The Road to the Stars – Chapter Eight

I may have mentioned this before, but until I got to know Davie Whitmore, she was number one on my personal hit list. It’s not because I thought she had any personal animus towards us, but she was so damn good at her job it was challenging to counter her.

In retrospect, the Primus did us a favor by being an unreasonable, irrational bitch. But you’ll learn more about that soon.

Put it on your calendars now: November 24.

Why?

Because Adam is going to do a blockbuster sale and promotional blitz that day!

He’s going to be all over the web, including at least one (and maybe two) LIVE appearances, PLUS giveaways and contests and all sorts of other fun things.

MOST of this will be on Facebook (see the button below), but he’s also going to be on the Meet The Author Podcast at 7pm EST (4pm PST) on the 24th as well.

Don’t miss out!


This is the FB Group you should join!

Chapter Eight

“Brilliant, Whitmore, simply brilliant!”

For all that she was receiving praise from the Primus, Whitmore would have preferred to be back with her staff. After all, by the Primus’ own orders, she was to launch a strike against the L5 habitat in just a few short hours. However, an invitation to meet with the Primus was not something that could be declined, so here she was.

“Thank you, Primus,” she said simply.

“Do we know the effect of our attack?” Newling asked her Minister of Intelligence.

“No, Primus,” replied Colin Dent.

“Pity. Any indications at all?”

“Our satellites have difficulty seeing through the smoke and debris. The area surrounding the impact zone is burning and may well do so for days. I have taken the liberty of preparing a visual, Primus. If I may?”

“Yes, yes, Minister!”

A screen on the far wall of the meeting room lit.

“This is a real-time view of the impact zone.” Through a pall of smoke, flames could be seen flickering over a wide area. “This is approximately forty kilometers across.”

The view shifted, the smoke seeming to disappear. Bright colors spread outward from the center.

“This is the same area viewed in infrared. The brightest areas are hottest. At the center, temperatures are well over two thousand degrees from the melted rocks, though it cools rapidly. The reds and oranges among the blues and greens are fires, both in buildings and natural sources.” There were too many red and orange spots to count, blurring into seemingly-solid lines in some parts.

“Can you focus on the target?”

“Yes, Primus.” The center shifted, and a small “X” appeared. “That is the recorded location.”

“Why isn’t it at the middle?”

“The device we used was little more than an iron cylinder, Primus,” explained Whitmore. “We couldn’t risk adding anything which might possibly bely a man-made origin, such as thrusters, or a guidance system. Essentially, at your orders, Primus, it was little more than a meteor.”

“Under the circumstances, Primus, the accuracy is impressive,” added Dent, supporting Whitmore.

“Impressive or not, are we certain that the target was destroyed?”

“It will take time for any official reports to come out. There certainly doesn’t seem to be any structure remaining.”

Newling sighed. “That will have to do for now, but you will inform me the instant confirmation is received.”

“Yes, Primus.”

“Do they suspect anything? Their officials.”

“No, Primus. Right now, the local government is treating this as an act of God.”

“Good,” said Newling. “Whitmore, how are your plans coming for the attack on the habitat?”

“Completed and ready for execution, Primus.”

The woman who held the power of the Solarian Union nearly bounced in her seat.

“Tell me.”

“We will pre-position missiles, which we will launch remotely. This will force the habitat to use their surface-mounted missiles in defense or risk their destruction. Once we have confirmed launch of all their missiles, our ships, which will have been observing, will close on the habitat and demand it surrender or be destroyed. Once they recognize the futility of their position, they will surrender, and our ships will land. We have a full company of soldiers aboard, which will be more than sufficient to subdue their crew and take them hostage. The station will be ours before noon.” Whitmore looked pleased.

“No.”

“I’m sorry, Primus, I don’t understand.”

“You will not board the station. You will destroy it, whether they surrender or not.”

“But, Primus, this is their primary off-Earth base. Imagine what advances we may claim! Minister Dent has informed us that they are building another starship. What if they have already installed the warp drive?” The usually silent Minister of Technology, Kreitzer Newling, stood in protest.

“I have to agree with Minister Newling, Primus,” said the Foreign Affairs Minister, Arthur Dent. “If they have a warp drive on the station, and we can capture it, our power over the system will be assured.”

“In addition, Primus, if we destroy the station, then when their starship returns, as it will, they will inevitably turn on us to seek their revenge,” Whitmore said, picking up the thread. “If we hold the station, we may be able to lure them in and capture it intact, with a crew who may be persuaded to shift allegiances. Surely that is worth delaying your revenge?”

“We know that one of the Cassidy women is aboard the starship,” added Colin Dent. “You may be able to see her face, rather than merely blot her from the universe.”

The Primus sat thoughtfully, the urge to enact a swift blow warring with the desire to see her enemies suffer, for several long minutes. Finally, when the Ministers who had spoken against her felt they couldn’t take it any longer, she spoke.

“Very well. Capture the habitat if possible. But any resistance, any, and you are to destroy it. Am I understood?”

“Yes, Primus,” said Whitmore. “I must go give the orders.”

“Yes, yes. Get out of here. Come back when you have succeeded, or don’t return at all. Send your deputy, then walk out an airlock and save me the trouble.”

“Yes, Minister.”

The meeting quickly dissolved.

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