6th Story of Perceptions
Sequel to Memories
“What the hell is going on!!!” shouted Argus as he almost flew onto the flight deck by taking the steps at a leap. He immediately landed on two soldiers trying to deck
Argus and Cally had been escorting the last two soldiers to the flight deck when they heard what sounded like war breaking out. Argus had raced ahead and witnessed all of the soldiers and
Argus stopped and looked at the chaos; obviously, something else was needed. He bellowed, "STOP!!! EVERYONE STAND TO ATTENTION!" And that includes you!” This last bit was addressed at
There was an air of silent disappointment as he paced, but there was no other expression on his face. Unlike the brawlers, he was very controlled. They all flinched as he walked down the lines of men, taking in their dishevelled and battered conditions.
“Lieutenant Dain. Stand forward.” Argus spoke calmly and deliberately. The young man gulped and stood forward bravely. He knew that he was in trouble.
Argus stopped in front of the young lieutenant and faced him as the young man continued staring forward. “Did I, or did I not specify that you were all to come to the flight deck and stand at attention until I arrived?”
“Yes, sir. You did,” the young man replied without hesitation.
“Then explain why my orders were not carried out.”
The young man swallowed nervously. He knew that there was no excuse. “It was my fault, sir.”
“Are you saying that you instigated this fight, lieutenant?” asked Argus.
“No, sir. But I didn’t stop it,” the lieutenant answered.
Argus liked this young man and he knew that part of the problem was not their fault, but in order to maintain control of the situation, this kind of insubordination and breakdown in discipline could not be tolerated. Having a ship full of out-of-control elite soldiers was asking for trouble they could not afford. They still had the encoded information to be dealt with and they might need these soldiers.
Argus looked over the ranks of men and then he said, “Sergeants, stand forward.” Two men stepped up. “You will take these men to cargo bay two. Since you all have an excess of energy, you will all do two hundred push ups and twenty laps around the cargo bay. Each. When you are done, I will decide what to do next. Go.” Argus said dismissively. ““Lieutenant, you stay here. I’m not done with you yet. You will be joining them soon enough.” The two sergeants began marching the men to follow Argus’s orders.
Argus put a hand on
“Did I say you could sit down?” Argus looked at
Argus walked between the two of them and then he looked at Cally. She was looking at him curiously. Argus had never used this kind of command tone on the Justice crew before. It was very effective. From an explosive situation, things had calmed down to a level where she was not longer being inundated with strong emotions.
Remember that Vila isn’t one of the soldiers, she projected to him.
Argus started in surprise and stared at her. She had never spoken to him telepathically before but there was no question it had been her voice in his mind.
He nodded in acknowledgement. “I will.”
Argus turned to the young lieutenant. “Well Lieutenant, do you have anything to say?”
“Tell me what happened.” Argus’s voice was no longer hard, but neither was it the voice of a friend; it was that of a commander.
“We all came to the flight deck as you ordered, sir. Everything was fine. We were standing at attention. Then something happened.” Dain stopped for a moment as he tried to understand what had happened. It seemed like such a trivial thing now; he found it difficult to explain how something so wrong could have happened over it. His face tensed in concentration. “We were standing. And he was talking.” Dain indicated his head towards
Argus’s lips pursed as his suspicions were confirmed. “
Dain turned his head and stared at the Commander. “Yes, sir. You understand?”
“I’m starting to,” said Argus with a tired exhalation of breath. “Go on.”
Even though she could only sense him vaguely, at the mention of
“Well, there’s not much else to explain, sir.
“You tried to stop him?” asked Argus. Now he realized how dangerous the situation had been. He glanced at
The lieutenant looked down with shame, “Yes, sir. I know it was wrong. He’s a civilian. We could have really hurt him. I have no excuses.”
Argus thought for a moment. This had to be handled very carefully. “Alright, Lieutenant. I am aware of the problem. It wasn’t all your fault or that of the men. But this kind of breakdown in discipline cannot be tolerated.”
“Understood, sir.” The young man straightened his shoulders.
“Go to cargo bay two and do your push ups. I will join the men there shortly.”
“Yes, sir.” Dain saluted and left.
Argus sighed after Dain left. He said to
“How are you feeling?” he asked as Cally got the first aid kit and came over and began to examine
“Like I was mashed by something very big,” replied
“Not unless you want to,” said Argus.
“It’s not that I can’t do it, you understand. But with my eye in this condition…”
“You might hurt yourself?” asked Argus with light amusement.
Cally opened up the first aid kit and began applying a patch over
“That’s quite amazing considering,” said Argus. “How did you manage it?”
“I’m very good at staying out of trouble,” said
“Some kinds of trouble,” said Argus. "Tell me what happened."
Vila's mind went back to the events as he started recounting what happened. He remembered feeling very uncomfortable as the lines of soldiers stared at him. They weren't even facing him, their eyes just followed his every movement. It was very eerie......
"Was it something I said?" asked
There was no answer to his question, just lines of "loudly" staring soldiers. He backed up but their eyes just followed. This felt disturbingly familiar.
This is silly, thought
As long as they didn't move.
Argus must have told them to come here and stand like statues. Can't imagine anyone else doing this.
"Now, just stay where you are. You're good boys…I mean men…uh soldiers. I'm sure Commander Argus will be here very soon," emphasized
He looked at them awhile but other than staring, the lines of soldiers didn't do anything else.
"Maybe I shouldn't ask you to help. You're all busy…staring. Maybe I can get Sester. If he can tear himself away from doing inventory that is. Or maybe
All eighteen soldiers took a step forward. At the ominous sound,
The soldiers took another step towards him.
One of the soldier said, “Take it back.”
The soldiers all looked at each other.
Argus asked incredulously, “You’re the one who started the fight?”
“Well, I wouldn’t call it starting a fight exactly,” said
“Do you know how dangerous that was?” said Argus.
“I thought it might be more dangerous if I didn’t,” replied
“And how does your eye feel?” asked Argus sarcastically.
“I didn’t do too badly.”
Argus studied him for a moment and then he said, “No. You didn’t. Alright. Go and get some rest. I’ll cover the rest of your shift.”
“It could have been worse,” she told him.
“I know. He’s lucky,” said Argus.
Cally smiled, “They do share some common characteristics. That may be why Avon always wanted
“Unfortunately this talent for survival doesn’t seem to have made him immune to what is happening with the soldiers,” said Argus.
“Or with all of the men on this ship,” clarified Cally.
“I’m not affected,” said Argus.
“Aren’t you? Tell me. What were you and Reya doing for the last few hours?”
Argus coughed and looked embarrassed. “Well, we…uh…”
“Yes, I thought so,” said Cally, trying not to sound amused.
“I think we need to talk to
Cally had been wondering this. “There’s one way to find out.”