Prosperous: Chutes & Ladders

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Chapter 21

AMIDIEN SAT BACK IN HIS CHAIR. HE MOURNED THE WASTED LIVES OF THE Terallians, but the destruction of the ship meant this mission was over.

“Captain Ekal is asking if we should attack, sir.”


“He wishes to speak to you.”

“On screen.”

On one of the screens the Terallian appeared.

“What do you mean no?” Ekal asked. “You haven’t been behind this mission since it started, Amidien. I declare—”

“Perhaps you didn’t read the mission orders, Ekal.”

“I read them.”

“Then you missed the part that Merchant Raitor ships were only to see the Paskian and Avinion ship. I’m sure there was a reason for that order and I suspect that if a Terallian ship were to attack them, your first born would die.”

“By you?”

“By order of the Emperor.”

“He is clearly trying to instigate a revolt against the Merchant Raitor Union,” Ekal argued.

“Would you rather take that chance or wait until Battle Fleet Command has issued new orders? Is risking the life of your only son worth questioning me?”

Ekal stared into the screen for a long moment. He finally nodded once and the screen went back to showing the ship. Probes were going over to the Paskian ship. Soon they’d know it was full of Terallians, not Paskians. Amidien didn’t care. With any luck, they’d take the news back to Merchant Raitor and whatever plan the Emperor had would be thwarted.

“Sir, I found something on the ship,” Jali told him. “It is registered to a human, Doctor Truman Barnet. Do you wish to review the ship record?”

Amidien lifted his chin. Admiral Larson spoke often of the Barnet’s, and would jokingly claim that Tru, his brothers and sister were his own children. And if Truman Barnet was captaining the vessel, Amidien was even more grateful he’d won. It meant he wouldn’t have to tell Larson he’d been responsible for the human’s death.

“Does it tell us what kind of sensors the ship has?”

“No, sir.”

“Move us further into the corona and contact Battle Fleet Command.” Amidien stood. “I’ll pull the record up in my quarters. Computer, transport me to my quarters.”

Amidien disappeared from the bridge.

A concentrated mind will pierce a rock.

—Human, Japanese proverb

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