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   Chapter 6 No.6

Dead Beckoning By Christina Engela Characters: 5444

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"Good to meet you at last, " Lofflin nodded conversationally, wiping his fingers on a paper serviette before extending a hand in welcome. "At ease. Commander."

The man had a firm grip and an honest look about his eyes. He liked that.

"When did you get in?" Lofflin asked him.

"Tuesday, sir." Carlson said. "I came on the Churchill."

"Your previous ship?" Lofflin asked. Carlson nodded.

"Yes, sir."

"How long were you on the Churchill?" He asked.

"Four years, seven months, sir." Carlson replied. "Ever since I made Lt."

Lofflin nodded. Four years was a stretch. Crewmen made friends during their various postings – he always found it difficult to leave them behind and start over somewhere else, on a new ship with new faces. Although… sometimes it was a good thing.

"Are you sad to leave?"

"Er..." Carlson hesitated.

"Relax. Don't worry; it's not a trick question, Commander." Lofflin smiled, trying to put his new Exo at ease.

"Mixed feelings, sir."

"Well, I hope you'll be happy aboard the Mordrake." Joe replied. "There'll be plenty of time to get to know each other in a few days."

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."

Carlson hung back after that, no doubt sticking around for the guided tour of the Mordrake. Lofflin knew the I.S.S. Churchill by its reputation – being a Ningan class battlespringer, he knew she was rather small compared to the cruisers, and how daunting the prospect of managing a crew of three to four hundred members compared to just seventy-five or a hundred must seem.

After that, he enjoyed the conducted tour of his ship, being made to walk up front with the othe

l for, and hoped for a routine first assignment as Captain, so he could ease into the role properly. Admiral Hobbs contacted him several hours later, to realize that wish. The Mordrake's first assignment under him as Captain was to reconnoiter an assigned sector of the Omegan Quadrant – and Lofflin was relieved… you couldn't wish for anything more routine than that!

The final boarding message sounded around the O.D.S. station, and a few last crewmen hurriedly made their way across the airlocks to board the Mordrake.

On the bridge of the Mordrake, Captain Lofflin settled into the CO's chair, which sat right beside his old seat – and was occupied by his new Exo, Commander Carlson. One level down and directly ahead of him, Ensign Bennett sat at the helm desk, preparing to move the ship out when it was time. For now, the great bulk that was the Mordrake remained tethered to the O.D.S.

"Security reports we have a full complement of crew, Captain." The comtech officer, Lieutenant Adrian Blige reported in his characteristic sing-song voice. "All hands accounted for."

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