“Let me guess Marine, you’re probably thinking of that pretty girlfriend of yours.”
Rafian had to smile at the accusation.
“Is it that obvious?” he asked, but Val didn’t return the smile like Rafian assumed he would.
“Well, I know you haven’t been thinking of her while fighting these things, but check your thoughts when you do. The lizards have consumed enough pureblood Vestalian women to where some have been gifted with the ability to read us and put thoughts into our heads. I had it happen to me once when I sat on my gun thinking of Chelle, and some recon spucha bastard gave me visions of her being tortured and killed. I wondered where the hell that level of thought came from, and thought it was the war y’know screwing with me.”
Rafian was intrigued and horrified at the same time.
“So these guys have us outmanned, outgunned, and can put thoughts into our heads now?” he asked Val, but not in a way that Val could answer. “How exactly are we even winning on this moon with those odds?” Rafian mused.
Val gave a mocking laugh, injected a ration bar into his mask, and sat back chewing for a while, as if the question was worth considering.
“Who knows Raf, maybe they’re letting us win for some greater strategy. But remember what I told you, in case you’re ever alone with one of them. You should keep Vani and her memory off of the battlefield where she’s safe.”
Rafian nodded and thanked his friend. Val then went on to make fun of him for having a thing for bad girls, a joke that apparently had made its rounds to Missio-tral from all the friends who knew him.
“Vani’s not a bad girl Val. What has she done to anyone besides being annoying?”
Val looked genuinely surprised.
“What!? Do you not know why they made her a button-pushing navigator instead of the admiral path that she was pursuing?”
Rafian shook his head, sadly awaiting what he assumed would be disappointing news.
“Well, your woman punched out the Cadet Commander after they had words one night and the woman was carted out to receive multiple zaps to her face to keep her pretty. I’m surprised you didn’t hear about this. Look at you, thinking that you had a gentle wildflower all this time. It got bad man, you must’ve been on a mission or something, but
princess had to call mommy and daddy to bail her out, as the Commander was a step away from shooting her out of an airlock for assaulting an officer. Her parents are powerful people so she got away with it, but you need to watch your back with Vani Narcila, that girl has a temper on her!”
“She didn’t tell me about any of this when I got back with Aurora.”
“See…, you and bad girls man! First with Kim the Terrible, and now with Violent Vani. Hell if you and Vani don’t work out, you can holler at Rueche SYN, the girl who tried to blow up the ship after she failed out of Special Operations.”
“Ha!” Rafian looked at Val and smiled.
“What about Vestalia? Is she a bad girl?” he asked, still thinking of her beautiful face grimacing from the stasis. Val got serious and made to get to his feet as he answered.
“You’re not her type Raf. Trust me, Vani would get her before you would. Either way I’m gonna go take advantage of this chance to sleep buddy. If I were you, I would do the same.”