Chapter 15 snippet

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Commodore Alexis Ducharme frowned as she read the message from the Admiralty. Licking her lips, she couldn’t believe what she was reading! An Alliance ship had entered this sector to destroy their colonies? And Captain Kate Almir commanded the ship no less!

If the communiqué hadn’t come from the Admiralty, she wouldn’t have believed it. Kate Almir was well known in the Sagnar Federation from her role in saving the Alliance President. There were many in their armed forces that wished they could meet her. Others still wished they could be trained by her to do what she did…so this came as a total shock.

Leaning back in her chair, she looked at her three-ship squadron. Flying her flag on the battle cruiser Bounty, she was entrusted with finding who, or what, had been murdering their colonies. Once she found them, her orders were simple: shoot to kill. However, finding out that the murderer was Kate Almir made things more difficult.

It would make the Admiralty happy if I bring her back alive, she mused. And with a single Wichita-class heavy cruiser wasn’t a match for what I’ve got.

Accompanied by the heavy cruiser’s Sheffield and Exeter, her squadron was an imposing force. The Admiralty had decided to give her the firepower to handle any marauder she found. Between the three of them, she mused; they could have handled a battle ship, or even a dreadnaught in a pinch.

“Something about this doesn’t seem right,” she said, looking at her Chief of Staff, Captain Jason White-Green.

White-Green was an experienced officer like herself. With a head of salt-and pepper hair, he wasn’t much younger then she was. Between the two of them, they had seen extensive combat in battling pirates. When their orders had been cut to find the murderers, they had been excited to take the mission on. However, after weeks of finding nothing but murdered worlds they had grown jaded. It seemed they were always two steps behind whoever was behind the atrocities.

“What doesn’t seem right, sir?” he asked.

“Why would Kate Almir do such a thing?” she asked. “Everything our Intelligence agency has learned about her says she wouldn’t do this.”

“People have been known to change,” he said, shrugging.

“That much is true,” she said. “But I really doubt whether she is the one behind this.”

“What are your plans then, sir?” he asked. “Ignore out orders?”

“Whoa ho,” she said. “Not a chance! I’m considering taking her prisoner.”

“What about her ship?”

“Capture it,” she said. “The prize money would be worth it for us…and imagine the new tech we could learn from that Alliance ship!”

“Are you sure the Admiralty will like you disobeying their orders like that?”

“If I bring them Kate Almir on a silver platter,” she said. “I don’t think they will care one bit. But, honestly, I don’t think she did it.”

“You’re awfully sure of that, sir,” he said, shaking his head.

“Call it a gut hunch,” she said, not telling him that she had read the classified files they had on Almir. No, she told herself, there was no way Almir did this.

However, she thought, keeping herself from chuckling. If I capture her, I maybe can learn who is really behind this! It would be worth at least one star!

“Captain Alwyn,” she said, clicking on the com unit on her chair’s arm. “Set a course for Proxima Six…best speed.”

“We’re going big game hunting,” she said, watching White-Green’s face fill with a smile.

“May your hunches always be right, sir,”

I hope they are too, she told herself, keeping her face a mask. Otherwise I could end up dead! That woman has a tendency of winning despite the odds being against her.
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