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Peter and Janet were seated at a table in Dang Jung’s Restaurant with Stormer and Cosmic. Actually, Stormer was not seated. A Centaur almost always stood. It was even rumoured he slept standing up. The chestnut hair on his horse’s body matched his full beard and the coarse, short hair on his chest, which could be seen above the V in his light orange uniform shirt. His impassive face gave him a stern, almost angry look even when he was pleased. The table they were at adjusted up or down to the required height of its guests. In the same way, the chairs automatically adjusted to the height of the table, A foot rest came out if the occupant could no longer touch the floor. It also had a special place without a seat, where Stormer was currently standing.
The special table suited Stormer’s best friend Cosmic as well. Cosmic was an 8-foot Trainian. Although he walked like a human, he had a decidedly ape-like appearance, and his body was covered with dark brown hair. Dark boxer shorts, the standard Flyer pilot orange shirt, and a holster strapped to his leg, in gunslinger fashion, completed his appearance. Only Security was required to be armed aboard a U.A.F. starship; however, many military personnel simply wore their sidearms as part of their uniform. Most of them used hip or shoulder holsters instead of the traditional low slung holster.
The friends were at the trendy Dang Jung’s Restaurant to celebrate Janet’s first solo flight as a Flyer pilot trainee. Peter was proud of his blue-eyed, blond-haired sister. She had initially wanted to train to be an Interstellar Patrol Officer, but then they had been kidnapped and were now trapped in some unknown galaxy. She hadn’t even missed a beat, but applied to become a Flyer pilot.
Janet’s eyes wandered to a table across the room. A man and a woman were sitting there. The woman was attractive, with soft brown hair brushing the top of her shoulders. Janet recognized her immediately. They had been through a lot together.
Janet whispered, “Who’s that man sitting over there with Captain Caspian?”
Cosmic gave a quick glance and replied, “That’s her husband, Imelek.”
“I didn’t know she was married.”
“As I understand it, she’s been married about a year - when she was Co-Captain on the Persistence. He transferred over here when she was promoted to the Captain’s position here on the Courage.”
“What’s he do?”
Cosmic shrugged. He wasn’t really interested in domestic issues. “Something in the Sciences, I think.”
Janet opened her mouth to ask another question, but Stormer spoke first. “That is not our concern.” Stormer looked to Peter, “Have you given any thought to what position you want on the Courage?”
Before he could reply, Captain Caspian stood up suddenly. Instinctively, they glanced her way. Her attention was on her husband. They faintly heard the words, “I thought you would be pleased.” Then she turned on her heels and left the restaurant.
Stormer focused his gaze on Peter, signalling that what had happened was none of their business, and he didn’t want questions or guesses about it.
“I’ve actually been accepted into the Chaplain Corps for basic training; although, I am not sure which branch I want to specialize in yet. Rev. Kinsely did my entrance interview. I was very impressed with him.”
Stormer nodded his approval, “That is an honourable choice.”
“It certainly gives you a lot of possibilities,” commented Cosmic. The Chaplain Corps not only trained ministers of Elniyn, but also, teachers of all subjects and ages, councillors, legal advisers, diplomats, and more. “But for me,” he continued, slapping his holster, “I want to be where the action is.”
“The unseen battles are where the war is truly won,” said Stormer with a glance at his friend.
“I’ll take an Arrad over a prayer book any day,” responded Cosmic.
Peter and Janet smiled at each other. Stormer and Cosmic were always in disagreement over something, yet they were inseparable friends.
Janet stole a sideward glance over at the table where Captain Caspian’s husband sat. Another man had joined him. The two men seemed to be in a heated disagreement, but were careful to keep their voices low. The newcomer was a thin, sly-looking man with jet black hair, thin eyebrows, a moustache curled over his lip, and a goatee. Janet felt an instant dislike for the man; though, she didn’t know why. She nudged Peter, who glanced over, then returned to talking with Stormer and Cosmic.
Janet’s ears perked up when she heard Stormer say, “I understand we are headed back to Omega. I will try to get authorization to do atmospheric training with you. You need experience and flight time in all conditions.”
Cosmic laughed, “Especially if we are going to keep you from turning your Flyer into a submarine!”
Janet blushed, but laughed along with him. She and Peter had both crashed Flyers into a lake and lost them somewhere in its murky depths. In their defence, it was the first time they had ever been in Flyers, and they had had only a few seconds of instruction!
It was about an hour later when Peter and Janet stood outside the doors to their apartments. They had been assigned single apartments right next to each other. The colour of the hall in their section of the Courage was teal. Although the hall colours were set by the Courage designers, apartment door colours could be changed by their occupants. Janet had chosen a light pink with aqua lettering for her name and apartment number. Peter had chosen a tan colour for his door with royal blue lettering and apartment number.
They were talking quietly before separating for the evening when a door several apartments down from them slid open. A man stepped out and began walking their way. Normally, they would not have paid attention to him, but he was the same man who had been talking with Captain Caspian’s husband in the restaurant. He strolled past them into the nearest ElLift and was whisked to another destination.
“I wonder what he was doing down here?” said Janet.
Peter shrugged, “Visiting a friend?”
Once again, movement down the hall flickered in the corner of their eyes. Turning to look back down the hall, they saw Sam emerge from an apartment. He had also been assigned an apartment on that level.
“Hi, Sam,” said Janet as he approached.
“Hello,” he replied cheerfully.
Sam had been key in saving their lives and rescuing Captain Caspian and Dr. Kana when they had fallen into the hands of the Dasf - the military leader of the Black Face werewolves. In the few days that they had been back on the Courage, they had all met together a few times for ameer or tain at different cafes. Although Peter and Janet appreciated what Sam had done, they did not seem able to make any real friendship connection.
“I’m just heading up to see Captain Caspian,” Sam continued. “Apparently, we are headed back to Tergonta - what you called Omega. I just hope she doesn’t expect me to go anywhere near the Dasf. That would be a death sentence for me if I was caught.”
“I’m sure she won’t put you in danger,” said Peter.
Sam wrinkled his nose. Peter and Janet were just in their late teens and naive. As a military man himself, Sam knew leaders sometimes sacrificed lives to save lives or reach vital objectives. Sometimes it was a calculated risk, and sometimes there were simply no other options. Every soldier knew that. Still, there was no point in discussing it.
“I’m sure you’re right,” he said. “She probably just wants some intel.”
“Who was that man that was visiting you?” asked Janet.
Sam looked surprised. “I didn’t have a visitor.”
“We saw him coming out of your apartment,” persisted Janet.
“No one came out of my apartment,” said Sam, looking confused.
Peter gave Janet a warning look as he said, “It must have been the apartment on the other side of yours. At this angle it’s hard to tell exactly which door opened.”
“That must be it,” said Sam nonchalantly. “Anyway, I had better get up to my appointment.”
When the ElLift doors closed behind Sam, Janet turned to Peter, “He’s lying. That man did come out of his apartment.”
“I know, but he doesn’t want us to know for some reason.”
“I wonder what secret he’s trying to hide?”
“It might be something perfectly innocent.”
Janet remained unconvinced, “I know he saved our lives, but there is something about him I don’t trust. I think he has some hidden agenda, and now we know he has a connection with Captain Caspian’s husband. That might spell trouble.”
“I don’t see how it can. It is not like there is a pack of werewolves onboard he can influence. Besides, the Security Elite protects all the senior officers and their families.”
“I still think something is wrong.”
Peter opened his apartment door, “I don’t know what we can do about it… even if there is an ‘it’.”
“I’m going to keep my eyes open. If there is something wrong going on, I’m going to track it down.”
Read Chapter Three here.
Nov 27, 23 09:17 PM
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