Lieutenant Luna thought she saw another dark light cross the path of the last star, watched it wink out, then reappear in the ultraviolet again, yet only briefly. She was sure of it and couldn't think of what to say to her superior.
He was a cantankerous old sod, unable to have any kind of useful contributions to their mission and she disliked him for his incompetence. Regardless, she had her duty and that was to report anything suspicious. She had proof and lots of it.
"Sir," she called Lieutenant Commander Baker to her consol, putting their sixteenth conversation on record, again, since first having to deal with him. If something came up that might cost her a career advancement, because of him, she wanted proof of his stupidity, so she could validate her innocence, if command didn't already know what a dangerous officer this guy was.
"Yes Lt. Luna." His voice was like gravel.
"Sir. In the last hour I've tracked sixteen anomalies that seem to be surrounding us, following our trajectory and angling off with us. I seriously think we're being followed. Since we're in enemy territory, may I suggest we inform the bridge..."
"You may not suggest we inform the bridge, Lieutenant. That is not our job. Our job is to support them when they need our help. Period. Keep tracking these anomalies, as you call them, and file your report."
"They know we're here, sir. The enemy. I'm certain we're about to be attacked. I think we should suggest to the bridge we go to general quarters. These dark light images are closing in on our position, sir."
"It isn't your position to think, young lady. Just keep your eyes on your screens and do as you're told."
"Yes sir," she said with some reluctance, half way having suspected he'd react like this. She let her eyes fall to her work station, again, like the obedient daughter she pretended to be, having learned of his disposition and fear of making waves. If she had been his daughter, Luna once told someone in jest, "I'd change my name."
Luna knew she shouldn't do as she was told, in some form, then quickly decided. Without a doubt she should and would circumvent her orders for the safety of her crew members, even Baker. She didn't feel like dying in space because of this bozo, so yes, she made the choice and disobeyed his directive.
Luna had devised a way of routing her findings up to the bridge without any of it being traced back to her, or the Intel gathering section of old Bozo's responsibility, or, being blamed for it. There were over thirteen thousand computers on board and that was plenty for a reroute with her skills. With a preset program, she'd designed herself, Luna inserted the 2 by 3 inch wafer into the system feed, began her program as planned, and sent the damning evidence off on its endless routing to the bridge, taking mere seconds; then got off line, slipping the wafer back into her tunic all too quietly. It was less than a minute before the clang of general quarters sounded.
Old Bozo came running back to her station.
"What did you do, Luna? Did you send your pipe dreams to the bridge without my authority?"
"No sir. I did as you told me. I haven't done anything sir, but I did find another anomaly. And they're moving in on our position as we speak. The bridge had to have caught it."
"And if they didn't, then why are we now in lock down?"
"I couldn't say, sir. There must be a good reason for it."
"If you're lying to me, Lieutenant..." and then they both felt the first concussion rock the cruiser.
Baker practically fell on top of Luna and he had to push off of her, accidentally palming her breast to regain his feet. Luckily, Luna did not find this sexy in the least. He was probably too much man for her anyway.
She slipped into torso restraints. Knowing this was going to be a short battle, but even so, it was too bad no one but her had known it was coming.
Three months later Luna was called to the Ex-O's office.
"At ease. Take a seat, Lieutenant," she told Luna.
She did as the second in command had ordered.
"Since our skirmish with the Neval, several months ago, Lieutenant, we were curious as to how we got the Intel just before the attack that probably saved the ship. We've been back tracking the information through all sources and have finally discovered where it came from. Is there anything you'd like to tell me concerning that message?"
The game was up. They knew it was her.
"I sent the message sir."
"Why the stealth and not go through channels? Wouldn't that have been simpler?"
"I was ordered not to send anything to the bridge, or any of my findings and conclusions, and forbidden to do anything other than file my daily report."
"Lt. Commander Baker... ?"
"Yeah. We know about him. Now. He's been reassigned." She drew in a deep breath. "The Captain and I wish to thank you for your fortitude in dealing with the situation. We do not, however, condone your disobeying of orders."
The Ex-O simply stared at her. Luna didn't like that and said in her defense, "If I hadn't, sir, we may not be having this conversation."
The Ex-O smiled. "I agree whole hardily. We find your logic perfectly acceptable."
She shuffled papers around on her desk and picked up a manila envelope, handing it to Luna.
"You're being reassigned, Lieutenant."
That worried her.
"No, don't be concerned. This is a good move for you. We're sending you back to the planet, Hamafield. That's a command post for top secret intelligence eval' and gathering with development in mind as the goal. The fleet has been requested to have our best and most forward thinking people sent there. It's well back of the front lines and challenging work, but a beautiful place for off duty excursions. I've been there before. You'll appreciate it, I'm sure."
A week later Lt. Luna stepped off the ramp of the enormous C-3540 transport craft, the largest cargo carrier in the service, and reported for duty. As the Ex-O had suggested, it was a beautiful planet.
"What we do here, for the most part, Lieutenant," the officer in charge of briefing said, "is evaluate and make up war plans, attack plans, and general strategic policies from our intelligence reports. We formulate ideas, battle attacks, and policies that will most likely never be put into action. But having them on hand at every level of command gives our navy an edge over the Neval we hope they don't have. Our job in the service is vital to winning this action against the their Empire. Anything we come up with is sent on to a board who evaluates our conclusions, done individually by persons such as yourself, who have shown to be competent thinkers of extra-ordinary value. If your weekly evaluations and planning do not validate our trust in you, you will be reassigned without formality."
"I understand, sir," she told her briefing officer, after a three hour lecture. "I am prepared and committed to involving myself in this level of endeavor with all my will and training. I won't let the service down, sir."