The buzz of the intercom roused Michael from a shallow slumber, unwittingly rescuing him from a nightmare that left him pale and drenched in a cold sweat. He threw the covers off of himself and rose out of bed to slam his thumb against the glas top of his bedside table. "Yes?" He muttered, a quiver still reverberating through his body.
The voice of the Scipio's First Officer rang across the speakers in the room. "Sir, the Admiral is coming aboard. He should be at the bridge momentarily."
Michael searched the room, recuperating from the nightmare and trying to remember where and when he was. He saw the time and date above the comm link information on the bedside glas and sighed. "I'll be there shortly."
The week had flown by: between the wings flying training missions, the repairs being finalized on the hull and the re-armament and re-supply of the carrier, Michael had gotten very little down time. He had promised to call his daughter on Terra before leaving, but hadn't had the chance to fulfill her request. Today didn't seem like it was going to be any less busy. In the mirror, he straightened his campaign ribbons and pulled up on the mandarin collar of his uniform before wiping sleep from his eyes and walking out the door.
Williams was waiting for him in the corridor near the lift. “Good morning sir.” He said, saluting.
“Morning Williams, what's on the go?”
“All wings are deployed and continuing the last phase of patrol and force on force training. The repairs on the Scipio are almost completely finished. There are a few internal systems diagnostics that have yet to be completed, but all major hull and systems damage has been seen to.”
The lift doors closed with a hiss and both men jarred slightly as it rose to the floors above.
“Replenishment is very near completion, however the last shipments of foodstuffs have been delayed ag-”
“Yes sir. Prime's dock master has assured me that the last eight will be delivered in two separate shipments instead of eight individual ones as previously anticipated; this should cut back on the time we lost in the delays. They're transferring the goods into the larger ship as we speak.”
The Captain stopped as the lift door opened. “That will be a mover transport won't it? When is the first load scheduled to arrive?”
Williams slid his finger across the glas a few times. “Uh, today at fifteen hundred hours sir.”
The Captain looked into infinity for a moment as his mind rolled through a myriad of considerations. “Williams. I want a one hundred percent recall. Bring the crews in and schedule a full parade for fourteen hundred hours.” The Captain walked out of the lift.
“Yes sir.” Said Williams with an air of confusion in his voice as he tapped the information into the glas.
“Oh.” Michael turned around. “Full dress, alpha three.”
“All medals sir?”
Michael nodded with facetious pondering. “I do believe alpha three full dress requires members to display all medals Williams.”
“Yes sir, they do. I was only concerned about it causing some sense of inadequacy or lowered moral amongst the newer members sir.”
The Captain took in a deep breath. “I want everyone to know who has been in the suck. I want respect where it's due. There are heroes on this boat Geoffrey, and many of them are too humble to let others know who they are. That's what medals are for, a quiet and respectable way to let the world know that you've been to hell and back again; and that you're willing to do it all over again.”
“I understand sir.”
“Do you remember that list I gave you?”
“Yes sir, I have it right here.”
“Get those ready as well.”
“Sir if I may ask.”
“What exactly do you have planned?”
The Captain turned and began to walk away, “They need a break Geoff.” He said loudly as he walked toward the bridge. “We all need a break before getting back out there. I want to make them feel like a thousand bucks and then send them to a place where they can drive themselves into a drunken stupor. It'll probably be their last time before we ever get back to this rock.”
Williams' brow furrowed as the Captain disappeared in the winding corridors of the Scipio. From what he knew of the man, Captain Michael Anderson was not quite himself this morning.
Mira had brought the boat around. She watched the laserlight of her turret slicing through the black and impacting with impeccable accuracy. “Good effects on target Oscar, a few more hits and -” Just as she was about to say it, the enemy bomber drifted off into high Terran orbit; disabled.
“That wasn't me Minx.”
“I know.” she said, peering out the starboard window of her canopy to see Clockwork's bomber burn past them. “Asshole.”
Clockwork rolled the bomber over, “Just cleaning up your mess Minx.”
Their radios crackled to life on higher means, “All Callsigns, this is Scipio control. A total recall has been initiated. I say again, all craft are to return to the Scipio at best speed. Over and out.”