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The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye (Cover Art)

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Chapter 21 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

"I wish you'd reconsider, Hauptmann Li...

"...the Naval branch doesn't get many people we can roll out as 'heroes'." General-Leutnant Kyra Lestrade of the Naval Branch opined.

"Five and out is traditional for my folks, Ma'am." Alicia said, "I served my five after academy, and there's a freight run waiting for me with my mother's ship."

"Freight run, huh? steady work? decent pay?"

"We're smallholders." Li confessed, "We get what we get and pay for everything."

"I think we can find bonuses that might make it worth your time to stay in, Li." and just like that, it was a negotiation, "There are some exciting opportunities in the works for a good spacer-hand, I doubt you want to miss out, give it ten more years."

It's 3030 now... "I'll consider it, Ma'am...but I have conditions." It's a negotiation.

"What, bonuses? Extra pay codes-"

"No surface duty." Li affirmed, "If I stay in, it's under the condition I never have to set foot on the unprotected surface of a planet again-at least, not without a full environment suit."

the senior officer in charge of LCAF's Transport command looked surprised. "You're serious?"

"Very. Now, that puts things in a bind, because that means you have to authorize an examination, which will show that I...have problems...with...that I will require a medical waiver, and that, in turn, creates problems for your staff...but if I'm worth keeping, you'll sign that waiver, or I will submit my resignation and go on my way. there are literally THOUSANDS Of qualified pilots you can bring in to replace me, who do NOT have the...problem...I have with being trapped here at the bottom of the well and exposed environment custom made to kill at random."

"Ten. Years, Hauptmann Li, and you will attend counseling for your planetophobia when not on an active mission-at an additional grade increase, and as a Jumpship officer. are we agreed?"

It was as much compromise as the senior officer was willing (or able) to grant.

"Yes, Ma'am. Ten years."

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