Indy exhaled a quiet breath as she closed the door behind Janet and Alex, motioning them into the chairs across from her desk. “I apologize for leaving you in the dark,” she said to Skyy as she made her way around her desk and slid into the seat behind it. “You were dealing with a lot and I figured that our tactical situation could wait a little longer. After all, it’s not like the fighting was here.”
The look that her Skyy shot her was half grateful and half wary. “I appreciate that, but the way you’re talking now makes me think that perhaps I’m not going to like what you’re about to tell me.”
“Probably not,” Indy said, leaning forward and steepling her fingers. “Shortly before you agreed to become my XO, Carlos Delong approached me with a plan to set a trap for the Vong. I agreed to commit some fighter and commando support for the plan. If we had any ships to spare, I probably would have loaned him one or two, but since we lost the Fifth, we really don’t have much to spare beyond snubfighters and ground pounders.” She smiled a ghostly, cold smile. “Just as well that the GDF has all the ships it needs for now.”
“Somehow I’m not surprised that he’d come up with an idea for that,” Skyy said slowly, leaning back in her chair. “Though I’m a little surprised that you agreed to it.”
Indy shook her head. “We’re at war. Any victory we can score–whether it’s ours alone or in tandem with the GDF–counts. Whatever intelligence Carlos is able to cobble together based on Aten-Re is information that we’ll be able to use the same as the GDF. We’re isolated enough out here and the conflict with the Vong is evolving quickly enough that unless we gather our own bloody intelligence and share it with each other when we get it is the only thing that’s going to save us, since whatever information we manage to get out of headquarters at Coruscant isn’t going to do us any good by the time it gets out here–it’d be too late.”
Skyy winced and looked away. “I wasn’t implying–”
“I know,” Indy said softly, then sighed again. “I’m sorry. Folks have been thinking it’s okay to second-guess me lately. Not necessarily within the fleet, but…” She shook her head. “Anyhow. I sent Izra Dargan and my brother along with a wing of fighters and a full platoon of commandos to assist the GDF in any capacity necessary. They engaged the enemy early this morning. What you saw when you arrived was me getting a preliminary post-action report from Izra.”
Alex glanced at Skyy before he cleared his throat and asked, “How did we come out of it?”
“Better than the GDF, apparently.” Indy shook her head, leaning back and crossing her arms. “The assault was a success, but there were still losses. I expect once the second phase of the plan is complete and Carlos is done seeing to his people, I’ll get the full report as a courtesy.” Her own use of the term startled her. Once upon a time, it was a necessity, a duty–as soon as he was done seeing to his people, I’d know what had happened.
Times change. Circumstances change. He’s not your XO anymore.
He hasn’t been for a long time.
Damn, but that still hurt. She still missed him every damn day.
Skyy was staring at her, eyes slightly narrowed. “What else do I need a briefing on, Admiral?” she asked. There was no challenge in her tone, no malice. If anything, the older woman sounded…tired.
We’re all tired. Of course, I’m tired because I was here in Ops, watching the feeds and listening to chatter and dealing with the Legacy showing up unannounced. She’s tired because Tag Rendar showed up at her front door at oh-dark-thirty and accosted Les. Indy suppressed the urge to shake her head. “The Five Star Legacy landed on base this morning, unannounced and without her captain. They ran into a rather curious circumstance of a ship that survived an encounter with the Vong by making a blind hyperspace jump and almost landing on the Legacy‘s bridge. I have Tag looking into that right now.”
“If you have Tag looking into it right now, where’s Les?” Skyy asked.
Indy just smiled wryly. “Quite probably learning more about his new mentor than he bargained for.”
Janet closed her eyes and clearly counted to ten. Indy swallowed laughter and hand to turn away so neither of them would see her grin.
I’m sorry. I shouldn’t find this funny at all. The laughter threatened anyway. If they weren’t careful, they’d end up with another Jedi intelligence officer attached to the Aurora Force–or worse yet, a freelancer like Karinlyyn or Ari.
Thinking of her daughter was enough to kill the laughter and make her stomach feel hollow. They’d had such hopes for her–Tag especially. Her illness…
Don’t think about that right now. There’s just too much to do.
“So Les is trailing along behind General Rendar while she’s executing her duties,” Alex said, frowning. “That’s got to be some kind of violation of regulations. At least a dozen I can think of.”
“I imagine so,” Indy said as she turned back toward them. “Are you going to try to throw them in the brig for it?”
“I wouldn’t dream of it, Admiral,” Alex said. “I’m not stupid.”
“Of course not,” Indy said. “I never said you were.” But it’s always better to be safe than sorry, isn’t it? Her smile was the ice-smile that had given her the “Frosty” calsign so many years before. “We use what resources we have available in times of crisis. That’s all there is to it. We may have gotten used to not having to do things that way over the course of the years of peace, but now…we’re back to that status quo. That’s situation normal again.”
“Doing whatever it takes to save the most people and do the most good,” Janet said softly, staring at something far away.
Indy nodded. “Exactly.” She looked at Skyy. “Your office is three doors down on the right hand side. Feel free to redecorate. Kirghy cleared out his personal effects before he left. There might be some paperwork waiting and I’m fairly certain the Prayer report is waiting for your perusal. Please have a look at it as soon as you can and I’ll bring you more up to speed on what that is at a later date.” She glanced toward Alex. “As for you…I’m sure I can find something for you to do, if you’re wanting an active role in what’s going to be coming down the pipes.
“Otherwise, if you’ve got no questions, you’re both dismissed.”