* * *
Serenity waited as the admiral poured through the reports. He insisted she remain on the transmission until he had reviewed it. He hadn’t said much yet.
“Why didn’t you continue to intercept?” The admiral barely moved when he spoke. He continued to read the tablet in front of him.
“When I was told the ship had no markings, I was concerned the ship may not be what it appeared. I felt exposing the most weapons to the transport was more intimidating.” Serenity explained.
“You were right. It wasn’t what it appeared to be.” Serenity was shocked to hear this from the admiral. Had he really just said she was right? The admiral sat back, making eye contact with her. “Well done, Captain. You did better than I would have expected.”
“Thank you, sir.” Serenity stuttered a bit, surprised even still.
The admiral continued over her reports. He asked a few more questions, mostly about the attacking force. She referred him to Major Kingsworth’s report. He asked about the transport, but the technicians were still evaluating the systems and computers.
“All right, I will submit this to the Prime Minister.” He set the tablet down. “Do you have a few more moments?”
“Of course, sir.” Serenity had been on the transmission for thirty minutes, what was two more.
“This is off the record. I am not supposed to release this to anyone. But you need to know.” Admiral McCorvick eyes met Serenity’s again. This time his eyes were cold and stern. “I know we don’t get along, but I know you have enough sense of duty to be trusted.”
“Yes, sir.” Serenity wondered if this information he was about to share was the reason he was being so kind. Perhaps it was some sort of set up.
“I received word that Roger Mathews escaped New Alcatraz,” Admiral McCorvick’s voice was dry, almost hoarse.
“Escaped? That’s impossible.” Serenity was feeling the pain in her hip again. She trembled slightly, but took controlled breaths to steady herself. New Alcatraz was on the Moon. It was the first of Earth’s terra-forming projects. Two large domes contained the atmosphere needed for survival. One dome holds Moon City, the other, New Alcatraz. Escape meant getting past all the shuttle screens, or trying to pass through the miles of unprotected space between the domes. No one had ever escaped alive.
“They haven’t found his body on the Moon’s surface, and I can’t relay any details. But he has escaped and you can presume he is alive.”
“Sir, Protective Services should be made aware.”
“That is up to Security Forces. For now, General Valentine insists it stay under wraps. But, I really felt you needed to know.”
Serenity realized the trap she had been put into. If this information leaked out at all, the admiral would lose his position and face jail time. But, that wasn’t the worst of it. He could well have something on her now, leverage to get her to transfer to that desk job. Well played, Admiral. “Thank you, sir. It will stay between us.”
“Good. I will give you new orders when you come in for repairs.”
The transmission ended. Roger Mathews was out and free. Would he dare try to get back on this ship and come after her again? It seemed unlikely, even impossible. But escape from New Alcatraz was supposed to be impossible too.
* * *
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Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG13 to R (Language)