This is Maice Bendix:
In any case, in my efforts to locate other lost long friends, I have located Maice Bendix. Maice and I used to be on our American-style football school team. While I held a minor position on the team, he had admired my dedication to the game. I found this particularly encouraging, considering he was the MVP the year we graduated, if that gives you any idea of his skill in the sport. He had expressed an interest in law enforcement or the military or doing something involving combat in some form. Joe heard he was attending a military college somewhere in Iraq. In any case, he went into the Terran military, and we lost contact.
Maice is a study in contrasts when it comes to friends. While I didn’t touch on this with Joe, I will state that these two do not have a great deal of interests in common. Which, is not impossible. I can’t say that everyone I count as a friend, were friends with all the others. Some simply didn’t know the others; some never had the opportunity to know them like I did. And while I certainly brought many of them together at times, it was usually on things we all had in common. Or, it helped to have something in common.
Now, the book makes it clear that some time passes between when he finished school on earth, and when he returns. Even the comment above implies that, since he lost contact.
So, does time have any effect on this friendship? I present exhibit A:
Maice turns to his left, hearing footsteps on the linoleum nearing himself. He looks down at the young men stopping near. “Can I help you?” he asks.
Richard smiles. “Hey, Maice! How is it going?” Maice adjusts his deep-tinted shades, still staring quietly at Richard. “It is me—Richard,” Richard adds, hoping to trigger a dormant memory. Maice raises an eyebrow.
Failing to recall himself to Maice’s memory, Richard tries a different approach. “We played American-style football together in high school?”
Richard & Maice
Richard clearly has not forgotten his friend. Maice, well … let’s say he’s distracted for now.
I can assure you Maice knows Richard, and even remembers him, since he is willing to join this adventure. However, when I say Joe and Maice are a study in contrasts, I will share what was a surprising insight I give into the thinking of Maice:
Within an instant, he identifies it as a midsized commercial freighter, the type normally ferrying goods between Earth and Mars. As it nears the runway, Maice mentally critiques the pilot’s sloppy approach, the heavy freighter lightly swaying to and fro. Maice shakes his head as the freighter plops onto the runway, thinking of how much wear the landing gear must be getting from such abusive landings. He looks up, noting another aircraft approaching.
Maice smiles, instantly knowing what it is: a military deep space fighter. Since these normally are on patrol near the orbit of Pluto, or even further, Maice knows what a rare privilege seeing one touchdown Earth side is. Maice is aware of the grueling training these pilots must go through before they are even allowed near one of these special ships. Maice’s smile broadens as it makes its approach—a near textbook approach with little or no correction needed to guide the ship onto the runway. As it touches down, Maice takes notes as the front wheel gently plants on the center of the runway stripe.
As I was editing this, I was curious why I allowed the narrator to be so invasive, but as I consider how he develops as a character, this proved to be an interestingly direct insight. Maybe even the only one in this book, as to his thinking on matters of concern to him.
So, the big question: Is he quiet?
While I’m sure I could give a deep and thought-proving answer, revealing heartfelt introspection on the matter, I think Maice can answer that better than I:
Maice looks down for a moment. Then he looks up, letting up a thunderous laugh. This startles Joe. “I remember now!” he bellows. “You were the water boy!” Joe looks over to Richard. Richard shrugs.
Maice takes a moment to regain his composure, reducing his voice to a less stentorian tone. “What are you doing here? I thought you were a prince.”
Maice does speak. And he has a lot to share reagrding combat. Of course, Richard extends to Maine the same invitation as Joe, and while he is reluctant…, he cannot speak only for himself, we’ll just say:
“I am on leave from school, and I thought it would be cool to just explore the galaxy a little. You know, just see what is out there.”
“Why should we be interested in traveling with you?” he interrogates.
Richard pauses, mentally tripping over the word “we.” “Well, um, I heard you were on leave, and I was merely offering an opportunity to travel, as a civilian, for a brief time.” Richard tries to look around, without drawing attention from Maice. “If you are interested, I would really enjoy having your company once again. It could be similar to a high school reunion!”
Maice looks down again. “Hmm,” he ponders, “we might need to report back halfway into a trip. If so, we would need to return to duty within five days of activation.”
Joe starts looking around. Richard smiles. “Well, I am not planning on any deep space exploration, just seeing some sights. We will not need to go very far for that!”
With that, I introduce Ana. If you would like to see more of what transpires, you can read Chapter 2, now available here!
Next week, we’ll learn more about our ‘stowaway’ on this adventure.
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