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Just A Slip of Paper

Place: Wolf Den Military Base
Age: 1643453-BDC Gooseman, Shane - 5 y.a.d.
Time: 2072-02-26

"Today's results for 1287456 aren't good." Walsh suppressed a yawn and leaned against Sawyer's desk, studying the day's examination results. "If he doesn't develop any faster, he's likely to get sorted out."
     Sawyer sighed. "The new threshold values are too tight, Joe. A simple setback or a short clash during combat can bring them near it."
     "I know." Walsh ground his teeth. "But I have no influence over it." He called the next file onto his readpad's screen and began reading again. Something on Max's desk caught Joseph's eye. He put the readpad down and looked more closely at the piece of paper, which turned out to be a page torn out of a notebook. "Since when do you draw?" he asked, taking it up. "That beetle looks as if it's just running off the paper."

"That's not mine." Sawyer looked up from his files. "I dropped Shane's samples today and had him wait while I fixed the apparatus again to take new ones."
     "You mean...?"
     "Yep. It took me quite a while to do the repairs, so I gave him paper and pencil to keep him busy." Max nodded at the piece of paper. "That's the result. Your boy's talented, Joe. Really talented."
     Walsh's hand twitched, but he didn't crumple the drawing. "Leana's gift," he said in a faint, thoughtful voice. "You should've seen the aquarels she made. Beautiful." He looked up. "I never thought I'd find anything of her in him." His face hardened. "Wolf Den won't leave any of it."
     "Where do you think he saw those beetles?" Sawyer asked, discomforted by his friend's line of thought.
     "Probably the combat ground. There are a lot of bugs among the rocks." Walsh held up the sheet. "May I keep it?"
     "Sure." Max shrugged and noticed with a smile that Joseph slipped the tiny drawing into his wallet.


y.a.d.: years after decant

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