Everyone was up early, preparing for the mission to find a new food source for the planet of Magate. Jordan sat down with Chase and Evan to have breakfast and go over numbers.
“I don’t think this trip will take long. There’s no major technology showing on the preliminary sweeps. There are probably primitives around, at the most.” He began to spoon oatmeal into his mouth. That didn’t keep him from speaking, however. Now his words were more muffled.
“In and out. Easy. Chase, you’ll scan for the usual; plants that are transferable, animals that aren’t extinct. Blah blah blah. Evan, you’ll try to make some trade with locals, for future supplies.” He dipped his spoon into his oatmeal for another bite. Evan placed his fork down on his plate forcefully. He was frowning.
“You just had to say it, didn’t you? You couldn’t leave well enough alone!” His outburst had both Chase and Jordan staring at him. As displeased as Evan was, Jordan was equally confused. He looked to Chase for some explanation.
You jinxed us by saying it would be easy.” She explained, trying to keep a small smile from breaking over her face. That would only make him even angrier. Before Evan could elaborate, a tray plopped down on the table beside Evan. Jordan looked across at Helena. She was smiling. One could say she was bright and cheery. Jordan’s guard immediately went up. Bright and cheery were not words that would ever describe Helena. Something was up.
“Good morning, everyone.” She beamed. Chase and Evan both smiled cautiously. Helena picked up her glass of milk and drank it down. When she took her glass away, a thin line of milk ran along her upper lip. She smiled widely at Jordan. He didn’t smile back, only handed her a napkin and indicated where on her face she should wipe by pointing to his own upper lip. She wiped her face and smiled again.
“Why, thank you Jordan.” Jordan kept looking at her, then he narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
“No.” He stated calmly. She made an attempt to look back with wide-eyed innocence, but the few moments of smiling had already taken its toll. She gave up.
“How can you so no when I haven’t even asked you anything? Yet…”
She very nearly whined, frustrated that her plan to charm him had been an utter failure.
“Because when it comes to you, the answer is always no.” He replied dryly. There it was. The spark of fire in her eyes ignited. Now she was the real Helena, the one he could have some fun with.
“Jordan..” She began again, trying once more, although not as successfully, to be calm.
“No.” He stated firmly, leaning forward with his hands flat on the table. He said the word in a low voice that she heard loud and clear.
“Why?” She questioned while pounding her fist on the table.
“Just no.” He replied smugly, sitting back in his chair. The scene unfolding left Chase and Evan completely in the dark.
“Unbelievable. They don’t even need an actual reason to argue.” Evan shook his head in wonder.
“Okay, stop.” Chase interrupted the battle of the wills. She was sure it could go on indefinitely.
“Helena, what do you want? And Jordan, what are you saying no to?” Both Helena and Jordan continued to lock glares, although they were silent now. Finally, Helena spoke.
“I want to join the crew.” She sighed. Her announcement jolted Jordan out of his little game. He sat up abruptly.
“What? No!” He said loudly enough to draw attention from the other tables.
“You need me.” She argued.
“No!” He carried on with the same one-word argument.
Jordan, I can track, I can run and I can fight. I would be invaluable.” She ticked off these skills on her fingers. Jordan now looked frazzled. He ran his hand through his hair.
“No. We’ve done fine so far without your expertise, Helena. Just forget it.” He looked to Evan and Chase for support. His mutinous crew members glared at him accusingly. Helena looked at him pleadingly. His lips pressed into a thin line. It was silent as breaths were held in anticipation. Finally, sensing his defeat, he capitulated.
Any trouble and you’re out.” He began. Helena began to smile widely, but he held up a staying hand.
“You have to wear decent clothing. You have to follow my orders.” Before he could get any further, she jumped up and walked around to hug him. He remained still, not hugging her back, but enduring. He was already kicking himself for giving in.
And we leave in 30 minutes. We aren’t waiting for you.” He barked out. His words came out more gruffly than he’d intended. His tone didn’t do anything to diminish Helena’s excitement.
“Aye aye Captain.” She went rushing out of the mess hall without a look back. Jordan was standing, looking around for something to throw. Chase grinned.
Uh, Jordan? What did you think she was asking about when you kept saying no?” Jordan just began walking toward the door.
“I have no idea.” He muttered. Evan and Chase walked more slowly, trying to keep their distance.
“Easy trip. In and out. Right.” Evan said under his breath.