Authors: H.M. Clarke
H. M. Clarke
H. M. Clarke 2014
All rights reserved
Published by H.M. Clarke at Kindle Direct Publishing
The moral right of the author has been asserted
This book is available in print at most online retailers
Cover Design by Cheryl Ramirez,
As always, this book is dedicated to my two beautiful children, Keith and Ariadne.
I would like to thank my families, both old and new as this book could not have been written without their support.
The first refugees arrived just before dawn.
And as the sun rose slowly above the horizon many others quickly joined them. The airwaves outside the City Barrier were humming with activity - requests for help, assistance or for entry into the city.
For over three hours the requests and pleadings of the refugees remained unanswered as the New Holland City officials discussed, fought and bickered over what actions they should take to deal with these requests. The Val Myran markings on their ships showed that they are from the Alliance and could not truly be trusted, but the New Holland Security and Intelligence Organization have been reporting that strange things were happening in Val Myra. Many of the prominent Val Myran families including the Val Myra family itself have been advocating seceding from the Alliance in favor of joining the Federation of which New Holland was a member.
Now it seemed that these same families are now knocking at the gates to be admitted. Adam Chandler, First Councillor of New Holland and leader of the S
outhern Hemisphere of Junter Three, tossed the viewpad he was reading to the man standing across from him.
Robert Prockter caught the tablet deftly in one hand and glanced at it before commanding it off.
"Is this all the information you have?" Chandler asked in an even tone. Prockter knew that the First Councillor was annoyed; he was a man that did not like to be caught off guard. It was a feeling that Prockter shared.
"It is the most recent we have. We have not heard from our implanted agent for nearly a month. This," Prockter gestured at the viewpad, "is the last report we received before losing contact."
"It doesn't explain the mass of people waiting outside. It doesn't explain our loss of contact with the Alliance City over the border." Chandler stalked over to the sideboard and quickly poured himself a whiskey from the crystal decanter. He did not offer one to Prockter.
Prockter watched The First's every move, carefully noting how the man reacted in a crisis. Prockter had been the head of the New Holland Security and Intelligence Organization (SIO) for the last ten years and he had so far survived three First Councillors. This current First was hoping to be the first person to be re-elected to a second term of office. Personally, looking at Chandler's neatly groomed blonde hair, his polished good looks and his 'boy-next-door'
style; Prockter did not think he could pull it off.
Adam Chandler quickly drained his glass and immediately began to pour himself another one. He had drained half of that glass before turning back to the stiff standing Prockter.
"New Holland Prefecture does not fund the SIO to supply it with rumor and innuendo which is what that report amounts to Director." The First quickly downed the rest of his glass before turning back to the sideboard for a refill.
Prockter raised an eyebrow at this outburst. The information in this report was presented to the Council just under a week ago and was backed up by independent reports from other trusted sources. The Council accepted it as truth, even though at first they did not want to believe it. Prockter could clearly see that the report submitted by his Val
Myran operative stated
the reasons why there were now refugees waiting outside for asylum.
The same chain of events have happened several times in recorded human history - the most notable occurrences both happened in the twentieth Century, repression by governments causing the mass migration of people and millions had been killed because of their beliefs, ideas, ethnicity and political leanings.
"First, the rest of the Council disagree with you. As you know they are waiting for your agreement to their proposal."
"Yes I know!" Chandler snapped. "I do not agree with their decision, it just galls me that I have to put my name to it." Draining his third glass, the First quickly stormed back to his desk; snatching the viewpad that Prockter held out to him on the way.
Prockter remained silent as The First commanded the 'pad on and quickly scanned through the Council proposal for the tenth time. Prockter continued his study of the man, very aware that he in turn was being observed. The Director knew that Chandler had never been comfortable in his presence, it was an effect he had on most people. It was a nasty side effect of his position. Prockter shifted slightly on his feet to get the circulation moving again. He would be sixty-three in two months time and he was not looking forward to it. Prockter knew that outwardly to most people he would look like a middle aged man, just standing over five and a half feet tall with closely cropped salt and pepper beard and hair, his stocky frame contained in well tailored suits and highly polished shoes. He was self assured but at this point in time he was also worried.
The First dropped the viewpad on the desk and leaned back in his leather chair. Prockter could see the man's 'reluctance' but the First knew what he had to do. After a few moments Adam Chandler moved forward and scooped up the viewpad and looked at it one last time as if hoping that something will leap out and impel him not to sign.
But that did not happen. The GenTec Scanner at the bottom of the viewpad blinked demandingly for his signature. The First raised his thumb and after another moment’s hesitation placed it on the scanner. Chandler felt the gentle prickling as the scanner read his DNA profile and attached a copy of it to the proposal.
"There, it's done," said Chandler quietly dropping the 'pad to the desk as if it burned him. "Let the bastards in. Then we will really see the shit hit the fan."
A residential part of New Holland had been earmarked for demolition and was going to be reclaimed by surrounding parkland. Now the Council had decided to
use it for housing the Val Myran refugees. The Director had organized the SIO to direct this 'relocation', processing the refugees while ensuring that there were no Alliance spies among them.
"You will do as you are ordered Commander."
Katherine Kirk fumed. This
be happening. Not now!
"Sir. We have Hyde's ship cornered and I want to be there for the end game. Surely the man can sit tight for a few more days."
Admiral Baverstock's voice hardened over the commlink. "The operation to capture Hyde is not for your personal vendetta Commander."
"No Sir. Of course not Sir.
" Katherine tried to master her anger and made one last ditch effort to wheedle out of this new assignment.
"Admiral, the AFV
is an operational frigate, not a luxury personnel cruiser. Can't this Ambassador take another
suitable vessel to his posting?"
"You have been specifically asked for Commander Kirk, and Fleet Command does not like to have its orders questioned."
"Fleet Command? Who is this ambassador?"
"I don't know. Probably the usual stuck-up bureaucratic type." Admiral Baverstock paused; when he next spoke all formality had disappeared. "Katherine, you've been stuck out here on the Verge for the last two years under my command. You're a good officer, I wouldn't have given you command of the
otherwise. But the informal attitude we have out here will not cut it back in the Central Systems. You will have to curb your tongue."
Katherine latched onto the Admiral's informality. "Bryan, delay positing the new orders to the
. Please, you know how important getting Hyde is for me."
"I know. But Fleet Command expects you at Port Curtin in ten hours. The only excuse for your no-show after that time would be if you were dead." A sigh crackled across the link and Katherine knew she had lost the argument. "I'm sorry Katherine, my hands are tied. As I said, once you get to Curtin, don't make a fuss. I want you back within the folds of the Third Fleet ASAP."
"Yes Sir." It wasn't a committed response, nor enthusiastic, but it was the best Katherine could manage.
"I expect you back at Port McMahon in time to escort Hyde to stand trial Commander."
"Of course Admiral."
The comm link chimed off and Katherine let out a cry of frustration. Why now? Why not next week or even tomorrow? But these questions were moot - There was a snotty nosed diplomat waiting for her at Port Curtin, probably just dying to try and over whelm her with his puffed up importance.
I can't stand bureaucrats - and diplomats and their staff are the worst of that loathsome breed.
It was a three-day babysitting cruise to deliver a diplomatic mission to Junter Three, a rebel city there
wants to be welcomed back into the folds of the Earth Federation.
I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them.
Junter was the system that produced Hyde. And Hyde was the man who devastated her life by killing her husband and son with a cowardly attack against her husband's home colony. And now, just when she had Hyde in her grasp, Fleet took him away from her.