Kyra didn’t walk as much as storm into John’s office. Before he could stand up, she had her hands on his desk, her face just two feet from his and her sapphire blue eyes focused like lasers on his. “Why did you jam the signal?”

John stood up and putting his hands on his desk leaned over to match Kyra. “Because I want you.” John paused.

“John, I’m not in the mood. Do you have any idea what contact with another Hynerian vessel could mean to us? Think about it. Now, I’m going to ask you one more time and I want you to think very carefully before you answer.”

“Take a seat.” Kyra didn’t budge. “Please.” Without taking her eyes off John, Kyra slowly eased back into the chair in front to John’s desk. “I’m sorry you misinterpreted my answer. I jammed the signal for two reasons. First and foremost, I want you to come back with me. What you did today in the bay, no Kulmyk can do. I want you to come back and I want you to teach, teach us. I knew if you had hint of the signal you would want to pursue it. It was a chance I was unwilling to take. That’s as honest as I can be.”

“Honesty notwithstanding, how could you make that choice? How could you decide what is best for us? How John? Tell me that.”

“I apologize for withholding information, but there is one more piece of the puzzle you don’t know. We have every belief this SOS call is old, which is to say, whoever was out there and in trouble has long since—“

“Don’t say it,” shot back Kyra. “You know, you knew, no matter the circumstance, we would pursue it, that we had to pursue it. That we will pursue it.”

“I did. And so I had a choice to make. Do I let you go, which I knew you would, on what would for all practical purposes be a wild goose chase that at best would end in tragedy or—“

“Or you would selfishly treat us like children, deciding what was best for us, or is that, what was best for you? Is that it?”

“Kyra.”

“Don’t Kyra me. Do you really think I have any desire to return with you? Well, do you?”

“I really didn’t want to have to do this but you’re forcing my hand. We have a copy of the transmission.”

“So do we.”

“We have a copy that is not jammed.” Kyra didn’t move nor did she respond. “Before you leave, before you make that decision, I want you to listen to it. If you still want to go, I won’t try and stop you.”

“I want to hear that transmission.”

“We can go right now if you like. But before we do, I want to say thanks for what you did today, in the bay. I’m not sure I would be standing here without you. What you did, and I don’t really know, but what I saw was something special. And, well, since my gut tells me you are going to leave regardless, I might as well give you this now.”

Kyra watched as John picked up a small box from his bookshelf. Opening the box her eyes widened, picking up a sparkle of gold in the warm light. “It’s beautiful. What is it?”

“The Order of Merit. I had hoped to present it to you in an official ceremony, perhaps—“

“Please don’t say dinner.”

“Okay, I won’t say dinner. Please, let me put it on you. If I’m never to see you again, I want my last image to be with our highest honor around your neck.” Kyra handed John the box and he took the Order, unfolded the band and placed it around Kyra’s neck. “You look magnificent.” Before Kyra could respond, John’s hands cupped her jaws and he kissed her. “You saved my life. I owe you much more than medal and cloth.”

Kyra stood, slightly stunned at the turn of events. “Hey, I don’t mean to rain on your parade,” Kyra said softly, “but can we go listen to that transmission now?”

John smiled. “Absolutely.”

Categories: Story, John Discovery, Kyra

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