A satire of dysfunctional politics and economic disparity.
Chapter V: Day/Page 42 CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY. . . . Back at LAAC, the Professor huddles his team together to tell them about his conversation with the Admiral. The effect is predictable.
(That’s birdshit! What an asshole! Those military bastards can’t do that!) Sofia and Pils fire a barrage of protests across the room, but the Professor deflects it with a raised hand. Their highest priority, he reminds them, must be Dr. Thrush’s safety, so he is counting on them being professional and to cooperate with the military to retrieve her pod.
“Do we have a target site yet where the Major will land?” he asks.
“Yes,” Pils says. “There is a LAAC sensor two miles west of where her pod landed, and a city south of that. We already have the coordinates calibrated so we’ll use that sensor as our target for the next launch.”
“Good. Please send the coordinates over to the military team, and get everything ready here for a second launch in case there is a delay with their site. I’ll be with the Academy’s President if you need me.”
Sofia chases him into the hall. “Professor, we can’t—”
“Now is not the time, Sofia!” he snaps. Then softens. “Look, I share your sentiments completely, but there is nothing we can do. Right now I need you and Pils to get this place ready for a second launch, in case the military site is not ready in time. Please—can I count on you to do that?”
The defeated tone in his voice, the anxiety in his eyes, she’d never seen him like this before and the last thing she wanted to do was add to it. So rather than rant about military injustice and the unfairness of what was being done, she says instead, “I will. I mean… yes, you can.”
“Thank you,” he says, leaning over and kissing her on the top of her head. Today he didn’t give a damn about propriety.
Sofia watches him dodder to the elevator, seemingly for the first time noticing his age. She’d long known that he was over a century old, but had never given it much thought. He always seemed so spry and robust, with the manner and attitude of an Eagle half his age. But now, seeing him from a distance—disheveled grey feathers, feeble eyes behind droopy glasses, his shoulders spavined and bent—he looked not like an Eagle of a dozen decades, but more like one who’d borne life’s burden for a score of decades or more. (Poor guy. He looks old.)
“Well, what did he say?” Pils asks when she returns.
“You heard him. He said to prepare for another launch, in case there’s a delay with their side. So that’s what we’re doing. Is that the lariat we’re using?” she says, pointing to a bracelet on a table in an adjacent room.
“Can I test it?”
“Sure. But be careful, and let me get out of the way.”
Sofia attaches the bracelet to her . . .
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW. . . .
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 by Gregory James
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