A Day in the Life of Marine Captain Cross before the Zoastra Affair Part Seventeen
“True.” Cross said. “I understand.” When he found the man, woman, or alien who’d killed his family, Cross planned a very cruel end. Death for the killer would be a relief. “But living without answers to this won’t happen to you. General Aurelius will look out for you.”
“I know he will. He expects a lot from us, but no more than he’s willing to do himself. I respect him. Plus his girlfriend is down there.”
“Rosemarie is a nice girl.” Cross kept an eye on her until she showed preference for their boss. Now she remained firmly in the ‘good girl’ category, something not many women qualified for.
“Aurelius is a great general. I’d do anything he wanted me to, to help him.”
“He’s your friend.” Cross glanced outside. In a moment the shuttle would enter orbit. He hated this part, and grabbed hold of his seat to squeeze. “I try not to talk to people much.”
“Yeah, we’ve all noticed. But you’re good at your job. If you ever want to join the flight deck in poker, you’re welcome.”
Socializing was not on the agenda. “I don’t play.”
“I saw you playing in Persia.”
Cross smiled in spite of himself. “I play for weapons specs. Go big or go home.”
“Is that how you did it?” Newman asked.
“Did what?” He couldn’t hide his grin. Peter’s good nature made it fun to tease him.
“Get the weapons specs from them. There was a bet that you slept with a woman to get those.”
“I might have done that too. Or both.” Cross refused to answer that question. Aela, the Persian alien woman he met that day, deserved some privacy.
In his upbringing, men didn’t brag the next day. His father told him repeatedly that a man finds a new woman in his bed faster if he respected the one that just left. And he hadn’t had a woman in weeks since leaving that planet.
The shuttle entered an atmosphere, shaking the shuttle and the crew. The worst part of a mission was entry. Cross never told a soul, but this part made his stomach clench up in nerves. He preferred his death in an open fight, not burning up on his way somewhere. Death seemed pointless if not faced willingly. The rattling of the plastic benches played on his nerves.
He ended all conversation, ignoring any comments, until the shuttle landed on the agreed-upon spot on the map. Hopefully, command had the right information this time.
The worst missions were the ones where they come out in a hot zone.