Well, not necessarily a backflash. It depends on where it winds up in the story, but as currently written it would be a backflash. Not worrying too much about it, really – this is part of discovering the story.
“Tony? Oh my God, what’s wrong?”
“What? No, Mom, nothing’s wrong. What would make you think something’s wrong?”
“It’s Tuesday! Sweetie, the last time you called me on a Tuesday was when that slut Shanika broke your heart.”
“She didn’t break my…” Tony stopped and held his breath, not wanting to rehash old arguments again. “And anyway, that’s not true. I called you the Tuesday before last.”
“Holidays don’t count, dear.”
“Now come on, spill it. What’s happened that’s got you so flustered?”
“I got a promotion.”
There was a long pause. Tony caught himself holding his breath, and purposefully released it.
“Oh, Tony, that’s wonderful!”
The grin he’d been suppressing finally spread across his face. “Thanks Mom!”
“So what are you going to be doing? Did they give you a raise?”
“Um, kind of.” Tony winced. A simple yes would have been better. “There’s going to be a hazard… bonus. I mean, a bonus. For taking the job. Because they really need me, Gregor said so.” Tony winced again. When he was rehearsing the conversation everything came out smooth, sounding safe and good. But as soon as he was actually talking to her, everything just sort of spilled out any which way.
“Hazard pay? Tony, you’re a horticulturalist. What are you going to be doing that’s hazardous enough for extra money?”
“Um, you remember on the news, how Earthcorp is changing their colonization policy? That they’re re-opening the portals to colonized worlds in order to make sure their resources are managed responsibly?” He was surprised at how easily the corporate line came out, when he could never manage to soften his own truths. He knew as well as anyone that managing resources meant exploiting them for maximum near-term profits.
So did his Mom, unfortunately. “Uh-huh,” she said, and he cringed again at the disapproval in her voice. “Well, I suppose they’d be doing it with or without you, whatever it is. And what is it you’ll be doing again?”
“I’m, I’m going to be growing Earth specimens in Verdant soil, and vice versa. It’s part of a study of differences in the microbiome.” He smiled at how smoothly the words came out. At least he managed that much. Actually, he’d be doing what he usually did – watering and fertilizing and trimming. It was just that under his hands, plants thrived even when they should die, and Gregor knew it. “They’ve been having some trouble getting the project going, so Greg told them to call me in.”
“Well, finally some recognition… I told you you could go far if you just applied yourself! Well. But Tony, hazard pay?”
“It’s really just inconvenience pay,” he assured her, much as Gregor had reassured him earlier that day. “I’m going to have to go live there for a while, so they’re going to pay me extra for being away from home. I’m… I’m probably going to be out of touch for a while, Mom. I’m supposed to transit out tomorrow, and there isn’t going to be much chance to pop back for a call home. But I’ve already talked to Ruby, and she said she’ll look in on you every week, and…”
“Oh, don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”
Tony braced himself. Now was the time for her to start the guilt trip.
“You be careful, Tony. All right? You do a good job, and impress the boss, and you’ll get an even better job when you come back home.”
“Yes Mom,” he said, surprised.
“And don’t let any of those colonist girls break your heart!”