Chapter 18 snippet (brand new writing)
The stars streaked past her window in multicolored glory. Sitting back in her chair, she had crossed her hands behind her head. Nothing that had happened the past few days made any sense! Everything from the distress call to her remembering what Reyes had stolen, all of it was interconnected but she the pieces wouldn’t make sense.
A sigh escaped her lips as she frowned. To think, she told herself, that events she thought had happened one way, really happened differently! Why would Reyes have gone through the trouble to steal memories like that? What did he have to gain?
Reaching over to her desk, she picked up the glass of bourbon. She lifted it to her lips and sipped the amber liquid. Blazing a trail down her throat, the liquor reached her stomach. It really didn’t matter how much she drank, she groaned, since the damned little nanites in her body wouldn’t allow her to get drunk!
After they had jumped, she had changed her plans for investigating. Instead of going to the next planet in their pattern, she decided to skip a couple. Hopefully, she reasoned, it would throw the Sagnar off their trail now that they knew she was here.
Throw in the fact that there’s another Fleet vessel around here somewhere, she thought. And it will pay to throw them off!
She let her mind drift back in time, to the initial distress call. The crew board the Toronto had been using the same security system Albright had. Could this virus have come from his labs still? Just because the ship departed from Zanzibar didn’t mean that Albright’s company couldn’t be behind it…
The long arm of Albright has a way of reaching you, even from the grave, she thought.
So, they probably had gotten the virus from Albright Industries, she reflected. Now there was at least one dead Sagnar colony in the sector. With the tritium on the planet, she could somewhat understand why intelligence would want to kill them. However, what would it mean if they found more dead colonies?
Drumming her fingers on the armrest, that was the most troubling item on the list. As far as she knew, there wasn’t anything in this sector that was worth fighting a war over. And a war is what the Alliance would have if the Sagnar learned they had been behind the attacks.
Jesus, she thought, just what have I gotten myself-and my crew-into??
Furthermore, she mused, what was a battle group doing out here? Obviously the Sagnar had learned of their colonies destruction. With the battle group spotting her ship in orbit, they were likely to think she had been behind it!
That threw another whole can of worms into the picture now…
It was tempting to surrender and allow them access to her computer core. However, if she knew them like she did they would have a ‘shoot on sight’ order out for them now. No, they were totally between the rock and hard place.
The only way out of this is to find out what’s happening, she snorted.
“Bridge,” she said, clicking the com on. “Status?”
“We’re cruising at the top of the green, Skipper,” the OOD said. “Course is set in the Alpha Delta Five. We should make transition in twenty hours.”
“Thank you,” She said, killing the com.
Looking over at her bed, she grimaced. There was twenty hours she could use to rest; or to be filled with the nightmares she had been having. Either way, she could guarantee that it wasn’t going to be a dull time!
“The hell with it,” she said, slipping her clothes off…
Anderson felt the familiar feeling of transition. Looking at the view screen, he could see the same small star he had noted before. Proxima Six, he told himself, the first test of their materials. Yet, even now, he couldn’t leave the original target behind…
“Commodore,” Bradford said. “We’re picking up h-drive residues. It appears that several vessels have jumped in, and out, of the system recently.”
“How many ships?” he asked, swiveling his command chair around.
“Two groups according to CIC,” Bradford said. “One is a single ship, matching Fleet emissions, and the second was three Sagnar craft.”
“So Almir was here,” he mumbled, rubbing his chin in thought.
He had received the message about Fleet setting Almir up to take the fall. Even with that done, he was still to kill her. There was no way she could be allowed to return to Earth with the knowledge she had. If she did, it could be devastating to the regime.
“It looks like our friends have taken the bait,” he said, a smile crossing his face.
“I would say it appears so,” he said.
“What kind of ships did the Sagnar have pursuing her?”
“It appears to be one Lion-class battle cruiser with two Sheffield-class cruisers for escort.”
Anderson whistled softly at the news. That was a lot of firepower, he realized, possibly as much as he possessed. If they caught up to Almir, things weren’t going to be good for her! Maybe, just maybe, someone would actually be able to finish the job when it came to killing her!
“They’ve definitely got a good chunk of firepower assigned to her,” he muttered. “Which will make things easier for us.”
That was understating things, of course. With Almir having to watch for the Sagnar, he mused; maybe she would slip up and allow him to kill her. There was no way she could be on the lookout for his ship! Yes, she would know that a Fleet ship had been involved, but what it was and its capabilities would be foreign to her.
However, she was just sneaky enough that she could’ve doubled back. She could be sitting right now, pretending to be a hole in space, waiting for him to pass. No, he had to clear the system, even if it cost him a few days in his pursuit. If he didn’t, and she slipped past him, the track set for Almir would be nothing compared to the hell that would await him.
“Take us in,” he said. “Keeping all weapons powered up. I want to be sure that Almir has left her before I move on.”
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