TITLE: Down into Darkness
GENRE: Science Fiction
“He’s a smart kid; it’ll be a shame to lose him.”
“He could make it, sir.”
“He’s a soldier, sir. Even if he doesn’t know it.”
“Isn’t that true. Amani, I don’t know what we need most, justification for war with the damn colony, or sufficient intelligence about the little devils to know what the devil’s going on.”
“It’s in God’s hands now.”
Jason grinned nervously only because he was still alive. “I’ve just been turned away from the gates of the Kingdom of God. In fact, Peter told me to go to hell, though in a few more words…” he paused at the irony, “…which of course is just what I intend to do.”
Jason sucked at his mug of coffee, which soothed, though he hardly needed the caffeine. Out of habit he set the mug by the console. Immediately it began to wander, drifting slowly upward through the air. Grabbing it again, he snapped it into its holder away from the control panel.
He took a breath, feeling his flippancy fade to thinly-veiled anger.
He’d failed, but the failure wasn’t his. He’d always known it would fail. Maja! Earth could be as bad as Mars sometimes. He’d known it would fail, but he tried anyway. Because of Ruth.
He resumed his downlink to Earth. “Admiral Amani, I hope the Defense Arm is content with the results of GASSEC’s drive-by solicitation of a colony neither spoken with nor witnessed by a single Earthan during the 250 years of its hostile existence.”