Vacation was officially over.
“Papa, there’s a ‘bout in the driveway.” A young girl peered out the kitchen window as she handed a plate dripping with suds and water to the girl next to her.
“And it has the Imperial Guard emblem on the doors,” the second girl added, drying the plate with a towel before placing it in the cupboard next to her. She was identical to the first girl: the same soft brown hair and thick eyebrows that furrowed over sky-blue eyes. They both looked distressed over the rideabout’s appearance outside.
Tolman Bootka emitted a raspy sigh through his nose. A twelve-week leave of absence apparently didn’t entail a full ninety days of being left alone. One of the few benefits of serving in the Imperial Guards was that it allowed Tolman to take extended periods of leave to spend with his children on Dometia Lesser while earning a full-time salary. His career choice didn’t make him rich, but it provided a good, modest life on the vacation continent for his family. He planned to retire here after the obligatory twenty years of service to run a water glider shack on the beach and chase grandkids around on the black sand shores. If guard service remained the uneventful career it proved to be thus far, only eight more lackluster years lay ahead of him.