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   Chapter 16 No.16

Dead Beckoning By Christina Engela Characters: 4858

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

Lofflin nodded.

"Pretty much." He said, agreeing. "From the Admiral's brief, I see intel estimates his crew strength at four thousand individuals, and perhaps eighty ships, plus."

Mykl nodded. He'd read the Admiral's briefing too, sent with the co-ordinates earlier.

"The question is…" Lofflin continued, "Plus what?"

"The attack intel picked up was here." Carlson added, pointing at their present location. "According to the report, the ship has been sighted at these extremes, here and here. Obviously we should investigate at these places – but perhaps we should start at a logical center between the two?"

"Okay, " Said Lofflin. "I agree with that. That's where we should start looking. What's there?"

Mykl checked.

"Nothing much." He said. "Another asteroid base, a mining operation and an observation platform so underdeveloped it can't even be called a colony, at least not yet, anyway."

"Does it have a name or a number?" Lofflin grinned. A number was given to every celestial body in space, but didn't guarantee anything much other than that it was on the charts. A name indicated a place that might be inhabited, even if it was just a small lonely outpost.

"A name." Mykl returned. "Caries."

* * *

Once the conference was over a few hours later, the four officers adjourned and gathered in the Officer's Lounge on the Antares' rec-dec. The sideboard was decked out with delicious-looking snacks fixed by the kitche

lin continued.

"No." Mykl replied with a slight shrug. There had been that time when his loderunner's engines exploded, leaving him high and dry in deep space… but he still had communications – and anyway, that had only been for a few hours, most of which was spent with the knowledge that rescue was on its way. That wasn't the same thing as being stuck in the middle of nowhere without the same level of peace of mind. "Can't say I have. Guess I've been lucky."

"Yeah, well… In the isolation of command we know that even though we feel just as hopeless and miserable as our crew, we can't afford to show them our true feelings. Blaine forgot that, and someone took it very personally."

"What did Blaine do?"

"Right when the crew needed him most, when we were stuck out in the black with no hope of rescue or survival, he locked himself in his quarters for three whole days with nothing but whiskey for company."

"Ah." Mykl nodded, getting the picture.

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