Ghost Squadron: Exploration

Snippet 6

Bridge, QBS ArchAngel, Axiom System.

Eddie was in his quarters when the A.I. pinged to inform him that Julianna had requested his presence. He hoped she’d beaten some useful information out of Doka. So far, they’d had zero leads on where to find Vas since he’d escaped during their battle on the Northern Continent. Usually, a report would have come in through General Reynolds by now, but he’d been unusually quiet since their return.

Strolling through the corridor and onto the bridge, Eddie noticed a stranger beside Julianna. The man stood with his feet shoulder-width apart and hands clasped behind his back, his eyes intently focused on Eddie as he approached.

“Captain Edward Teach, I’ve heard so much about you,” said the stranger, offering his hand to Eddie. “I’m Jack Renfro, and I’ll be taking over for General Reynolds as your intelligence liaison.”

Eddie eyed the hand for a moment, trying to assimilate this new information. He’d heard of Jack. Hell, most of the Federation had. He just didn’t know why the usually private special operations chief would be here. Finally, he shook the man’s hand, his chin to the side. “What’s happened to the general?”

“He’s been pulled away on other business. Lance asked if I would oversee missions for Ghost Squadron in his absence.”

Eddie nodded at once, understanding that the most powerful man in the Federation was in high demand. “Pleased to meet you.”

Jack seemed to study Eddie for a moment before nodding appreciatively. “I’ve heard that Ghost Squadron has already had its share of success. It appears you’re living up to your reputation, Captain.”

“Thank you, sir. I’ll do damn near anything to protect our colonies. Scratch that. I’ll do everything.”

“That’s why you and Julianna make good partners,” said Jack, giving them a slight smile. “Speaking of which, our first order of business is your team. Lance tells me it’s severely understaffed.”

“Yes, sir,” said Eddie. “That’s a chief priority of ours. We’re currently focusing on hiring pilots, soldiers, and essential personnel.”

Jack paused, appearing distracted, his gaze on Julianna. “What is it, Commander Fregin?”

Her eyes dug into the floor as her jaw worked back and forth. “It’s that damn Trid we brought in. He knows something and he won’t speak up. Vas has him intimidated.”

“He might not be of any use to us,” said Eddie.

“Or he might know something that gives us an actual lead. What’s the point in having a team if we’re just going to sit around here and stare at the walls?” fumed Julianna.

Jack took a moment, like he was thinking it over. “You’re right,” he said after a moment. He sped off in the opposite direction. “I’ll be right back.”

Eddie watched curiously as Jack left. When he had disappeared, Eddie turned to Julianna. “What do you know about this guy?”

“I know he can be trusted,” she answered.

“Anyone who the general put in his place can be trusted,” Eddie agreed. “That goes without saying. I was just looking for something a bit more concrete, like who he is and where he came from. You know, details.”

“He understands more about what’s going on in the Federation than anyone I know, the general being the only exception,” she said.

“You’re still not telling me anything new,” said Eddie.

“If you want to know if he’s a Virgo and likes long walks on the beach, then you’ll have to ask him yourself.” Julianna nodded in Jack’s direction as he strode back toward them.

“What’s a Virgo?” asked Eddie, genuinely curious.

“Forget it. Doesn’t matter right now,” she answered.

“Don’t pretend like you don’t know,” muttered Eddie.

Jack cleared his throat when he halted in front of the pair. “I think Doka will be more agreeable to disclosing information to you.”

“You spoke with him? Already?” asked Julianna.

“Yes, and I believe you’ll have better results this next time. Please, meet me in my office when you’re done with the interrogation,” he said.

Eddie stifled a laugh. How could he have already gotten that alien to talk? “What did you say to make him open up?” he asked.

“I think you’ll find that I have my ways.” Jack turned and walked away, leaving the two staring at his backside.

“A man of mystery. I like it,” muttered Eddie, elbowing Julianna in the side. “Definitely seems like your kind of guy.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” she answered. “I’m very personable.”

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