The Betrayal Revised Chapter 14 snippet
God, Kate thought with an inward grimace, I forgot how much I hate the pomp and circumstance!
In recognition of CINCFLEET the boatswain’s pipes blew as Beatty stepped aboard. Totally immaculate, his uniform proper in every detail, he walked up to Kate. He has so much blood on his hands, she mused as she watched him.
Someone like him didn’t kill people with their own hands; no, they paid, or ordered, others to do it for them. Kate raged behind a mask of steel, watching Rear Admiral Johansson board behind him. And here comes the right hand hatchet man!
“Permission to come aboard, Captain?” His voice cultured and smooth as silk.
“Permission granted, sir,” Kate forced a pleasant smile on her face. One look into Beatty’s eyes told her neither one of them were fooling each other.
“In response to your ordeal, Captain,” he said, walking down the line of surviving crew. “I’m giving two weeks of leave for every member of your crew.”
An eyebrow rose, causing her to use all of her self-control to keep a straight face. Just what was he trying to pull? Two weeks leave for the crew, she mused, would be a god way to buy their silence. The command crew, she snorted, would spend the time being coerced into silence no doubt.
“That’s very generous of you,” she said, forcing her voice to remain level.
Liar! She raged in her head, wanting to say that to his face.
“But I have direct orders for everyone onboard,” Beatty turned around, his eye boring into Kate’s. “The Toronto and everything that happened in the Beta Scorpii sector is now classified. It is to be considered a taboo subject and is forbidden speech. Anyone not following those orders,” Beatty’s eyes hardened on Kate’s. “Will be subject to arrest under the Official Secrets Act, understood?”
“Yes, sir,” Kate said, a hint of bitterness showing in her voice.
Kate watched CINCFLEET stop before brooks with a hitch in her breath. Here it goes, she told herself, the other shoe is getting ready to drop! Beatty certainly wasn’t wasting any time!
“Chief Brooks,” he said with a thin smile. “I would like to congratulate you on your efforts to get the Roanoke back home.”
“Thank you, sir,”
“I’ve decided that we need your skills here at space dock to oversea the construction and repair facilities,” Beatty said. “I cannot think of anyone better qualified.”
The entire event was surrealistic for her, even knowing it was going to happen. If Kate needed to reality of their situation hammered home any, this was doing it. It was obvious he was going to keep them on a short leash, she reflected, where they were easy to watch…and control.
I can’t wait to see you fall, Kate thought bitterly.
“I appreciate that offer, sir,” Brooks said stiffly. “But I’d like to oversee the refit of the Roanoke if I may.”
“I’m sorry that won’t be possible, Chief,” Beatty said. “I’ve already assigned Commander Wilson to replace you.”
Terrance Wilson? Kate thought, nearly laughing aloud. He wasn’t capable of tying Brooks’ shoelaces, much less repairing the Roanoke correctly!
“Commander Paul,” Beatty said as he stopped before the XO. “I understand your actions as XO were exemplary! We need a man of your caliber at the Weapons Training Center! Report there in two days to become the new Commandant.”
“Thank you, sir,” Thankfulness wasn’t evident in Paul’s voice, but Beatty moved down the list.
“Lieutenant Loving,” he said with a slight, evil grin that only Loving and Kate could see. “You will report in the morning to space dock security. Your new assignment is as deputy security chief.”
“Doctor Reynolds,” Beatty said with a cool tone. “With your experience in cybernetics now, we need your skills at Fleet Hospital here on space dock. You will report in the morning as Head of Replacement Surgery.”
Beatty stopped before Kate now that he was finished. Looking at her with a wolfish grin, he was ravishing in his victory. All he had to do was to put her back in Intelligence, she mused, to have completely defeated her.
But that’s okay, she thought. Because it would just be another in a long line of mistakes he has made in dealing with me.
“Captain Almir,” he said, he voice changing to one of anger. “Since you have such a hard time following orders, I have no choice but to send you back to Intelligence.”
“Sir,” she said. “How could I be an effective Agent after this much time out of the field?”
“That’s something you will have to figure out, Captain. You are to gather your equipment and leave in two days for the planet Haven.”
“Haven?” Kate asked, confused for the first time.
“You are to meet with an Intelligence operative to debrief him,” Johansson said. “You will receive your mission brief while in route.”
“This is very unusual, sirs,” Kate said, making her protest seem real.
“Nothing you do is ‘usual,’ Almir,” Johansson said. “But I need you in Intelligence right now.”
So you can take another shot at killing me I’m sure, Kate thought with a snort.
“I expect you will follow orders this time, Captain?” Beatty said. “The next time you disobey them, I’ll throw you in the brig for so long you’ll die there, understand?”
“I expect you to be ready to leave in forty-eight hours, Captain,” Johansson said as he turned and followed Beatty off the ship.
“Dismissed!” Kate barked.
She watched her former crew file away, most of them excited about their lengthy leave. As they left, the command crew surrounded her. Everyone was going to look to her for answers, she mused, and the sad this was: she didn’t have any yet.
This is going to complicate my plans, she thought with a sigh.
“What do we do about this, Kate?” Brooks spoke for all of them.
“First off,” Kate muttered. “Let’s meet at my apartment tomorrow night. I have a few tricks to keep them from hearing what we’re saying. By that time, I might have some better ideas as to what to do.”
“How do you expect us to be able to do anything about that damned ship while separated?” Paul said.
“I know the crew loves me still,” Kate told him. “So we just have to count on help from some of them. Find the one’s we’d trust our lives with, since we basically will be, and have them keep everyone united.”
“I sure hope to hell this works, Kate,” Jennifer said. “Or we might all either end up dead or working in a prison colony for the rest of our lives.”
“The way I see it,” Kate said. “We don’t have much of a choice. Now let’s go get our things ready to leave.”
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