Jets roared overhead as he hurried back to his office. The letter had finally come, the one he had been waiting for. Everything from the preceding years had been building to this point. He had passed every test and proven himself time and again. Closing the door behind him, he sat down at his desk and stared at the envelope for minute. This was it, his moment of vindication. Struggling to contain his excitement, he slowly opened the envelope and pulled out the letter. A single page, standard font, on official letterhead. He read the letter. His heart sank. Despite his outstanding performance, there were currently no openings in any of the squadrons. How? How was this possible? He had read the reports himself earlier in the month. At least five slots were likely to open, and with his scores he ought to have been a shoo-in for one of them. Sinking deeper into his chair, the realization slowly crept over him that all his work might have been for nothing. This can’t be happening. He slowly reread the letter, hoping that the act might somehow change the words. It read the same as before. He slumped forward, head in his hands. Had his phone not started buzzing he would have stayed there drowning in self-pity and grief. The message on his phone was from an old number, one he hadn’t seen in a long time. It was starting again. The timing was suspiciously convenient. One door had closed only for another one to immediately open up. Coincidence? Not likely. Regardless, he was in no position to change his circumstances, and he set about preparing for his departure. Duty had called, and he would answer.

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