Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Embrace the Moment by Mahalia Levey
Embrace the Moment
Naval Aviator Lark Maddox works for the United States Coast Guard. Honor and Integrity are the morals she lives by, yet her heart has been stolen by one under her command.
Master Chief Survival Tech Acer Davidson doesn't believe in love or marriage and has forsworn making any permanent ties. When tragedy occurs, will he seize the opportunity of a lifetime or let the best thing in his life float away on the rippling tide.
0300 Hours-On the coast of Laguna Beach, CA
“This is Ryan Corban for Channel Nine news with a breaking story. At three-thirty this afternoon, a Cessna type plane crashed thirty miles off the Laguna Coast. The craft called in a mayday after being struck by debris on their starboard engine. The Coast Guard was called out and responded by deploying an eighty-seven foot schooner as well as a helicopter…one second please. We’re receiving more information from the reporter on site.”
“We’ve been informed that two of the three passengers have been located. Unfortunately they are not alive. What a traumatic night for Laguna Beach. The occupants of the Cessna plane were two teenagers and a pilot.” He put his fingers on his earpiece to receive incoming information and nodded. “Wait. I have just been informed there are no survivors. The third passenger has been found. Yes, the pilot and two teen students were killed. Confirmation has come through. Resuscitation on one of the teens has failed. Their identities at this time are withheld until family members can be notified. With Channel Nine News, this is Ryan Corban.”
* * * *
1700 Hours-USCG Sector, San Diego
Lieutenant Junior Grade Lark Maddox surveyed her team. “No cigars tonight, fellas. Remember, some we win, some we lose. Anytime a plane crashes the chances of survival decreases. Get your reports completed and get home. As always, let the local police handle the press. If anyone contacts you transfer them to the local authorities. If they prove to be crass direct them to public affairs who will deal with them tomorrow.” Her four team members were wet and appeared exhausted. She turned to the one nearest to her. “McCall, make sure you go get that cut on your head looked at.”
As senior officer, Lark remained in control. Even when coping with difficult issues, she played the part well. Her face remained a stoic façade of impenetrable stone. Being the highest ranking woman on the team, she had to show she wouldn’t break, that she held the same backbone of her male counterparts.
“Done.” Petty Officer Second Class Phoenix McCall slapped the papers onto her desk.
“Dismissed,” she replied curtly and turned toward Seaman Jarius Nelson. “Seaman Nelson, please feel free to use the resources of the base. This rescue being your first loss, no one would think any less of you if you need sickbay or the base therapist. Well done for maintaining your control down there. At times, it’s not easy to do that in the face of things out of our control.” She offered him a rare smile.
“Thank you, ma’am.” He handed her his report. “But I’ll be fine, if it’s all the same.”
Lark took in the wariness of his appearance. He had proven to do well on their team. “Have a good night’s rest.” She watched him grasp the edge of his sailors cap, rolling it with shaky fingers as he walked out of the office.
Lark put her hands behind her back in a relaxed stance while waiting for her last team member to finish with his report. Numerous papers littered her desk. Approaching the piles, she riffled through and placed them in order and began, with quiet resolve, to sign each one.
Everyone processed the success or failure of a rescue in their own fashion. Not every life was saved, and to her surprise, after being assigned for two years to her current rescue team, the losses affected her less each time. She paused to wonder if that was a bad thing, the ability to distance one’s self from the harsh realities of life. Known for being a calculating cold bitch wasn’t the impression she wanted to leave people with.
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