Colonel Rob Walker always does his duty, even when it means risking shaky relationship with his family. When he's ordered to bring the treaty negotiations between the Terran Federation and the Aleyni to a successful conclusion, he's determined to do just that, even when both sides would rather he fail. How can Rob pull off a miracle and avoid a war, one where both sides could be destroyed?
"Laura? Carol? Where is everybody?" Rob drew in a deep breath.
Footsteps clattered on the fake wood floors. "Carol took the children to Fellowship. I didn't want to go." Tear streaks marked the dust accumulated on Laura's face. "I want to go home. I don't want to live in this dump."
"This is home," Rob grumbled. "I'm commander of this base. This is my posting. Why would you expect me to take us back to New Oregon?"
"You might have refused the posting." Laura's mouth formed a straight line in her oval face. "You can resign from the Federation Guard."
"Resign? What would I do then? Come on, Laura, be realistic. I've got two wives and four children to support. We wouldn't even have the price of tickets home for us on a commercial star ship" What the blazes would become of his career if he quit? His father's sneering face rose in his mind. His father continued to predict Rob's career would crash and burn. He clenched his fist. He'd do anything to prove his father wrong.
"Surely you can find other work." Laura swiped a hand across her eyes. "Everyone here hates us."
"For God's sake, Laurie, I'm a fifty year old career colonel. The Guard is my life. My career. What else would I do?" Rob stomped into the living area and over to a small section devoted to cooking. "What the hell is there to eat around here?"
Laura shrugged and dropped into a chair at a small table. "Check for yourself." She glared at Rob, her arms crossed over her chest. "You can starve for all I care."
Rob pulled out another chair and sat opposite her. "We're not going home, er, back to New Oregon, and that's final. Relations between the base and the Aleyni are touchy enough. They liked Reynolds, and I arrested him for treason. The treaty with the Federation is up for renegotiation. If the Guard sent the wrong officer, the Aleyni could refuse negotiation altogether. I'm not going to be the one who is responsible for starting a war." He was sick of defending himself for doing his duty. He was a soldier, blast it. He might not be much of a commander, but no one was going to fault him for shirking his duty.
"You're being melodramatic," Laura protested.
"Maybe, but we're staying here." Rob stood and jerked open the cold store, which held nothing but some juice. "Come on, we're going to the market. We'll find someplace to eat." He extended a hand to Laura and pulled her to her feet.
"There's nothing here and nowhere to go."
"Not on the base, but in Aleyne City." Rob pulled out his pocket comp and began searching for Restaurants, Aleyne City.
"Not until I wash up." Laura glared at him and stumped off down the hall.
Rob sighed and lowered himself into a chair to wait.
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Born and raised in New York City, Margaret Fieland has been around art and music all her life. Her poems and stories have appeared in journals such as Turbulence Magazine, Front Range Review, and All Rights Reserved. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines, was published by Inkspotter Publishing in November, 2011. She is the author of Relocated, Geek Games, Broken Bonds, and Rob's Rebellion published by MuseItUp Publishing , and of Sand in the Desert, a collection of science fiction persona poems. A chapter book is due out later this year.