Fear God and Dread Naught by Christopher G. Kindle, PDF
Fear God and Dread Naught (Ark Royal, Book 8) by Christopher G. Nuttall
“Henry,” the First Space Lord said. He rose to his feet as Henry was shown into his office and held out a hand in greeting. “It’s been a long time.”
“Longer for you than for me,” Ambassador Henry Windsor said. He hadn’t visited Nelson Base since the endless series of debriefings, after he returned from Tadpole space.amazon kindle “It’s been quite some time since we served together on Ark Royal.”
“True,” the First Space Lord agreed. He shook Henry’s hand,Epub then motioned him to take a comfortable chair. “I remember when you were just a fledgling fighter pilot.”
“And I remember when you were a mere captain,” Henry said. He smiled, rather tiredly, as he took his seat. “It’s definitely been a very long time.”
He studied his former commanding officer thoughtfully as the First Space Lord ordered tea and biscuits. Admiral Sir James Montrose Fitzwilliam had been a dark-haired young man – some would say an overambitious young
man – when he’d talked his way into the XO slot on HMS Ark Royal. His dark hair had shaded to grey and there were new lines on his face,
but Henry still had no trouble seeing the face of the man he’d liked and respected, even when he’d been called out on the carpet for hiding his true identity from his lover. And yet, there was a strain there that Henry found somewhat disconcerting. Admiral Fitzwilliam had commanded the task force that had recovered the Pegasus System and defeated the Indians seven years ago,Kindle but it had been too long since he’d stood on a command deck.
“You’ve been back on Earth for a month,” the First Space Lord said. “How are the kids?”
“Safe on my estate,” Henry said, bluntly. “They’re complaining about being prisoners, but at least they’re safe from the parasites outside the walls.”
“The media,” the First Space Lord agreed. “And to think I thought the King intended to welcome them at court.”
Henry shook his head. “Over my dead body,” he said. “None of the girls are going to grow up in a goldfish bowl, certainly not without any real reward at the far end.”
“A commendable attitude,” the First Space Lord said. “But what are you going to do about their education?”
“I’ll hire tutors,” Henry said. He looked up as the aide reappeared, carrying a tray laden with tea and biscuits. “They’re certainly not going to boarding school.”
He sighed inwardly as the aide poured them both a cup of tea then retreated, as silently as she had come. Paeans had been written to the British Boarding School – he had a sneaky feeling that the people who’d written them had never actually been there – but his three daughters were not going to attend. He didn’t remember his school years very fondly and he’d had the advantage of being a strong boy,
with unarmed combat training from a couple of his bodyguards. Being sent away from home had left scars that had never truly healed.
And it was worse for my sister, he thought.pdf No wonder she clings so hard to the throne.
He took a sip of his tea – it was excellent, of course – and then leaned forward, resting the cup on the armrest.
“I assume you know why I’m here,” he said. “It certainly took a while to secure an appointment.”
The First Space Lord didn’t bother to dissemble. “Susan Onarina.”
“Correct,” Henry said. He met the older man’s eyes, reminding himself – sharply – that they were no longer senior officer and junior officer. “My contacts inform me that no final decision has been reached on her case.”
“That is correct,” the First Space Lord said. He shifted, uncomfortably. “There have been issues …”
“It’s been a month,” Henry interrupted.
“Collecting evidence for the Board of Inquiry can sometimes take much longer, as you well know,” the First Space Lord said. “This is a question of mutiny in the face of the enemy.”
“Bullshit,” Henry said.
The First Space Lord lifted his eyebrows. “I beg your pardon?”
Henry stared back, evenly. “Should I have said bovine faecal matter?”
He plunged on before the First Space Lord could say a word. “Let us be blunt, Admiral,” he insisted. “Susan Onarina assumed command of HMS Vanguard in the middle of a battle. I do not believe that fact is in dispute. But it is also clear that the battleship’s former commander, Captain Sir Thomas Blake, froze up in the middle of two consecutive combat operations. If she had not taken command, in the manner she did, we would be mourning an additional fifteen thousand spacers.”
“That’s one interpretation of the data,” the First Space Lord said, icily.
“It isn’t just my interpretation of the data,” Henry noted. “The Yanks have … requested … permission to award her the Navy Cross for her actions, which saved the lives of several thousand American spacers too. Captain Owen Harper – they’ve bumped him up to Rear Admiral now – has considerable reason to be annoyed at her, but his report – which accidentally found its way across my desk – praises her to the skies. You know how touchy the Americans are about placing their ships under outside command.”
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