The Red King by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels

The Red King by Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels

Author:Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels [Martin, Michael A. & Mangels, Andy]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Science-Fiction:Star Trek
ISBN: 9781416524762
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: 2005-01-02T08:00:00+00:00


Chapter Thirteen

IMPERIAL WARBIRD VALDORE, STARDATE 57029.4

“We’ve recovered our fleet, Donatra, and with minimal loss of life,” Commander Suran said quietly, though an audible edge of irritation tinged his voice. His head remained bandaged, as it had been since just after the Valdore’s rather bumpy arrival in Neyel space. “The fleet is operational, fully crewed, and ready to move out.

“So why in the name of Karatek’s bones are we lingering here while space itself is disintegrating all around us?”

Donatra watched her colleague carefully, noting the vehement, almost fearful urgency in his manner. The last time the usually reserved Suran had seemed so agitated had been immediately after his discovery that the Great Bloom had swallowed their hidden fleet. And now that we’ve recovered that fleet, he wants to take no further chances.

She looked around the Valdore’s busy bridge, which had become even busier during the few siuren that had elapsed since Donatra’s and Riker’s boarding parties had departed from the Ra’khoi.

“That’s an excellent question, Suran,” Donatra said as her eyes lit on Decurion Seketh, who stood beside one of the operations consoles. “I trust you can explain more concisely than I can, Decurion.”

The young woman looked slightly frazzled to be put on the spot in front of both of the fleet’s flag officers so soon after the mission aboard the Ra’khoi, but she quickly recovered herself. “I would advise against trying to move the fleet out of the region for at least the next half-eisae,” Seketh said.

“Why?” Suran wanted to know, scowling.

“Because of the growing spatial instabilities that have been appearing all around us during the past several dierhu, Commander.”

Suran’s scowl deepened. “So we avoid them.”

“Yes, sir. Of course. But unless we allow the computers enough time to model the phenomenon precisely, some of our ships are bound to suffer severe damage from subspace shearing effects. If we try to leave the vicinity without the ability to adjust our warp fields instantaneously to accommodate the ongoing spatial changes, we could lose singularity containment on half our ships.”

“Or maybe all of them,” Donatra said. Though she had never been one to jump at shadows, she had never fancied herself a wild-eyed optimist. Not when it came to the safety of her ships and crews.

Suran acquiesced, but still seemed impatient. “I see. Well, I don’t want us to stay here a single siure longer than absolutely necessary.”

“I agree,” Donatra said, quietly wondering what would happen when and if she and Suran could no longer achieve a meeting of the minds with such apparent ease. We can’t exactly pull rank on each other, after all, she thought. Far easier to pull our disruptors, or our Honor Blades.

“Captain Riker is hailing us, Commander,” Seketh said, interrupting Donatra’s brown study. She wondered whether the young decurion was addressing her or Suran.

“Put him on visual,” Donatra said quietly, then faced the bridge’s central viewer while Seketh complied.

A look of intense concern radiating from his blue eyes, Riker started in without preamble. “Commander, we have to discuss what’s begun happening to the space around our ships.



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