Literary Challenge #48 : The Long Road
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Join Date: Jul 2013
08-21-2013, 04:51 AM
It was like the padds were staring at her. Joanne kicked the table again, but it didn't budge. The red-blue "Report classified - Level 1 Authorization required" was blinking away steadily on all of the six screens piled up on the table, completely unaware of Joanne's frustration.
The door beeped, making Joanne sit up straight. Distraction! Maybe someone who looked like they were going to start shooting at them had turned up. Maybe they had technology that could wipe your memory.
Commander Corspa Eide stepped in through the opening doors, the tips of her antennae still looking a bit grey. Joanne had looked in the mirror earlier herself and found that her spots had gone interestingly pale, but there hadn't been a lot of times that she had seen this particular shade of blue on her xo.
"We've just passed the last subspace beacon, we'll be back in Federation space in two days, Admiral."
Right. That did definitely not need personal delivery. Joanne leaned back again and waved the commander over.
"What's up, Cor?" she asked as soon as Corspa had sat down on the couch and buried her face in her hands. There was a bit of silence, and after a while Corspa slid sideways to put her head on Joanne's shoulder.
"Everyone's got their letters done," she said quietly "except me. I envy Ojhyni. He just had to write three different versions of 'I regret to inform you that your child has died in a plasma conduit breach'."
"I doubt that that was any fun either though." Joanne said without any real reprimand behind it.
"Well, at least he doesn't have to tell someone he got their child killed because he was looking at sparkles!" Corspa said with the sort of hysteric undertone that got pretty worrying on someone who knew where all the phaser rifles were stored. Joanne closed her eyes as tight as possible, hoping that the flashes behind her lids would drown out the images that Corspa's words conjured up - all that blood, almost invisible against the blackness of space - the cracked helmet - all the colours suddenly changing --
"It wasn't - it wasn't your fault." she finally managed in a weak voice.
Corspa gave a humourless laugh. "Sure. Is that what you're telling Command?" She nodded towards the pile of padds on the table.
"I don't know. It's like - I know some people who will be
excited about those sparkles, and I wish I could be too. But every time a bit of that shows in the report I feel so guilty! And they will judge us - me, really - on the preliminary, you know that. I don't want some brass who hasn't seen an uncharted sector in decades to just grab the amazing bits and declare the mission a success! It was a disaster from beginning to end, and I want people to remember that instead of celebrating a piece of technology that won't be ready for use for years!"
Joanne took a deep breath and let it out in a weary sigh. She made some helpless gestures, but no more words were coming. Next to her, Corspa sat up and turned towards the Admiral.
"You should just tell them that. It's important they know." she said seriously. "Don't tell them what we have found until you're reporting to them personally."
Joanne made a face. Holding back information wasn't something she enjoyed doing, but other than that... this way at least, she could be sure that Command would respect the sacrifices they had made, and she could focus on presenting what they had discovered.
She nodded, slowy, and took two padds from the table, deleted the drafts on them and handed one to Corspa.
"Come on," she said with a small smile "let's do this properly. We achieved something great, and none of those lives were lost for nothing."
Last edited by jonnaroslyn; 08-24-2013 at
. Reason: fixed some typos