The damned woman had done it again, having survived the best they could throw at her!
Fleet Admiral Alex Beatty stood at the armored window of the orbital space dock, fuming at the failure to kill Captain Kate Almir. With a hateful, hard stare, he watched the fleet tug towing the battered hulk of the heavy cruiser Roanoke into dock. Her while hull was scorched and scarred, large black sections marring her pristine beauty. Beatty felt his hands clench involuntarily as he took a deep drag on his cigarette.
Just what does it take to kill you, Almir? He thought to himself, thankful for the thousandth time that no one could hear what he was thinking.
With a sigh, Beatty blew smoke out of his mouth while an eyebrow rose in grudging admiration of Kate Almir’s leadership abilities. His trained eye looked at the starboard bow of the cruiser, where the hull plating had been vaporized away, the compartments visible open to space. Sparks and leaking plasma escaped from damaged power relays in the damaged compartments that couldn’t be repaired.
He let his eyes trail down the starboard side further, looking at another dark rupture near amidships. With a single glance he could see that the cruiser’s CIC was gone, and that the blow had ripped the starboard wall out of the bridge. The faint blue glow of force fields was the only thing keeping the damaged bridge from being open to space.
Beatty sighed as he saw the scar that ran near the cruiser’s engineering section. As lucky as Almir had been in surviving, he gritted his teeth at her luck of making it back to earth. A damned blind jump! That very thought of Almir making a blind jump made him want to chuckle, knowing how deadly they were, but there was the cruiser before him to attest for her luck.
“We had to tow her in, sir,” Rear Admiral JG George Kirkland, Space Dock Commander, spoke from beside Beatty. “Captain Almir’s hyper drive finally failed just outside the outer marker.”
“She’s lucky to be alive,” Beatty agreed, his voice hiding his thoughts from the junior admiral.
“I would dare say so, sir,” Kirkland said. “If you will excuse me, sir, I will be busy for a bit getting the yard crews into position.”
“Certainly, George,” Beatty said, watching Kirkland’s back recede into the distance.
“Anderson did everything but kill her,” he muttered to the man standing beside him. Beatty crushed out his cigarette before lighting another one.
“That’s been the story of our lives,” Rear Admiral Bernard Johansson, Fleet Intelligence Director said with a sigh. “She somehow survives every single time.”
“Sooner or later she’s going to figure out we’re behind it,” Beatty said with a sigh.
“Then we need to finish the job for a change,” Johansson said. “And I have a plan for that.”
“What is that?”
“Well,” Johansson smiled like a wolf. “What if we arrange her death on a ‘intelligence mission’ to one of the Outlaw worlds? It will place her too far away for anyone to suspect us, and it will blunt her friends’ reaction too.”
“I like it,” Beatty said. “Does President Carver know about this?”
“Not yet, sir,”
“You know we can’t do something like that without his approval, Bernard,”
“I understand, sir,” Johansson rocked on his heels.
“There’s going to be seven levels of hell to pay for this failure,” Beatty rubbed his forehead. “The President isn’t going to like the fact that I tired to kill her and it didn’t succeed.”
“It wouldn’t be the first time one of us has failed at that,” Johansson said, his mind drifting back to the numerous failures he had also. “I lost count with how many times she avoided my traps.”
“What makes you think this one will work then?”
“Easy,” Johansson smiled. “I already have an agent working on Haven that has seen the test craft, sir. What I propose to do is to send a five person team of my best people to eliminate them both.”
“Ballsy move,” Beatty said with a chuckle. “But I like it. “I think it will work out the best for us-and I’m sure that the President will approve of it too.”
“I’ll start the preparations,”
“With that decided,” Beatty said. “Let’s go see our dear friend Captain Almir.”
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