Reuben groaned as he tried to wake up. His eyes still felt heavy and everything ached, especially his throbbing ankle. Peering through the slits in his eyelids he felt momentarily disoriented. He expected to see the familiar stone walls of his Gittern cave but instead saw the clean metal paneling of his barracks.
Then he remembered.
The rendezvous point... his tracking device not working... barely making it to the ship just as the doors were closing...
He also remembered making it back to his bunk and feeling as if he could sleep for days. Perhaps he had? He had no idea how much time had elapsed since he returned. He glanced at his chronometer. It was only a hour or two from dawn.
The sound of light snoring made Reuben look around. Some of his classmates were also back in their bunks but not all. A girl he had trained that had had a pretty smile was missing and Reuben felt saddened. Not everyone had been as lucky as he.
Tapping the screen on his chronometer he saw orders to appear in full dress uniform at 0700... two hours from now. He leaned back against his hard pillow and let his eyes close again. He made it.