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The Armada (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 44 - The Armada[]

Unity City, Terra
Sol Star System
Wolf Empire
3170



[The bout with the Snow Raven lasted a long time...]

Half an hour of aerialist work; ceiling, wall running, exchanged blows, bleeding, and bruises. After broken bones and half an hour later, somehow, Karen was still on her feet, while her opponent was being carried to a trauma center for surgery.

''"One more win...like that and I'm dogshit." she groaned as she sat down on the stool, letting her Corpsman deal with the cuts and wounds.

To her deep relief, an intermission was called and agreed on by the remaining challengers-a break for lunch.

"I should've insisted on double-eliminations." Sharon groused as her fight-doc stitched her closed with molythread and tissue-neutral glue.

"Live and learn, Lieutenant Commander." a voice said, and Karen looked up.

The woman wore a modified skinsuit herself, with the rare markings of Clan Nova Cat "Hi."

"Hi...Star Commander?"

"Star Captain, but good on you for recognizing that much. I had this thought-I wanted to meet my opponent before the match.  Linea Delaportas." the stranger extended a hand.

Karen shook it, "Karen Falcone-Ngo."

"You hyphenated?" Linea asked
"Not a lot of time with the rest of the family. I grew up in fosterage. Heck, if it weren't for legal pressure I'd have a nice, Jewish last name instead." she grinned up.  "So, ah...bloodnamed.  First one of the night."

"We're in...a 'building phase' thanks to the generosity of the Free Worlds League. Maybe better to call it a rebuilding phase. We actually have more Trueborns than Freeborn thanks to the falling out with the Combine, and this is important enough not to trust to unblooded warriors."

"Sending your best?"
"For a legend like your gene-mother? uh, AFF.  Look, I know what this all looks like-what it has to look like to a person on the outside, but you have heritage. I know the Hue enclave still has at least a...memory...of what it is to be Clan, quiaff?"

"Aff." Karen nodded.

"And you are not just a Ngo, you are also Pershaw." Linea continued

"Don't forget the Roshak genes on my mom's side." Karen said.

"Well, culturally then. This is the other Clans recognizing the value of your Falcon heritage as much as your Ngo heritage. Maybe being late to grab a piece of the best of a Clan that fell.  It is a big deal, not just for us, but as for the Stone Lions, the Hell's Horses, all the Clans whom have fallen on hard times recently.  This whole event is a statement of how valued your people are.  You should be proud."

"Mostly, I'm tired and hurting, but I think I get where you are coming from." Karen said.  "Speaking of that Horse Hunk, is he going to be okay do you know? he promised me drinks after."

That got a laugh from the Novacat competitor.  "He will be fine, I think you mainly bruised his pride a bit."



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