The Quarter. Or „Otrim`s Quarter“, to be precise. A well known pub and restaurant among students and popular for decades now. Mostly because of good food, reasonable prices and a location right around the main campus. Although the catering trade had been hit hard by the Pandemic, the Quarter had a loyal customer base, despite at best half as many guests as normal were allowed in.
Sayuri and Yarren were sitting at a table. While she was just having a salad, he enjoyed some Pasta.
„…made a great exam, ready to go out there and wham!“, she let her hand hit the table. „…the Pandemic comes along and all scientific excursions get cancelled. I should be somewhere in the Republic for a dig. But Archaeology is not essential. Pfff. Essential my butt.“
Yarren listened and smiled. This was not the young girl anymore who had asked him about whether it would be a good idea to maybe go to space to see something new. That was, well, almost seven years ago. A lot had happened and she had grown up to become an independent woman. He thought for a moment. She was 26 now, twenty years younger than him. If he were younger, she would be interesting for him for different reasons. But as it was, he had the feelings of a fatherly friend toward her.
„Maybe we can help you to become more essential in the future.“
„We?“, she asked.
„The Navy wants you.“
She laughed out loud. „Me? In a Uniform? Come on, now. Don`t be silly.“
„I am dead serious. I think, it is great, that you are working here to help deal with the Pandemic. But there are larger problems out there.“
„I know.“, she said and became serious. The Triglavians. They are the talk among students and teachers alike. For more than a year now. At first, it was all hypothetical talk about what they are and how they may be like. But this year showed, how they could be, if they are hostile toward someone. People reacted differently. Anger, fear, frustration. But it was nigh impossible to ignore them.
„I am not a Combat Pilot.“, she said. „Never been. Just like you. My space life ended four years ago. My implants are gone. I am not a Capsuleer anymore. What good can I be out there?“
„As an instructor.“
„Me? I would have to learn a lot again myself first.“
„Exactly what we are planning. See, if a well-known author stands up and enters a ship again, then this may very well influence a lot of your Followers.“
„Thanks for the flowers. But I don`t think, that a bunch of bookworms is what you need out there.“
„We need anyone.“, he said and now he looked her deep in the eye.
„Is it so bad?“, she wanted to know.
„Let`s just say bad. And we need Pilots. Whether someone is more or less qualified for frontline duty, is the second question. The first one is: How do we get people to volunteer? Listen, the deal is that you sign up for duty and participate in some PR to show your support for the cause. And in exchange we encourage the Republic to let you dig whereever you want. Heck, maybe we can even convince the State.“
She leaned back in her chair. So this was it. They surely know, how they can tempt people. A free pass to Archaeological sites in all of New Eden. That was worth a thought. But, on the other hand, she would have to leave the University. Not as if that would be a problem per se. But the risk was now higher than back in the days. She bit on her lip, as always when she was unsure.
„Let me think about it.“