“You want to do what!?”
Commander Kayla Marsh sat stunned at her desk peering over the top of her sunglasses at Morris.
So many things had happened in the last year. The colony was changing, fewer chose to stay and make their life on the surface. There were always sons or daughters that would strike out for experiences not found on the farmsteads or in the handful of small cities. One of the places they went had been the lancers. Some would stay, some would go back to their farms and enlist on the reserve and a handful of others would join the SAR service or one of the civilian air transport firms.
The relentless pirate attacks before the race announcement had not gone unnoticed and the usual yearly intake of a handful of trainees had vanished. The loss of her two pilots and equipment shortages having done little in the way to help recruitment.
“Think about it Kayla, we’ve no money and those scumbags are dripping with creds. Those two who tried to raid us could easily sell a couple of shield boosters and buy our whole sodding squadron! We can do it.”
Kayla stood up. Morris, shocked at himself backed up several paces to the door.
“Listen Morris. I’ve put up with alot of your crap, some of it was even a laugh but this job isn’t entering some contest for shits and giggles. It’s about keeping this world free, keeping the traders who buy our produce and who buy at the mining base from getting ganked. If we step back from this job. If we stop. Then it won’t be one pirate or even one clan that will turn up here. We will all become cheap cargo for slavers.”
Morris took a long breath, his jaw set firmly.
“When I joined up last year my cousins told me I was a mental old-timer chasing glory. That I must like living in the past to want to join up like some marine from a kids story! That’s what plenty of people think about this place, about us! They think there is no future except grain, beets, rice or some other cheap vegetable. The rate they are leaving there wont be anyone left down here to keep safe.”
Morris faltered as he took another breath.
Kayla raised her hand in-between them and took off her glasses.
As she set them down to rest on the desk she looked into Morris’s blushed face and spoke.
“.. got to show them that more than farmers come from here.. Or there won’t be any more farmers.”
The T6 descended over patchwork fields along a winding grey river towards Dobson Field. Euan began to make out an unusual bustle of activity around the entrance way to the tiny base. As he drew closer he could see a thin crowd milling about amongst the Condors and the Eagle. If he didn’t know better he would have thought there was some sort of fair going on.
Euan flipped up the contact panel with his heft hand and toggled the narrowband radio.
“Dobs this is Banks inbound. I Need a parking spot.”
Euans headphones buzzed with the excited voice of Nev Sutton.
“Banks this is Pork chop. Come in and join the fun. We left you a space over by the H2 bowser. Watch out for the pony rides!”