In everyday life, you wouldn’t even think about a measly second. What would it matter if you got your drink one second later?
In space, it’s different.
In space, the second - or even half-second - between broadcasting a target, and shooting the target can be essential.
Essential to your own survival, that is.
And yet that’s what I had done - broadcasting target designations even when those targets encroached my own ship. And later, pod.
I slumped back against the cushions in my quarters, my hand lazily resting a glass on a table. Some robot would refill it, eventually.
This hadn’t been what I had signed up for, that many years ago. I had had images of being hero tackle in my mind, of being the bold pilot executing the kill shot on Titan. Not images of managing fleet composition, nor of handling the continual broadcasting.
But yet the FCs appeared to have appreciated my efforts.
The glass in my hand felt heavier now - thanks to the automated servitors in my quarters - and I raised it to my lips. For a moment I was tempted to open my eyes, to track the trajectory of the glass, but I already knew that this clone’s vision in her right eye had diminished. No need to rub it in yet again. And so what? What if I could no longer be the pilot I set out to be?
And many more seconds after that.
It wasn’t about how long they lasted, or how many there would be.
It was about making them count.