October 06, 2010

Assignment to Earth Chapter Thirty

Skylar woke suddenly as the shuttle gently touched down on the deck of the Charys. He released his harness buckles and turned toward the back of the shuttle waiting while the other Cavaliers exited. He turned Lokin over to the black-clad security team, re-stating his advice to place him in solitary confinement and keep him under heavy guard.

He turned and left the area, frowning at what was coming next. Why did Tyson dislike him so intensely?

Walking as quickly as he could manage, Skylar headed for Tyson’s office to make his report. He could feel blood once more dribbling slowly down his arm; apparently the bandage had become saturated. It was a lot of blood. Maybe too much. He touched the fingers of his left hand. They were icy and refused now to move under their own power. His trip to the infirmary would have to wait a little longer—he didn’t want Commander Tyson finding excuses to bring him up on charges.

Commander Tyson’s door opened at his approach. As he stepped into the office, he thought his vision had been affected by his wound and the loss of blood. There were two Commanders sitting near the desk.

They both looked up at his entrance, then he realized the second Commander was his father. Skylar smiled at Mykela, then addressed himself to Commander Tyson, standing nearly at attention, his hands held loosely at his sides, praying the blood flow would not accelerate.

"Sir, the assault team is back. We lost two people on the surface, Lieutenant Josh, and Ensign Waimena; Ensign Gradan died on the journey home. We succeeded in destroying the base. We rescued five Cavaliers and took one prisoner, a man named Lokin, who will be wanted by the Council as soon as they know he’s escaped again. We can add attempted murder to his crimes. He's on his way to your prison block under heavy guard."

Skylar felt the trickling blood reach his knuckles, then drip to the white carpeting. He knew it would be difficult to clean, but he had been ordered to come and make his report immediately after his return. He certainly couldn’t be faulted for following his orders exactly, could he?

Skylar waited while Tyson accepted the information given and made a note on the computer in front of him. When nothing more seemed forthcoming, Skylar continued. "With your permission, Sir, I need to go to the Infirmary. It has been a very long day."

Commander Tyson nodded, "Permission granted, Captain."

Skylar turned to leave the room.

Commander Mykela spoke. "Wait a moment, Skylar. I'll walk with you."

"Thank you, Commander. I'll wait outside."

Moments later, Mykela left Commander Tyson's office and fell in step with Skylar.

"Where's the Aubria?"

"Not far; in the capable hands of Colonel Harlan.” Deep concern marked his voice. “What happened to your arm?"

Skylar shrugged. "A fight with Lokin. I'll be all right as soon as I get it patched up. What brings you to the Charys?"

Mykela sent Skylar a sharp glance. "I expect you’ll put the full details of your skirmish in your report?”

Skylar nodded. “You know Harlan will have my skin if I don’t.”

Mykela nodded. “I’ll read it later, then. As to why I’m here, the council asked me to see if I could help Commander Tyson run things a little more smoothly." His smile was wry. "He wasn't quite ready to take command when his grandfather died and left it to him."

"That might be very helpful," Skylar murmured, "if he's bright enough to accept your advice. His people are trying to transfer out before the mutiny comes"

"Actually, Commander Tyson recognized the danger and asked for the help. I think he’ll do fine. I’ll be returning to the Aubria in a day or so; you're welcome to ride back with us if you’ve completed your assignment."

Skylar nodded. "All I need to do is file my report and I can do that from anywhere." He paused as they reached the Infirmary door. "You know, Father, Lokin had plenty of time to get clear of the base before we blew it; he was only caught because he stopped to kill me."

Mykela nodded. "Revenge is seldom worth the cost in time or the effort spent, and generally never worth the consequences." Noting the tired lines around his son's eyes, he rested his hand on Skylar's shoulder "I'll see you tomorrow when you're feeling better."

Skylar nodded, then slipped into the Infirmary.