The Million Dollar Question

Flipping the table back upright and setting up a chair; I stuffed Ash into the chair. “All right cuz, the man has a point! Start talking and begin with when did an over crewed Pursuit Cruiser get a damn Political Officer? You better talk fast cause somebody is gonna pay for wasting that perfectly good booze, you do not want it to be you!”

From behind me came Fortson’s voice; “I don’t think that’s necessary; ‘Nice damn catch Magic’.” Turning I saw Mariana with a bottle in either hand; she said “Aw Hell, I couldn’t let Bart be guilty of alcohol abuse.” Turning back to Ash “Start talking now!”

As Told by Ashcroft William Andrews IV

I was just getting ready to ask for some ice for my lip, when for some reason I had the smarts to look up. Bartlett I knew did not like me at the moment but, I was not prepared for the other two faces. My childhood friend and cousin was gone. In his place was the blank cold eyes of the man they called The Reaper; just past his shoulder were the ice cold all seeing eyes of the woman called Magic. One thought came immediately to my mind “Come to Jesus, Ash.”

“Well, it all started when they decided to have Investigating Officers on all units. Sort of a backlash after the Squadron IO on old PC 137 had a nervous break down. Right after old U. S. SOCOM got absorbed they changed the title to Political Officer. Kept giving them more and more authority, they control all communications on and off the ship now instead of the Pilot. All computer systems are under their administration, including private ones. Hell, the internal locator will not even show their position to Damage Control Rescue console.”

“We got this current jerk just before departure burn from Lunar Orbit. What you really should worry about is that we boosted 5 days before you guys left HOR dock. The assault crews were practicing the attack plans from day 1, 4 days before you guys. Hell that was the only way we beat the Lancer here; damn but that ship is fast! Anyway, the plan came right from the top. You people scare the hell out of the UNWG, Hamilton most of all.”

Bartlett snorted “Yeah well, they took care of that part!”

I simply replied “Think so, according to the classified traffic they could not find the body.”

Main Group

Looking at Bartlett I said “Bill I believe him, never seen him this scared and He just can not lie worth a damn! But, think about what he said; we were penetrated and Hamilton anticipated their every move! Right down to a T, He beat em every turn they took. But, sit down and have a drink before you try to answer the million dollar question. If he was not in that shuttle, where the hell is he?”

It was the first and I think the last time I ever saw Bill speechless!

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Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
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