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Hunter Matheson

Leaving the Oyster Bed

Leaving the Oyster Bed

 

Standing on the bridge and sweating out every move the Caitian engineers made didn’t help Kal’s mood any, and he had already figured out that hovering wasn’t going to make ‘em go away. He had half a thought about pinching himself to wake up from the nightmare, but the doc was right there on the bridge and she’d probably try to patch him up or send him to the shrink. So he left the bridge to poke around the mess hall. Again.

 

Nope, food didn’t help. He sat in one corner alone, stabbing viciously at a pile of mashed potatoes while he obsessed over a bunch of furry engineers mercilessly probing and rearranging the insides of Excalibur, the most beautiful lady in the fleet. She was sleek, she was elegant… and she was kickass. She could shed that runway facade in a heartbeat, creep up on the bad guys and take ‘em out with 3.1 million tons of diplomacy.

 

“Hey, bro.” GSGT Brody Parker gave him a playful punch in the arm, then flicked a finger at Kal’s apple pie as he pulled up a chair. “You eatin’ that?”

 

“Nah.” Kal swiveled the tray and slid it over. “I’m done.”

 

“Things that bad topside?” Parker’s mouth was stuffed in half a second. He was that good.

 

“Yeah, kinda,” he muttered, watching his bunkmate devour what was left on the tray. But at 6’5” and 257 lbs, with 473 lbs on the bench, he’d shed it in 24 hours. Maybe less.

 

“Um….” Lips pursed, he gave Kal the once over. “You’re not lookin’ so good, bro. I’d say you need a cold one.” Brody started on the loin roast like he hadn’t eaten in weeks.

 

“Can’t. Need to stick around while they…” Kal sighed as his PADD buzzed. Blowing out a breath, he pulled it up and tossed it listlessly on the table. “Gotta get this,” he said, semi-apologetic. “It’s probably….”

 

A blink led to a frown, which led to disbelief and a long page through the document. Now he knew why they pulled him out of the teams for R&D and qual’ed him on a kickass Akira. “Sh*t,” he muttered as he read.

 

Parker craned his neck to see. “What is it?”

 

“It’s… uh…” Kal paged back to the beginning and began a re-read.

 

“Well… who’s it from?” Parker’s hands spread as he crept closer; Kal moved away.

 

“Dunno.”

 

“C’mon, man. What’s goin’ on?”

 

After the second read through, Kal looked up and holstered the PADD. “I gotta take care of something, Snatch. Catch you later.”

 

Dumbfounded, Parker watched him leave, then shrugged and went for another piece of pie.

Edited by Hunter Matheson

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