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Round 1 Lt. Jen Malcolm - a difference of opinions

Alleran Tan

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((Malcolm farm, Iowa, Earth))

::Nighttime settled on the farm. Children were tucked into bed;

dinner guests returned to their homes, dishes were washed and put

away. The house was quiet, but instead of the satisfied quiet of a

calm evening, the air was tense with an unspoken unease that had

settled on the house during dinner and had yet to dissipate::

::Justin Malcolm stood at the kitchen sink, rinsing apples and

plunking them down on a towel to dry. As the screen door closed, his

shoulders, broad and muscular from years of outdoor labor, tensed, but

he did not turn to see who had entered. The light steps could only

belong to his sister.::

::Her footsteps did not continue through the room and without glancing

back he knew she was leaning against the table and staring at him. It

had always been her favorite position for arguing with him.::

Justin: Jen. I’m not in the mood to fight with you.

::Behind him he heard her sigh.::

Jen: I don’t want to fight either.

::Justin turned off the water and dried an apple with a fresh towel

from an adjacent drawer. He turned and faced her. He could see she was

still angry, as was he, but it appeared she was trying to keep her


Justin: Want an apple? It’s from our trees.

Jen: Sure.

::He tossed her the one he held and she caught it expertly with one

hand. He leaned back against the counter and watched her twirl the

apple stem to remove it. ::

::Seeing that he wasn’t going to speak, she huffed and set the apple


Jen: Look, Justin. We need to get something straight.

::He crossed his arms across his chest::

Justin: Ok.

::Jen frowned. Of all her brothers, she and Justin fought the most.

It seemed her whole life he’d been bossing her around. She supposed

it was because he was the oldest, but really, the time for that had


Jen: Justin, I didn’t ask for your advice. I’m a 32-year old woman,

and I can make decisions own my own. You’ve been trying to tell me

what to do ever since we’ve been children. I have a father, I don’t

need two. ::She took a deep breath, forcing herself to calm down::

She’s my daughter, Justin. I get to make the decisions for her. She’s

coming with me.

::Justin shifted his weight to his left foot, remaining silent::

Jen: Well?

Justin: Well, what?

::Jen’s hand gripped the back of the chair that stood beside her::

Jen: Do you agree?

::Justin unfolded his arms and pushed his hands into his pockets::

Justin: Jen, you know I disagree. And I said I didn’t want to fight.

So, I’m going to listen to you and then I’m going to bed.

::Jen’s grip tightened on the chair and she closed her eyes::

Jen: Justin, how can you be like that?

Justin: Like what?

::She was trying her very best to keep from shouting::

Jen: So holier-than-thou. ::opening her eyes:: You basically just told

me that what I say to you doesn’t matter.

Justin: In this case it doesn’t.

::She slammed the chair against the floor::

Jen: Where do you get off having that attitude toward me?

::Justin pushed himself off of the counter and walked across the


Justin: I’m done with this Jen. You’ve made your decision.

::She watched him walk out of the room. She stood unmoving for

several minutes , breathing deeply and staring at the door. Ten years

ago she would’ve gone running to her father for mediation, but knew

now, his gentle words would help calm her but do nothing to change

Justin’s opinion. She released the chair, picked up her apple and

threw it in the garbage. Her father might not be able to change her

brother’s mind, but he could help. She walked out to the porch where

she found him rocking gently on the porch swing. There was no

pretending he hadn’t heard their argument; there was no way not to

hear it from where he sat::

::She sank down next to him and laid her head on his shoulder. He put

his arm around her and kissed the top of her head::

Victor: Oh, Jenny. He means well.

::Jen sighed and closed her eyes::

Jen: I know.

::They rocked together in silence, Jen simply appreciating the sounds

and smells of the farm and the embrace of her father. She would miss

them when she was back aboard the ship, but was content in knowing

they would always be there for her when she came home::


Dr. Jen Malcolm


USS Avandar

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