The Key

The Key by Pauline Baird Jones Read Free Book Online

Book: The Key by Pauline Baird Jones Read Free Book Online
Authors: Pauline Baird Jones
as the Dusan.”
    “How do the Dusan pick off planets allied with other planets?” Carey wanted to know.
    “Numbers.” Fyn looked down. His dreads fell forward and he looked at Carey through them. “By the time any assistance can arrive, it’s already over.”
    Carey and Halliwell exchanged uneasy looks.
    “Maybe that’s why the Garradians left.” Carey’s tone was light but his expression was serious.
    “There is a story….” Fyn stopped, frowning.
    “About the Garradians?” Carey asked.
    Fyn nodded. “Some say they’ll be back. That the wonders they left are locked. The Dusan and Gadi both want to control it. They’re looking for a key. They’re each afraid the other will beat them to it.”
    “Do you believe it?” the Colonel asked.
    Fyn shrugged again. “They believe it.”
    The Colonel frowned, then looked at Sara. “You say your sensors picked up the energy spike?”
    Sara nodded.
    “Pull it off and let me take a look. In the meantime, get your ship back to flight ready status.”
    “Yes, sir.”
    The Colonel turned to Fyn. “Would you be willing to share what you know with the Colonel here? As you may have guessed, we’re new to the neighborhood.”
    Fyn nodded.
    “I’m not sure we’ll be going any deeper in the galaxy, based on what you’ve told us about these Dusan—”
    Fyn jerked.
    The Colonel arched his brows. “What?”
    “If you leave now, the Dusan will think it was luck you beat them.”
    “But they aren’t intergalactic,” Carey said. “No one here is, are they?”
    Fyn looked at him. “No, but…they’ve never had a real reason to try.”
    Halliwell nodded thoughtfully. “Well, never liked running from a fight.”
    The Old Man stood up and Sara and Carey rose quickly, too.
    “Get to it, people. I want to have a plan before our next check in with the Boyington. ”
    Sara and Carey saluted as the Old Man left, though he paused at the door to say to the two guards, “You’re dismissed.” He fixed a fierce stare on Fyn. “Don’t disappoint me, young man.”
    Carey looked pleased with the outcome. “You say you’re a pilot?” Fyn nodded. “Since you’ve fought the Dusan, I’d like to get you in a sim tomorrow. Get you used to our craft, too. Just in case. Since Donovan is grounded at the moment, she can show you around—”
    “When I’m not working on my ship, sir,” Sara felt bound to point out.
    “Yeah, that’s a priority. Get with Briggs and get me a timeline on the repairs. And get some rest. You look like hell.”
    “Yes, sir.” Thank you, sir.
    Only when he’d left did she look at Fyn. “Welcome to the Air Force. All you have to do is the impossible and get it done yesterday—otherwise known as an opportunity to excel .”
    He pushed back his chair and stood up. “I can help with your repairs.”
    “Thanks. Maybe Briggs won’t bust my chops if you’re there.” She smiled at him. The moment kind of drew out and Sara felt color creeping into her face again. For the first time in her life, she wished she was pretty. “Well, the repair bay is down a couple of levels, close to the main fighter bay, of course.”
    She knew she was babbling a bit, but couldn’t seem to help herself.
    “I’ll take your six.” Fyn smiled at her. “What’s a sim?”
    He followed her into the passageway, as she started to explain the concept of simulated fighting, but before they’d gone more than a couple of steps, Major Foster, part of the jarhead contingent, rounded the corner. Sara came to attention and saluted.
    “Donovan. You made it. Good. We’re booming tonight, twenty hundred. Be there.”
    “I can’t, sir. Sorry. Under orders from Carey and the doc to rest. Maybe tomorrow night?”
    He looked disappointed, but then caught sight of Fyn. “So, this is Chewie?”
    “Fyn, sir.”
    “Nice to meet you.” He shook Fyn’s hand. “You’re my first alien.”
    Sara choked. “Actually, sir, I think we’re the aliens in this galaxy.”
    “Really?

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