The Hunted Chapter 32 snippet

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Ferini stood over the tactical officers shoulder and looked at the computer screen. There hadn’t been any communication with Adams for a day now, so he assumed she was dead. Damn that Almir! The woman never knew when to take a hint!

When the Hilgarian’s had come to him with their plan, his initial reaction had been to refuse them. However, after a personal meeting with the Fuhrer changed that. The plans he had for the galaxy were amazing and there was room for a place like Necko to flourish.

With the Empire needing lebensraum, they had set their sights on the Barton Republic. Rich in minerals and livable planets, it was the perfect place to expand into. However, the Republic had a defense treaty with the Alliance, which made things problematic. If the Empire made a move to get the planets it wanted, then there would be an all-out war with the Alliance.

The treaty had forced the Fuhrer to think outside the box and the end result had been his approaching Ferini. The Empire and companies in the Alliance that stood to gain from a war, had hatched an audacious plan to eliminate the President. The resulting chaos would bring an end to the treaty and allow the Empire to move to capture the Republic.

However, they hadn’t wanted to have any connection to the event, so the Syndicate had been sought out. After much haggling, Ferini had agreed to the plan and had started to make moves on it. His first action had been to lure Adams away from Fleet Intelligence and into his employ. After that, it had been easy to use Almir to distract Reyes from seeing what was happening until it was too late.

Everything has worked perfectly except for the fact that Almir won’t die, he thought. If she was dead, then I wouldn’t be worrying.

If there was one thing he had learned in his life, it was to never doubt one Katherine Almir. The longer she lived, the more likely his plans would fail; it was that simple because the woman wouldn’t give up until she had killed him. However, this time he held the high cards.

She wouldn’t dare try to make a move when I could kill Loving quite easily, he thought.

“There’s nothing on the screen, sir,” the tac officer said.

“Keep looking,” Ferini turned from the computer to look at Loving. “Almir has a way of turning up when you least expect her.”

“Yes, sir!”

Turning his attention to Loving, Ferini smirked. It was one of the few emotions he would let show in public, which suited him just fine. The security officer looked at him with a scowl but she didn’t turn away.

“Katie is late,”

“She’ll be along,” Loving shrugged.

The com officer turned to face Ferini, his face ashen. A single eyebrow rose on the Game Master’s face. If the military man was this shaken up, something terrible had to have happened. Were they just now getting word on Adams’ death, or was it Almir’s?

“Sir,” he said. “We have a report from Necko.”

Necko? What the hell would they be contacting him for? Few people in the galaxy knew the connection between the Games and the Syndicate? What had that damned Almir done this time?

“What kind of report?”

“It’s the Games Complex,” the man sounded shaken. “It’s gone, sir.”

“What do you mean gone?” Ferini felt his stomach drop. Could Almir have done something he couldn’t have forseen?

“It was destroyed when the reactor blew, sir,” the com tech said. “There’s nothing left standing.”

Ferini stumbled back and sat down. The complex was gone? It had to be some mistake! There was no way it could all have been destroyed? He felt the blood drain from his face as the reality of it set in.

The Games Complex was the biggest source of income, and agents, for the Syndicate. Without the money bet on the blood sports, the organization would be out of cash within months. Even with the massive amount of credits they were getting for assassinating the President wouldn’t be enough to keep that from happening.

Almir had to have been behind this, he reflected, there wasn’t any other option. The bitch had managed to destroy an organization, which had existed for centuries in one, fell swoop. Goddamn her!

Ferini found himself wishing he had never set eyes upon the woman. Maybe if she had never arrived on Necko, none of this would have happened. It was possible that it could have happened anyway due to fate, God or whatever you wanted to call it. Either way, she had turned what was personal into a feud unlike anything the galaxy had ever seen.
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