“What in the hell were you thinking, Spaceman?”
Third Guardian Dalton yelled in a harsh whisper after carefully closing the door to the brig. There were guards just outside the door, most likely trying to eavesdrop, hoping to get more details. That’s what was funny about all military branches. People enjoyed watching others get in trouble.
“Did you receive the code?” Xal asked.
Dalton turned on Xal, rage in his voice but not in his eyes.
“Of course I received the damned code,” Dalton said, “and so did the rest of the ship. The only clueless one seems to be Fleet Admiral Boon.”
Xal could see the dying fire in Dalton’s eyes. I knew I couldn’t be the only one to see it. Days of paranoia felt justified just by receiving confirmation that someone else saw through the lies. Any help at that point could make the difference between life and death for the Dark Specter Crew. I don’t even care if I make it home as long as we can get rid of Adonis. Though he felt the support in Dalton’s words, the expression on his superior’s face caused Xal worry.
“But that should have been enough,” Dalton said. “Why did you see a need to tackle Fleet Admiral Boon?”
“That’s why I was hoping you’d come down here,” Xal whispered, monitoring the port window. “I need you to go into my quarters and receive the message in there. I received it right as Adon—I mean Boon, interrogated me.”
“And why is this message important?” Dalton asked.
“Because it means there are survivors on Earth,” Xal said, “and if others can survive on Earth, so can we.”
Dalton appeared more shocked than anything. The steel walls felt more relaxed after Xal shared his secret. That he’d received messages proved that whatever Adonis did wouldn’t kill everyone off. A rapping came from the steel door.
“Third Guardian Dalton,” one guard said, “your time is up.”
Dalton nodded, but turned back to Xal.
“I don’t know what’s going on, Xal, but I’m going to trust you,” Dalton said. “If this message proves to be from Earth, then you made the right call to initiate Vega. Be ready at any moment.”
The door opened with a clang as if a gong signaled the end of their meeting. Dalton’s eyes didn’t leave Xal’s until he turned around and stepped through the doorway. The two guards made some quick exchanges with Dalton before both looked at him with stoic faces. The guard on the right removed a small rectangular object from his uniform pocket and tossed it into the brig.
“Just, uh, try not to use it on me, Xal,” the guard said.