She scrubbed her hands over her face, mumbling a quiet curse to herself, then raked her fingers up and through her hair, exhaling slowly as she marched herself into base operations. Nylan looked up at her mildly from where he was sitting, dressed in the same robes he’d worn the night before, then offered her his mug of caf.
“Whose idea was it to not tell me that an advance force took out the Fifth?”
“It wasn’t my idea, but you can blame me.” Tag was pulling her hair up into a ponytail as she entered Ops from the opposite end, dressed—for once—in uniform. “I think it was you AFFC commander in conjunction with the father of the groom, but don’t quote me.”
“Derik,” Indy mumbled, rubbing her eyes. “Right. TacSit?”
“Sending a small force to hunt for survivors. Governor’s been advised of the situation. Team’s putting together a briefing packet to go to GDF. Official report’s going to need your stamp before we shoot it to Coruscant. Sentinel battlegroup will be ready to ship out in approximately twelve hours—first two ships, anyway, to escort a convoy to Conceli IX for foodstuffs and ore.” Nylan tapped a stylus on the edge of his console.
I guess this goes to show that they actually can run things without me if anything ever happens again. Indy nodded slowly. “Any word on survivors?”
“No signals yet, Admiral,” piped the technician running the communications board that morning. Indy exhaled through her teeth.
I don’t like the sound of any of this. She took the mug of caf someone offered and tossed off about half of it before looking around. “Put base on level four alert and cancel leave for essential personnel. Tomorrow morning, everyone had better be at their duty posts or there’ll be hell to pay.” She looked toward the officer at the communications board. “Get on the horn to Governor Dargan. If Colonel Cannele hasn’t left Kartuiin yet, tell her not to let him. When the next convoy gets there, then we’ll bring him home. I don’t want him on a civilian ship between here and there right now.” That’s the last thing we need.
“Understood, Admiral.” The young man turned to his console, already pressing buttons.
Indy glanced back toward Tag and Nylan, both of whom were watching her. She shook her head. “War’s on.”
She shook her head at Tag’s quip. “Figure out who I’m working with, General. We’ll roll from there.”
Tag smiled wryly. “Understood, Admiral.”
Nylan watched Tag’s departure, then glanced at Indy. “We knew it was coming.”
She nodded slightly. “We knew it was coming. Now it’s here.” If these aliens think we’re going to go down without a fight, they’ve got another thing coming. Her nostrils flared slightly as she looked around operations. Somewhere above, outside, thunder born of the storms that had rolled in that morning rumbled low and ominous. Bring it on. We’ll be ready to stop them, or die trying.