Chapter 26 snippet

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Kate entered the conference room, looking at her command staff as she passed. Each one of them had the same expression, a look of both worry and excitement. If they had changed course to a system not in the pattern, then something had to be up! They just had to wait for her to tell them what it was.

Carrying a data chip in her hand, she sat down at the head of the table. She placed it into the holovid and leaned back in her chair. The lights dimmed down and a large holographic image of the sector appeared before them.

“As you are all aware,” she said. “We’ve been following a trail of destroyed Sagnar colonies.”

The room was filled with acknowledgements as the officers agreed. With a push of a button, the systems that had been destroyed were placed in red. The Beta Scorpii base and the Toronto joined them. She let it sit there for several moments before she spoke again.

“If you examine the pattern that we have found,” she said. “They all surround a single system: Omega-Zeta. How this was missed by the Sagnar I do not know, but I’m willing to bet that this is the key to everything.”

“There does seem to be a pattern,” Paul said. “But what makes you think that Omega Zeta is the key, Skipper?”

“A hunch,” she lied. “But it’s also the place where this sector is the narrowest between our two territories.”

“Let’s say you’re right,” Reynolds said. “What do you expect to find? After seeing the images from Beta Scorpii, what do you think they were doing?”

Rubbing her chin in thought, she contemplated the Doctor’s question. It had great merit, she mused, and was something that had been bothering her too. Why would they have been doing such genetic manipulations on people? What did they have to gain?

“If I had to lay money on it,” she said. “I would say some sort of hidden base. As to your second question, that has bothered me too. Just what did they have to gain?”

“I was thinking about that,” Loving said. “And everyone of the modifications seemed to be for offensive reasons. Could they have been making a super soldier, a genetically enhanced human?”

“That’s a scary thought,” Reynolds said.

“And against every galactic treaty again,” Kate said, dryly. “However, I’m starting to learn that both Fleet and the Alliance don’t seem to hold treaties in high regard.”

“That brings us to another problem, Skipper,” Paul said. “If we do find this base, what do we do with it?”

“We destroy it of course,”

“What do you think they will do to us back home then?” Paul asked.

“You guys,” she said. “Will probably be beached; me on the other hand, I will be tried for disobeying a direct order. Remember: Captain goes down with the ship.”

“That’s not a comforting thought, Skipper,” Paul said.

“Well we’re beyond that now,” she said. “It’s time to make sure you decide what you’re in for. From here on out, we’re on a mission: to stop a war. It’s apparent that Carver wants one, why I have no idea, but he wants one. We have to stop him, even at the loss of our careers.”

“Skipper,” Brooks said. “I know I’m just an engineer, but I’m with you on this one. We cannot allow this war to happen, at least right now. If Carver wants one, he’ll find a way to get one; however, this is a time and a place that we can draw the line.”

“Hell,” Loving said. “I know I don’t have much common sense, you can count me in.”

“You know I’ve been in this from the get-go,” Paul said. “After what Reyes did to you.”

“Communications is behind you, sir,” Marie said.

Kate smiled tightly as she heard her staff standing behind her. It was going to rough seeing them split up, she told herself, since they had earned her complete trust. Everything she did, they gave her their unconditional support. That made her job easier then they could over know, and more appreciative too.

“Thank you everybody for your support,” she said.
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