Six years earlier

My boss noticed the shine wearing off me, he had an uncanny way of pre-empting things. He waited until it was just me and him in the office towards the end of the day and then he called me into his formal office. He sat me at the side of his desk, and the flags on either side framed him.

'Son, what's troubling you?' he asked, a paternal look on his face.

'Sir, I'm considering leaving the service.' I said.

'Why would that be then?'

I um'd and ah'd a little, and before I could answer properly he cut back in 'All the political bullshit's getting to you, isn't it son?'

'Yes, sir'.

'Well you wouldn't be the right person for this job if it didn't.'

There was a short spell of silence, I felt like it was several minutes, but I guess it was only 5 or 10 seconds.

'You know, it ought not to be like this. When I was your age, it wasn't this way. Sure there was a whole truck load of ass kissing and only the brownest noses got promoted, but...' He sat and looked at me.

'Sir, it just looks to me like the country is broken, and we ought to be fixing that, but all the plans I've seen since I've been here are to dismantle the service I love. We're civilianising all the bits of it that we can, there are proposals to limit new enlistments to three years maximum and the budget projections don't let us get any new technology to replace what we have.' I said.

'I think we may be able to save the US Space Force son, but I'm going to need all the help I can get. Stick with me, and we can do our bit together.'

'Thank you sir'. I took the resignation letter I'd had in my pocket and dropped it in the shredder on my way out of the office.

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