I thought I'd post a snippet from my WIP which doesn't have a title yet. I'm calling it Project Tevan as a placeholder. The usual rules apply, please don't post it anywhere or reproduce it in any way. This is a first draft, so it's subject to spelling mistakes, gramatical errors, and will likely change before it makes it to the final version. A prize if you can spot the part that sparked my Better than silly Putty post. So whadda ya think?
I walked into the Officers' Mess expecting the place to be nearly empty, but several of the tables were already taken. The one that caught my eye was occupied by a lone man. He had his head in his hands, elbows resting on either side of his plate of untouched food. His fingers massaged his forehead and his eyes were tight shut.
I hesitated. Should I sit somewhere else, or go and sit with him? Damnall. Before the attack there wouldn't have been a problem. Tevan would have eaten in the main Mess Hall. But that had been given over to house the civilian population, what remained of them. Now all the troops used the Officers' Mess for eating and for recreation. I walked over to him. Garick had said that I must act normally around Tevan in case he realized that we knew what his game was. Easy for Garick to say, not so easy for me, though. "What's up with you?" I kicked the leg of the table as I said it.
He let his hands fall and opened his eyes. Sea green eyes. I've never seen eyes like them. The furrows on his brow did not smooth out. "Good morning, Flight Captain Varda." The slight mocking note in his voice that was always there when he did not want to be disturbed.
The mug beside his left hand steamed, giving off the odor of willowbark tea. So. Tevan had a headache, did he? I scraped the chair opposite him out from the table making sure it made as much noise as possible. "Were you drinking last night?" I made it an accusation. It didn't seem possible. Haldur had made a big point of forbidding any of us from taking wine or spirits. Plain water or beer was all that they served at dinner in the Officers' Mess now. The beer was not much stronger than the water. Still, Tevan had been know to break the rules before now, and there was no knowing what he may have stashed in his locker.
He ignored the question and began moving the food around his plate. His hands had a film of grime on them, I noticed. So. He'd been up early then, grooming Walmar for our part in the day's ceremony. Typical Tevan not to bother to wash before coming to eat.
"You need to get out of your roughs in short order." I waved at the orderly at the serving table and pointed to Tevan's plate. The man understood. He began shovelling slop onto a plate. "I don't intend to be late today." The ice in my voice must have got through. Tevan winced.
"I will join you, if I may." Garick's voice sounded behind me. It was not a question. He sat down at the head of our table. He was in full dress uniform, brushed to perfection. I doubted that any mote of dust would dare to settle on his black tunic. The silver rank bars in rows along the sleeve with the two gold stars of the Communication Corp arrayed above them, glittered with his every move. The tiny lightning strike embroidered on his high collar denoted his Watcher status, the shiny black thread in subtle contrasted with the matt black of the woollen serge.
Tevan's expression didn't change. He carried on playing with his food and made no attempt to stand to salute Garick as he should have. I kicked him under the table and jerked my eyebrows upward but he ignored me. I kicked him again. This time he shambled to his feet.
"Excuse me, Staff Officer. I have to prepare for my duty."
"Sit down, Pilot, and eat your meal." Garick growled, then shot a glance at me. 'You too, Flight Captain."