Been slow in adding episodes with the holidays coming and multiple colds hitting me in the last month. Hopefully I can power through and continue the series.
“What’s ole ‘one-eye’ here for,” Harmon said, “to sedate me in case it gets real?”
Commander Doe glanced at the sergeant with her good eye. “Stow that shit, Harmon,” she said, “Or I will.”
“Easy, easy.” Castaneda sat behind the desk in the ready room across from Doe and Harmon. “Things are understandably tense right now, and I need both of you to focus.” She turned to the doctor. “We’re all going to be in roles we didn’t prepare for.” She slid a small jewl box across the desk. “I’m promoting you to full commander. You’re the X-O now.”
Doe grabbed the box and tapped the desk like a nervous twitch. “You’re sure about this?”
Castaneda said, “There isn’t anyone else.”
Harmon folded his arms. “So how do I fit in to this little love fest?”
Castaneda faced the sergeant. “I know why you’re acting up. You and the marines hate this. You’re scared.”
“What did you say?” Harmon leaned forward in his chair, “You just crossed a line.”
“You’re scared,” Castaneda said, “because you’re in a tiny can spinning through the vastness of space. There’s no ground to pound, and you’re just waiting- waiting for some word as to what you need to kill next.”
Harmon smirked. “What the hell do you know about the Marines, cute-cheeks.”
Castaneda leaned back in her chair. “I know you’re expendable. And that’scaptain cute cheeks.” She reached under the table and pulled out a bundled uniform with silver first lieutenant bars on the lapel.
Harmon looked at the bundle like it was radioactive. “What the hell is this?”
“A chance,” Castaneda said, “to control your destiny.” She pushed the bundle across the table. “Welcome to the Navy.”
Harmon took the package and held it in his lap, staring at it. “I’m, not… er.. officer material…”
“That’s not for you to decide.” Castaneda leaned forward. “As my second officer, you’re no longer expendable. Your choice.”
Harmon stood up. He stared at Castaneda. He started to take off his uniform.
Doe’s implant made a subtle noise is it focused on the disrobing marine.
Harmon never stopped staring at Castaneda as he donned his new uniform. He finished and turned to a mirror. “Well.” He looked at his shoulder badges. “Shit. Ain’t this a sight.”
“Lieutenant Harmon,” Castaneda said, “You’re part of Home Office Corp now. You may be indispensable, but if you get out of line again, I have the authority to space your ass, and you better believe I’ll use it.”
Harmon turned back and stared down at Castaneda with a squint. “You’re sure about this?”
“Fuck no.” Castaneda stood. “But the rebels left me no choice. Congratulations, number two.”
Harmon slowly straightened his back until he was at attention. “Aye aye, sir.”
“Now,” the captain said, “Let’s get to work.”
The officers left the ready room. “X-O, take the con, I’ll be in my quarters.”
Doe said, “Aye sir,” and sat in the captain’s chair.
Thorson glanced at the newly minted lieutenant and sniggered.
Harmon was on him in a flash. “Son, you stow that shit or I will take a dump on you so big, Mars will look like a fish turd!”
“Thorson, you fucking ape! You take a look at the brass on my shoulder and say that shit again! I dare you!”
“I got my eye on you, corporal.” Harmon glared at Thorson as he took a seat next to the captain.
Doe said, “Old habits die hard, eh lieutenant?”
Harmon cleared his throat. “Yes, I suppose they do, commander.”