The intercom chimed insistently. I started awake. I must have fallen asleep scanning the pictures from the surface below. It was the captain. “Can I come in?” I looked around but Ellen was not in the room.
“Yes sir.” I opened the hatch and the captain entered. I closed the hatch behind him. “Ellen and I were scanning the photographs of the surface for signs of a civilization that might have abducted Janice. I must have nodded off. I’m not sure where Ellen is now.”
“That was a concise report. It’s more than I’m getting from anyone else lately. Don’t worry, Ellen is discussing something she found with the XO. She said you passed out around 0400 and she didn’t have the heart to wake you. I came down to let you know and to talk to you about something else.”
“Yes sir. What can I do for you?” I asked. I felt a little bit apprehensive.
“Well, I need you to hold what I’m about to tell you in strictest confidence.”
“Of course, sir. I will take it to my grave.”
“It’s not quite that serious. It would be uncomfortable for me and Janice if anyone else were to find out.”
“Oh, I see. Like I said, I’ll keep your confidence.” I could see where this was going.
“You see, Janice is my sisters youngest daughter. She’s my niece. She didn’t want anyone to know because she wants to be treated like any other crew member. You and Janice seem close and quite frankly, I’m about to go nuts trying to find her. If anything happens to her I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”
“I see. I need to ask you to return the favor, keep a secret that is. Janice told me you were her uncle and swore me to secrecy. I suspect she won’t hold me accountable for telling you, especially since you just told me but I don’t want to mess things up between us.” The captain sighed deeply.
“I’m glad to hear that. Well, shall we go hear what Ellen’s theory is and whether the XO thinks it is plausible.” The captain put a hand on my shoulder in a fatherly fashion as we headed for the bridge.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the people you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.