Debinani Rahl half-fell out of the bunk of the Vanguard Warden, ran a hand through his hair, and answered the chirping of his MobiGlass. An older man in a UEE naval admiral’s uniform filled the screen, sitting in a well-appointed office with the afternoon sunlight of some star flooding in.
“Admiral! To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Good to see you, Colonel,” said the man on the com with a deep basso.
“Of course you are. Listen Deb, this is a courtesy call. An AI in Naval Asset Protection raised a red flag on a routine audit last week.”
“I regret voting for Addison already.”
“Funny. The AI was tasked with closing the books on combat losses with the Vanduul.” The admiral pauses for a breath. “Deb, they never found the Leonidas. At least…not enough of her.”
The two men stared at each other silently for a moment.
Debinani shrugged. “We were burning at flank when we lost control and abandoned ship, she’s probably ballistic around the star, maybe even escaped altogether.”
“Just as you said in your report.”
“Which you signed, Jim.”
“Which I signed. I just wanted to give you a head’s up. There’ll be questions if any of the bean counters take a deeper look.”
“I stand behind my report, sir. We were ballistic and under threat of a reactor breach. All hands, living and dead, made it into the escape pods.”
“She was a good ship. I always slept a little better knowing you were out there.”
“She was the best, sir.”
Another moment of silence passed. The Admiral smiled.
“Make good use of her, Deb.”
“I don’t take your meaning, Jim.”
The Admiral rolled his eyes. “Talk to you next time, Colonel.”
“Of course you are.” The Admiral closed the connection.