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The Outback Stars: A Girl Named Wendy

The Outback Stars: A Girl Named Wendy



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Published by sandra McDonald
Missing scene from THE OUTBACK STARS. Why was Myell accused of rape?
Missing scene from THE OUTBACK STARS. Why was Myell accused of rape?

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Published by: sandra McDonald on Jun 28, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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McDonald ~ A Girl Named Wendy 1
Sometimes Wendy Ford came to work with eyes swollen from crying. She was a young sailor, pretty, with abright smile when she used it, and the idea of her crying disturbed Terry Myell. He wasn't her directsupervisor but he was a leading sergeant in the Underway Stores division, and so he pulled her aside oneday after morning quarters. They stood in the rec lounge, with its humming food machines and vids ofFortune on the walls."Everything okay?" he asked. "You seem a little down lately."She wouldn't meet his gaze. "Some roommate problems, sergeant. Lisle's been acting a little wild. Partiesand men, you know."Lisle was a handful, Myell knew. She worked over in the Data Department and had been causing trouble formonths. But he'd heard other rumors as well. Ford and Chief Chiba, they said. Taking leave together.Eating together over on the Rocks. Myell hadn't seen it, didn't know anything firsthand, but Mick Timrin,Myell's roommate, said everyone knew."Bad for the division," he proclaimed one night, late, from his bunk, as noisy porn played on his gib. "Can'tdo anything about it, though. Can't take on Chiba and that new commander lieutenant is shit-all useless."The shit-all useless lieutenant was Lieutenant Commander Riegert, one of those officers who'd had beenpromoted to the exact level of his incompetence. Chief Chiba was new to the division as well. Being inTeam Space meant constant change. People rotating in and out at the end of assignments, or gettingreassigned because of excellence or poor performance, or getting discharged or kicked out, or goingAWOL, or transferring on request. In the last eight years Myell had served on three ships, including hiscurrent rotation on the Aral Sea. He'd had seven different division chiefs and five different division officers. Itwas only of late that he'd had the spectacularly bad luck to be stuck with both LCDR Shit All and ChiefBully.A pillow hit Myell in the face."Repeat after me," Timrin said, as two women moaned and sucked face on his gib. "You can't save theworld, Terry, and you'll just get your brains bashed in if you try."Because Chiba was worse than just a bully. True enough, the only way to do things was his way. Myellknew a lot of egomaniacs like that. Chiba also abused his power. Took more time off than he allowedanyone else, had some of the whoever shine his boots for infrequent inspections, had the best furnishingsand food. Myell had seen that in the fleet as well. But Chiba also ran his own gang of scumbags, and if
A Girl Named Wendy
a missing scene from the sci fiadventure novelTHE OUTBACK STARS(c) 2007 Sandra McDonaldsandra@sandramcdonald.com
McDonald ~ A Girl Named Wendy 2
you crossed them or owed them money you might end up slipping down a ladder or walking into a hatch."Terry," Timrin growled."I'm not thinking of taking him on," Myell said. "I'm not that stupid.""Not stupid, no. But noble to a fault. Any girl that dates him, she's making her own stupid mistake."He told himself not to worry about Ford. She was an adult woman capable of taking care of herself. Had to, ifshe wanted to survive in the Fleet. But he knew enough stories about young sailors and older chiefs that hecould at least keep an eye on the situation.Two days later she came to work with a bruise on her cheek and her right arm in a sling."Volleyball practice," she told everyone with a self-deprecating laugh, and that was plausible enough. TheSupply Dept team had recently advanced to the ship's quarterfinals. But Connor also played on that team,and she said Ford had skipped practice.Myell went by Issue Room 2 later that afternoon. Ford was sitting alone at the counter, staring at thebulkhead."Where's Anderson?" Myell asked. "Thought he was up here too.""Went to find some coffee," she said. "Something I can do for you, sergeant?""I wanted to see how your roommate problems are going.""Oh." Abruptly she stood from her stool and began surveying boxes of boots stacked on high shelves. "Youknow roommates. Can't live with them, can't shoot them in the head.""Did your roommate hurt your arm?" he asked carefully.Ford snorted. "Don't be a worrywort about me. Anyone hurts my arm on purpose, I'll punch them in the nose.Don't I look like that kind of girl?""You do," he allowed."I will," Ford said. "Punch him 'til his nose bleeds. My dad taught all his girls to fight."Myell thought about Chiba, who was easily twice Ford's weight. How her fist on his jaw might make himbackhand her across a room, or throw her against a bulkhead."I'm fierce," Ford insisted, with a deliberately lunatic scowl, and Myell relaxed a little."Well, come here, Fierce," he said. "Sign off on these requisitions."He made it part of his routine to swing by her issue room every other day or so, and he didn't think he wasimagining the way her gaze brightened when he showed up. He always brought paperwork, assignments orsome other busy work. He visited all the other issue rooms as well. Didn't want people seeing a pattern orrecognizing his intentions. Once he missed three days in a row, and he received an anonymous gib messagefrom a secondhand pocket server.
McDonald ~ A Girl Named Wendy 3
"Worrywort," the message said. "Nothing for me to sign?"He wrote back, "I'll find something, Fierce."The next morning she brushed by his arm at quarters, and he felt an electric thrill that had been too longmissing from his life. But when he went by the issue room later that day Chiba was at the counter, chattingwith her and someone. Ford was smiling and touching his arm in a most familiar way and he turned aroundquickly.He went with Timrin and some others to watch the volleyball semifinals. Chiba was there, too, with some ofhis dogs, drinking beer and yelling disagreements at the referees. Myell was sure to sit far out of his sight.After the Supply Dept won, Chiba and Ford and half the division went off to celebrate in a bar on the Rocks.He went home to his cabin and borrowed Mick's porn, but found no enjoyment in it.She pinged him late that night. "Did you see us win?""I was there," he said. "Good job.""You didn't come to the party.""You had enough people to celebrate with."Ford threw back her shiny brown hair. The loose grin on her face and the glazed look in her eyes made himthink she was a little drunk."I'm not celebrating with anyone now," she said. "Meet me in the issue room, why don't you?"He could think of a thousand reasons why that wasn't a good idea, but he pulled on some trousers and asweatshirt and went up there anyways. Ford was sitting cross-legged on the floor in the corner, wearingblack leggings and a loose T-shirt with no bra on underneath."Your roommate won't approve," Myell said.She grasped his hand and pulled him down to the hard deck. "I don't care. Kiss me now or lose me forever,sailor."He kissed her hard, tasting beer and cherry milkshakes on her tongue, and it was a few hours before hestumbled back to his cabin and into a hot languid shower."Goddamned four-thirty in the morning," Timrin mumbled when he finally emerged. "You look pleased withyourself. Are you the cat that caught the canary, or the bird that got caught in someone's pretty little claws?""Never you mind." Myell collapsed into his bed with a dour look at the clock If he was very lucky, he mightget two hours sleep before he had to get up and go to quarters, and begin another twelve or fourteen hourday."You're going to get yourself into trouble," Timrin warned. "Chiba finds out, the whole division will rue theday."

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