A Day in the Life of Marine Captain Cross before the Zoastra Part Nine
“Negative, although any markings on the face that appear feminine must be covered up.”
“Colonel Hunter on deck,” a voice called out,
Cross sniffed the air for the stench of alcohol that followed Colonel Hunter. And the faint stench of gin surfaced. He’d been missing from the flight deck for that very reason. Now the drunk showed up to look important.
Of course, Cross kept his mouth shut. But he wished he could shut his nose as well.
“Captain Cross, on my mark, you will lead First Sergeant Masters, Marine Gunner Arash, and ten privates down to the planet, to retrieve the…uh, women.”
Cross’s upbringing had stressed equality, and the way Colonel Hunter had said “women” churned in his stomach, making him sick. He made the word sound like a slur. The man made his skin crawl and that, in and of itself, told him what he needed to know.
Major Newman’s grimace indicated he found the man insufferable as well.
Colonel Hunter turned on his heel and left, followed by Newman. They waited formally until the doors closed. Then Newman said, “My wife filed paperwork on Colonel Hunter for his ineptitude. His hearing is in two weeks. I don’t trust him.”
“I don’t trust any man who can’t hold his liquor,” Cross replied. He needed to figure out his next move. “You can smell him coming.”
“Yeah, you can. I trust you because Grace trusts you. I wouldn’t be surprised if Colonel Hunter puts you in the middle of a firefight without all the preparations. He doesn’t want my wife back here. Although I have no proof of his involvement, when it’s time to leave on a rescue mission, I’m going with you.”
“You don’t have the orders, sir.” Respect for Peter grew. Few men dared state outloud on this ship Hunter’s incompetence.
“I’ll be there,” said Newman as he walked away. “I’m reporting to flight deck now to see Brigadier Aurelius.”
Aurelius and Newman were friends. The friendship had sprung up as soon as they were thrown together. Whatever star shined on Peter Newman’s head made him a lucky man. Cross never had that kind of luck, and relied on skill.
He needed to pack weapons for one man more than he’d anticipated.