She observed him leaving. She didn’t know if he would have to include anything that she had just told him in his report but at that very moment she didn’t care. She could go to prison in disgrace, she could take all the blame, she could accept the responsibility, she could get through a public tribunal that her political enemies would, not doubt, enjoy. There was one thing, though, that she could not take.
Losing respect of her son.
Young Sub-Archon Demok walked a corridor and his thoughts were occupied by one thing: why the military doesn’t have any internal ways of controlling idiots in command? It was Uncle Arenn’s job to keep everything under control but he couldn’t be everywhere looking at everyone’s hands. He was just one against hundreds—thousands? How many guls where there, anyway?—of ships commanders. He couldn’t investigate everyone. True, Demok knew that Brenok could order an investigation but it would be one gul against another. And what if there were some personal hostilities between those two? Or bribery? Or any other reason? Wouldn’t a special department, special legal troop solve that problem? Its existence alone would make guls think twice before issuing some tough orders. Someone should think about it, someone should try to create such a system.
Archon Colissa entered her office on one of lower levels of the pole to see that Demok was already there. She did not expect that. She did not expect much of him, anyway. If he needed his mother to find him a good place for his apprenticeship, then he was a poor student and a poor student couldn’t make a good archon. And his mother clearly wasn’t much better. The woman struck the archon as a conformist. She had used her influence to appoint her son to Colissa only to keep him under control—the boy seemed terrified of his mother. She had used her influence to get the command of this station. She was dangerous and had to be controlled. Colissa would have to keep an eye on her. A close eye!
“Madam Archon, the reports on whole senior staff are ready,” Demok reported dutifully, standing up.
“Already?” A bit of admiration crept into her voice, in spite of her effort to hide it.
“Yes, ma’am,” he confirmed crisply.
A military woman’s son, obviously.
“Proceed with the others,” she said.
“I am,” he sat and resumed his work.
Let’s see what we have there
, she went to her desk and at once activated the report related to Gul Jarol. Some sealed, secret files, extensive military record, possible involvement in the assassination of that moron Ahal. Her son didn’t seem to hide anything, the work appeared to be done properly. Everything with attached copies of proofs.
She had to admit the report was prepared perfectly. She glanced at the sub-archon and observed him for a moment; he appeared fully concentrated on his work.
Jarol tried to concentrate on her work but couldn’t. Her thoughts were still occupied by the conversation she had had with her son a few hours ago. She kept reading Garesh Dalar’s report over and over, her eyes skimming through the texts and her brain not registering the meaning of words.
Suddenly, something happened that her brain registered immediately. She left the opened file on her monitor, knowing it would lock access after a minute of no activity, and went to the command. When the door opened, the noise of red alert klaxon and the flashing red light attacked her senses.
“Report!” she barked hoping her voice was heard in the noise.
“We’ve got a Hideki class patrol ship on our sensors,” Borad reported from the pit looking up at her. “It is flagged as ‘quarantined’.”
So, the red alert was triggered automatically by the system.
“Shut down this noise,” she shouted. “Hail them.”
Borad manipulated the console and the klaxon went silent but the red lights were still on. “We can’t, they’re still out of range.”
She looked at him trying not to show her surprise. Some sensors they had if they detected the ship but were too far to talk to them.
“Ours or theirs?” she asked and noticed that Zamarran gave her a hurt look.
“Theirs,” was Borad’s reply.
“When will they be in the communication range?” she demanded.
“In sixteen minutes.”
“Keep scanning. I want to know why they are flagged as under quarantine. And where they came from.”
It seemed that quiet days aboard Rayak Nor
just came to an end.
in the next episode