This week everything changes. To read this book from the beginning, go here. My idea of Commodore Michel is actor Edward Fox.
Intruders Chapter 14
Within a few hours,
everything changed, but not in quite the way Darrow had hoped. He was convinced
that the Intruders were a real threat, and an expedition should be sent to
gather information and locate them. What he had wanted was to provoke the
investigation into action.
When Admiral Keever called him, action had indeed
been provoked. Without any formalities, Keever got down to business as soon as
Darrow switched on the screen.
‘Captain, thank you for
your report.’ Darrow could see the family resemblance with Holland, despite the
silver hair and the paunch. ‘I did some investigation myself, talked to my
contacts on other planets, and I think you may have something.'
'Thank you, sir. Will you
be sending an expedition?'
Keever raised an eyebrow.
'Let's think this through, shall we? Where do you propose we send
Darrow frowned. Had he
overlooked that? 'Well sir, initially to investigate the incidents more fully
and to look for evidence of which direction they went.'
'Since they appear out of
thin air in the planet's atmosphere, that's going to be difficult, don't you
Darrow was thrown for a
second, then his mind locked on to something the admiral said.
'Sir, did you say they
appear in the planet's atmosphere? How do you know that?'
Keever smiled. 'There
have been further developments. A military ship was scanning an area when one of
your alien ships attempted a theft. I have obtained video records which I’m
sending you. It appears they have a warp drive which can operate within a
planet’s atmosphere, since the ship was not seen approaching or leaving - it
just appeared above the planet’s surface.' He paused. 'They also leave a
'So we now have the means
to follow them.’ Darrow felt vindicated.
‘I agree,’ Keever
continued, ‘an expedition needs to be sent. I have given orders to Commodore
Michel to organise it.'
Darrow's spirits sank.
Commodore Michel, who had rejected his claims, was now aware that Darrow had
gone over his head, and Admiral Keever had dumped it back on him. Darrow didn't
relish the next time he had to speak to his commanding officer, he hoped he'd
have time to forget this incident.
Darrow's wish didn't come
true, as Michel called him only an hour later.
'Captain, I believe
Admiral Keever has spoken to you about these Intruders of yours.'
'Yes sir. He asked to see
my report -'
'I'm not interested,
Captain. The Admiral wants me to send an expedition. However, as you know the
Bokan situation is a big drain on our resources at the moment and there are no
ships available.' The Commodore smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. 'I believe
there is no one better qualified to lead that investigation than the one who did
all the research. No one knows these Intruders, as you call them, like you
‘You’re taking me away
from the Kestrel to join an expedition, sir?’
‘No Captain, you and the
Kestrel are the expedition.’
‘But we’re not equipped,
we’re too small - ’
Michel raised his hand.
‘I know all your objections, Captain, and you’re absolutely right. But there is
no one else. If this situation is as urgent as you indicate, you have to do
Darrow was shocked.
‘Sir, as you know, first contact regulations state that -’
‘I am fully aware of what
the regulations state,' Michael frowned, 'but in an emergency, regulations
sometimes have to be set aside.’
Darrow set his jaw. 'This
is not an emergency, sir, just urgent. We can't go.'
'That sounds like
‘We don't know what we're
facing, sir. Our armaments -'
‘We’re not asking you to
fight them,' Michel interrupted, 'just find out about them, if they exist.
Figure out where they come from if possible. If you can safely talk with them,
all well and good, otherwise run. Send back any information you gather - on a
secure channel of course.'
Darrow’s mind was in a
whirl. He grabbed at another objection. 'Sir, I don’t have a full crew.’
Michel wasn't phased.
'What crew do you need?’
Darrow struggled to
concentrate. ‘First Officer, Medical Officer, and two other crew.’ A daring
thought occurred to him. ‘Commodore, I know of a man who would be available as
First Officer. Nathaniel Parks is working in PACT Security on Earth, so it
won’t deprive another ship. He is an experienced First Officer, but has a weak
shoulder. I worked with him before, which would be extremely useful, make the
‘I’ll put my aide on it,
and let you know. Michel out.’
Darrow sat there stunned.
This was not what he had in mind at all. He couldn't believe Commodore Michel
would disregard so many regulations. It made him feel very uncomfortable. The
Admiral had put the Commodore in a difficult position, and he was passing it on.
The door chimed and Holland came in at his call.
'Captain, I was wondering
if you've heard from my uncle Admiral Keever yet?'
Darrow said, waving him to a seat.
'Why "unfortunately"? Was
he not convinced?'
'He was convinced all
right, but he tossed it straight to Commodore Michel. So the Commodore knows I
went over his head and is mad as hell.'
Holland winced. 'Ouch!
The Commodore's been in touch then?'
'Just now, and guess who
he's sending on an expedition to find these aliens?' Darrow paused for effect.
'He is mad, and I don't
mean angry. We're neither equipped for exploration nor armed for infiltration.
And with the MO and I off at T'Lon, you'll only have half a crew.' Holland said
wryly. 'I know my uncle, he's playing politics.'
'They both are.' Darrow
said. 'The Admiral is looking for glory for ordering the expedition, and putting
one over on the Commodore. The Commodore is squeezed, so he takes it out on me.'
Darrow folded his arms. 'Well, I have registered my objections, and if he does
find some more crew, I'll be putting my objections in writing.'
'If he finds more crew.
Personnel say there aren't any.'
'We'll just have to wait
Darrow talk to Tabitha and she calls home]
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