The day the comm.. came, I had just finished my drills at the base, and had gotten home at the usual time, just before dinner. Mom was waiting for me, sitting at the kitchen table with a huge grin on her face. I hadn’t seen her smile like that for a long time…not since Dad died.
“Honey,” she said. “Sit down. I have something very exciting to tell you.”
I dropped my backpack and settled into one of the kitchen chairs, leaning down to untie my boots. I was hot and tired, but doing drills for the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps made me feel good. It made me feel like I had a purpose, that I was carrying on my Dad’s work. I liked the Global Armed Forces, and I knew I was going to follow in his footsteps one day and be Captain of a navy ship.
“A comm.. arrived for you while you were on base,” Mom said, and slid her datapad over to me. I looked down at it, and saw the message was from the Global Administration. That surprised me a little – I’d never gotten anything from the government before. I pressed the button and a man’s face appeared. He looked about forty and was very solemn.
“Miss Ashiya Amun, this is Roger Westgo. I’m an intern at the Administration. It is my privilege and honor to inform you that the new Global Administrator, Estee Auber, has personally requested that you serve as her escort during a leg of her goodwill tour in two weeks. You and Administrator Auber will be rendezvousing at Calypso Station and boarding the GSS Valdosta. From there, the Valdosta will take you to the New Ford colony. You’ll be returning to Earth two days later aboard the Toshima, a brand-new Tokyo-class ship. You duties will include accompanying the Administrator to all functions, as well as serving as an official ambassador between herself and the Global Armed Forces.
“Your dedication to the GAF and your scholastic excellence, as well as your achievements in community service make us very proud to choose you for this assignment. Please contact me as soon as you can. I look forward to speaking with you, Miss Amun. Goodbye.”
The comm. ended. I just stared at the screen. Finally, I lifted my head to look at my mom. “I…I don’t understand…” I stammered.
“They want you to escort the new Administrator,” Moma said, smiling brightly. “They looked at your school records, and all the awards you’ve won for ROTC and all the things you’ve done on the base, and they want to bring you on a diplomatic assignment.”
“But I’m only sixteen,” I protests, feeling a little nervous.
“I’m sure there will be adult ambassadors and military personnel too, honey,” Mom soothed. “But what an opportunity for you! The Global Administrator! She’s responsible for governing the entire planet, Ashiya!”
I leaned back in my chair, feeling my stomach knot. Could I do this? Could I actuall go and not only meet the Administrator, but escort her? “Mom…” I said softly. “He said the Valdosta. I’d be going on the Valdosta.”
Mom’s smile faded slightly. “I know,” she murmured. “But, honey, that’s just coincidence. Besides, your father and Admiral Crane were very good friends. I’m sure she’d love to see you again. It’s been…what? Five years? And even then it was just for a few minutes.”
I nodded, but the knots in my stomach tightened. Admiral Crane had led the ships out to fight…something. And one of them was captained by my dad. He had never come back from that fight. I knew it wasn’t the Admiral’s fault, but I still felt nervous about being on the ship.
“Do you really think I can do this, Mom?” I asked quietly.
She took my hand and squeezed it. “You can. And you’ll make your father very proud,” she replied.