No writing for me this week, but lots of bleach-filled house cleaning planned for my today lol. With an added hope of making time for my physio exercises... I have no idea if my arms are going to hold out for the cleaning I need to do or if I'll have to break it out piecemeal over the weekend. (Because scrubbing bathrooms and extra laundry are super-fun day off activities, said no-one ever lol.)
I hope your week was less hectic and tiring than mine, and that you get to have a very lovely May weekend. :)
“I’m just making sure you remember,” Captain said, a grin pulling up the corner of her mouth.
“Oh please, Tallishen.” The image of the reports flicked away and Public Face’s holo was again standing in Captain’s private. “Do you really think it was a coincidence Dockland, with its antiquated and incorruptible connections to functioning pre-InsterStel satellites, was included in the exploration group for Daion worlds?”
“It’s been twenty standard years since you got politically heavy. A lot can change and get forgotten in that time.”
“I’ll have to take your word for it. I, unlike you, still have my full faculties.” Public Face winked toward Trevor and Leo before holding up a hand against the side of her mouth to block Captain from seeing her mouth moving. “Space rot,” Public Face said in an exaggerated whisper aimed to Trevor and Leo, pointing not very subtly toward Captain with her other hand as her voice came clearly through the bridgeside’s speakers. Leo cracked a grin at the wordplay at the same time Annise’s smart chimed again. “Oh look, Ahonnon’s ‘official’ report is here,” Annise said, even adding the air quotes with her fingers.
She swiped up the report from Ahonnon. It slid beside the report Captain had sent rather than replacing it.
“Dual holoscreens in a smart?” Leo blurted from complete surprise. He knew that development in smart technology was supposed to still be a standard year away from being reliable enough to use!
“This smart is equipped with tri holoscreens, actually,” Annise said, off-handed. Captain peaked an eyebrow at Leo, trying hard to not laugh when he looked like he was attempting to swallow his tongue after speaking out of turn to the highest member of Coalition’s government and single most politically powerful person in the known galaxy (a galaxy of which more than three quarters was known). Annise was busy frowning at the changes in the second report, asking Trevor and Leo to both verify each of the differences she found as she highlighted them.
“Well?” Captain asked impatiently when Public Face seemed to have stopped reading and was only thinking. Trevor blinked in shock at Captain’s tone. Annise sighed and brushed her hand through both reports, closing the files, and then holding her thoughts in contemplative silence for two more long seconds.
“This definitely isn’t the report you sent me, although the similarities lead me to believe there was an extensive amount of plagiarism involved,” Public Face said. “However, this work of fiction by Ahonnon has been sent to” –she checked her smart– “fifteen Senior Coalition members. Will you two agree to be on record?” she asked, looking at Trevor and Leo.
“On record how?” Captain asked before either Analyst could reply.
“On record as in I’ll save this entire vid and use it as evidence for Ahonnon’s attempted corruption of Coalition exploration reporting. Your crew members’ involvement starts and ends with confirmation of reading the initial report and stating its authenticity prior to knowledge of there being corruption, and in denials of authoring the changes found in the corrupted summary.”
Captain nodded her agreement with those terms to her crew members. Public Face was smirking again after Leo and Trevor both independently agreed.
“Perfect. Thank you, all of you.” She moved as if disconnecting, but the link stayed active. “And Tallie? I’d like a reporting for how you’ve trained your crew to this level of loyalty and open disclosure.”
“Ha! It’s a Captain’s secret. Come back shipside and I’ll show you.”
“It may come to that,” Annise said, her countenance growing suddenly serious. “Shaverrim was on the list of Senior Coalition members Ahonnon sent the corrupted report to. In your below decks control room, is Dockland still…?” she let the question hang.
Captain grinned at Public Face. “That’s not even a question you need to ask about my ship, Annise.”
“Good. Break off orbital scans. Route to planet seventy-four immediately and establish communications with the population. Our old agreement states clearly we aide and defend Daion worlds in event of threat” –she swiped up on her smart and put the satellite sweep result on the holloscreen– “and these thousands of people packing into what have to be evacuation centers need to be contacted immediately to determine if I’m dealing with trespassers in a Non Settlement sector, or honoring the agreement to protect Daions against Radicals. History has shown Coalition failing Daions more than once. If those people you found really are the rightful population of that world, I want that habit broken.”
“Understood,” Captain stated, her expression as serious as the one on Public Face. The holovid ended for real and Captain turned to her Analysts. “Do you know of anyone else on board who’s familiar enough with the below decks control room systems to run the sweep you two did?”
Leo and Trevor looked at each other. “I guess… well, Lastin showed me how to work it, but Trevor was quicker with the systems than Lastin or me,” Leo said.
“Who showed you?” Captain focused on Trevor.
“My grandfather, when I was a kid. He’s an installer and had old consoles. I grew up shipside,” Trevor replied.
“All right.” Captain’s fingers danced across her panel and then stopped. A moment later both Leo and Trevor’s smarts chimed. “You’re both now on my shift and your orders are in that message you just got. Go and get all the below decks control room systems turned on and ready for use by the time I get there.”
“I only know how to turn on maybe three of those panels,” Leo admitted hesitantly. His eyes were getting wider with every short sentence he was reading in Captain’s new orders.
“I could maybe power on half of them, but –”
“They all turn on,” Captain interrupted Trevor. “Figure it out. Go.” Captain was already working on something else.
Leo and Trevor left the bridgeside and jogged back to the nearest lift that would take them down to the same deck as the below decks control room.
“Any idea what any of those ones even do?” Leo asked, pointing at the dusty panels furthest from the door. Trevor only glanced and shrugged. She was turning on the panels she knew how to as he picked up the nearly ancient handheld and powered it on.
“What do you need that for?” she asked.
“For this,” Leo said, pausing on a page and reading. Then he left the handheld on the console it was chained to and walked to the dusty panels across the room; the same ones he’d asked Trevor about. He flicked the needed switches to start the process of turning the first one on.
“Neat,” Trevor said. Leo shot her a quick smile and brushed off his hand, leaving white finger smears on his uniform, as he walked back to the handheld. “Does that old thing say what those panels are even for?” Trevor asked him as he picked it up.
“It’s all abbreviations. I turned on the ‘P.D.E.W.’, and now I’m going to turn on the ‘L.R.P.W.’… any idea what those might stand for? You’re the one who grew up shipside.” He was flicking switches for the second panel mentioned when he asked.
“Not a clue,” she admitted.
A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!