Argus was waiting. He hated waiting. He had always been of the opinion that leaders, who waited while their men went on missions, were inadequate leaders.
The rebel leader was feeling very useless on the flight deck while Reya and one of their units were infiltrating a huge repair dock. They wore environment suits and were planting explosives at key points along the outer hull. When the charges exploded, the entire facility should break apart like a child's toy.
The rebel leader was out of sorts. Repeated efforts to join the action units had been thwarted by a very determined Reya. She had even threatened to have him chained to the flight deck during one mission.
Argus was waiting on the smallest of their fast pursuit ships. By reducing their energy signature to almost nothing, they had been able to attach the ship to a passing transport which had limited sensor capability; using the tractor beam. The pursuit ship was now discreetly parked on a quiet and shadowed surface of the station. They were waiting for Reya and the E.V.A. teams to come back.
"Team one reporting. Last charge planted. We are returning now."
Argus recognized Reya's voice even though it sounded metallic over the comm system.
Each of the other teams reported in. They were now all headed back.
The rebel leader used the ship's intercom system to inform the crew waiting to receive them at the entrance hatch, "Prepare to receive E.V.A. teams."
"Sir," one of the flight deck crew called his attention and pointed to the screen showing the outside view. A ship was entering into the path of two of the returning teams. Argus had already seen them.
He pressed the comm, "Team one and three, stand down. Do not advance. Take cover as best you can until further notice."
The two teams acknowledged.
"What's going on Argus?" Reya's tinny voice sounded over the speaker.
"Not now, Reya. Just wait." Argus knew she would hate being told that without being given an explanation.
The ship they were watching was one of Ellis's new battlecruisers. It appeared to be moving leisurely into position; it was not in a hurry. It seemed to be headed for one of the docking positions.
Keep moving, Argus wanted to encourage it. The slow movement of the ship may have been frustrating for the teams waiting outside but it also meant that they had not been spotted.
"Teams two and four are back onboard commander," the hatch crew reported over the intercom.
"Acknowledged," Argus replied. The ship finally moved out of the escape path of the final two teams. Argus depressed the comm button again. "Teams one and three. You are clear to return."
A little while later, after all of the teams had returned safely, Reya bounded onto the flight deck. Bounding was the only word to describe it. Or perhaps moving with great energy.
"That was incredible! You were absolutely right. They didn't even see us coming at all! It's going to be very satisfying when they all go off," said Reya with much enthusiasm.
"Yes," acknowledged Argus. She was so excited that she didn't even notice that his voice had almost been a growl.
Her delight was punctuated by flashes of bright light on the screen. Various explosions were occurring on the huge repair dock facility which Reya and her units had just planted compression charges. Large parts of the facility were breaking off into twisted and uneven chunks even as their fast pursuit ship was speeding away, hidden among the debris.
The battle cruiser which had impeded the return of teams one and three was hit by one of large chunks. It lost one of its main engine pods and suffered great structural damage. They could see explosions along the entire rear section where the lost pod had been.
There was a huge grin of pleasure on Reya's face as she witnessed her unit's handiwork. This made Argus scowl unhappily. It had been hard for him to sit back and wait while she had all the fun. She did not have to be so enthusiastic. Being forced to stay out of the action was definitely putting him in a bad mood.
"What's our next target?" Reya turned to him eagerly. She was clearly relishing more action.
"I think it's in very bad taste for you to enjoy it so much when you know I can't join you," grumbled Argus.
"Don't be so grouchy," Reya told him. "Healer Garett says that another seven days and you will be back to a hundred percent."
"I am not being grouchy. And I can function fine at eighty percent."
"Yes, you are being grouchy. In fact you're starting to make growling sounds. And it's more like seventy percent. Now be a good commander and plan our next target."
"What do you think?" psychostrategist Lambrin asked Sester.
The two old friends were discussing the conflict currently being waged between Borel Reve and his brother Ellis while shared more of Servalan's wine.
"He's actually on the high end of where we had mapped him," said Sester, referring to Borel's tactical skill in battling the overwhelming odds he was facing. "His latest manoeuvre was quite masterful. He was in control from the beginning; the way he led Ellis's units around following a false front; while he decimated them from the sides. With surprise attacks; which disappeared as quickly as they struck. It was beautiful to watch," he said in admiration. "His reputation is well deserved. It is a good thing it is not him leading Ellis's force. Otherwise we would be having even more of a problem."
Lambrin nodded in agreement as he took another sip from his glass. "Argus seems to have been a great help too. You were correct to leave him to help Borel. He's giving Ellis some real headaches. I understand he just took out one of Ellis's main repair yards for his heavy cruisers."
"Yes. I haven't had time to map him yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if he also fell on the high end of his mapping. I am surprised that he was able to help this early though. I thought that Tace said he was too badly injured."
"But you are still concerned," said Lambrin.
"You know me too well, Lambrin. Yes. I am concerned. Even with Borel and Argus working together against Ellis, it may not be enough. What worries me is that even with the loses Ellis has suffered, he appears to have much greater resources then we had originally determined. Much greater. There is no way Borel can win. He can only hold out as long as he can. In the end, even he will have to bow to overwhelming forces."
"You're thinking of bringing in Kam Reve then?" asked Lambrin, guessing the direction which Sester's thoughts were turning.
"We may not have a choice. It may be the only way to salvage it," said Sester. He really hated taking this step. "Recall one of the commando teams. Tell them to prepare for a rescue."
"They're all currently on missions. The closest one is gamma team," said Lambrin. "They will need another two days to complete their task and get back from disrupting the communications array in the sixth quadrant."
"Very well. Send them in immediately when they get back."
"There is still something else bothering you, isn't there?" Lambrin asked perceptively.
"I never could fool you," said Sester. "There has been something nagging at me. Something about this Sector. But I cannot pin it down."
"Anything I can help with?" offered Lambrin.
"No. It will come to me eventually. Just take charge of tasking the commando team."
Lambrin left in his observer craft, leaving his friend to his nagging thoughts.
"Why should I pay you twenty million credits?" Jenna asked Myler Reve.
She, Cally and Myler were meeting in a quiet floating restaurant on Freedom City. They were in one of the soundproof booths which provided both privacy and a spectacular view of the city below.
"Because you need my information and you disrupted my plans. You cost me a great deal of credits," explained Myler with his booming bass voice. He liked to intimidate people with his overpowering voice. It disconcerted him that it did not seem to have any affect on Jenna and Cally.
"You are expecting me to apologize for escaping from your cellar?" asked Jenna with a voice full of warning.
Myler realized he had made a bad choice of words. He remembered these were the two women who had disabled him, his wife, and two of his personal staff with nothing more than a rolling pin and a handful of fruit. The young woman next to Jenna was staring at him so intently that it made him nervous.
"I know where they are keeping the woman. And I can get you in there safely," he explained.
Jenna regarded the man with suspicion. "How?"
"I won't tell you until you have transferred the money."
"Tell me how it is you know; otherwise I will not trust you and any chance of a deal will be gone," Jenna asked. She was not going to trust this man easily.
Myler sighed. Jenna had no reason to trust him. "Ellis is using one of my old estates on Ventro. At least it was mine before Feltar kicked me out and made Ellis lord over that region. There is an old secret access tunnel I had built in. I doubt if they have found it. It was very well hidden. The access hatch to it requires both coded computer access and physical lock access; both of which I can give you. Now tell me if this information is worth twenty million credits."
Jenna inclined her head towards the Auron girl sitting next to her as if she was about to ask her something but didn't.
* I do not have any indications that he is trying to trick us * Cally projected to Jenna.
Jenna nodded. She addressed Myler, "Very well. Half tomorrow and the rest on successful completion of the operation."
"We have a deal."
* It is fortunate that the Justice is as well equipped as the Liberator was. * Cally sent her thought to Jenna.
Yes, thought Jenna. I have always wondered that myself.