Chapter 32 snippet (100% rewritten)
The long walk through Fleet Headquarters didn’t quell his anxiety. Johansson licked his lips, hoping his nerves didn’t show. How was he going to explain this? He was the Intelligence Chief, he reflected, and nothing was sealed to him; yet he hadn’t known of the codes Reyes had placed in Almir’s bionics.
Looking at the paintings of old warships, he swallowed hard. They were going to take his life, he mused, over this and well they should. The shifty old bastard had pulled a fast one on them all! If they had known about it years ago, then she wouldn’t even be an issue now!
Normally, he mused, this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but when it deals with one Katherine Almir nothing is a small detail! The damned woman had been a thorn in his side for three years now, and still she continued to be so. But, he chuckled; this would soon change!
Not for much longer I hope, he said as he tapped on a piece of wood paneling as he walked. We won’t know anything from Benton for at least another 2 hours…so there’s nothing to do but wait.
The bad thing about it all was the fact that he couldn’t tell Benton about this. With the communications lag, it would take six hours to get to him. By then, he mused, either she would be dead, or Benton would be. The information then would be thoroughly useless.
But it’s totally embarrassing that Kosloski found something I couldn’t, he told himself.
However, that wasn’t what was causing his anxiety. It was the meeting before him that was. Carver and Beatty were waiting to be told the information he had. When he was finished, he reflected, they were going to want to know how he missed this information. Especially after all the snooping in Almir’s file he had done!
If I’m lucky, they won’t kill me, He thought, trying to rub away the headache he felt.
His lonely footsteps were the only sound on the floor. With most personnel off duty, and only Delta shift manning Headquarters, it seemed like a ghost town. Stopping before Beatty’s office, he took a deep breath, straightening out his black uniform.
He opened the door, stepping inside. Looking at Beatty’s adjunct, he smiled at him. Maybe if he acted like nothing was wrong, he hoped, then everything would turn out okay. Either way he cut it, he was in deep **** for failing to catch the information.
Beatty’s office was, as he always knew it to be: full of holographic plots, overlooking the man war room for the Fleet. The high-quality leather furniture was in the usual places. However, it was the people filling them that were different.
Beatty and Carver he recognized right away. It was the third person that he didn’t know. A red haired woman sat with them. Wearing an impeccably creased black uniform, he noted two things about it right away. The stylized ‘SS’ emblem on her collar, and the Totenkofh insignia with it reminded him of something, but he couldn’t place it.
Who is she? He asked himself, keeping his face a mask.
“Take a seat, Bernard,” Beatty said, lighting a cigarette.
“I understand you have some information for us regarding Almir,” Carver said
“Yes, sir,” he said, fidgeting slightly in his seat.
“Relax, Bernard,” Carver said with a dismissive gesture of his hand. “No one is being eliminated today no matter what you tell us.”
The magnanimous gesture caught him by surprise. This was the first time Carver had tolerated a failure like this before. Just what made him decided to be so…human for a change?
“We had a security breech,” he said, taking a deep breath. “It involved our personnel records.”
“Who did it?” Beatty asked, exhaling smoke.
“Richard Kosloski,” he said.
“Since he’s going to be dead soon,” Carver said, sipping at a brandy. “Why is this a big worry?”
“It’s the file he was accessing that is the problem,” he said, looking at his feet.
“What kind of file would cause the kind of trouble to worry us with?” Carver refilled his glass.
“The personnel file is question was Kate Almir’s,” he said.
The silence that cast a pall over the room was instantaneous. He could see the eyes of everyone darken at the woman’s name. As much as she had cost them all, he mused; it wasn’t a surprise that everyone hated her!
“That could be problematic,” the woman said. “What was in that file, do tell.”
Johansson found himself looking at her with half squinted eyes. Just who was she, he wondered again. She seemed to be remarkably well informed about Almir, more then he was comfortable with especially having never met her.
“They were hidden black book files on her,” he said. “Ones that Reyes had concealed so well that I never found them.”
“You mean to tell me he out smarted you?” Beatty sighed. “Bernard, this is embarrassing to say the least.”
“It gets worse, sirs,” he said. “They contained codes to her bionics.”
“Codes?” Carver raised an eyebrow. “What kind of codes?”
Johansson looked at everyone before speaking. This information was going to cause a ruckus, he thought. Imagine how all of us would have felt if we had known of this four years ago? Everything would be completely different today!
“Shut down codes for her bionics,”
“Shut down codes, eh?” the woman said, smiling. “We have suspected there was such a thing; however, we couldn’t find any evidence.”
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