Hell Hath No Fury by David Weber

Hell Hath No Fury by David Weber

Author:David Weber [Weber, David]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: War stories, Space warfare, Space Opera, General, Science Fiction, Adventure, Life on other planets, Military, Fiction
ISBN: 9781416521013
Publisher: Baen
Published: 2007-03-06T00:00:00+00:00

Chapter Twenty-One

"Come in Klayrman! Come in."

Klayrman Toralk obeyed the invitation and stepped into Two Thousand Harshu's command tent. He'd half-expected a summons like this one. In fact, he wondered what had taken so long. More than two days had passed since the revelations of his supper with Harshu. Tayrgal Carthos had been sent upon his way forty-eight hours previously, but Harshu had yet to move towards his own next objective, and so far, at least, Toralk had no idea why he hadn't.

Hopefully, that's about to change, he told himself as he approached the map table floating in midair at the center of the outsized tent.

Aside from himself and Harshu, the only other person present was Commander of Five Hundred Herak Mahrkrai, Harshu's chief of staff. Mahrkrai—old for his rank, with iron-gray hair and oddly colorless eyes—was the sort of officer who seemed to have specialized in unobtrusiveness throughout his entire career. Toralk had worked with him enough in planning the Expeditionary Force's operations to know he was a highly competent, even an imaginative man, but he didn't project that. His apparent . . . blandness, for want of a better word, was the most striking thing about him, and Toralk wondered why. He supposed it might have owed something to the fact that Mahrkrai's less showy personality was simply lost in the shadow of Harshu's far more extroverted and aggressive impact on everyone about him.

Of course, it's always possible Harshu picked him expressly because he has that sort of personality. But if he did, the question is whether it was because Harshu was smart enough to know he needed a balance wheel like Mahrkrai? Or was it because he wanted to make sure his chief of staff wouldn't challenge him for the spotlight?

"Thank you for getting here so promptly, Klayrman," Harshu continued, reaching out to offer the Air Force officer his hand.

"I'd say you were welcome, if there were any particular reason why I shouldn't have come promptly, Sir," Toralk replied, and Harshu snorted.

"What a polite way of saying we've been sitting here on our arses too long!" the two thousand said. Toralk opened his mouth, but Harshu shook his head before he could speak. "No, that's a perfectly reasonable thing for you to be thinking, actually. Especially given how heavily all of our preliminary planning emphasized the need to move quickly once we got through the initial Sharonian defenses. Unfortunately, Five Hundred Neshok has turned up some intelligence which Herak and I have been kicking around for the better part of twelve hours now."

"What sort of intelligence, Sir, if I may ask?" Toralk said cautiously.

"According to two or three of our prisoners, there are Arcanan prisoners being held in our next objective, Sir," Five Hundred Mahrkrai answered for his boss.

"What?" Astonishment startled the question out of Toralk. The instant it was out of his mouth, though, he wondered just why he was surprised. They'd known all along that the survivors of the Second Andarans had been taken prisoner, which meant, logically, that they had to be being held somewhere.



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