Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
“You have to pardon my crude metaphor,” Boro replied in response to the Intelligence officer’s assurances over the Thorian’s viability as an asset, “but if you tell me a lion’s got no teeth or claws and ask me to spend a night in its cage, it doesn’t mean I’ll be sleeping. Between Nabak, the Hatvan Troubles, and the Last Gasp, we’ll have people who either fought against them or knew somehow who did.” He could feel Meslina stiffen in the chair next to his. “There’s got to be a better way. If you can just go back to the previous screen.” The Intelligence officer obliged. “Admiral, you said we’re getting a full load of provisions at Yshot Station in any event. So why not just take the longer way around – would be far easier to snake down the border of Vaparozh territory, head a ways deep into Dead Space and then follow the borders of the Thorian Empire. And with barely any ships around, we can make better time without comprising our ghost.”
Admiral Fan stepped in then and the Intelligence officer once more took a step away and absorbed nearly her entire presence back into herself. Boro made a mental note to keep track of her, but moments later found himself neglecting to remember that she was around.
“Your proposal, Commander Stevin, would still put you almost a month outside of your estimated arrival,” Admiral Fan explained. “A month that you likely don’t have.”
“Better get there a month late, than not get there at all.” Boro hadn’t bothered to consider the possibility that his retort was out of line, but then Captain Pueson added his voice to the conservation.
“We will get there, Commander Stevin. And we will get there on the timeline urged by our Iastret allies.”
“If the Iastret want to get there that badly, then they should fly there themselves, they’ve got a much shorter trip, and the wings for it to boot.”
“That’s quite enough, Commander.” Pueson’s voice dropped by a few degrees and Boro made sure to keep his eyes on Admiral Fan and off his Captain. “One of the founding principles of the Outer Rim Confederacy was to show that we could do better; that the rest of the Known Reaches had been missing out while Humans languished in their own little corner of space. This means showing that we have an ability to work with anyone out there, even with someone who had formerly been an enemy.” The Captain stood then, walking in measured steps to stand next to the Admiral. He may have initially chosen to sit with his people, but now he stood in front of them like a class of sullen schoolchildren – the message was clear as to who was in charge at the end of the day. “There are aspects of this mission that are uncomfortable, I’m not going to deny you that. But at all times you have to keep in mind that if we’re successful, we may be able to redraw the political map of the Known Reaches with the ORC, and by extension, Humanity, at its highest place. And once we’re there, I expect that we can show that military and technological superiority can be shared instead of hoarded, and it will start on this ship. Is that understood by everyone?” Captain Pueson’s expression was a mix of warmth and sternness that only made Boro queasy, but he nodded and agreed along with the other two, and the Captain seemed sufficiently pacified, though did not relinquish his new spot at the head of the room.
If this sermon was any indication, this was gearing up to be a longer trip than Boro anticipated. To either side of him, some of the tension seemed to go out of Surch and Meslina’s spines, and they nodded. Boro always suspected this soft spot in Surch ever since their Academy days, one of the things that likely prevented him from rising as high as Boro had if they were in the same graduating class. Meslina though had initially struck him as someone who would have resisted this gradual erosion of the pride that Boro believed should have been the core tenet of Humanity’s continued foray into the Known Reaches.
Boro, for his part, believed that it was no coincidence that the Human feet that included his father had been so instrumental at the Battle of Krevali and the Thorian’s defeat in the War of the Last Gasp shortly thereafter. Humanity, as other races would put it, even those who spent millennia under the boot of someone else’s empire, was late to the party. What these others had not considered, and what apparently more and more of the Navy high brass were losing their grasp on, was that the outsider’s perspective gave Humanity a fresh outlook, a clearer view into the stagnation that gripped the Known Reaches, where, save for the Last Gasp, the landscape had for years been defined by minor tussles. As a countermeasure to the Thorian Empire, came the ever-increasing idea of cooperation amongst all those who were not Thorian, which solidified the status quo, and therefore Humanity’s place on the periphery.
“To your earlier point, Commander Stevin,” Admiral Fan continued with a light smile, “part of the Iastret research team that has been studying Drain Vortexes since their last appearance and that have been instrumental in identifying their potential will be joining you on board as well.”
The Admiral then continued into a more detailed breakdown of what they were up against, complete with slide after slide of charts and graphs that made Boro think that if he hadn’t paid much attention to astrography during the Academy days it was decidedly too late to start now. And in any case, he had sufficient understanding to let the Iastret do their business without confounding him too much.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.