The Book is now mostly done and going through the editing process! Look for it this week! It should be out by Thursday at the latest. Here is one last Snippet to hold you until them. Enjoy!
“Sir, I am protesting the order under navy regulations as is my right under UCMJ rules!”
“It’s pretty much the same thing.” Taking a deep breathe the Captain looked the officer in the eye. "This isn't the first time you've questioned my orders; you've done so repeatedly, and even disregarded my orders completely when you thought you could get away with it. Enough is enough. Consider yourself relieved of duty, Commander. You will be confined to your quarters for the duration of this mission.” The Captain pressed a button on his console. The two door guards entered the bridge.
“Please take Chief Engineer Erlang back to his quarters. He is now relieved of duty pending court-marshal proceedings. Have Commander Huggins report to me later about his disposition. Place a guard on him for now.”
The Marines nodded to the Captain and turned to the now shocked officer. “Captain, I protest! You can’t do this! It’s against naval regulations…”
“Commander you forget. I am the Captain of this ship, and there is a certain leniency that is allowed captains to complete vital missions. Take him away.”
The Marines took Commander Erlang by both arms and began dragging the officer off the bridge.
Captain Gorshin spotted me and smiled somewhat wanly “Athena, good. He sighed. “I’m sorry you had to see that. He’s been pushing me for ages and ignored any number of warnings. Can I convince you to accept a temporary assignment as Chief Engineer? Relieving him leaves me with a big problem: Chief Engineers are hard to replace.”
I nodded slowly as I tried not to act shocked by the confrontation. “Sir, of course as long as I am able to complete my mission.”
“Let’s discuss that shall we? Go on into the Ready Room and wait. I need to get a few more officers up here.”
I wandered about the Ready Room studying the pictures on the wall until the door opened and Lieutenant’s Baal and Mutai entered the room followed by the Captain.
“Everyone please take a seat.” We all took a moment to sit.
“Now that we are on our way and in jump, we can have this meeting. I doubt that anyone here is working for the other side but orders are orders. Commander, you and the Lieutenant’s primary duty is to liaise with the Mars defense forces. They operate independently of their assembly. They are very much like the Ancient Japanese Samurai. They serve under a strict code of honor, loyalty, and bravery. They have gone against their own politicians on at least one occasion. They are never puppets to the cities. Lieutenant Baal?”
“The defense force has a technological edge over the rest of the galaxy. As a colony Mars has been around longer and had the very best to start with. Many of our colonies had to ‘bootstrap’ their way back to the stars. In some aspects they may even be more powerful than Old Earth was at the end of the colonial period. We really need them on our side. We expect our trade agreement will go on. You two may be asked to renew that. The capture and deportation of Commodore Vakulinchuk is also a priority, but let the Marines take care of that. If you have to get involved stress to the Mars authorities that this is a situation of Honor. They may allow you to leave with him.”
“The Lieutenant has a point. The Martians are very different than what we are familiar with. Here, we are the ‘country cousins’ remember that and everything will work out. Expect some possible Imperial interference. They have a large embassy and are still a tiny bit peeved at us over leaving the Empire. Stay clear of their personnel if possible.” He looked at each of us as if evaluating us. “Kinno, please stay a moment. Lieutenant Baal is going to go over the intelligence from the meeting that you missed. Athena, I believe that you have an engineering department to oversee and some thrusters to repair.”