The Hunted Chapter 16 snippet (new writing)
The mood in the cockpit was somber while the fighter flew on through h-space. Kate stewed over the destruction of the frigate, her mind racing with possibilities. How had a missile not armed for destruction, managed to destroy the Fleet vessel?
Something just didn’t add up, she thought with a snort. The missile had several different settings for destructive capabilities, and she had intentionally set it for a crippling shot. So, with that done, what the hell had destroyed the Frigate?
Jennifer’s soft breathing was the only sign her friend was in the cockpit. Since they had left the Epsilon Irindi system, the security officer had been silent. Kate couldn’t fault her friend for judging her a killer because she was.
A wave of self-loathing washed over her and Kate resisted the urge to open the cockpit. How could someone whose been trained to kill their entire life ever fit into civilized society? Maybe the military was the best place for her to be because it gave the best options for long-term happiness.
Still something doesn’t make any sense, Kate thought. Here she had the best weaponry that Intelligence had to offer and it wouldn’t do what was expected of it? Was that by chance or was something interfering with it’s performance?
A sneaky though started to fill her mind and Kate frowned at it. Reyes wouldn’t dare, would he? That would have violated the very word he gave her when she left to find the Syndicate.
What if a second fighter had been nearby? Could Intelligence have developed another type of stealth that her instruments couldn’t detect? It would be in character for Reyes to do something like that. Since she had awakened on Beowulf, he had taken a special interest in her.
The sneaky bastard, she fumed. I wonder who the hell is piloting the other craft and where they are?
A quick scan of h-space around them showed now contacts, which wasn’t surprising in the least. If the other craft were using a next generation stealth system, then her detection gear would be useless. The only question that kept gnawing at Kate was how in the hell she missed its creation?
Weapons research is done at headquarters, Kate thought with a snort, which means it had to have been really hush hush for me to not to know about it. It’s almost impossible to keep a secret in the damned building!
Unable to resist the urge any longer, Kate started to laugh. It was a hollow, mirthless tone that showed how she felt about the situation. How could anyone have an enjoyment in a situation at rotten as this one was? Unfortunately, it was liable to get worse before it got better.
“What’s so funny?” Loving asked.
“Just this whole damned situation,” Kate groused. “I know what happened back there.”
“You do?” Loving said. “What was it?”
“It appears we have a guardian angel of sorts,” Kate said.
“One of your friends?” Loving asked with a chuckle.
“I have no idea,” Kate said. “Just that Intelligence has to be behind it.”
“Didn’t Reyes give us free reign?”
“Apparently not,” Kate said bitterly. “My guess is that we have a fighter following us with a second generation stealth field.”
“Why do you say that?”
“If it was first generation,” Kate explained. “Then I would be able to detect it one my sensors, but obviously its not.”
“Are you sure that’s what is really happening or are you trying to rationalize what happened to yourself?”
The comment made Kate bite her tongue to keep from firing back. How dare Jennifer as her a question like that! Loving hadn’t been the one who had fired the missile that hit the frigate!
Besides, Kate thought, with all the people I’ve killed, I don’t need to rationalize anything anymore!
“No I’m not,” Kate said, calmer then she felt. “It’s the only thing that makes sense.”
“Why does it make more sense then the fact your missile destroyed the Frigate?”
“You know, Jennifer,” Kate said. “I don’t recall you being such a right royal ass, but let me explain it to you.
“Reyes has wanted to destroy the Syndicate for years,” Kate said, sighing. “This bounty on my head made it easy for him because he could let me run wild after them all the time he watched discretely.”
“If he was doing that,” Loving said. “Then why didn’t he do more to help us?”
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