This is a scene that I wrote that would take place directly before my proposed sequel to “Jeopardy off Jupiter IV.” (Actually, I have outlined two sequel short stories, and have planned on tacking all three stories together into a novella at some point.)
It’s possible I might decide to include it in the novella version, but it doesn’t quite fit as part of any individual story since it shifts to a different POV than the main character.
* * *
“Captain, are you sure this is a good idea?” The question pierced the awkward silence of the room.
Jacques Garneau, Commandant of the Jovian Guard Base on Callisto, turned his face upwards from his desk towards the standing officer.
“Something must be done with him, Byron,” Garneau said. He turned a hand and flicked his palm upwards from the plain metal surface. “He knows too much already.”
“So I’m to play his nanny, then?” Commander Medhurst’s eyes winced slightly. “Try to keep him in line and clean up any messes he makes?”
Garneau lowered his hand and tapped the fingers rythmically on the desk. “The Admiral has ordered that this Masuyo incident be kept tame for public consumption. If rumors spread that there is some sort of pirate ship at large, well, you know how politicians would react. It could look bad for the Guard.”
Medhurst reached up into his jacket, pulled out a pair of cigars. He strectched the arm out towards Garneu.
The captain tugged a cigar free from the offering hand.
“Jackson is still only a cub, Byron. But he showed initiative and competence. He could become a valuable man, if his wilder impulses can be directed properly.”
Medhurst took out his lighter and ignited his superior’s cigar, then, did the same for his own.
“Jacques, don’t you feel that perhaps assigning him to Intelligence might be too much of a risk? As you said, he already knows too much.”
Garneau took a draw on the cigar, exhaled the smoke.
“That is precisely why I am assigning him to you. To direct his curiosity away from certain things, and towards others.”
Medhurst blew out a cloud.
“Isn’t it unusual for a transfer request to be approved so quickly? The Masuyo was barely on the ground before Jackson put in the paperwork.”
Garneau shrugged his shoulders.
“Certain… suggestions… were conveyed by the Callistan liason office. Suggestions with influence behind them. I had no reason to object to expediting the transfer, so here we are.”
“I supose that explains the early bump to senior lieutenent, also. He jumped ahead in the queue.”
“As you say Byron. The situation is irregular. But so were his actions out there.”
The intercom box on the commandant’s desk buzzed softly. Garneau depressed a button.
“Lieutenent Jackson is here, sir,” came the voice from the speaker.
“Have him wait a few minutes, Claude. I will inform you when to let him in.”
Garneau turned back to Medhurst.
“So, how long shall we let him sweat, Commander?”
Medhurst waved his cigar.
“Long enough to finish these, Captain?”
“So be it. A good time for him to practice some patience.”