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Chapter 7 - The Absolute Zero[]

Capellen Confederation
3159 CE

[Federated suns Embassy...]

Sometimes, it's just a matter of who's faster.  This is especially true when the assassin is in your own ranks.

Charlie Graves took a lot of shit from the Fox Team, she wasn't really 'bodyguard' material and knew it.  What she was, was exceptionally good at keeping the First Prince's appointment calendar, making coffee, and taking dictation.

Thus, she got to wear a Lieutenant's ranks and follow the First Prince into places they don't let ordinary staff, and she's one of the few people they let carry a pistol within pistol range of Julian Davion.

She took a lot of shit for this, because she was nothing like them-she wasn't even like the man she served with a doglike devotion.  She had never been strong, she wasn't from the best family or background, and her branch insignia wasn't special forces, or army.

She knew things they didn't.  She'd made it through Phase 1 Class 1 in the Patrol Boats. She'd learned to be a spacer, to walk the stars, only to wind up grounded thanks to an unfortunate accident on her very first active-duty tour.

She'd been caught on the hull during a jump, unable to reach the airlock, and she'd seen Hyperspace with her own eyes.

Her appointment to the First Prince's staff was a pity appointment for someone whose wounds weren't visible to the naked eye.

Still, she did her best in her new job, and had sort-of-risen from an intern's job, to being the First Prince's personal assistant.

She saw Captain Cleary go for his pistol when there wasn't a threat, and her boss's back was turned, she saw it, then, she saw it.

She didn't hesitate to do her duty.  She didn't have body-armor because this was a non-combat situation and she had a non-combat role.

but she could take the bullet..and she did.  In the process, with the hammer blow to her chest and the hot spike paralyzing her right arm, her left had the snub-nose holdout clear of its holster. While she had never been better than 'passing' on the range (most of the time passing somewhere near 'don't let this girl carry' and 'maybe at arm's length') she managed to fire all five 11mm rounds into a space that you can cover with a playing card, patterning the would-be assassin's head with five bullets clustered around his eye.

The rest of the security team were still reacting to the first shot, when she felt arms catch her, and her Liege Lord's concerned face filled her vision.

"Did I get him?" she squeaked before the wracking coughs and blood came out.

She didn't properly hear his reply, as the memory of Jumpspace filled her mind and vision. With its etenal, inaudible yet present howl.

I don't want to fall off...  she couldn't feel her hands-or anything else, except the pain, as the howl filled everything and the universe turned a colorlessness.  Please I don't want to fall off!

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