(Page 1 of 5)
The Crimson Heart part 3 by Cameron Olson
SUMMARY: The third part of the novella detailing one mission undertaken by Marsden Security.
::Private Thoughts of a Character::
At 1317 hours on the fourth day of the trip Tevvin stood in front of one of the few actual windows on his ship and stared out at the swirling shadow of one of the few nebulas discovered in hyperspace. Energy discharges cut through the dark clouds and lit them up, giving the impression of being inside a giant thunderhead. Tevvin had only seen this kind of view a few times before, as most of hyperspace was open and full of light from the massed glow of all the energy rivers running through it. Inside the particle cloud the normally shortened sensor range would be even shorter, but Tevvin knew that the chance of randomly running into a hostile group of ships was virtually nil. At that moment he had other things on his mind than getting jumped.
Troubling thoughts filled his head, worries about how he had initially responded to Isaac Hammer's request. He had almost forgotten why he had remained a mercenary even after his conversion. The "reality" of his company's situation was a constant pressure on him, one he refused to share with any but those who absolutely had to know about it. Close to a week back Kirika had asked him if the company was ever in the black. Despite the response he had given her, the thought had continued in his mind that it really would be nice to have a little extra. The fact was that Marsden Security constantly hovered on the brink of collapse. Money had to come in just on time. The company didn't make enough to afford the fines on a late bill. It seemed that as hard as he tried, he could never manage to put them ahead of their expenses, never manage to advance the situation. He didn't notice Kirika standing behind him until she slipped her arms around his waist.
"Hey handsome," she said in greeting.
"How long have you been there?" he asked, used to her quiet entries by now.
"Long enough to know you're thinking too hard," she said and Tevvin chuckled.
"Sure about that?" he asked.
"Absolutely," she replied. "I worry too much and you think too hard. That's just the way it is."
"I see," Tevvin said. "So what am I thinking too hard about?"
"I don't know," she responded, "You'd have to tell me that."
"I guess I would," he said with a smile. When he said nothing more after several minutes Kirika pinched him. "Ow! What was that for?" he asked.
"You know," she said. "Talk to me."
Tevvin took a minute to compose his thoughts. When he felt Kirika tracing a finger in a circle on one of his tender sides he said, "Alright alright. I'm thinking about money and how we never seem to get ahead."
"Ah," Kirika said. "Why?"
"I..." Tevvin paused, lacking an answer. "I'm tired of working so hard just to keep this company afloat."
"It's a tough business," Kirika said.
"I know," Tevvin said. "I remember what it was like with just the Firedrake, filling in on small escort jobs. We've grown so much," he said, then glanced at her.