The Betrayal RW Chapter 11 snippet
A somber mood filled the bridge as they prepared to depart. Glancing at the patched starboard bulkhead, Kate felt a shiver run up her spin. She had been close to death before, but for some reason this time bothered her more then usual. Life was short, she reflected, and for some reason she felt like she hadn’t finished a task she was meant to do.
Williams plotted the course home, his steadiness something she cherished. Their battle had just started, she thought, and Fleet command had to know what happened out here by now. That left her with the unanswered question: What were they going to do about it?
“Helm,” she said, crossing her legs. “Have all sections checked in?”
“All departments report ready to depart, Skipper,”
Kate thumbed the com unit on. “Engine room, everything ready?”
“As ready as we’ll ever be,” Brooks voice sounded tired. “Just remember: she’s in bad shape, so don’t push her-treat her like a baby, Skipper.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, Chief,” Kate said. “Prepare to jump as soon as we clear the nebula.”
She killed the com unit and looked at the nebula before them. The multicolored clouds of gas and dust had been there home for a long week. It was time to return to Earth, she mused, and face the ones responsible for this.
“Ahead thrusters,” Kate said. “One quarter power.”
“Thrusters one quarter, Skipper,” Williams said.
While she watched, the screen shifted as the cruiser gained way. With the hull being so jury-rigged together, she wasn’t going to take any chances with too much speed. There wasn’t any point in surviving the battle cruiser, she mused, only to blow up trying to get home!
“We’re starting to clear the nebula,” Williams said, the screen clearing.
She rubbed her chin in thought as they emerged from the cloud. Taking a deep breath, she hit the stud on her chair’s arm. With the damage they had, she reminded herself, a two day trip was going to take four now. And with the bypasses on the hyper drive lit up like a Christmas tree; it wasn’t going to be a smooth ride either.
“Chief,” Kate said. “Prepare to jump,”
“Hyper drive on line and ready, Skipper,”
“Helm,” she said. “Jump, please.”
“Jumping,” Williams said.
The nausea that she felt was more pronounced on this jump. With the imbalances in the system, it took longer for them to jump and she groaned in response. A sigh of relief escaped her lips as the cruiser gathered herself up and completed the jump.
I wouldn’t want to do too many jumps like that! She thought. But I’m no worse for wear.
“Jump completed,” Williams said. “Speed at ninety times c.”
“That’s a good speed, Skipper,” Brooks said. “I can keep up with the imbalances better. Either way, it’s going to be a rocky ride home.”
“As long as we get home, Chief,” Kate said. “That’s all that matters.”
She killed the com and stared at the screen in silence. So Fleet had been trying to kill her, she thought with a sigh. A Reyes wanted her as his ‘Right Hand of Vengeance’ to fight back with. Between the two of them they left another unanswered question: What do they gain from this all?
I will find out what the answer is, she thought. Even if I have to kill each and every one of them to get the information.
Rubbing her tired face, Kate sat the book down with a groan. Stretching on the couch, she noted that the return voyage had gone as smooth as expected. Yes it wasn’t the best ride she had taken, she told herself, but they were getting home and that was all that mattered.
What I wouldn’t give to see the looks on their faces when we get home, she thought, chuckling at the mental picture. That would be worth the price of admission!
She turned her attention back to the ancient book she was reading. While reading it, she was able to forget the troubles surrounding her. Written by Edgar Allen Poe, the gothic horror writer always helped her put things into perspective. Especially, she thought with a chuckle, when the horrors of the world around you more then matched his writing!
“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,” Kate mumbled, settling down with the poem.
‘The Raven’ fit her mood perfectly, she mused, some how the story was fitting for the world around her. Here you had one lonely man reading until the Raven ultimately took him into his madness. Unfortunately, she reminded herself, it was others that had taken her into the mouth of madness.
The chime of her door rang for her attention, interrupting her from her literature. With a sigh, she stretched like a cat, hitting the com button at the head of the couch. It was 2330 hours, she groaned, for Christ’s sake, who would be coming by now?
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