[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]
.Already dressed, I float down to Yorktown's bay, a bee hive's worth of people floating around her, patching the hull.It's quiet on the inside, most of the work done, a couple of Marines, not ours, standing guard on the bridge and outside Engineering.Langston shows right on cue with the same old guy on the camera and Benson's aide in tow.He's lost a little weight, the boss probably making him work on those zero gee exercises just in case.I already have the nav display up on one screen and the life support page up on the other.I was going to use the engine panel, but it's too red when we're docked.Miley starts right in."Katana, same rules as last time, we can edit out any pauses or slips of the tongue, just let me know.""Thanks."She waves at the camera man, the bright light comes on and we're rolling."Good morning.I'm Miley Langston for the UnionOne Network and once again we're lucky enough to be floating in the Captain's ready room aboard USS Yorktown with Captain Katana Krieger.Thanks for sparing the time for us, Katana.""My pleasure, Miley."She quizzes me for an hour, I do my duty and talk about the Navy, talk about doing our jobs, do my best to make everyone feel safe in their beds.And, truthfully, if the bad guys only know how to make T jumps, if they have no ships bigger than what Benson now calls the Football class, if we put ships into the two systems that border their space, Gamma Upsilon and Gamma Nu, and if they don't find a way into the Dynasty space further along, odds are we can defend our territory.But that's a lot of ifs.During the interview, my pad beeped, but I ignored it on camera.Afterwards, I discovered I had another duty to perform.At precisely 1600, in my dress uniform except the hair unleashed along my back, I descend the tunnel from Yorktown's hatch to the ground, my velcro shoes attaching to the black carpet below.There's a line, standing at attention, waiting for me.A definite protocol for everything that comes next.I stop in front of the first man, return his salute and offer him my hand."Lieutenant Bass, it's been an honor.Kennedy is getting a fine officer to lead her RISTA team.""Thank you, sir."I stop in front of the second man, return his salute and offer him my hand."Ensign Marcos, it's been an honor.Your experience will be invaluable to Constitution.""Thank you, sir."I stop in front of the third person, return her salute and offer her my hand."Petty Officer Wallace, it's been an honor.Bolivar is getting an outstanding pilot.""Thank you, sir."I stop in front of the fourth man, return his salute and offer him my hand."Petty Officer Blair, it's been an honor.Midway will benefit from your experience.""Thank you, sir."I stop in front of the fifth man, return his salute and offer him my hand."Lt.Commander Ayala, it's been an honor.Kennedy is getting an outstanding Second Officer.""Thank you, sir."I take a step back, turn to my left, as much snap as I can muster in my velcro shoes."Transfers approved, dismissed." One final salute while they turn and walk quietly toward whatever awaits them.I knew I'd lose Marcos, he's still not recovered enough to be certified for flight duty, it'll be six months before Constitution actually needs a pilot.Adding Gomez meant we were overstaffed at RISTA, and getting the Kennedy assignment is a definite step up for Bass, at least on paper.After everything he's been through, I'm not surprised Blair asked out, and Wallace gets the chance to fly a ship 80 times our size.Ayala must have impressed somebody, apparently he was requested for the Kennedy post, though not by the new skipper, Admiral Lee.I have a lot of holes to fill in my ship's roster, four in Engineering alone, before we get sent out again.There's one more notification on my pad, but it isn't a problem yet.Shelby Perez is officially the captain nominee of USS Saratoga, FA-3, but I get to hold on to her for another six months or so until the ship is far enough along in construction that having a live captain on board makes sense, just as I spent the last year of Yorktown's construction on board.She's replacing Captain Bumbry, my classmate at the Academy, who didn't make it out of the first Saratoga keel when Carpenter went up in flames.Not worried about that just now, I float back to my quarters, get back into my civi clothes, and float to the Indian restaurant for a celebratory dinner with Shelby and Tony.It's 1000 hours by the time I haul my butt out of the silk sheets next morning, missing my sisters immensely.Message on my pad to meet Benson and Everingham for lunch in ChiNO's office at 1200.Just enough time to get in a run, wash the hair, and get tidied up.They make sure I get to eat before we talk about anything serious, Everingham wants to know how my parents' visit went, and he wants to show off the pictures of his grandkids.Finally, the food is gone, and they get serious."I spent six hours discussing the situation with the president." Everingham is fidgety, never seen that from him before."He is adamant that we've removed the threat, and that the intel on these Libor is correct.They were outcasts, not representative of their kind.""He wants to open a dialog with them, we think we've identified their home world, and he wants to make allies out of them before the Dynasty beats us to it.We all assume that the Empire is too far away, they have no sectors that border Libor space."He looks at me, the same look I got before they sent me after Bainbridge."I argued that he should send Kennedy, or at worst one of the cruiser groups, but he wouldn't hear of it.Two weeks from today, Yorktown is jumping to Libor Prime, you're going to lead the first contact expedition."It's a good thing I already ate.Table of ContentsChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 4.1Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11Chapter 12Chapter 13Chapter 14Chapter 15Chapter 16Chapter 17Chapter 18Chapter 19Chapter 20Chapter 21Chapter 22 [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]