Katya's War (Russalka Chronicles)

Katya's War (Russalka Chronicles) by Jonathan L. Howard Read Free Book Online

Book: Katya's War (Russalka Chronicles) by Jonathan L. Howard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jonathan L. Howard
that might make you dead.
    “We have some questions for you,” said the captain. Her tone was officious and curt. “You will come with us.”
    “What? But we’ve just been debriefed once.”
    “Irrelevant. This is Secor business.”
    To his credit, Sergei was having none of this. “We haven’t slept in over a day, captain,” he said, managing to be courteous for once. Speaking to somebody with the power of life and death, with an unpleasant period of “harsh” interrogation between the two, can have that effect. “Can’t this wait?”
    The Secor captain looked at him as if Sergei was something that might be found in a cess tank. “And you are..?”
    Sergei had an awkward habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and getting himself into trouble. Katya stepped in to stop him coming out with anything they might both regret. “He’s my co-pilot. Do you need both of us, captain? I’m fine going with you, but my co has business to attend to.”
    Sergei shot her a “What are you playing at?” expression.
    “The cargo still needs to be handed over to the dispersals agent at the dock. Yes, yes,” she stopped him interrupting, “I know I said we could leave that until we’d had some rest, but we’re overdue as it is. People are waiting for those parcels and letters, Sergei. We should hand them over as soon as possible.”
    Sergei narrowed his eyes. He knew there was nothing he could say or do that would have any influence on Secor with the possible exception of making them angry, but he didn’t want to just leave it at that. Despite the current tension between them, his loyalty was still to her.
    “I’ll be fine, Sergei. I’ll just answer the captain’s questions and then we can get on with cashing in the scrips and finding some more work, OK?”
    With every sign of not finding it OK in the least, Sergei nodded. “Take care, Katya,” he said as he reluctantly took his leave. “I’ll see you back at the boat, yes?”
    “I’ll see you there. Bye for now, Sergei.”
    He walked back towards the docks slowly, looking over his shoulder now and then.
    “He’s very protective of you,” said the captain.
    “Yes,” agreed Katya, turning away from Sergei to face her. “He’s a family friend.”
    “How nice, considering you don’t have any family left.”
    Katya blanched. “You’re such a bastard, Tasya Morevna. Hard to believe you ever had a family. What did you do, eat them?”
    The “Secor captain” smiled slightly. She’d been called much worse in her life, and accused of much worse. Sometimes the charges had even been true. “Lovely to see you again too, Kuriakova,” she said. “I was wondering if you’d recognised me. I’ve even dyed my hair.”
    “How about I shout the place down, Chertovka?” demanded Katya, exhaustion making her reckless. “How about I point at you and denounce you as a war criminal and a traitor? You won’t get out of here alive.”
    Tasya Morevna, unkindly nicknamed the “Chertovka” or “She-Devil,” seemed supremely unimpressed by the threat, even if the two “troopers” with her looked a little worried. “No,” she admitted, “we probably wouldn’t. Of course, neither would you. And then we’d all be dead, and you wouldn’t have found out why we’d gone to all this trouble to speak to you.” She smiled icily. “You’d die curious, and I know how much that would irritate you. Walk with me, Kuriakova. We’re attracting attention standing here.”
    Grim and angry, Katya allowed herself to be cajoled into walking alongside Tasya, the two “troopers,” whom were certainly Yagizban agents in reality, following up the rear, their maser carbines carried at a “full port” position across their bodies. People avoided looking at the little group; Katya’s surly expression, Tasya’s smirk, and the two troopers were the popular image of a typical Secor arrest in progress, whether the detainee was guilty or not. Nobody wanted to stare,

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