Chapter 23 snippet (brand new writing)
While she meditated, the consequences of what had happened were on her mind. No matter what they did today, she told herself, it wouldn’t bring back the dead. All the efforts she put into stopping this mad drive for war wouldn’t compensate her for the years she had forgotten, and remembered again.
The only way to make things right again would be the stop them all, she told herself, listening to her breath.
Behind her, the door to her office slid aside, and Loving stepped in. Kate never turned her chair around, continuing to sit with her back turned. Knowing how her friend was about meditating at time, Loving quietly crossed the room. She took a seat on the couch and waited for Kate to speak.
“Something on your mind, Jennifer?” she asked after long moments.
“As a matter of fact,” Loving said. “Everything is.”
“You want to know why this is happening,” she said. “Don’t you?”
“And the best answer I can give you,” She said, opening her eyes to stare into space. “Is that the evil that men do effects everyone.”
“That’s not much of an answer,” Loving said.
“I’m afraid I haven’t pieced all the pieces together,” she said. “So it’s difficult to answer your question.”
“I find it hard to believe that you don’t have a clue about what was going on,” Loving said.
Looking at the window, Kate sighed. It was hard for her to want to tell anyone what she had in her mind. As things stood, it was better they didn’t know. When they got back home, the fact she kept her thoughts from everyone would be better for them. That way, she mused, at least she would be the only one under arrest for disobeying direct orders.
“Trust me,” she said, dryly. “It’s better if you don’t know what I know.”
“Bull****, Kate,” Loving said. “I know you: you want to play the hero and keep everyone from paying the ultimate price. It won’t work this time because, whether you like it or not, we’re all in this up to our eyeballs.”
She lowered her head, rubbing the bridge of her nose. All of this was giving her a headache, Kate mused, and this discussion wasn’t helping things. Yes, they were all up **** creek, but by letting everyone know what she had pieced together guaranteed that they would be courts martial. Couldn’t they see that she was trying to protect their careers, whatever they might be in the ‘new order?’
“Jennifer,” she said, shaking her head. “You just don’t understand…”
“Don’t play that game with me, Kate!” Loving said. “We’ve been through too much together for you to shut me out! How many times did I save your life on Necko?”
“And how many times did I save yours in the end?” she said, icily, turning her chair around the face her friend.
Loving had a comeback prepared but she felt the words die in her throat. Looking at Kate, she couldn’t believe how her friend looked. Puffy eyes, red from lack of sleep, looked back at her. Everything about Kate screamed “exhaustion!” to her, and she felt herself shaking her head.
“Now that I have your attention,” Kate said, softly. “It's for the better that you don’t know everything I have pieced together-yet.”
Loving didn’t say anything.
She opened her mouth to say something else and the com unit interrupted her. Glaring at Loving, she motioned for her to be silent. With an angry swipe of her hand, she activated it.
“Captain,” Roberts said from CIC. “We have gotten the information collated for you.”
“What have you got?”
“Something that is very interesting,” he said.
The holovid on her desk activated, giving her an image that she expected to see. A Fleet vessel was before her, its flanks armed to the teeth. Nearly fifty percent larger then her cruiser, it made her blood run cold. Even when you expected something, she told herself, actually seeing it was something different.
“Any idea what those weapons are?” she said, pointing at unfamiliar beam weapons.
“CIC doesn’t have a match, sir,” he said. “My guess would be fusion beams.”
Fusion beams, she reflected, something that Intelligence had been working on while she was enlisted. Damn, if those truly were them, then they were outranged by fifteen percent! If they were like what she heard rumors about, then the fusion beams would rip through her cruiser’s armor like tissue paper. Damn.
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