Chapter 19 snippet (new writing)
He watched the planet growing in his window. Licking his lips, he contemplated the task he had been sent to accomplish. Having never been on this planet before, he felt a brief sense of worry.
Pushing it aside, he looked at the information disc his superiors he trusted him with. Why they wanted to help Almir stay alive, he thought, wasn’t for him to understand. They didn’t pay him to think; they paid him to do what they wanted. That was something he could do without a second thought.
Picking up the disc, he looked at it closely. Held with its encrypted contents was three years of their hard work. Everything they had learned on Almir was on it, and about the weaponry being used in the Beta Scorpii sector.
As many cards as they’re showing, he thought. They’d better be right about keeping her alive!
The door to his cabin chimed for his attention. Stuffing the disc in its case, he placed it in his pocket. He hit the control and the door slid aside to show an attendant.
“Your shuttle is waiting, sir,”
Nodding to the man, he walked past. He had never been one to talk much, especially now that he had a job to do. Talking only made you conspicuous, he would remind himself, and his job required him to be inconspicuous.
As he strode down the corridor, he felt the disc in his pocket. He kept a hand on it at all times, keeping it secure. They hadn’t sent him all the way out here to lose it, he reminded himself.
Reaching the end of the corridor, he stopped before the umbilical. He took a deep breath before grabbing the orange handhold. With an acrobatic move, he lifted himself out of the ship’s artificial gravity into the zero gravity.
While some folks found zero gee environments disconcerting, he did not. He was a comfortable in zero gravity as he was in it, which wasn’t surprising. Having grown up onboard spacecraft and transferring between the two, he was more accustomed then most of mankind was.
Smiling, he crossed the umbilical in record time. The mission was too important to take his time, he reminded himself, because lots were at stake. His superior’s wishes were one, and the life of Katherine Almir was the second. Both of them were making speed of the essence.
He shut the hatch to the shuttle after he entered it. Dropping to the artificial gravity, he made his way to the controls. After signaling to the ship he was ready, he killed the umbilical. With a flick of his wrist, he fired the thrusters and pushed the shuttle away.
Looking ahead of him, he was amazed at the beautiful planet below. So much like Earth, he told himself, but without the environmental damage caused by millennium of mankind. The wispy clouds circled around storm systems, with vast areas of green showing from orbit.
The Sagnar home world had been colonized two hundred years ago. Filled with immigrants from the English Islands, the planet had developed with an English flair. Ruled by a constitutional monarchy, it had a Prime Minister, like the original British Government. Once you threw in the House of Lords and House of Commons, everything was identical, he reflected.
His job, he mused, was to get to disk to the Admiralty. Once they were able to see the information within, then they would know that the Alliance had been behind the attacks. What they did with that, other then keeping Almir alive, didn’t matter to him or his superiors. The overriding requirement of their actions was to not kill one Katherine Almir.
“Traffic control to shuttle on course three-five mark one,” a authoritative voice said. “Please come to course four-eight mark one and identify.”
“Shuttle Iago understands,” he said. “Coming to course four-eight mark one.”
He spent the next moments making the adjustment to his flight. The fact he had been challenged wasn’t surprising, he mused, not after what was happening in Beta Scorpii. Lucky for him, his superiors had given him a good cover: he was a independent trader with information the Admiralty would like to see.
With independent trader being a euphemism for smuggler, he thought, chuckling.
“Control,” he said. “I have important information for the Admiralty.”
The Admiralty has little time for civilians,”
“This information they will want to know,” he said, smiling. It was going to be fun to shoot down the traffic controller. “It concerns the affairs in the Beta Scorpii sector.”
The long pause made him smile even wider. That got his or her attention, he mused, seeing that no one has answered. They’re probably wondering how an independent trader knows about what is happening. Well, they would just have to talk to him to find out.
“Shuttle Iago,” a different voice answered. “You are cleared for landing. Security will be waiting for you.”
“Shuttle confirms,” he said.
The game was afoot, he thought, aiming for the spaceport.
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