The Hunted Chapter 15 snippet (new writing)

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Reyes watched the reply of the short-lived battle and he closed his eyes in though. A Fleet vessel trying to collect the bounty on Almir’s head changed things tremendously. It meant that she would have no safe harbor until the people who had placed the mark were eliminated.

He sat down in his desk chair and ran a hand through his salt and pepper hair. It was a dirty affair when Fleet had to kill each other, but there was nothing about this whole ordeal that wasn’t sordid. The Syndicate had outdid themselves this time, and he still hadn’t a clue who was behind the damned organization.

For years he had been trying to infiltrate it with no success. Hell, Almir had more success in a couple of days then he had made in ten years! There was something about that woman! She just seemed to have a nose from trouble and tracking down conspiracies!

The data from Brindle’s fighter flowed across his computer terminal. From the angle that Thad had shot his missile, Almir would never know he had made the kill shot. That would be something he would have to tell the woman about, but it wouldn’t be anytime soon.

She wouldn’t want to hear what I did, he thought with a snort, it would just make her want to kill me instead.

It had been a nasty move to play on Almir, but Brindle had his orders: no one was to harm Almir-if possible-while she was on her climb through the Syndicate’s ranks. While several agents had been killed trying to infiltrate the organization, amazingly, Almir had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. When all this was through, if she was successful, he would have to make sure the woman never knew that her moves were orchestrated by him.

Orchestrated by a maestro, he thought. If anyone deserved credit for her success, it was he! Who else could’ve gotten the planetary authorities on Ireland off her back? The police had been prepare to try to arrest her after killing Burgess, but he had persuaded them to leave her be.

Anytime you mention Alliance security, Reyes snickered, people tended to listen. Civilians! What a bunch of gullible losers! They needed people like him to protect them. Hell, they’d ruin their underwear if Intelligence weren’t around to stop the threats.

Almir, on the other hand, was going to be a different problem to deal with. What would he do with her if she succeeded? The woman would be a hot potato and impossible to put into fieldwork for a while after this.

She’s be bucking to get out of intelligence, he mused, maybe that would be a good time to transfer her to Fleet. However, I could keep her in reserve status, which means anytime I need Almir’s skills, I can have them.

Unlike Fleet, Intelligence worked within a different set of rules. While personnel in the navy were placed in reserve status upon completing their commission, they couldn’t be recalled except under certain situations. Intelligence Agents, especially Special Op Agents, enjoyed no such freedom. When agents surrendered their commission, they were simply placed on reserve inactive status, which meant they never truly left the Agency. This allowed Reyes to always have a stable of usable talent no matter what the crisis was.

Almir would be madder then hell to know that, he told himself. However, she wouldn’t be the first person to be notified of the provisions of their services. Besides, how could one let people like a Special Ops Agent run loose without that level of control over them? These were people who had spent their entire careers with a level of authority to no one could comprehend in the civilian world. A Special Ops Agent only answered to three people in the Alliances, Reyes, Fleet Admiral Alex Beatty and the Alliance President.

While being reduced down to having to obey the chain of command might stifle Almir, he mused, it would also help to keep her under the radar. If the damned woman could keep herself out of trouble, then folks would forget whom she was and he could appropriate her when he had need. Of course, the big question was “if” Almir would keep herself out of trouble.

The only problem with the plan Reyes was concocting came from the President’s office. Armed with knowledge of what the Syndicate was, President Damon had authorized Almir to be promoted to Commander. His rationale: if the woman was going after an organization that Intelligence had failed to penetrate before, then she should be rewarded for it.

So now I have a newly minted Commander to worry about, Reyes snorted. It was times like this that he missed his adjunct because the man was a perfect sounding board who never got upset or critical over what he was told. Why the hell did the Syndicate have to put their damned Bounty out?
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