The Summer I Died
Author: Richard Anthony

Chapter 17
Tea and Distractions

As the Princess, now known as Warren Officer Angelica Josephina Suarez showed up at the debarkation lounge she encountered the hustle and bustle of an active Port of Call before liftoff.
‘What’s changed since I left home?’ she thought.
She went through the typical security checkpoints before entering the facility and had a moment to have her implant upload the entire layout of the port. She was not surprised to find fifty other naval personnel ready to load into the next shuttles to leave Hispania.
She noticed a snack bar located against one of the walls and walked over it.
“I’ll have a cup of tea, por favor,” she told the attendant.
“Si,” replied the counter attendant. “What type, Ma’am?”
“Any will do as long as it’s strong,” she replied, as she sat down on one of the stools at the bar.
The attendant brought over a cup of tea and Anna or Angie while waiting a moment for the tea to cool, decided to look around and check out her new shipmates.
They were a motley crew of different shapes, sizes and ranks. She was fascinated with the assortment of individuals assembled in the room.
‘I’m glad that we could use the implant to communicate nonverbally, Alphie,’ Angie thought.
‘It does seem to come in handy when we need it to, like right now,’ he stated.
‘I suspect the Lieutenant that was sitting in the corner when we first arrived has taken an interest in you, Princess.’
‘He’s approaching at your nine o’clock,’ Alphie thought back.
‘Just make sure you do what I asked you to do to mask your abilities to the other drones,’ she told him.
‘Fine,’ he stated. ‘I’ll emit a low frequency hum and bob up and down occasionally as you requested. But I still don’t understand why.’
‘It will make you seem simple,’ she informed him. ‘Any drone we happen upon will automatically begin to scan you to find out as much about you as they can. Just as you will with them, right? The fact that you aren’t a registered drone will throw up a red flag to them. Then the ole, ‘I am just a simple drone from back home,’ routine will keep them off balanced and hopefully ignorant.’
‘Well here we go and please do not make me seem ‘too simple,’ he requested.
Angie looked over a few moments before Lieutenant Marinero stepped up beside her. She came to her feet, rose to attention and saluted the Lieutenant.
“At ease, Warren Officer,” Marinero said. “And please be seated I didn’t want to disturb your morning tea.”
Angie sat back down while Marinero flagged down the snack bar attendant.
“I’ll have what she is, por favor,” Marinero said.
The attendant nodded and placed a cup of hot tea down in front of Marinero.
“I hope you don’t mind me interrupting your rec time, Warren Officer.”
“Not at all, Sir,” she acknowledged.
“I couldn’t help but notice that you resemble someone I know,” Manolo said quizzically.
Angie’s heart rate increased as she smiled. “I get that a lot,” she admitted.
“And then it came to me,” as he held up his communication’s pad and there was a picture of Angie with a printout of her active service record. “You are going to be my new point man.”
She chuckled and asked “Ah, don’t you mean point person, Sir?”
Marinero smiled. “Yes, I do,” he replied. He looked back at the commo pad. “So, Warren Officer Angelica Josephina Suarez, what have you been up to?” he asked.
‘Distraction,’ she thought to Alphie.
She placed her teacup down and Alphie bobbed up and down a few times and began humming a little louder.
“Sir?” she asked.
Marinero looked at Alphie bobbing up and down and then back to Angie. “I hope it is okay?” he asked her.
“He, Sir,” she admitted. “His name is Alphie, he’s my drone and he’s fine. He just needs a little bit of a tune-up. I plan to give him one when we have time and I have some money to burn.”
“Time, you’ll have as we are making our way out there,” he stated pointing upwards. “And not a whole lot of places to spend your pay either. So, it looks like Alphie will be fixed up pretty soon.”
“Yes, well that’s the plan, Sir,” she said.
“Good, now as I was asking,” he began. “I have looked over your records and all they tell me is that you graduated in the middle of your class at the academy. What it doesn’t tell me is what you plan to get out of this mission and what plans do you have for the future?”
“The mission, Sir?” she asked.
“Yes,” he replied. “The expedition to the Old World, Suarez.”
“Well, I guess what everyone else plans to get out of it, Sir,” she stated casually.
“Which is?” he asked.
‘Wow, nothing like giving me the third degree,’ Angie thought to Alphie. ‘And this is my CO?’
“I don’t know what to expect, Sir,” she began. “But I honestly believe we will make contact with our old ancestors and get reacquainted with them.”
“There have been a lot of conjecture and crazy ideas about this mission,” he stated. “And all those crazy books and articles that are showing up now don’t help out. But one thing I do know, this mission will determine whether we will to exist or not.”
“So, in other words,” she began. “No pressure on us, right Sir?” she asked smiling.
Marinero choked on his tea and chuckled. He smiled as he looked at Angie.
“Suarez, I was worried about whether you’d work into the squad and that’s why I wanted to talk to you,” he admitted to her. “But if you are as quick witted and solid as you appear, then I think I can put my fears to rest.”
Just then Alphie decided to lose all power and came crashing down on the bar smashing the teacups and spilling the tea, everywhere.
“Oh, my,” Scrak said.


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