Authors: Ken McConnell
A few months later Katya was practically running the squadron. I let her plan all the missions, pick the flight leads and run the Kindergarten classes. She still came to me every so often for advice on things like dealing with the occasional dumbass pilot, but never about tactics or flying. She was an expert at fighting the KiV-5 and didn’t need my input anymore.
We never spoke about our little secret until my orders came. I was being reassigned back to the deep space Fleet. No more island paradise for me, I was going back to the black. Which meant that I had to chose whether to promote Katya to Squadron Commander or trust that Fleet would assign some desk jockey or worse to take over my finely tuned, highly efficient squadron. That was the easiest decision I’ve ever made.
I called her into my office and poured us both a glass the fighter pilot’s drink since the dawn of time, Jweed. Pure rot gut, guaranteed to prove your heritage and knock you on your ass. I mostly drank the stuff to celebrate important events, although that was more my guideline rather than custom.
“What’s up boss, you don’t drag out the Weed unless it’s important,” Katya asked.
She looked at me with a slanted eye and cocked brow. The scar on her forehead hooked up over her other eye. Most women would have tried to hide it behind hair, but she wore it with the pride of a warrior.
“I just got orders back to Fleet. I’m appointing you the new commander.”
She took her drink and slammed it back. It was 100 proof. Like guzzling rocket fuel, only worse. I poured her another round and pushed the bottle over to her.
“You’re going to need this just to get through another year on this pond.”
She raised her glass to toast.
“Here’s to the ones that never came back, the ones who watched our back and the ones with whom we hit the sack.”
I had to smile at that one as I drank to the toast. She finished her shot and picked up the bottle as she stood, a bit wobbly.
“How did I rate this honor?”
“Because of what you did for Hank. A lesser pilot would have claimed her rightful prize. But you knew our gun cameras wouldn’t show who got him and you gave the kid credit for it.”
“He deserved it. He fought like hell, same as you and me.”
“But not just any pilot would have done what you did. That’s when I knew I was handing over my squadron to you.”
She pointed at me with her bottle hand and poured another shot for herself.
“That’s why you’ve been making me do everything around here lately.”
I sat back and nodded.
That made me laugh out loud. She sat back down and draped herself over my table like she owned it.
“I’m gonna miss you, Devon. Promise me you’ll get me out of here some day.”
She collected herself again and sat back in the chair, tossing her bare feet up on the desktop.
“Good. Now get the hell out of my office,” she mumbled.
I got up and headed for the door.
“Hey,” she said.
I stopped and turned around.
“We’re welcome. Now go out and make this unit yours.”
She raised the bottle to me and I left.
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GB PRESS BOOKS BY KEN MCCONNELL
THE STAR SAGA SERIES
Tales From Ocherva, Volume 1
Starforgers, Book 1
Starforgers Book 2, The Rising
The Blood Empress
Starforgers Book 3, Counterattack
Starstrikers, Book 4
Starveyors, Book 7
Star Saga Series Omnibus
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events depicted in this novel are products of the author’s imagination.
Copyright © 2015 by Ken McConnell
All Rights Reserved.
First Edition: October 2015
Cover art by Byron McConnell:
The author’s website: