The Road Of Danger – Snippet 51


          Adele pursed her lips. “Platt implied he working for Commander Doerries, head of the Fleet Intelligence office for the Forty Stars Sector,” she said. “Platt’s skills were of a high enough order that his claims about his rank on Pleasaunce may well be true. If so, how did he come to be transferred to this backwater?”


          “Guarantor Porra,” Tovera said, “is something of a prude.”


          Adele didn’t twitch in surprise, but Cory did. It was as though one of the jump-seats folded against the bulkhead had joined the discussion.


         Porra is?” Cory said in amazement. “Why, he’s… he’s done….”


          He let his voice trail off. Perhaps he was remembering that Tovera had been a member of the 5th Bureau, the intelligence agency which reported directly to the Guarantor–that is, Dictator–of the Alliance, and which was the tool he used for his most brutal acts of repression.


          “Guarantor Porra has done many reprehensible things,” Tovera agreed with a terrible smile, “but personally he is prudish. He might well order children to be tortured as a matter of policy, but it would disgust him to learn that one of his officials was torturing children for sexual gratification. I suspect you’ll find that Platt wasn’t transferred: he was running ahead of 5th Bureau executioners.”


          She giggled. “He didn’t go far enough, as it turns out,” she said.


          If Platt was a fugitive, Adele thought, then whatever Commander Doerries is doing isn’t a sanctioned operation. With luck the data grab from Platt’s consoles would eventually give them full particulars on that operation, though it still might not have any bearing on RCN business or even on Mistress Sand’s broader objectives.


          Adele’s smile was barely a quiver at the corners of her lips. There was no useless information; there was only information for which she hadn’t yet found a use.


          “Master Cazelet?” Tovera said. She spoke loudly enough for Cazelet to hear as he entered the compartment, but the real purpose was probably to call Adele’s attention the new arrival.


          “I, ah…,” Cazelet said. “The captain told me that you were, both of you were in the BDC. I thought I’d… well, I’d see if there was something I could do?”


          Adele smiled faintly. She shouldn’t be surprised to be surrounded by people who looked for work rather than for ways to avoid work. That was her own attitude, after all; and more important, that was Daniel’s attitude.


          “Find a console,” she said without looking over her shoulder toward Cazelet. “I’ll send tasks to you when that’s appropriate.”


          The console Adele was using threw a pulsing amber attention signal onto the upper right corner of its display. It took her a moment to cycle back to the present and determine which of her various automated operations had born fruit.


          She expanded the icon. As soon as Daniel informed her of his plans, Adele had cued her intercepts of Squadron internal message traffic to alert her if the word Savoy–among many others–appeared. It just had.


          She scanned it, then copied the link to Cory, Cazelet, and–after a heartbeat’s hesitation–to Vesey on the bridge. This might well become a task for the corvette Princess Cecile, not just a matter of intelligence gathering and dissemination.


          A man named Petrov–the name wasn’t familiar; she would track him down later–had reported to Squadron Headquarters that the yawl Savoy was carrying weapons stolen from Fleet stores and intended for the rebels on Sunbright. Though the Squadron was on four-hour alert, the Operations staff had authorized Captain von Trona of the cruiser Marie to sequester the yawl pending survey and possible condemnation of her cargo.


          The Marie carried a company of fifty-six Naval Infantry. They had no duties during lift-off preparations. There wouldn’t be a problem if they were absent and the Squadron received emergency orders to lift for Sunbright–or for Tattersall, as the case might be. Von Trona had told the company commander, a Naval Major, to take a platoon to the Savoy that night.


          “I thought the blockade runners bribed the Fleet authorities here to look the other way?” Cazelet said. “We know the authorities have been bribed, I’ve tabulated the payments over the past three and a half years. What caused the change?”


          Adele didn’t consider the question, because for the moment it wasn’t important. The only important task was to reach Daniel before the Alliance troops arrived. Since the Savoy was tied up at a quay, it was possible that the ship had landline communication through the Ashetown network.


          “It isn’t a change,” said Cory. “Lindstrom and her backers are bribing the Squadron Base establishment. This Petrov obviously knew that, so he sent his information to the Squadron itself. If the Fleet is anything like the RCN, the real spacers hate the base wankers worse than they do, well–“


          His small image on Adele’s display grinned.


          “–worse than they hate us. The RCN may kick their asses in battle, but we’re not going to rob them blind on the ground. I suspect somebody on Jeletsky’s staff–and von Trona for sure–is doing this to stick it in the base establishment’s eye.”


          The Savoy‘s berth did have a landline connection. Adele called it while she prepared to send a microwave signal to the blockade runner also. The Sissie‘s stern sending head had a direct line to the yawl, but success presupposed that the Savoy‘s receiver was switched on.