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Ghost Squadron: Degeneration

Snippet 4


Officers Lounge, QBS ArchAngel, Behemoth System.

“You have a strange look on your face,” said Eddie. He sat on the other side of a small table from Julianna. It wasn’t weird that she’d asked him to meet her at the lounge. It wasn’t even strange that she’d indulged him for the last few days, traveling all over the Behemoth system in search of rescue missions. What was strange was the look she was giving him now. It was one full of secrets.

“Don’t talk about my face,” quipped Julianna, trying to act casual. “It’s just stuck like this. Years and years of dealing with assholes.”

Eddie dropped his eyes to the empty tumbler on the table in front of him. He was overdue for a drink. Since he woke up from the pod doc he’d been so consumed with testing out his new skills and body that he hadn’t a time to relax properly. His body didn’t appear completely different, although he was firmer and learner than before. He’d always been in good shape, but now his six pack was more pronounced. Best of all he could eat and drink whatever he liked and it didn’t matter. He always woke up feeling great and as slender as the day before.

“I happen to like your face, so that’s not what I’m talking about. You look like something is irking you. Do you have anything to tell me?” asked Eddie.

Julianna unscrewed the top off of the Bacardi 151 and filled both of their glasses halfway. “I do, but it’s kind of better if I show you,” she said, and picked up another bottle, this one of Ouzo. She poured it into the drinks until they were filled to the brim.

“Wow! Either you have really bad news to tell me or you’re trying to get me to take off my pants.” Eddie leaned forward and spoke in a conspiratorial whisper. “Are you wondering if everything has been enhanced?” He winked in an exaggerated manner at her, which only earned him a look of mild disgust.

“I’m sure you’ve been enhanced all over and you finally feel like a real man,” she said with a laugh.

Julianna scooted one of the drinks in Eddie’s direction.

“You want me to drink that?” asked Eddie, staring at what he’d describe as a “headache-maker.”

“I do.” Julianna picked up her own drink, her hand steady, not spilling a drop.

“After I take a drink, are you going to tell me what has you looking so serious?” asked Eddie.

Julianna shook her head.

“You’re not going to tell me?” asked Eddie, wondering what could be bothering the Commander.

“No,” she answered. “And hey, you’re not even taking a single sip. I want you to throw back the whole drink.”

Eddie eyed the full drink. “Alright, whatever you say, boss.”

“Oh, and it’s a Greek Pirate, by the way.” Julianna threw her head back, slamming the shot at once. She rose up, no bitterness on her face from the strong drink.

“I can only wonder on that drink’s name,” said Eddie before taking the shot. He expected it to burn his throat or engulf his insides in fire, but strangely it didn’t. Also, he expected the alcohol to have an immediate effect, making him instantly relaxed. That didn’t happen. Then, everything he knew about Julianna’s enhancements rushed to the front of his mind. Well, really, one critical factor.

“Teach, you should know that you can’t get drunk anymore,” said Julianna, echoing the words in his head.

He slammed the glass down with a bit more force than he intended. Crew members playing pool and darts nearby looked over, but quickly covered their interests, giving the Captain privacy from their spying eyes.

“Damn it,” he said, his voice clear and unchanged from the drink. “Of all the things to take from me, why did it have to be that?”

Julianna laughed. “You’re alive. Would you rather I left you to die?”

The memory of the fire returned to Eddie’s mind. He’d been blown back from the explosion. Commander Lytes was apparently in bits, but Eddie had been far enough away that his body was in one piece. However, enough damage had been inflicted that he should have died.

He picked up the bottle of Bacardi 151 and poured into both glasses. “I’ll always be grateful that you saved me. And this just means that you and I are very expensive dates now.”

Julianna eyed her glass, her eyes still uncertain. There was something she was holding back, something that seemed to take over her thoughts lately.

“It was the Federation that saved you,” she finally said, her tone clipped.

Eddie filled the glasses with the Ouzo, a curious look on his face. “So that was it, was it? You were just reluctant to tell me that I can’t get drunk? There’s nothing else?”

Julianna shook her head, grabbing the drink as soon as he was done pouring and throwing it back. She wiped the back of her hand across her mouth. “Of course that’s it. What else would there be?”

Eddie shrugged before taking his own drink in one swallow. “Just sensed that something else is on your mind.”

Julianna’s eyes rose up to look at the clock on the far wall. Eddie knew that even though it was a distance away through the smoky lounge, that she could still easily make out the time. Another benefit of the nanocyctes was the enhanced vison. It was like having binocular vision.

“We better head over to Jack’s office. Our meeting starts in a few minutes.” Julianna stood, her gaze finding the door.

“I guess the boss won’t be mad at us for drinking before the meeting, since we can’t get drunk now,” said Eddie with a laugh. “Pros and cons, I suppose.”

“Yeah,” muttered Julianna. “Pros and cons.”

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