The Betrayal Chapter 38 snippet

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The long walk through Fleet Headquarters did nothing to help the anxiety Johansson felt. Swallowing hard, he looked up at the paintings of past warships on the wall and he sighed. Normally, he mused, this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but when it deals with one Katherine Almir then nothing is a small detail! The damned woman had been a thorn in his side for three years now, and still she continued to be so.

Not for much longer I hope, he thought as he tapped on a piece of wood paneling as he walked. We won’t know anything from Benton for at least another 2 hours…so there’s nothing to do but wait.

The bad thing about all this, he mused, was the fact that no one-including him-knew about the file that Kosloski uncovered. That was very embarrassing to him, because he was supposed to know everything that happened in his agency, and yet here was an example of something he didn’t know. How, after all the snooping he had done in Almir’s files, had he missed that vital piece of information? If he had only known about those codes earlier, then a lot of headaches involving that woman could’ve been avoided!

Waiting for him in the meeting ahead, were Beatty, Carver and a whole lot of headaches. While the potential gains for him if the President succeeded were massive, the downside was how harsh he was on failure. This had been a major failure, and frankly, he was terrified about what would happen to him when he told them what happened.

If I’m lucky I might survive with my life, he thought as he rubbed his forehead to deal with the headache that was brewing there.

Hearing his lonely footsteps echoing in the hall, he stopped before the door that led to Beatty’s office. Everything he had done now came down to this, he reminded himself as he stepped into the door sensor’s zone. With a swoosh, the door slid aside for him and he stepped into the front office, where the Fleet Admiral’s adjunct was waiting for him. The adjunct motioned to him to go through, and Johansson started to walk towards the door that contained his fate.

Stepping into the office beyond, Johansson never stopped being amazed at it. Half of it was filled with holographic plots, listing where every ship in the Fleet was at, and the other half was window’s that overlooked the main strategy room for the Fleet. Sitting in the furniture waiting for him were the President, Beatty and a woman dressed in a solid black uniform with a Tutenkoph emblem on her collar.

Who the hell is she? He asked himself as he looked at the people before him.

“Take a seat, Bernard,” Beatty said as he lit a cigarette.

“I understand you have some information for us regarding Almir,” Carver said

“Yes, sir,” he said, fidgeting slightly in his seat.

“Relax, Bernard,” Carver said with a dismissive gesture of his hand. “No one is being eliminated today no matter what you tell us.”

Johansson felt both eyebrows rise in surprise at the President’s magnamity. This was the first time; he told himself, that he had ever heard the man be forgiving of failure. Just what had gotten into him to make him so…human for a change?

“We had another security breech, sirs,” he said as he took a deep breath. “This one was perpetrated by Richard Kosloski.”

“Given how he’s going to be dead soon,” Beatty said. “I’m not sure what the fuss is about.”

“It wasn’t the fact that he broke into our systems,” he said. “It was what he found,”
“What did he find, Bernard?” Craver asked as he sipped a brandy.

“I hidden black file on Katherine Almir,” he said simply.

“I thought you knew of all the files that existed?” Beatty asked him pointedly as he blew out smoke rings.

“Reyes obviously had done a good job hiding this particular file,” he said. “And once I looked at it myself, I could see why.”

“What did it hold, Bernard?” Carver said.

“Sirs,” Johansson looked at everyone, including the woman, one by one before speaking. “It contained shut down codes for Almir’s cybernetics.”

“It what!?”
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