Tweet of the Day: The Dark Origins of Conjugal Visits
Parliamentary Conference Room 3, New Arcturus Station, Arcturus, Arcturus Stream, May 21, 2197
Chairman Thu Van Thieu slammed the gavel down,”We will take a fifteen minute break.”
I went to a corner of the room to answer the dozens of messages on my omni-tool:
<Oriana@LawsonLTD.net-Subject: Revision of Quest List>
<Oriana@LawsonLTD.net-Subject: Navy Dress Blues or Black Tux?>
<Oriana@LawsonLTD.net-Subject: New Sitting Arrangements>
<Oriana@LawsonLTD.net-Subject: Local Aerobatic Squadron Requesting a Flyby in Miranda’s Honor>
Oriana had taken over the wedding planning with a vengeance. Everything had to be perfect, which I had no doubt they would be since there was a Lawson in charge. I joked that the wedding was all about Miranda and that she didn’t need to consult the special guest of honor for anything except to make sure my butt would be where and when she needed it to be. She just glared at me with a stare strong enough to melt steel beams. I cycled through the rest of the messages.
<Galeena@Extramail.com-Subject: Rodan Back in Service>
<TheHotSpot.com- Subject: Top Game Scores of the Week>
<DonellyG@AllianceNavy.gov-Subject: She is still in space dock>
I opened the last message. It came from the Tyr Shipyards were the Alliance worked on the Kursk post shakedown cruise. She outperformed all expectations. Now the Alliance wanted to investigate her every nook and cranny to apply the lessons of the cruise to the other ships of her class. It would take several months to put her back together again.
And I may never see her again.
<BadAssWeekly@BekensteinNews.net-Subject: The Top Ten Snipers of the Last Century>
“Excuse me, commander,” said a voice over my shoulder.
Nomusa Cele, representative for the Union of African States, towered over me. Her stolid presence dominated the room but there was grief in her dark eyes.
“What can I do for you minister?” I asked.
“It’s about my daughter Thabisa and the Battle of the Imri Relay,” she said.
Images of exploding ships flashed through my mind, “What about it?”
“I want to know what happened?”
“Wasn’t the committee brief on it?”
“Only selected members of the committee were briefed, commander,” she said.
“I…I see. I’m sorry minister, there is nothing I can do about it. Not without violating my oath to the Alliance and about a dozen or more laws in process,” I said.
He wide shoulders slumped, “Commander, this is my daughter we are talking about. There was no body to bury. All I got was a letter and some credits.” No state funerals, no taps, no folded flags or honor guard. No three-volley salutes that pierced the calm of the grave. In the Alliance eyes only sailors and marines deserved full military honors. Mercenaries did not qualify. “I have run out of options, except for information brokers and they are not reliable.”
“No, they are not an option. They would either swindle you for every credit you have or exploit you for information on the Alliance,” I paused for a second, “Minister, what exactly do you plan to do with this information?”
“I need to know the truth, commander. The public needs to know as well. I know why they promoted you, commander. They wanted to ease you out the service with a cushy commission on a prestigious post,” she said.
“I figured as much. Too bad Cerberus had other plans.” I tapped on my omni-tool, “Technically, by which I mean literally, this is still a violation of my oath to the Alliance but to hell with it. If am going out I might as well do it right.”
Her omni-tool lit up, “Whose this?”
“Someone who was there from the beginning. Since they are not Alliance they might tell you exactly what you need to know.”
“Thank you commander,” she said with half smile.
And committee aide approached us, “Minister, commander, the session is about start.”
Minister Cele nodded, “Thank you,” the she turned to me, “I noticed you don’t have legal council.”
“Didn’t know I need one,” I said perplexed.
“You do commander, you do. Good day and good luck.”