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Author's Chapter Notes:

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Commander Bog returned to the meeting room and found the roundtable void of everyone. At the port to the space-view at the east of the starship, Bog saw his supervisor, the colonel, looking somewhere beyond the stars with his arms crossed and his lips bowed angrily. The dark-skinned colonel was still dressed in all black, as he was when he led the commanders' discussion of Captain Eo's renewal on the exploration fleet some hours ago. 

With his back to the room's entrance, the colonel said, "yes, Bog?"

"I hope I'm not disturbing you, sir," Bog greeted to his supervisor's head of greying, wooly hair when he was a welcoming distance away. "I only wanted to wish you a good night."

"Captain Eo has accepted the Mars voyage?"

"Yes," Bog said, allowing the corners of his lips to lift. "I believe he will not let us down." Bog prepared to make his exit.

"Stay for a moment, Commander."

Bog halted and returned to his post from the colonel. In case the colonel wished to tell him a longer message for his morning duties, Bog joined his gloves behind him and rested them comfortably on his back.

"I'm making Eo your responsibility for the voyage." The colonel said.

"My responsibility? What do you mean, sir?" Bog asked.

"It means that if Eo fails this mission, then you will be relieved of your duties as well."

Bog blurted an unlikely sound--a small gasp--that surprised himself and the colonel. The colonel turned to Bog and witnessed Bog's mouth slightly agape, forming one question and then a next, and a next. Bog's eyes, the colonel also observed, were--strangely--panicked, searching him desperately for answers. 

The colonel went on to explain, "if Eo is as capable as you claim, then you have nothing to worry about, commander."

"That is not fair," Bog muttered to his boots, his heart hammering his ribcage.

"It's the principle of the matter," The colonel reluctantly admitted. "Eo was your recommendation when I asked for a recruit. You had promised someone brave, full of integrity, with an energetic personality, and highly advanced soft skills."

"He is all of those things and more, sir."

The colonel shook his head in a delayed reply. "I know you are good friends with Captain Eo, almost too good. You were friends since childhood; Eo told me himself. You both dated the same officer, correct?"

"I do not understand your point."

"Eo constantly undermines your authority simply because you allow it to happen. I know that it was because of Eo that you chose to invest funds from this starship's budget to support 'Taco Wednesdays' in the concession hall."

"They are named: 'Taco Tuesdays', sir."

"Ever since Eo has joined the fleet, you have began to make unusual decisions because of his private influence."

"I assure you, there is no 'private influence' as you speak of," Bog replied, narrowing his eyes at the colonel as the colonel paced in front of the port.

"His last suggestion to..." the colonel let out a rueful laugh. "...deliver his gift of music to The Queen was another waste of our resources! The Queen is not a strong ally that we should concern ourselves with. I am surprised you even thought of moving forward with a captain's suggestion in the first place."

"I will forever stand by that decision." Bog said. "Sir, we must be acquainted with whomever we can in the stars. There's no telling who has plans to attack our ship; you know that. The Queen's Whip Warriors are highly effective at combat, if we should ever need assistance. Also, it is my opinion that every officer deserves a say in our strategies. The Commanders of this star-base no longer seek to be dictators, as of your generation, and neither do I."

"The Queen threatened to use her magic to turn us all into her slaves if Eo's welcoming gift was not adequate! It was nothing but luck that she had not turned Eo's crew into...what was it?"

"Trashcans, sir."

The colonel remembered and scoffed. "In my opinion, Captain Eo and his disgraceful crew would be more useful as such." The Colonel stood still and then he busied his attention with the passing starships of the galaxy. A mammoth craft of steel appeared in Bog's and the colonel's view and flashed its orbiters just before its sparkly insignia ribboned past their gazes. The Colonel, knowing the pilot who waved, smirked at the glass. "We have a mission on this starship, to foster strong relations with reputable neighbors of this galaxy, and with their help, relocate to a new planet so our future generations will have a place to call home, just as Earth had been for our ancestors. Do you still believe in this mission? You swore an oath to protect it, after all."

"I have never questioned and never will abandon our devotion to the future of the Human Race."

The colonel nodded, looking relieved. "Yes, I know. But Eo has made you dangerous to our future, Bog," he continued. "and I am beginning to rethink my choice to make you my successor. Can you do this assignment, or not?"

Bog understood the colonel's statement wasn't a question at all. "Yes, sir."

"Good night."

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