Ruth means Compassion: A warrior’s tale
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08.10.2012 , 02:26 PM |
Line 3. Huddle
June, 28 ATC – 16.5 years after the confirmation of the Wrath
With the Wrath exposed, there was no reason not to keep Pierce and his picked set of guards – the ones he knew would answer to him over the Emperor – ready for an offensive. It was in a conference room on the destroyer he used as a command ship that the conspirators gathered. Ruth sat still, stared at the table, and tried to pay attention.
It had been eighteen hours.
“Vette’s out there now streaming data as fast as she gets it,” Wynston was saying. “Based on the signals Ruth’s ship picked up at the moment the Voice went down, we have a direction; Vette’s out there narrowing down a range.”
“How long will that take?” said Jaesa. She had joined the Defender’s crew in the operation-turned-trap that they had just been rescued from.
“There are physical limits to how fast you can traverse the distance it takes to pick a reliable location fix off a point source. But it may be a matter only of hours. After that, we’ll need to case the place, determine its defenses.”
“And get in to Rylon,” said Ruth.
“It’s no use charging in if we don’t know what we’re up against. We’ll need time to observe – ”
“She’s right. We should go,” said Kira. “Be ready to ride the minute we have coordinates.”
“We will, to go in and observe,” insisted Wynston.
“Your caution is misplaced,” said Lord Scourge. “We do not have infinite time for this endeavor. If the Emperor comes within our reach, we must strike.”
“Everyone,” said Larr Gith. “Lord Scourge is right. The Emperor is no joke. If we get an opening we have to hit it, hard.”
Things were quiet for a moment.
“Quinn,” asked Kira, “your opinion?”
“At the risk of agreeing with the agent, we ought to tread carefully,” he said. “Scout the location, skim its communications, determine both its defenses and its structural and internal system weaknesses, lay a plan of attack, act only when we have adequate reinforcements.” He paused. “We will not do so. Anyone who tries to slow me down for such considerations will be met with deadly force.”
Ruth, without looking away from her spot on the table, reached over to squeeze his hand.
“Once we are in,” said Lord Scourge, “Ruth and I will locate the Emperor. Larr Gith will come with us. We must face him alone; we have proved able to resist his command. The rest of you would only be a danger. However, the Emperor likes to have warriors near to hand wherever he stays; no doubt he’ll send enough to keep the rest of you busy.”
“If we have to split up,” said Quinn, “anyone who finds Rylon, contact me immediately.”
“And me,” said Ruth.
Lord Scourge caught Ruth’s eye.
“I already know what you’re going to say,” she said. “Don’t bother.”
“You cannot afford distractions. I have only one concern here. So should you.”
Ruth made a face, then turned her head to Quinn. “If I can’t be there to talk, take care of him.”
“I will. You have my word.”
She smiled slightly at that. “I’ll save the galaxy. You save the part that matters. Nothing will stop us.”
“Nothing ever has.”
She loved him in that moment, again, still, and though she was still heartsick at least she wasn't in it alone.
Larr Gith sighed loudly. “Saving all life in the galaxy was kind of difficult, people. Let’s just get it over with.”
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