Part three of my space opera
UNSC CAPTAINS LOG – SARAH KEYS CH.3
United Naval Space Corps
Slowly the room started to empty out as couples left for their suites. Some time after midnight, John, Mia, and I bid farewell to our host and head back to Mia and I’s suite.
“John, don’t be a stiff, come lay down with Mia and I. I could use a hug from a good friend.” I could see John playfully ponder the question, fully well knowing what his answer is going to be no.
“I don’t think I’m needed on the bridge tonight, and I’ll be off duty for a few more hours… So I don’t see why not? As long as you haven’t planned anything illegal?” John smiles at me, knowing that I am stunned at his answer.
“Everyone involved is of consenting age, and Sarah and I are both consent to whatever plot you may come up with.” Mia passes a shy timid smile with her almost blatant suggestion. John laughs a deep hearted laughs as I gape at Mia for her suggestion, even though she is striking somewhere closer to the truth.
John takes the lead as he guides us to our suite.
A fellow marine that we trained with grins at our passing in the hallways. “Just warning you there John, you might not want to mess with those two. Just one of those girls probably has enough weapons on her person to take out an entire two squad’s. But the two together? The could probably take out the entire crew on your ship!” The marine continues down the hallway laughing at his own joke.
John looks down at Mia and I. “Did I make a mistake here?”
“You can pass up his warning. It seems that you have a pardon from any such harm.”
I look over with an expression of shock on my face at what Mia said, while John chuckles.
“Why thank you Mia for that pardon! I’ll take it to heart and exploit the opertunety.”
Reaching our suite, …
“Mia, did you pack everything already? I need a different pair of socks. These flats chafe.” It’s been a week already, meaning the end of the week-long cruise.
“I already put a pair out on the bed for you. Make sure to hand me the pair you take off when you change.”
Mia is standing at the wardrobes counter in her dress uniform, folding and putting away our clothes into the suitcases.
“Mia, you look too stiff in that uniform. Why not change into something comfortable? You’re not required to be in uniform while on a ship during off duty hours.” As usual Mia ignores my harassment.
Just as I am pulling my shoes on, a buzzer sounds from the entertainment center. Pressing the correct buttons on the remote, I answer the intercom.
“Captain Keys here, can I help you?”
“Good morning Captain. Sorry to disturb you, but you have a visitor.”
“Who would I have the honors to see?”
“According to the name on his identification, a man by the name of Robert Keys. Would he happen to be of any relation to you?” I shake my head upon hearing my father’s name.
“Yes, I know him. Send him in.”
I wonder what my father could want??? Oh, I was supposed to be ‘Grounded’ to my stateroom, but I haven’t seen him since the first night. I stand up and help Mia finish packing the rest of our clothes, despite her protests.
A few minutes after I received the intercom call, I hear a knocking on the stateroom door. Mia lightly pads over to the door and opens it.
“Please come in sir.” Mia requests to my father.
After she says a brief ‘Thank you’ to the staff member that escorted him here she closes the door and proceeds to the small galley to prepare drinks.
My father looks around the room at the lavish furnishings.
“I don’t know what is up with the staff on this cruise, but I have tried to visit the suite number you gave me several times and they wouldn’t even let me into the hallway, much less even get to your room. But I don’t even think that this could be considered a room, it’s more like a small apartment, which I am not paying for this room! It’s coming out of your allowance.”
Mia walks up next to me and I grab a glass of ice and a chilled cola from the tray in her hands and offer it to my father.
“Don’t worry, I didn’t spend anything on this room. My friend paid for it and decided that it would be nicer to share it instead of being on opposite ends of the ship.”
Father takes the glass and cola, then looks at Mia standing next to me holding the tray. “I came to talk to you about your rudeness and attitude, however I see you even treat your friends like shit. This little girl is obviously of a higher status and you have her serving drinks and packing your clothes like a maid?! Your insolence and lack of common sense is driving your mother and I up the walls!”
After setting down the tray and handing me my drink, Mia addresses my father. “Mr. Keys, as you are a guest in my suite, it is only common curtesy and good hospitality to offer you drinks or anything else you desire as a guest. My mother would be rolling in her grave if she found out I didn’t offer my guests something to drink.”
“Awe how sweet, thank you…”
“Sir, you can address me as Mia for now.”
“Thank you Mia, I appreciate the gesture, however my daughter here has a habit of taking advantage of people and just taking what she wants.”
“Sir, that I would agree with, and the fact that she is not afraid to take what she wants is one of her strongest traits.”
My father turns towards me again.
“Now young lady, your mother and I have discussed what needs to be done, and we have decided that you are going to go see a councilor tomorrow morning about your behavior. It will be at first a counseling session with the councilor, your mother, and you, then it will be regular counseling. And both your mother and I both agree, that until the counseling is over, there will be no more ‘study sessions’ with your friends.”
Sometimes I just hate the way my life goes in random directions.
“And if I don’t want to go?”
“Young lady, you don’t have a choice. According to the state, you are still a minor and your mother and I have the final say so!”
Before I could say anything else I hear two people knocking at the door.
“Come in!” I yell without moving my feet.
I hear the door open and two sets of footsteps walk into the room.
Suddenly a loud male voice booms, “ATTENTION!!! FLEET COMMANDER ON DECK!”
Instantly both Mia and I snap stiffly to attention and salute the fleet commander who just walked in. My father just stands there looking at me with a dumbfounded look on his face, probably wondering what I am doing.
I look over to the two men in the doorway. Both Captain Starlock and the UNSC Fleet Commander are standing just inside the entryway. Captain Starlock like me is standing at attention.
“At ease.” At the fleet commanders word John, Mia, and I drop our arms and relax slightly, however we don’t let our guard down. Mia suddenly disappears from my side and appears next to the Commander with an already poured lemon lime soda.
“First Lieutenant Raes, I see you have done your intelligence gathering. There’s not many people who know that I switched from drinking colas to lemon lime sodas.”
Mia bows at the waist slightly. “Sir, it’s part of my duty.”
The Fleet Commander turns towards me. “Captain Sarah Keys.”
“I stopped by to give you your current orders. Tuesday evening at seventeen hundred hours, you are to report to the second Naval ship yard hangar seven. Dress sharp, and be on time. Oh, and feel free to invite a few friends and family, an atmospheric jump jet will be provided for transportation.”
“Sorry to be rude, however I must get going promptly. I must continue my round of invitations. Then submit a fleet report to the intelligence office. Captain Starlock? Thank you for showing me around, I can make it from here. I suspect some congratulations celebrations are in order tonight?”
“Thank you, Sir.” John addresses the commander as he steps out of the suite, closing the door behind himself.
The moment the door clicks shut, John, Mia, and I all let out a sigh of relief.
“So, John, let me guess. Either another round of Honor Guard, or I’m getting assigned to a new crew permanently?”
“Beats me.” John wipes the sweat off his forehead.
My father finally finds his voice. “Will someone tell me what that was all about? Sarah and I was having an important conversation before you and whoever that was so rudely interrupted us.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Keys. The fact of his visit must be kept classified, along with most of the subject. But all I know is that it’s a summons. Possibly to a ceremony.”
“Well I don’t care what it was, Sarah is grounded. So, she isn’t going! And that’s that, I really don’t care who he is so don’t start with me!”
John grins at me. “I’m sorry, I see that this is a sensitive matter, so I will excuse myself now. I need to assist the Captain with maneuvering in the port and docking.”
John makes a bee line out the door before I could even make a comeback to get him to stay.
“All passengers, we have arrived in port, may you please gather your luggage and proceed to the main deck.” The voice over the loudspeaker repeats itself several times.
“Listen young lady, this conversation is not over. We will discuss it when we get home.” My father turns around and leaves Mia and I standing alone in the room. Both Mia and I grab our bags and make our way to the main bridge deck to disembark through the crew’s gang plank.
—–TWENTY-FOUR HOURS LATER—–
“Thanks John! I’ll buzz you if I need anything else!” I tell John as I step out of his car and gently close the door.
John rolls the passenger window down. “Just let me know if you need any backup! Remember you have a ceremony tomorrow night!”
I Smile and wave to him as he pulls away from the curb. Somehow, I could avoid talking to my family by hanging around the space port for a while, then taking a late-night shuttle home. By the time I got home I went straight to bed and promptly fell asleep. In the morning after my run I had found my father was already at work and mother was out running errands, however she left a councilors business card on the kitchen counter with the eleven o’clock appointment scribbled on the back of it.
That brings me to now. I step into the councilors building and check in with the front desk at exactly eleven o’clock. After waiting no more than a minuet the councilor called me into her office.
Upon walking into her office, I snap a sharp crisp salute. “Sarah Keys as requested ma’am.”
“Hello Sarah, as you may or may not know, my name is Kathleen Boyd. Do you know why you are here today?”
“Ma’am, I am here as was requested of me by my parents. I am under the impression that they are not satisfied with my relations with my sister, and my performance overall.”
“Well Sarah, I haven’t heard it put quite so precisely, however that is the gist of what we are supposed to touch on. How about you take a seat on the couch over there?” The shrink makes a gesture towards a pair of couches with a coffee table between them.
I take a seat on one of the couches and she sits on the couch directly opposite of me.
“Now, I scheduled your mother to get here at eleven thirty, so that will give us plenty of time to talk things over. Now can you give me a brief description of what your relationship is with your sister and your family? How do you see your sister from your own eyes?”
“Ms. Boyd, the easiest way to describe the relationship my sister and I have with each other is nonexistent. The more I try to be sisterly with her or try to do anything with her, it always backfires as she uses it as an attempt to attract more attention. As for my relationship and feelings for my mother, I have neutral feelings towards my mother. And I know this is going to sound a little self-centered and childish, however I am not pleased with the way she dotes on my sister and treats my sister as if her shit doesn’t stink.”
“Sarah, have you ever tried talking to your sister and try explaining your feelings to her?”
“The moment I try to initiate a conversation with her, she instantly tries to insult me or make it another game to get herself more attention. There is the rare, and I mean rare instance where she may give me a helpful piece of advice, but usually its tacked onto an insult.”
“Have you tried to tell either your sister or parents that you don’t like being teased? And have you ever tried to nicely ask her to stop?”
“I have tried asking her to stop, and I have tried asking our parents multiple times to make her stop, however my pleas are usually ignored.”
“Ok. Now Sarah, what are a few things that you do in your spare time when you are not at home?”
“Study, run, and work. I study almost constantly, always striving to be better at what I do, I run at least ten miles every day, and if I am not doing either of those I am working.”
“What do you do at work?”
“I’m what some people would call a manager, but I don’t want to discuss that topic. I feel it doesn’t pertain to the situation currently.”
“Ok. We can come back to that topic later when you feel like talking about it. But do you ever feel stressed because of work?”
“Ms. Boyd, work may be stressful at times, however work for me is a stress reliever. However, I am still not discussing the topic of what I do.”
“That’s fine with me. Sarah, have you tried to include your sister in on any of your hobbies?”
“I thought about getting her to run with me, however after looking at her fitness testing levels, I determined that it would not be proactive to invite her, and it would be better to run with persons more near my level. And as for studying, we are in different grade levels, therefore we don’t study similar materials. Also, there is the fact that she doesn’t actually study herself.”
“What about having similar friends?”
“Most of my friends do not like hanging out with people like her, or so as they all have told me, and she has tried to sleep with several of my guy friends that she has met, much to both their and my embarrassment.” I shift in my seat, trying to relieve the odd pressure that my plate carrier has placed on one shoulder.
“Are you not comfortable?”
“No worries. Just my undergarments are hanging up a little.”
“Please Sarah, I request that you take off whatever offending garment that it is making you uncomfortable. In order to proceed we must both be comfortable. If you would like I have extra clothes for you to change into.”
“No thank you. I can deal with it.” I shift my shoulders again, hopefully finding a comfortable position.
“I’m sorry Sarah, but I’m afraid I am going to have to insist. We can not continue to have a productive session with you feeling uncomfortable.”
“Ok. Fine then.” I stand up from the couch and walk over to the side of the couch for more room. Pulling my shirt over my head by the bottom, I expose the black tactical plate carrier hidden beneath my baggy shirt. Holding onto my shirt, I pull the Velcro release tabs on the sides and shoulders, allowing the front and back halves to clatter to the floor with a loud bang. I slip my shirt back over my head and stoop to pick up the plates.
“May I ask what that is?” The psychiatrists interest was piqued.
“Bullet proof vest. Will stop all calibers up to a fifty caliber full metal jacket. I mainly use it as a weight while running. Good wait training.” I set the plate carrier on the coffee table between us and retake my seat on the couch, now much more comfortable.
“But why the bullet proof vest? Are you feeling insecure about anything? Are you afraid of being shot?
“As I said, weight training while running. You get used to wearing an extra fifty to seventy-five pounds while running. Helps build up your core keeping yourself balanced. And I also wear it for work purposes.”
“Well it looks like your mother has arrived. I will go call her in.”
The psychiatrist gets up from the couch and leaves the room. I quickly use that moment to send a status update to John who should still be nearby, and request that he remains nearby in case I need support.
Just as I am finishing my messaging, the psychiatrist returns with my mother.
“Mrs. Keys, please take a seat.”
My mother sits down on the opposite side of the same couch I am sitting on, leaving the psychiatrist with a couch all to herself.
“Well Mrs. Keys, your daughter and I have been getting to know herself, but could you please clarify what seems to be your view of the issue?”
“Well Mrs. Boyd, my husband and I are starting to get really concerned with our daughter’s behavior. She hasn’t been doing well with her schooling, she is always picking fights with her sister, and she is even starting to act like a disgrace in public. In fact, just last week my husband caught her trying to exchange ‘private favors’ to a UNSC officer just to get invited to the captain’s dinner at the cruise we were on.”
The councilor looks towards me. “Well Sarah? Do you know that trying to proposition a UNSC officer is a serious fine?”
“Yes. According to UNSC penal code three thousand, six hundred, and forty-eight, sub section Bravo, the total fine for propositioning a UNSC officer, sex for favors or money, is punishable with a one hundred and fifty thousand dollar fine and fifteen years minimum jail time in a UNSC maximum security prison. However, a person can only be charged with that if they are trying to exchange sex for favors. I had no such intent, and I don’t want to jeopardize the captain and I’s relationship for that.” I have spent a lot of time with the UNSC rule book during my short stint working military police duty.
“Sarah, can you please elaborate what you were doing with this officer?”
“Mrs. Boyd, I was simply enjoying a drink with a good friend of mine. He figured he would jokingly invite me to the captain’s dinner, even though I already had an invitation from the captain of the vessel.”
“You never told us you had been invited already? But why would your sister claim you were trying to whore yourself out to this officer? Your sister wouldn’t lie like that!”
“Now, now Mrs. Keys…”
“I believe she accused me because she was jealous that I was invited and she wasn’t, and that I had never introduced her to the officer in question, and second, she is always trying to get me into some sort of trouble.”
“Sarah, I don’t know what kind of girl you think your sister is, but she would never do that!”
“Mrs. Keys, please calm down. Now I would like for both of you to participate in a little exercise that will help me get a better judge of your personalities. I would like for both of you to empty all your purses and pockets onto the table in front of you. And I mean everything. Mrs. Keys, would you kindly start?”
Mother picks up her clutch and starts emptying it onto the table. Makeup, check book, bank cards, cash, coins, smart phone, keys, a picture of the family, a picture of father, a picture of my sister, and a few pieces of jewelry.
“Ok, fairly standard to see these items on a person your age with a family, though I do note that you have a single photo of your eldest daughter and not one of your youngest daughter?”
“Oh. I just haven’t gotten around to putting a recent photo of Sarah in my purse. Every time I get around to remembering, I usually have to calm Anita down from something that Sarah has done.”
“Now Sarah, I would like for you to do the same, and empty your belongings on the table.”
“I have a feeling that there is no refusing this otherwise you will all be suspicious of me.”
“That is correct Sarah, however there isn’t anything you need to hide, because whatever you place on the table in this room will only be known in this room. You are not going to get in trouble with the law for anything you put on that table.”
I reach into my back pocket and pull out my bill fold and pull out the group of one hundred-dollar bills tucked inside and lay them on the table. Next is my UNSC Identification badge, folding quick deploy pocket knife, captain’s lapel pin, Bluetooth radio earpiece, and a smart phone. I stop setting things on the table, hoping that they don’t notice the bulges still around my pockets.
“Sarah, can you please cooperate here? Empty everything out of all of your pockets.” The councilor motions to the table.
Realizing that they can’t be fooled, I continue removing the items from my person. From my ankles I pull out my spare combat knife and three throwing knifes. From my belt line I pull out four forty-five caliber, ten round hand gun magazines, a pair of polymer hand cuffs, a can of pepper gas, a small flashlight and finally, I pull out my off-duty service weapon, eject the magazine, pull the slide back to check the breech, leaving it locked in the open position and set it down on the table. Finally, I take off my belt and holster, pulling them from beneath my pants, and lay those on top of the plate carrier.
Looking over at both my mother and the psychiatrist, I can tell they are both too shocked to produce any words.
“So, Mrs. Psychiatrist, tell me a little bit about myself by judging the content of my pockets.”