Ghosts

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Chapter 11 – “Politics and repairs”.

Lynette de Cesare’s brown eyes blinked several times as dust kicked up off a nearby ship as they were checked by Peter Lund’s docking crew. As she waited for Peter Lund she allowed her camera crew to take panoramic video footage of the docking bays.

Ships arrived and departed under the sound of sirens and shields, and private transport shuttle pods whizzed into the waiting room ready to escort visitors to their closest destination station. As a shuttle hurtled into place it sent a breeze out brushing against Lynette de Cesare’s hair. She swept it back out of her face and moved closer to the entrance next to the cameras which currently were focusing on several battle damaged passenger ships that had seen a skirmish that they managed to escape from, most likely due to military assistance.

‘Zoom in on that one, Amir,’ she advised resting a hand on Amir’s shoulder before pointing over his shoulder to a purple shaded passenger ship that looked to have attracted the most damage, externally at least. Docking bay crews helped injured passengers out of the ship, as medics swept through the hub of visitors and workers to get there.

‘It’s a bad sign that they cannot land at the emergency docking hangars.’

‘Likely too many ships in there already, can’t they hold fifty ships?’

‘I will check on that. It’ll be another slice of information you can use in the report. I wonder if we can get Peter Lund to comment, or Commander Zylinski.’

‘I doubt Zylinski will talk. As good hearted a man as he is, he seems distracted at present. Lund is our man. Good natured and talkative, that would surely be as good a place to start as any.’

‘Zylinski being distracted, that could be another talking point you can raise with Peter Lund. Even a no comment is a pair of words that would make a very powerful statement.’

‘Yes, that’s true. As always, you’re the brains behind the beauty of my show, my lovely Amir!’

‘You and Lund can then discuss a pay-rise for me.’

‘Nice try! Come back when the contracts are to be renewed.’

‘Lund’s moved away from that ship. You better get over there before he gets involved in something else.’

‘Do you know what Lund can see on that damaged ship? I think it’ll make a better story if we have some more information on that craft. And the others ships too, we have too many damaged ships and not enough information for me to ask about. Let him help them, and then he can be better interviewed.’

‘If he can be interviewed?’

‘As busy as he is, I will get him talking. It’s a trick I have mastered!’

Lynette de Cesare cross-referenced the news stories that had occurred that day, her mind processing the order that she wanted to report them in. A few still-weak storylines nagged at her thoughts, storylines that seemed important to mention but not solid enough to include. A mild frustration was building up and as she watched Peter Lund she knew the story would have to wait.
Presently, her main focus had to be on the incoming battle-damaged ships that sold a story important enough to report, and one that certainly was building up into a far greater story, one of political scandal, leadership and questionings, a story of Henry Poole and of Benedict Valon.

The latter name always irked Lynette de Cesare as it was a man who always seemed clean of trouble. An ordinary military veteran who lost his family in a pirate attack, Benedict Valon ventured slowly into the minefield of politics, his strong character and good looks had aided a quick progression through the ranks, yet sometimes hid the potent mind he had.

Some people compared him negatively to Henry Poole, a man of quick, polite words and an aristocratic, superior demeanour, a man who seemed too upper-class to not be a politician.
The truth was that both men sought power with the same vigour, just for differing reasons. What worried the reporter was that any story on Valon always focussed on his history, his unfortunate past and his war honours, all parts of a machine that drove him ever onwards.

Lynette de Cesare was concerned that the relatively unknown Prime Minister elective would use that hunger for the wrong reasons, to create a war that may not be needed, something Henry Poole seemed eager to avoid. Sometimes the status quo was the best option, although the increase in piracy was a sure-fire way to encourage the public to vote for Benedict Valon.
Peter Lund walked over to the reporter, his face not looking too pleased to see her.

‘Lynette, I have to ask that you stop recording.’

‘Why? We are not harming anyone.’

‘We have bodies waiting to be removed from the ships. In the interest of their honour, let them be. You have enough footage of the injured to make hardened folk cry, don’t be one of those ass reporters. The families don’t need this.’

That’s fine. I won’t be an ass. We will still report on it. I have my job to do and the people may want to see what is happening. Anyway, I hoped that you got on with me, understood my job?’

‘I do. It’s just, well; look this isn’t exactly the best part of my job either. I have to arrange for the bodies to be moved, the families to be told, and the last few days have been hell. It’s just becoming crazy down here. There are people docking half way through their journey because they’re scared of the attacks. We got people wanting out to get a long, long way from here, and those that have no choice where they are going as they have been attacked and need repairs. I am fighting to get everyone in that wants in, and everyone out that wants out. And then the bodies keep adding up. Sick, injured or deceased, they still need taking care of with the love that we can give. They couldn’t get to a med station or were too scared to keep flying. You just report on what we do. We do what we do.’

‘I know, Peter,’ Lynette placed a calming hand on the man’s shoulder. He looked away. Lynette de Cesare could not decide if it was due to her actions or if something caught his eyes or ears further to his left.

‘Valon and Poole are in Parliament right now, did you know?’

‘I did Peter. Someone else is covering that angle for me. Not much happens there that I cannot catch up on with the video feed. It’s all slow-moving and dull over-there.’

‘I never meant it like that. I was… Do you think they will sort this out?’

‘I expect so. Right now it’s all talk, neither side willing to do anything that might lose them the election. No words can be said that the public cannot justify. They will talk about violence, the need for change, the public needing their help. They won’t talk about how to help. They have few answers.’

‘Valon’s tax is the only one available, or possibly, CEOL’s latest statement of join them or die, amusing if it wasn’t a real statement.’

‘Zylinski seems like a good man. For a military man, I trust him. How much longer can he tolerate this happening on his station?’ Lynette de Cesare asked smiling a positive smile.

‘A cynic would argue that it’s the Government’s station. The people just use it. Zylinski just runs it. The Government decide what happens. Valon’s a military man too, do you not trust him?’

‘Somewhere along the lines, moral rights and wrong get twisted in Parliament, even maybe for Benedict Valon.’

‘Something has to give.’

‘It will. Patience is the key. Right now, Peter Lund, you are the man who runs the downstairs of the station. Your colleagues need you to be calm for them. My sources have reported back to me that we have more protests due tomorrow. A planned peaceful campaign but we all know how that can escalate into violence. Zylinski needs to keep on top of that. You might want to mention it to him. He may have his hands in too many baskets, and this is one problem he doesn’t want getting out of hand. By the way, it looks like someone needs your attention over there, Peter. You better run.’

‘Yes, sure, despite my limp, I’m always running, I’m surprised I’m not a marathon runner by now. I’ll see you soon.’ Lund walked sluggishly away, tired and stressed. As she looked around, a quick thought occurred to Lynette de Cesare.

‘By the way, Peter, I’ll send you an invite to see the video footage we will want to use later on. You can come over and make sure that we are showing suitable footage. I understand the concern. For the families, I think it would be for the best.’

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