"Running with the Devil" Chapter 3 snippet 1

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The eagle flew majestically overhead, raising her spirits. After finishing basic training she learned that Fleet Security had assigned her to the Presidential Retreat. It was the purgatory of all positions and Loving knew it.

Lieutenant Jennifer Loving looked at the mountains in the distance and sighed. While Ireland was a beautiful planet, it still didn’t compensate for the boring assignment. Nothing happened there and when the President was at the retreat, the marines and security detail handled everything. She and her small staff were basically outsiders with nothing to do.

Maybe I should have died with Kate, she thought. Why did I have to live to be bored to tears with this duty?

Loving thought back to the day she watched Kate die. They had struggled, the five of them, against all odds to try to escape. Along the way she had seen long-time friends die in traps until they had reached the landing pad. An Alliance ambassadorial ship was on Necko for the games and they were trying to reach it to seek asylum.

When Loving had seen Kate’s body blasted by the grenade her world came apart. The two of them had been inseparable since they arrived on Necko, and Kate was dead. A fury filled her body and she swore that no one would ever have to lose their loved one again. Following her promise, she signed up for the Interstellar Fleet and promptly got assigned to Ireland.

How in the name of God am I supposed to protect others from here? She thought. Nothing happens here ever!

A pair of trucks came rumbling up to a stop and she didn’t pay any attention to them. The President was at the retreat hammering out a trade agreement with the Sagnar Federation and the marines had been moving equipment all day. Whenever the President was staying there it relegated her and her people to fifth wheel status.

Not like I wouldn’t want to have some excitement sometime, she thought.

She watched a pair of marine skin suits step off the truck and was intrigued by the equipment. The mess hall scuttlebutt had said they were coming but to see them in person was something special. A four-legged machine, the skin suit placed its operator behind an armored cover with five different weapons to choose from. With the firepower of a tank and the ability to move like a human, it was the cutting edge of marine technology.

They say no one can stand up to them, Loving thought while watching the two machines walk into the woods.

A flat bed truck pulled into the motor pool with a mobile anti-air missile launched aboard. She watched while a marine checked off and invoice and shouted orders to the drive. With another loud rumble, the truck disappeared into the woods surrounding the retreat.

That sure is a lot of firepower for protecting the President, she thought.

Loving stepped into her building and sighed. It was typical, once again, that the marines got all the action while she sat around bored to tears. Others had warned her that this assignment was purgatory and now she believed them. The only thing is was good for was sitting down and thinking about Kate’s death.

Her office was empty and dark when she entered it. A swipe of her hand activated the lights and she sat down at her desk. Paperwork was the largest duty she had on Ireland and it was the most annoying too. Someone once said that paperwork would ruin any military force and Loving was starting to believe that.

Hell, she thought, it’s the only thing that allows me to get some peace for watching Kate die!

“Lieutenant,” Sergeant Mike James said, entering her office with a stack of paperwork. “The latest requisition logs are in. Command wants to know why you’re requesting additional rifles.”

Loving rolled her eyes and fought back a sigh. The penny-pinchers back at Command had no idea what it would like in the field. When she had arrived and saw how meager her weaponry was, it had been enough to make anyone blow their top. How were they expected to back anyone up with two rifles and ten people to use them?

Typical idiocy at Command, she thought. Most of the bean counters have never served active duty anywhere other then DC!

The sound of gunfire filled the building and she lurched into action. James moved with a speed she had never seen and Loving found a pistol aimed at her head. He shook his head and she sat back down.

“What’s the meaning of this?” Loving demanded.

“We’re taking the compound, Lieutenant,” James said. “And if you don’t make a move you’ll live to see tomorrow.”

“Who’s ‘we?’”

“You don’t need to know that,” James said, pulling a com unit out of his pocket. “Fleet Security secured, sir.”

“Good,” an unfamiliar man’s voice said. “Bring Lieutenant Loving to the main building.”

“Yes, sir,” James said. “You heard the man, Lieutenant, it’s time for you to take a walk.”
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