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Chapter 20 - Important People[]

The Royal Palace
Tharkad City
Tharkad System
Lyran Commonwealth
September 3097

[Archon's ball...]

Amanda eventually found herself drifting away from the Archon-Heir's presence, and skirting the wall as casually as she could without giving offense.

"Herr, Lieutenant!" she stopped, and turned.

Voice belonged to a young man in Wolf-in-Exile brown dress uniform, with the red wolf's head.

"Yes?" she asked cautiously, looking for his rank insignia first and foremost.

Star Commander...okay, I can do this.

"You are Amanda Roshak-Ngo, Quiaff]]?"

"Aff." she answered.

"From the Kowloon Coast Guard ship Mila Weintraub, Quiaff?"

"Aff...and you are?" asked cautiously Amanda

"Curtis Folkner." he said, "I am honored to meet you."

This caught her off guard, "What??"

"The actions at the Colleen system, that was...epic."

She frowned sourly, "It was a failure, Star Commander.  We lost all of them.  Everyone died, we only saved them for a few weeks, and I spent six years in stasis in hyperspace with a shattered ship."

"It was heroic and noble." he told her, "You took on a Star Adder fleet with a tiny ship."

"We had no choice, Star commander, not really." she shook her head, "We couldn't do it but, we had to try...and we failed."

"Nothing heroic is easy." he told her, "and...what you did achieve was amazing."

"That was Captain Daimh, I just ran the jump drives." she said.

"A six second transitory jump point into the middle of their formation!" he said, "You did that, Quiaff?"

"It was nine seconds, and it wasn't enough." she felt like she was choking.  "Can we talk about something else please?"

She felt the emotions again, her torn suit, the memory of seeeing the bow torn away in front of her. The lancing of tracers through the CIC. The stab of fear and the freakish inspiration when she hit the override on the drive to force a jump...

"Of course." he said, "May I...may I have this dance, Herr Lieutenant?"

She smiled as graciously as she could, and nodded, then let him lead her out on to the dance floor.

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