Nico (vilakins) wrote,
Nico
vilakins

Ficlet: The Next Generation

For the recent b7friday topic of the next generation, a story of the same name and 600 words.

The Next Generation

Jenni knew he wouldn't like it, but she had her arguments marshalled. Well-armed, her mother always said, was well-prepared.

She pushed open the wide doors to the main building of Lassiter Agricultural Maintenance. Her father was inside a harvester robot; she could see his bottom and the soles of his feet. "Hello, dad."

A hand waved at her. "Give me that probe, would you? The number five."

She crouched down and passed it to him. "The fleet recruitment people were at the university today." She steeled herself. "They accepted me."

"I'm not surprised."

"Um... not the merchant fleet. The Alliance."

There was a thump and a muffled curse, and her father crawled out backwards, rubbing his head. "What?"

"Weapons officer," Jenni said proudly. "I scored very highly." She grinned. "On the written tests and the targets."

"You can't do that! That's dangerous!"

"Huh. That's rich, coming from you."

Her father blinked. "It's a nice safe profession, agricultural machinery repair."

"Yes. And boring too. Look, dad, I know what you did before."

"Surveying?"

Jenni snorted and stood up, her hands on her hips. "If that's your word for it."

Her father ran his hands through his hair, leaving a faint trail of contact oil. "I was on a deep space exploration vessel, you know that. That's how I met your mother."

"And you never talk about any of it. Funny, that. People who were in the Andromedan war don't either." Jenni put her head on one side. "And then there's our names. Famous rebels, all of us, except for a letter each."

"Not here. They're planetary heroes on Destiny."

"Oh, yes? In that case, why me, Oleg, and Calla? Why not, oh I don't know, Kerry or Raj?" Jenni folded her arms and leaned against the wall, watching her father's face darken as her turned away and poked inside an open panel. "They say," she said casually, "that all of them died, but one."

Her father's shoulders tensed, but he continued working.

"But I think they're wrong. There were two."

He stopped.

"You get through a lock like lightning."

"I'm good at electronics."

"Yes, but no one's that fast. And did you think we wouldn't figure out what Sven Lassiter's almost an anagram of?" She grinned as her father dropped his probe on the floor. "Your looks haven't changed much, either."

He turned to face her, looking resigned. "There aren't any photos of... them. Not even Blake. The Federation suppressed them."

"Prof Levett has some from their visit."

"Oh. Right." He sighed and spread his hands. "Look, Jenni, I didn't choose that life. You might think it's boring here but I'm happy. You know that? Happy with my Kerril and you children."

Jenni's eyes blazed. "But you lived! Once, you really lived!"

"Is that what you call it? My life started here. This is my victory."

"You held back the Andromedans: one single, brave, magnificent ship."

"Yes." He stood up a little straighter. "That was one of the better things I did. Not that that's saying much." He realised his mistake. "Look, forget that."

"Why? I want to fight too."

"Let the Federation fall on its own. It's well on its way."

"But still kicking, with its mutoids and drugs and slavery and fear." Jenni went to her father and put her arms around him. "Dad. Vila. Let me live my life. Let me make you proud."

"I've always been proud of you, Jenni." His arms tightened around her. "Damn. You take after your mother."

"And you too." She kissed his cheek. "Don't you know how proud I am of you?"

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