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Governor Snippet #4

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Governor Snippet #4
Post by GraysonLady   » Wed Aug 19, 2020 9:22 am

GraysonLady
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Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:34 am

“I told you to leave that at home,” Simron said.

“You think a flag officer can just un-plug from command? Even your father was still checking his updates during the party. Those lens implants are expensive, but he has a bad habit of drifting off when he’s accessing information."

A small holo screen appeared over the case, the projection blurred from Simron’s vantage point.

“You keep going on and on about how O’Hanraghty has everything under control,” Simron said. “Maybe you should’ve hired someone from the short list that father put together.”

“No disrespect to Kanada, but there’s no one else like O’Hanraghty in the Republican Navy.”

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” Simron raised an eyebrow.

“A good executive officer solves problems before they ever reach the commander’s attention,” Murphy said. “But some will always be beyond his control.”

The case buzzed in his hand.

“Just like— Here,” he handed the case to her and she glanced at the screen, then rolled her eyes.

“Ugh,” she said. “I’m not surprised. You get to deal with it. And you had better straighten this out while you’re in New Dublin. His last name and the Peter Principle can only get him so far.”

The limo landed gently at their building and Simron’s door opened smoothly. She blew Murphy a kiss and went inside.

The screen between Murphy and the driver lowered.

“Sir?”

“Seems I’ve been invited to an after party,” Murphy said. “Take me to the Spring Mountain Gaming complex. Private entrance.”

“Right away,” the limo door snapped shut.

* * * * * * * * *

Callum Murphy felt the world spinning as he lay on a cool tile floor. He knew he was perfectly still, but the flush of alcohol in his system made all of his perceptions a bit suspect. Drool seeped down one corner of his mouth and his feet kicked at the floor.

“He’s. . . cheatin’! That dealer. . . had a card in ‘is. . . fingers. Somethin',” his stomach heaved and he swallowed before its contents could go any further than the base of his esophagus.

A pair of shiny black shoes stepped in front of him.

“Did jou. . . rest him? Fer cheatin?” Callum tried to wag a finger and poked himself in the cheek.

“Yes, I’ll authorize the dose,” a voice said. “Go with a double.”

“Oh. . . hi, Dad,” Callum raised his head up then dropped it back down when the lights proved too bright. “Big. . . day ‘morrow.”

“Sir,” a new voice said, “that much Teetotaler will—”

“You heard me.”

Callum felt a bite of cold metal against his throat and heard a hiss.

“What’re you — What?” Callum’s brown eyes shot open as his heart rate soared. He sat up, panting as his vision went red, and his ears throbbed with pressure. A sheen of cold sweat slicked his face and he wiped his palms across his eyes several times. He tried protesting but only managed a high-pitched whine between gulps of air.

“Heartrate’s at one seventy and holding,” the new voice said.

“So he can have more?” Terrance Murphy asked.

“Not recommended.”

“Oh God.” Callum crinkled his nose as he smelled his own alcohol-permeated clothing. “This won’t ever come out. You know that, right?” He pinched the front of his soaked shirt and plucked it away from his body.

Murphy squatted down and looked him in the eyes.

“Son, I'm disappointed.”

“What? What did I . . . ?" Callum closed his eyes for a moment. "The Teetotaler will get the booze out of your system. Won’t fix your memory, though," he said, opening them again.

“Then allow me to refresh it," Murphy said. "You created quite the scene on the gambling floor. I’ve got a bill here for a ruined roulette wheel and new felt on two different blackjack tables.”

Callum brushed a hand across his lap.

“Funny, normally you get a hit of the drunk-no-more and your bladder. . .”

“The roulette wheel,” his father deadpanned.

“Oh yeah. . ."

“You also proposed to several waitresses and a security guard, saying you were going to war tomorrow and wanted to—”

“Okay, that I remember.” Callum put a hand to a temple. “Vyom will get all that honor, too. Can I get some water? Maybe something with electrolytes?”

“Get up.” Murphy hooked his son by the armpits and hauled him to his feet. It took a little effort. Although Callum looked a lot like a masculine version of his mother, was within eight centimeters of Murphy's own height “The concierge gave me a courtesy call to deal with your situation before they called law enforcement. Do you understand what almost happened?”

“A quick trip to the courthouse for an annulment?” Callum smiled.

“No!” Murphy shouted.

The door to the room shut as the other man left.

“Callum . . . you were so drunk that you would’ve ended up in either a jail cell or a hospital before the night was over. That happens and you'd miss muster when our carrier group spaces out tomorrow. Do you understand what that would mean?”

“I’d . . . catch the next transport to New Dublin?” Callum tried to smile and got a shooting pain through his temples.

“You’re a lieutenant in the Republician Navy and the flag lieutenant of an admiral who's deploying tomorrow,” Murphy said, putting his hands on his hips.

“No, I’m actually in the merchant marine . . . or should be." Callum said. "But I’m on orders for active duty, yeah. Missing muster prior to a deployment is . . . pretty bad. Court martial bad. But wouldn’t you—”

“No, Callum. Not even I could get you out of a mess like that. The Republic’s been at war for the next best thing to sixty years, and failure to report for duty when you’ve got orders to do so is not tolerated. Doesn’t matter what your last name is.”

Murphy took his son by the elbow and led him out of the room and into a hallway.

“War? Let’s be real here, Dad." Callum stumbled a bit as he kept pace with his father. "We’re going to New Dublin. I wouldn’t even know where— Come to think of it, I still don’t think I can find it on a star chart. It’s a dead sector. Not even on any of the main trade lines. Just a bunch of colonists squatting on land and pumping out kids.”

They exited onto an air car dock several dozen stories above street level. The giant projections of nearby casinos and night clubs danced in the night. Lines of airborne traffic meandered through the neon glow. Beyond them, the towering buildings of the Republic's capital rose into the night like Titans, glittering with the gems of lighted windows and bathed in floodlights, like treasure heaped in some god's jewelry case.

“I guarantee they don’t have anything like this out in the sticks,” Callum said.

“Son,” Murphy shook his head. “This is on me. This is my fault.”

“Don’t follow.”

“You have . . . you have no idea of what it means to put on the uniform. You’ve lived in the Heart Worlds your entire life. The war means nothing more to you than what’s in your news feed. That sound about right?”

Callum’s arms flapped against his sides.

“Sorry? Was I supposed to go join the ‘Public Marines' for summer break or something? I was in the reserve training corps in college like you asked, but I’m more interested in Fasset Drive construction and macroeconomics than shooting missiles. Merchant Marine’s a lot more attractive to me as a career than Survey Corps or the regular Navy. So I get the Navy hitch out of the way, then shift over to the Merchant Marine, like Gandpa wants. That a problem? After Vyom got a deferment I thought you didn’t—”

Murphy’s jaw tightened so hard Callum thought his father’s teeth would crack.

“I’m on your staff,” Callum said. “O’Hanraghty won’t let me screw up too much, right? Two years sitting on our thumbs in New Dublin and then it’s all over with,” he shrugged. “I’ll come back to captain a trader ship and you’ll be . . . a senator or something.”

“What did you mean earlier,” Murphy tapped a screen on the car dock safety rail, “when you said Vyom was going to get ‘the honor’ before you?”

“Did I? Must’ve been the meds playing with my—”

Murphy gave him a glare that fathers had practiced long before humans adopted speech.

“Vyom’s in Buenos Aries,” Callum snapped in response. “It’s a business trip . . . and just so happens to be where Ingrid’s from.”

“Ingrid. They’ve been dating for barely six months,” Murphy frowned.

“Which is a record for Vyom,” Callum said.

“No. Vyom can’t. . .” Murphy ran a hand through his hair. “What exactly is he going to do? Propose?”

“It’s just a suspicion,” Callum raised his hands. “He gets stupider than usual when he starts talking about Ingrid.”

“Does your mother know?”

“She practically set them up,” Callum said. “Ingrid’s the sole heir to another of the Five Hundred. Mom's probably got a list of focus-tested baby names picked out. I’ll just point out that she's done precisely zero to hook me up with an heiress.”

“You remember Jenny Schleibaum? When you were fourteen?”

“In my defense, snakes were still awesome back then. She didn’t see it that way.”

“Son—”

A beaten up taxi pulled up to the dock.

“You came in that thing?” Callum asked.

“We’re leaving in this,” Murphy said. “Keeps the paparazzi from knowing that a certain young officer came very close to embarrassing himself.”

The door creaked open and the cylindrical head of the robot driver spun around.

“W-w-where to?” came from a microphone.

“Is that smell from the seat or from me?” Callum’s nose wrinkled.

“Get in,” Murphy pushed against Callum’s shoulder, “and don’t be surprised when your pay stub has a bunch of zeros in it for the next few months. Silence costs money.”

“Eh. We’ll be in transit anyway. You hungry, Dad? Last chance for a decent nosh. What do they eat out in New Dublin? Grubs and rats?”
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