We’re going to be back in normal space tomorrow, so I wanted to pull everyone together for a final review. Just to ‘get our stories straight’, you know?
“We need to make sure we have our story straight,” I was saying. We were all in the passenger lounge. Everyone. The entire crew and Minister Trakon and Dr. Korvusar.
Varan narrowed his eyes at me. “I thought we were just telling the truth?”
“Yeah, we are,” I said. “The truth. Nothing but the truth. But maybe not the whole truth.”
He sighed. “We don’t mention the Embers. Got it.”
I nodded. “Not them. And not the Spoilsports either. We don’t know anything about any ‘top secret Imperial projects’. At all.” I paused. “Well, not that we admit to either.”
“You just said that.”
I sighed. “I’m new to this IBIS shit, OK?”
“Imperial Naval Shit, please,” corrected Dr. Korvusar, sounding a bit too pleased with herself.
“Whatever.” I shook my head. “Outside of that I don’t think we have anything to worry about. We just tell everyone what happened. Our records will back that up. We just leave out anything we did on Boilingbrook that might have precipitated things.” I paused. “Which, actually, may be true. We’re pretty sure what happened but we have no proof that anything we did caused anything to happen. So… no need to mention it.”
“We got it!” Jami sounded annoyed. “We’re in this as much as you. We got it, OK?”
“Besides…” added Saahna. ”I’m the one who actually shot him, so I’m the one with the most to worry about.”
“You’ll be fine,” I said, smiling. I wasn’t sure who I was trying to reassure the most. I turned to Minister Trakon. “You said there will be a ship waiting on us?”
He nodded. “Yes, the Skellis’ Eye should have arrived a few days before us. And the Triton’s Arm may be there as well, or will arrive within a few hours of us. I’ve already turned my recognition codes over to you; simply broadcast them and they’ll know I’m here and will provide us support.”
I nodded. “Good.” I looked around. “Anything else we need to worry about?”
Jami and Varan glanced at each other, but Shelly spoke up first.
“Um… what about me? I’m technically not part of the crew here yet? What do I say?”
“You’re a passenger,” I said. “I’ll make everything official once we’re down, but until then you’re one of our passengers. Just… tell them what happened. Minus the bits we told you later, of course.”
She frowned but nodded. “Yeah, OK.” She paused. “But… I’m one of you now, right?”
“Yeah. You’re officially invited. But I’ve got to file the paperwork to make you officially on-board. Can’t do that until we land somewhere.” I waved a hand in her direction. “It’s just a formality. Don’t worry, I’m not going to abandon you.”
“We’re not going to abandon you,” Saahna said somewhat pointedly, looking at me as she did.
“Like I said, I’ll file the paperwork once we’re down.”
She held the look a bit longer then turned back to Shelly. “Don’t worry. We’re all in this together.”
I nodded. “Yeah, don’t worry. Anything else?”
Again Jami and Varan glanced at each other but neither said anything.
“OK,” I said, standing up. “We’re good.” I turned to Do’rex. “You have an estimated time we’re dropping back into normal space?”
He rippled his tentacles. “I estimate it should be shortly after 1200, but forecast can be off by a few hours. I will be at my station by 1000.”
“Sounds good. How about the rest of you?”
Saahna waved a hand. “I’m going to handle the gunnery suite.” She glanced over at Varan. “Hope you don’t mind, but…”
He waved a hand of his own. “Oh, don’t worry. I get it.”
I nodded. “Good. Hopefully it won’t matter. Anything else?” No one said anything.
“OK then,” I said. “Let’s do this.”