This is the thirteenth part of my Space Opera. hope you all enjoy it! And I am trying to delve more into the characters background details.
UNSC CAPTAINS LOG – SARAH KEYS CH.13
United Naval Space Corps
I grin at my father. “Why thank you Petty Officer Keys, I think I will do just that, and start with my inspections. Thank you for taking care of the discipline investigation for me.”
“Doing it this way will keep the crew from getting antsy around their captain. It allows them to view somebody lesser as the bad guy.”
“Well Keys, dismissed! Cary on!” I announce, before giving a casual salute and turn away to start my inspection.
I start my inspection in the engineering department. Checking over the vital points of the engine and power assemblies. I carefully inspect the ships chassis points where it joins with the massive inertia drive that negates the effects of fast maneuvering.
Continuing through the ship, I inspect some of the vital departments and vital structural points of the ship. Especially any part of the ship that the designers claimed to be a potential issue.
Several hours after mooring near the port we depart. Leaving Jericho behind us as we make our way towards the front line. Our recent dock time combined with the new ship, makes for the journey to be a boring one. Using this time to boost the crew’s morale, I order the ship to be placed on a rotating skeleton crew. With most of the crew off duty, I encurage them to find creative outlets to suppress their bordrum.
“Most captains wouldn’t think to use boredom to boost their crew’s morale, would they?” My father comments.
Him, Mia and I are all sitting in the mess hall, enjoying whatever we thought was delicious from the officer’s menu.
“You have to keep your sailors happy. So, if that means clearing the center of the well deck and painting a sports field on it, so be it. We don’t need that many crews on duty anyways.”
“As for unique thinking, Sarah is the leader of unique thinking in the UNSC.” Mia adds.
“No. I’m firmly in second place behind John. Anyways, I’ll head down there and join in with them. Might even make a team consisting of bridge officers.”
“I’ll have to make sure I am free to watch this.”
I look at my father. “What do you mean make sure you are free? You’re on off duty right now. You don’t need to make sure of anything… that is unless you joined in on the poker tournament.”
“Well you don’t need to tell me twice, I’ll leave the paperwork for some other time. I have a good book I wanted to read anyways.” Father scoffs.
“May I then suggest reading it in the sky lab? The view is quite spectacular when in slip space, even if you can only open half of the blast windows.” Mia offers.
“You were seriously thinking about doing more paperwork? I’ll knock it all out when I get a chance later. I need to check between our work to see if there are any major differences. Though I think that will be a moot point.”
“Are you not going to take some time off?” Father asks.
“I’ll take some time off later. I put myself in the skeleton crew shift rotation early. I want to get the hard work done first. If you want I can put you in the rotation for skeleton crew, maybe get you some training on something if you want, but since you are only a guest I put you with the marine’s schedules. No point in working you to death.”
“I’ll think about that then. I just don’t want you to be working yourself to death.”
“It’s not work if you enjoy it.” I counter.
“Well then you need to get to work on your soccer team then.”
I chuckle and take a sip of my drink. Letting my thoughts wander to what the impending war has in store for my crew. The fact that my father and sister are onboard the ship doesn’t get past me as I think about what my plan of action is incase the ship gets into big trouble.
If we are going into a large battle that is planned, most of the civilian crew is left on one of the nearby frontier planets to free up space and ensure minimal casualties within the civilian crew. That very well takes care of my sister, however my father is a guest of the Navy. While not considered a full member of the armed forces, he isn’t exactly a civilian either. His position in the scheme of things places him more in line with hired mercenaries.
Getting up from the table in the mess hall, I make my rounds around the ship again. Making sure to stop by the armory to check the training schedule.
“Anything I can help you with Captain?” The Armory master asks.
“I’m looking for a training slot for a complete rookie. Someone that will need basic training like back in boot camp. I’ll do the training myself if I have to, I just need them proficient in weapons handling to protect themselves and not shoot an ally in the back.” I explain myself.
“No worries Captain. If its basic training you need, ill be sure to provide it for you. Your trying to train family correct?”
I nod my head in agreement.
“Well you never want to train family. I’ll handle it my self or have one of my range masters handle the training.”
“Thanks Sergeant. I’ll owe you one.”
The Armory Master just shrugs his shoulders as I walk away, resuming my wanderings around the ship.
Making my way to the star deck I reflect on the past few weeks of my life. In a matter of a few days my entire life has been flipped upside down and shaken. My youngest daughter whom my wife and I thought was having troubles with her studies, had already graduated from high school and became a captain in the Space Corps before she turned eighteen. Her level of intelligence and command when aboard her ship is astonishing, a level that she never showed at home around her mother or I.
Once she was cornered and had to reveal her actual level of intelligence, it became painfully aware that she wasn’t actually the problem child of the two sisters. Her sister’s exploits became painfully clear in a matter of days, with every one of her antics driving the point clearer and clearer.
Though the fact that my wife and I supported Anita’s behavior, and reprimanded Sarah almost constantly is what shocks me the most. Every family has skeleton’s in the closet, but our favoritism almost reaches child abuse.
Reaching the Star Deck, I touch the control panel to slide the armored shutters back from the thick insulated glass. Slowly the shutters slide back from the hull, revealing a star streaked view. Sarah explained the view to me one day while we were on the bridge, about why the stars appear to be short streaks in the night sky.
Her explanation was because we were moving faster than light, the light from the stars that we could see was spread across a distance. When we first spotted a star, we were approaching to when we could no longer see its light, we were looking at a streak consisting over fifty years of the stars light. And the occasional pulsing of the intensity and size of the streaks was determined by the jump frequency the slip space drive was punching us through the fabric of space at.
Due to the astonishing factors involved in just the view outside the windows, I was soon unable to keep up with the details as Sarah delved into astro-navigation and slip space calculations.
Thinking about our time spent together on ship brings a tear to my eye, as I start to think about all the time I had lost of her childhood because of her older sister. Grabbing my book, I sit down on one of the reclining lounges and crack into it. The book I chose to read during this trip is a biography of Jake Pelham. From what Sarah claims it should be a good read.
After finishing my inspections, refereeing a game of soccer on the flight deck, and completing the few reports my father didn’t have time to finish, I could finally do the comparison between our work.
The first stack of reports I could find nothing wrong with. Each section was filled in with perfection, to a government standard. As I started to get further and further through the journey’s reports, I start noting more and more side notes either written in the margins or attached using sticky notes. Each side note brings up potential safety issues and possible ways to increase efficiency. Delving into the side notes, I start drawing up plans in my head to bring the notes to fruition onboard the ship when a knocking at my door interrupts my thought.
Slipping on my light uniform jacket I answer the door. Standing on the other side of the door is none other than my sister.
“Please, come in. I take it you have something you want to talk to me about?”
My sister nods as she steps into the room, oddly silent from her usual pointless drivel.
“You seem really quiet. Why don’t you sit down, and I’ll see about getting us something to drink for the both of us?”
I guide my sister to the couch, swiftly making my way to the coffee machine and pouring two cups of coffee, preparing them how I suspect she would like her coffee with extra cream and sugar. Setting the cups of coffee down on the coffee table, I sit cross-legged in a nearby recliner after kicking my shoes off.
“Ok, now you can spill it. What’s got you quieter than a church mouse?”
“I… I’m sorry.”
I take a sip of my coffee, letting her gather her wits about her.
“I’m sorry for the way I treated you. After speaking to a few of the crew, they made me realize that I haven’t been treating you fairly.”
“That’s a good start… there are alt of people on this ship that you can trust with your life, or your inner most secretes…”
“I’m sorry Sarah. I have been acting like a total bitch to you for the past ten years, and it has not been fair. I almost got you arrested, and made both mom and dad think you where mentally handicapped and unable to complete school. Even once I got a job aboard your ship, I immediately started making a fool out of myself by all of my yelling and claiming you were not the captain.”
“Hold it hold it. Are you sure you’re not sick?” I chuckle at my sister’s odd behavior, having an idea of what could have caused her to be remorseful.
“I’m perfectly fine. I just realized what I have been doing this entire time and realized that it’s not fair. I want to change my behavior, but I can’t guarantee anything.”
I sit and stare at my sister, calmly sipping my coffee while utilizing a captain’s greatest skill. Intimidating stare.
“I know what I have been doing isn’t right, but I hope that someday in the future you can forgive me for some of what I have done…”
I continue the silence for a little bit before speaking. “I don’t think it matters… If you are looking for forgiveness, then I will grant you forgiveness. Everything that you did I lived through and used to make myself a better person. Now if anyone should be saying anything, it should be me thanking you for everything you have done.”
“You are really going to forgive me? That easily?”
“What do I look like to you? I’m no petty bitch, I’ll let it go, but I won’t forget. Ill just stop holding those things to you. Now anything you have done while on this ship I am obligated as captain of this vessel to follow through on. It’s nothing personal.”
“Well I figured as much. Once I finally figured out you where the captain I realized that there would be two Sarah’s. The Sarah I grew up teasing, and the Captain. I don’t need any forgiveness from the Captain. I guess I can live with my mistakes.”
“Anything you want to tell the Captain right now to get it off your chest?”
“,,,” I’m met with hesitation from my sister.
“If you confess to anything you did wrong before it becomes a problem, the consequences won’t be as harsh.”
“Well… The other day while we where in port I did sleep with one of the lieutenants on the bridge…”
“Really? Seems like he is a lucky guy. And I guess both of you are having regrets and are letting your feelings for each other get in the way of both of your duty’s?”
“Well its mainly because I am on the lowest of the hierarchy, and he’s part of the bridge crew.”
“Do you have this officers name? Or a description of what department he works in?”
“It was Lieutenant Atkins from Radar control. We met in the mess hall and just hit it off.”
I quickly notate the young lieutenants name on my phone for later. “And where did you have relations with him at?”
“No need to be worried. I just need to make sure that you both cleaned up after yourselves and didn’t endanger anyone.”
“The first time was in his room, and then twice more in a closet labeled Auxiliary Radar Control.” Anita confesses.
“Oh? Getting freaky in the wiring closet?”
“It was convenient and nearby…”
“I’m not judging you. It was the auxiliary room anyways. Its not as if it was active at the time. Though if it was I suspect it would have been quite an inhospitable place for personal relations to happen in if It was active.”
“We cleaned up afterwards, mopped, and ran the air purification system in there to rid the room of the evidence. I don’t want Atkins to get into any trouble… I was the one who initiated things.”
I silently send a message on my phone. Soon getting confirmation that the short message was received.
“You don’t want Lieutenant Atkins to get in trouble? Your running things backwards to how they are usually supposed to be. Usually it’s the male officer to push himself onto the young civilian. Then she tells the captain claiming rape. But you where the one to initiate the entire situation…”
“”Lieutenant Atkins to the Captains Quarters, Lieutenant Atkins to the Captains Quarters.”” Mia’s voice blares over the ship wide intercom.
“Please don’t punish him for what I did!”
“Well whether or not he gets punished depends on his answers to my questions.” I get up from my chair and walk to the door, suspecting that the Lieutenant would be here any moment.
As soon as I reach the door, three sharp knocks on the middle of the door announce his arrival. Opening the door, I am greeted by a sharply dressed lieutenant holding an even sharper salute. Gesturing for him to enter the room, I take note of his quick glances around the room, realizing that he is gathering information and trying to asses the threat level of the situation.
“Lieutenant Atkins please, have a seat on the couch. My sister and I where just doing a little catching up that’s all.”
Atkins visible pales once I mention that Anita is related to me. He nervously takes a seat next to Anita but keeps his posture ram rod straight.
“Now Lieutenant, I trust you are enjoying the new ship?”
“Yes mam!” Atkins reply’s, his nervousness making his voice catch.
“At ease Lieutenant. If you sit any stiffer ill require a chisel to remove you from my couch… Though I bet Anita here knows how stiff you get in Auxiliary Radar room’s?” I tease the Lieutenant, enjoying watching his face pale even further with the knowledge that I know what he was doing with Anita.
I look over to Anita, noticing that her face is flushed red in embarrassment to go along with Atkins pale face.
“Lieutenant Atkins, as I am sure you are fully aware by now, Anita and I have been catching up on recent gossip lately. It has been quite a few years since we were last able to hold a civil conversation together. But one thing that I took notice of during our gossip was your relationship with Anita… I would just like to ask you a few questions about your relationship together before coming to any conclusions.”
Lieutenant Atkins nods his head, lacking the proper brain function to properly reply.
“Now lieutenant. Who would you say initiated the first instance of personal relations between you two?”
“It was I, Captain.”
“The second time in the Radar Closet?”
“Also, I Captain.”
“Did you make sure to check the schedule for the Auxiliary Radar rooms testing and use before entering?”
“Yes Captain. I checked before we entered the room.”
“In either of these times where you abandoning your duties on the bridge or in other sections of the ship?”
“No Captain. I was off duty and on break respectively.”
Atkins reply’s truthfully to all my questions.
“Lieutenant Atkins, what are your feelings for Ms. Keys?”
“I asked Lieutenant, what are your feelings for my sister? Are they something you want to continue?”
“Yes Mam. Though I don’t understand where you are coming from?”
‘Anita, are your feelings the same?”
“Yes.” Anita answers defiantly.
I give a lengthy pause, sipping on my coffee. Despite already having made up my mind, I let them wait.