Wing Commander Junior Novelization Chapter 16

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Chapter 16
Book Wing Commander Junior Novelization
Parts 1
Previous Chapter 15
Next Chapter 17
Pages 79-81
Source Wing Commander Chapter 16, Part 1

Dramatis Personae

Part 1

Christopher Blair


Jeanette "Angel" Deveraux


Arnold Blair
Charles "Bossman" Chen
Pierre Christian Deveraux
Marie Sousex Deveraux
Paul Gerald
Devi Soulsong


MARCH 17, 2654
0500 HOURS

When Deveraux had left the bridge with orders to lead a strike force to take out the Kilrathi ConCom ship, she had headed directly to her quarters to shower, change into a clean flight suit, and sit at her desk to meditate.

     Now she opened her eyes, reached across her desk, and switched on the holovid player.

     A small girl seated on the edge of a picnic blanket glimmered at the foot of her bunk. A young man rolled a pink ball toward the girl, while a young woman looked on with a proud grin.

     Her hatch bell rang and startled her. She stood, paused the holovid, then moved to the door. Not many people came to see Deveraux because everyone knew how she liked her privacy during stand-down. She touched the open key.

     And lost a heartbeat.

     "I need to talk to you." Blair leaned on the doorjamb, his face long, his eyes reflective pools.

     She forgot to breathe. She glanced to the holovid, the figures unmoving--

     Blair pushed his way past her.

     "Hey. You can't barge into my--"

     He spun around and tossed something to her. "I wear it for luck."

     She caught then examined the cross.

     "It was my mother's," he explained.

     "Is your luck at odds with our mission?"

     That drew a long sigh from him. He shifted away, surveying the rest of her quarters, his gaze falling on the paused holovid. "What's this?"

     "Nothing," she said, then practically dove toward the holovid and shut it off. "You should leave."

     "You worried about gossip? I'm not. I already know what they're saying about me."

     "You give them reason to talk."

     He searched the ceiling for a reply, then finally said, "You think he's right about me?"

     "Who? Gerald?"

     "Yeah. I mean, in his mind I started selling out the Tiger Claw the moment I stepped on board."

     Her gaze flicked to the cross. "I don't see how you can be a Pilgrim and fight on our side."

     "I'm not a Pilgrim. I don't even know what a Pilgrim is."

     "You're not that naive--otherwise you'd keep this thing in a box."

     "I guess you're right. My mother was an off-worlder who grew up hating Earth, hating humanity. My father fought for the Confederation. Somehow, despite all the hate, they found each other."


     "I don't know. They died before I was five. He was killed trying to save her in the Peron Massacre. That cross is all I have. I'm not sure where I belong, Commander, except here, fighting and flying."

     As she turned the cross over in her hands, Deveraux felt a chill spidering across her neck. "Sit down, Lieutenant."

     He moved toward her bunk, but she directed him to the chair at her desk.

     "Why do you think they call me Angel?" she asked.

     His shoulders lifted in a half-shrug.

     "It's a real weeper. Headlines: My parents died in the same war. I grew up in an orphanage on Earth, in Brussels."

     Their gazes met, and Deveraux sensed an even stronger connection.

     "At night, I'd cry for them," she continued. "The sisters told me they were angels. I kept crying for them to come and take me to heaven. But they weren't angels. They were dead. Gone. It was like they had never existed."

     "Like Bossman?"

     Deveraux held herself for a moment, forcing her breath to steady, her hands to stop trembling. "Emotion gets in the way of our mission. There is no emotion. Only the job. You sight the target, terminate it, and move on without looking back."

     "Commander, emotion is what separates us from the Pilgrims. And the Kilrathi."

     She leaned back on the bulkhead and felt the sting of tears. "Lieutenant Commander Chen was ... Bossman andI got close. Too close. And then he got himself killed."

     Blair rose, reaching out to comfort her.

     She motioned him off, then backhanded the tears away. "Consider what you just saw classified."

     He lowered his hand and smiled just enough to make her feel better. "Yes, ma'am. And can I ask you something?"

     "That depends."

     "You said that your parents were killed in the same war. Were they killed by Pilgrims?"

     Her gaze searched his. "You want to know what side my family was on, is that it, Lieutenant?"

     "Actually, I was wondering more about you." He looked at the cross.

     "J don't know how they were killed."

     "Wouldn't you like to know?"

          "I've already tried to find out. Those records were lost."

     He looked to the holovid player. "Is that your cross?"

     "Lieutenant, we're square. You saved me today. And I have a few things to finish here." She handed him the cross.

     With a curt nod, he headed for the hatch.

     "And Blair," she called after him. "Gerald's a clown."

     His eyes thanked her.