"Betrayal" snipper from Chapter 4
“We have a problem,”
Rear Admiral (retired) Claudio Reyes looked up as Doctor Louis Matthews entered his office. The look on the doctor’s face was enough to tell him that the quit day he had been enjoying was not at an end. He wondered why he had a sinking feeling it was involved Kate Almir.
That’s because it generally does, he reminded himself with a snort of contempt.
Sometimes I wish we had never put the damned cybernetics in her, he reminded himself as he watched Matthews plant himself in a chair across from him.
“What kind of problem would that be, Doctor?”
“It appears my fears are turning into reality,”
“About the memory cap you programmed into Almir’s cybernetics?”
“Yes,” Matthews rubbed his forehead in thought. “Her nightmares were the first sign, unfortunately.”
“I thought you said she couldn’t break through the programming, Doctor,” Reyes growled, his forehead wrinkling.
“She shouldn’t have,” Matthews agreed. “However, as I told you three years ago, the nightmares were her mind trying to rebel against it. We both knew that, which was why we removed her from Intelligence to try to take the strain off the programming.”
“Well it obviously didn’t do enough then,” Reyes muttered. “Because you’re telling me this. So, what is your telemetry saying?”
“She’s unconscious right now,” Matthews said. “However, for how long I can’t tell you; what I can tell you is that the memory block is failing.”
“Doctor, Doctor,” Reyes leaned back in his chair, his head in his hands. “That’s bad news for both of us.”
“I don’t think you do,” Reyes said, his voice gone cold. “She’ll come after us both if she remembers.”
“I would think Carver and his cadre would be at risk too,”
“Oh, they are,” Reyes said. “However, the fact that I ordered the programming into her cybernetics will have her coming after me specifically. God, what a mess!”
“We shouldn’t have placed it there in the first place,”
“I couldn’t disagree more,” Reyes sighed. “I needed the control over her if she as to accomplish her task.”
“That’s understandable, sir,” Matthews said. “However, we violated the right of a individual to be able to have control over her own mind. Don’t you think she has a right to be angry at us?”
“I don’t give a damn if she’s angry with us or not,” Reyes said. “The entire galaxy is about to plunge into a nightmare of darkness, and she is the only person who can stop it.”
“But at what cost to her?” Matthews countered. “In all the plans you have made, sir, honestly you have never taken that into consideration.”
“She’s expendable,” Reyes said.
Letting the last comment soak in, the room fell silent for long moments. Reyes felt his eyes harden as he watched Matthews fidget in his chair. The doctor always did have a soft spot for Almir, he mused, and it was damned inconvenient! He, Reyes, knew how much was truly at stake now, and the life of one woman who was a former gladiator slave was worth trillions in trade. Just why couldn’t the doctor see that for himself?
“How long do we have before the block fails completely, doctor?”
“I’d say days,” Matthews sighed. “Maybe hours, I can’t predict it fully. It wasn’t supposed to fail anyway.”
“You’d better hope that it doesn’t fail, Doctor,” Reyes said with an ice-cold tone. “Or you might be the next one terminated.”
Bernard Johansson cursed under his breath as he read the communications squirt he had received. He cursed his shortsightedness in not changing the codes when both Almir and Reyes had left Intelligence. That was incredibly stupid of him, he chided himself, and it was going to cost him! While Almir had been able to enter the computer of the Toronto, there was no way she was able to intercept the squirt that the computer had sent him.
So they’ve access the main computer and logs, he thought with a snort. That was going to tell them where the ship had come from and where it was going. Damn that woman, couldn’t she just stay out of their hair for once?
“Yes, sir,” he said to the com unit on his desk. “I can confirm they have accessed the computer.”
“That’s unfortunate,” Beatty said. “Because it means President Carver wants her dead.”
A snort of contempt escaped his lips as Johansson thought about that prospect. Just how many times had they tried to kill Almir in the past, only to fail? The damned woman seemed to have a sixth sense about staying alive, he reminded himself. He was willing to bet there wasn’t another person like her in the entire galaxy when it came to staying alive!
“Let’s hope this time we’re more successful,” He said as he sipped at a glass of bourbon on his desk. “Who gets the joy of the attempt this time?”
“Commodore Anderson with the prototype,” Beatty said.
Johansson felt his eyebrows rise involuntarily at the news he was receiving. There was no doubt that Almir would be overmatched in that battle, but it hadn’t stopped her from winning before! No, he mused, she would die this time! There just wasn’t a chance she could survive this time, was there?
“If she pulls off an escape this time,” Johansson muttered, his mind racing in thought. “Then she’s either an angel or a demon in disguise.”
“I’ll go with the latter,”
“So would I, sir,” Johansson said. “I will, of course, keep you advised about any further information squirts we get from the main computer.”
“That would be most appreciated, Bernard,”
Johansson reached across and killed the com unit. With a sigh, he leaned back in his chair, a thoughtful expression on his face.
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