompt to jump back in on, no idea what with though.

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