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   Chapter 13 No.13

Dead Beckoning By Christina Engela Characters: 5524

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"…but?" Mykl prompted intuitively.

"But, " Lirtman continued, "It seems Kilroy managed to capture the Indomitable for himself!"

"He what?" Mykl questioned, doing a double take. "Sir, that's no easy task!"

"No shit." Said Lirtman forthrightly in an uncharacteristic lapse of protocol, but one which seemed appropriate for the moment. He continued, unfazed after flashing a funny little smile and shaking his head. "That brings me to my reason for contacting you, Mykl."

'Uh-oh, ' Mykl's trouble-sensing radar went as it poked him in the ribs. 'Here it comes!'

"Another special op for us, Admiral?" Mykl smiled thinly.

"I'm afraid so."

"Okay, " He nodded. "Hit me, sir."

"According to Fleet Intel, Kilroy has spent the last three months collecting Corsair stragglers all over the Quadrant. He's been rebuilding the Corsair fleet – quite a lot of smaller ships escaped the blockade at Meradinis – including the ones that were away on raids and for various reasons weren't there at the time of our attack, and they appear to have joined up with him. Add to that, the myriad of small outposts the Corsairs had around the sector, each with their own small ships – and manpower, a ship here, a ship there – and before you know it, he's got a fleet and the makings of another Turtle Island."

Mykl nodded. He could already guess where this was going.

"What do you think he's planning?" Mykl asked.

"Unfortunately, we think Kilroy's already gone a step beyond just planning, Mykl. There's already been a raid." Lirtman sighed. "An asteroid base in the Quillian Sector went silent four days ago. Everything so far in what information w

nothing could beat the speed of bad news, not even a starship at full warp.

Mykl had the Antares at full battle-stations when Antares stopped at the co-ordinates given for Astor-base thirty-seven – which was a relatively small, thin belt of astors at the outskirts of the remains of a nearby star-system. The star had destroyed all its inner planets in its last expansion millennia ago, and was now a cold, dark dwarf star somewhere far away at the center of the dead system, being orbited by rocky debris and a cold, dead, frozen moon of ice.

A large 'roid took up the Antares' viewscreen, gray and dull, almost completely smooth in places, featureless in the pale light of the distant star at the center of this system. They'd only arrived a few minutes before, and the sensor sweep of the area told them all they needed to know – there was nothing alive onboard the astor-base, nor were there any other ships in the vicinity! Mykl canceled the alert, and settled back to wait for the arrival of the Mordrake. In retrospect, the crew had performed as responsively as in the most recent drill.

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