Station Keeping #11: Walking Away, Pt. 2

Welcome to part two of our Station Keeping _installment "Walking Away." You can read part one here, and be sure to check out the rest of the series. We will return next week for our special "week long" finale starting Monday afternoon. We're already getting started on our second series so if you want to participate now is the time. As always we welcome and encourage your feedback in the comments section or to tycho@tealart.com. Cheers, tycho


INT. ANOTHER ROUND, a booth in the far corner.

They both sip from their drinks leisurely. DAVID reclines and keeps a gentle hand on his bottle at all times, ELI sits up straight and only picks up his bottle occasionally.

ELI BANNER
So, have you heard anything?
DAVID CONRAD
Um? Anything? I'm not in your intelligence department, I am actually retired. I think I've done my bit--
ELI BANNER
People like you don't retire, the Navy wouldn't allow it. You have the only real social space on the station, you have to hear things.
DAVID CONRAD
We only don't retire when you don't want us to. From what I've seen you have a great staff, and that Sian is a great officer.
ELI BANNER
He is, you're right, but don't distract me. You should have my job now, and we both know it.
DAVID CONRAD
Weren't we decided that this is a shit assignment for you. You'd have been an admiral otherwise. Didn't Admiral Roth apologize for sending you out here.
ELI BANNER
You're here, how bad can it be? And besi--
DAVID CONRAD
Irrelevant argument. I'm not an officer any more, and it's an interesting place for Marc to practice, and for me to be retired.
ELI BANNER
--besides, this is the most high-profile post in the entire League. I'm surprised Roth didn't take it for himself.
DAVID CONRAD
He probably wanted to, but one of his cronies probably convinced him that it was better to wait out another thousand years in interstellar-transit. He probably thinks that that'll give him a better chance at the top...
ELI BANNER
He's been around that long? No wonder.
DAVID CONRAD
Really, I know.

DAVID takes a drink.

ELI BANNER
He'd be a fool not to realize that that's a bad move. By that time, he'll be a relic--
DAVID CONRAD
Already is. But at least someone who has his ear has our best interests at heart.

DAVID chuckles.

ELI BANNER
You? You did it?
DAVID CONRAD
I'd rather you have a chance at the top than Roth.
ELI BANNER
Bastard.
DAVID CONRAD
You're welcome. If you ever want to be an Admiral, though...
ELI BANNER
I hate you. For this, you better start working for me.
DAVID CONRAD
Not on your life. You really are the best person for this job. Better than I would be.
ELI BANNER
Wait, if you're still in, why not just do the job yourself. You could.

ELI finishes his drink.

DAVID CONRAD
Because it's yours, I've had my fun being in charge and... out front. I'm done with that. I promise you. You're right, the Navy won't really let me go completely, but if they listen to me when I talk, I'll take it. Out here, I'm in no danger of being called to lecture and teach constantly,
ELI BANNER
So I guess that leaves me--
DAVID CONRAD
--with a good bar and very capable backup. Speaking of the bar...

DAVID finishes the rest of his drink.

Thank you for the drink, now trust me, it there's something that you need to know I'll tell you, otherwise...
ELI BANNER
Leave you alone?
DAVID CONRAD
--don't try and conscript me. Again.
ELI BANNER
Ok... I guess.
(sly smile)
I'll keep you in the loop.

DAVID and ELI stand up.

DAVID CONRAD
Please don't.
ELI BANNER
I have to.
DAVID CONRAD
I won't read it.
ELI BANNER
Whatever, you will read it.

DAVID laughs knowing that ELI is probably right about this point. DAVID pulls ELI into a quick friendly hug.

DAVID CONRAD
I think you should get out now and get some sleep for your next shift--when ever you decide that is--or it'll be my turn to hate you.

ELI turns and leaves. DAVID watches and we

FADE OUT.

"Walking Away, Part 1" was written by `tycho garren <http://tychoish.com/tycho>`_ the creator of `TealArt <http://tychoish.com>`_ and `Station Keeping <http://tychoish.com/hanm>`_. He is a student and knitter by day and a science fiction writer by night, you can read his work elsewhere on `TealArt <http://tychoish.com>`_ and at `~/tychoish <http://tychoish.com>`_.

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