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02.11.2013 , 10:00 PM |
Do the Math: Does Not Compute
. Vierce's AU, continuing the day-by-day timeline. 800 words, spoilers for the Trooper's Hoth mission.
I was still awake when my alarm went off. I sat up and leaned across to the room's holo to call General Garza right away. Her assistant answered, made some apologetic noises, and took a message. I went on to prep for the day until Garza's call sent me running for the main holo.
"Captain. You have something to report?"
"I do, sir." I was tired enough to trip over my tongue more than once trying to describe what Kirsk had uncovered about the holo, and what Balkar conspicuously hadn't been able to uncover about the staff who had supposedly checked over it.
When I was done, all she said for a minute was "I see."
"We can take this to the Senate, right? It'd clear her name in no time."
"Captain, I'll take this under advisement, but by now you must have realized that the situation is very delicate. I want to take the heat off Havoc Squad as much as you do, but the individuals pressing the matter won't be easy to convince. So long as we're scrutinizing evidence sources the off-hours investigation of her commanding officer is likely to raise eyebrows, especially since their reports already noted your apparent inclination toward protecting her."
"General, we both know anything I helped with, I wasn't helping for her sake. Favoritism doesn't enter into it. What we have now is proof, not opinion."
"And I'll take it into consideration. But until we've got someone else to blame, this is going to look like nothing more than a desperate attempt at saving face by muddying the waters. Things at this level don't run on fairness, captain. The politicians want someone to point fingers at."
"'Imps' not good enough? I'll call…" I'd call Balkar, is what I'd do. "I'll get back to you, General."
Her voice turned a little colder. "The Gauntlet matters more than clearing one soldier's name, is that clear?"
It wasn't all that clear. The truth isn't a second priority in my book. But I knew what I could and couldn't do right that minute. "Yes, sir," I said.
"Good. Now that the Safecrackers are back in friendly territory, there's one more soldier I want you to locate and recruit. His name is Sergeant Yuun, and he is the finest technician in the Republic Army. He's of an unusual species, the Gand, and according to their shamanic traditions he's a skilled Findsman. No one understands it, but the results are undeniable."
It didn't feel that important, but this was my actual job. My responsibility. I shouldn't fail all of those at once. "All right. So where do I find Sergeant Yuun?"
"He's currently on a mission on Hoth."
"Hoth!?" I couldn't investigate anything from there. "Sir, if it's a skilled technician you're after I know a slicer who can handle any Imp tech you can throw his way."
She cocked an eyebrow and very obviously didn't take that seriously. "A soldier?" she asked.
"No," I admitted. Kirsk wouldn't be able to fake that one.
"We're playing this by the book, Captain. Sergeant Yuun is on Hoth. He's scavenging crashed Imperial warships there in order to piece together a functional Umbra encrypter – the machine responsible for the Empire's most secure military codes. That project is critical. Rendezvous with Sergeant Yuun on Hoth. Assist him with his mission there. He has already been informed of his transfer to Havoc Squad."
"Sir…" This wasn't the time to make demands. Even if I wanted to. "Will you see that the information I gave you reaches the right people?"
"I'll do what I can," she said flatly. "But I wouldn't get my hopes up. Not until we have a much more complete answer than the one we've got." Her image flickered out.
I kicked the base of the holo. "I can't get a complete answer if I'm on
"Boss, tell me you did not say Hoth." Tanno Vik sauntered in, looking, as ever, slightly sleepy even though I knew he was watching everything at once.
"I did. Because we're going."
"Didn't you have some thing about pulling Havoc Squad out of their bad books first?"
"Garza doesn't think it'll convince anybody. If she doesn't set someone else on this I'll…"
Vik watched. There wasn't any malice to it. He just seemed interested in what I would do.
"We're going to Hoth," I said frustratedly. "If I can't get Dorne's investigation pushed through committee we'll just have to dismantle the Empire and then reopen the question."
"Yeah, sure," he said. "I've heard worse backup plans."
"You have?" I wasn't sure what answer I wanted.
Vik just grinned. "I've been around, boss. Worse is possible."
That wasn't in any way encouraging, but it was food for thought.
The Trooper line's emphasis on the way politics will slam an operational organization is…maddening.
I still have to call Balkar. I'm on that! Really!
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