Wing Commander Junior Novelization Chapter 27

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Chapter 27
Book Wing Commander Junior Novelization
Parts 2
Previous Chapter 26
Next Chapter 28
Pages 127-130
Source Wing Commander Chapter 28, Part Three and Part Four

Dramatis Personae

Part 1 Part 2

Christopher Blair

Christopher Blair


Jeanette "Angel" Deveraux
Corey Obutu
Paul Gerald
James "Paladin" Taggart
Unnamed Helmsman

Todd "Maniac" Marshall
Ian "Hunter" St. John


Unnamed Tech

Jeanette "Angel" Deveraux


Jay Sansky
Geoffrey Tolwyn


MARCH 17, 2654
1200 HOURS

Part One

Blair felt a distinct jolt as he stepped onto the bridge. The Tiger Claw floated up, and the shadows folded back to expose the pockmarked and grooved surface of the crater's wall.

     Lieutenant Commander Obutu lay on his back, assisting a tech with repairs on the portside observation station. The other officers stared determinedly at their screens, making reports into headsets.

     "I heard about Sansky," Deveraux said, meeting Blair at the rail. "Gerald's not going to inform the crew until we're dead or out of this. He's breaking regs, but he's right. We have to keep morale high, speaking of which, how's yours?"

     "I'm all right."

     "Wow. Very convincing."

     "I'll be all right. Soon. Maybe."

     "At least now you're honest."

     He gestured toward Taggart, who stood behind Gerald's command chair. "I need to speak with him." Deveraux released him with a nod, and he crossed to stand at attention beside Taggart. "Sir, I have something for you." He fished out Tolwyn's ring.

     Taggart grinned at the sight, then shook his head as Blair offered it to him. "Keep it for now. We get out of this, you can return it yourself."

     "Thank you, sir."

     "We're clear of the crater," the helmsman abruptly reported.

     "Very well," Gerald said. "Mr. Obutu. Prepare a drone. Input the Kilrathi jump coordinates. Send it through the Charybdis Quasar to Admiral Tolwyn."

     "Aye-aye, sir." Obutu slid out from beneath the observation station.

     Gerald glanced back to Taggart. "They should be able to the target exact location of the Kilrathi jump entry. It'll be over before they can get their weapons on line."

     "If Tolwyn's there, Mr. Gerald. If he's there."

     "Sir, we have a problem," Obutu said. "All communications and decoy drones are off-line. Executive override."

     "Sansky," Gerald said as though swearing. "Without those coordinates, Tolwyn doesn't have a chance--and we're too big to slip past the Kilrathi and warn the fleet."

     Taggart gave Blair an appraising glance, then said, "We'll have to send a fighter through."

     "Impossible," Gerald argued. "There are over a thousand singularities in that quasar. To jump it would be suicide without Navcom coordinates."

     "We don't need a Navcom, Mr. Gerald." Taggart placed a hand on Blair's shoulder. "Lieutenant, you will navigate the quasar. Lieutenant Commander Deveraux will follow your lead."

     Stunned by the order, Blair's voice cracked. "It's statistically impossible, sir."

     The commodore tightened his grip. "We don't have another option." His voice lowered to a near whisper. "You have the gift."

     Blair slid out of Taggart's hold and looked to the deck, reaching for his cross--but it wasn't there. "I don't have the faith."

     "It's not faith," Taggart said, coming up behind him. "It's genetics. It's the capacity to feel magnetic fields. But if you believe you need faith--" He circled in front, reached into his tunic, and withdrew a Pilgrim cross. "Here. Take mine." He tossed it to Blair.

     Awestruck, Blair studied the cross, then gazed curiously at its owner. "Why didn't you tell me?"

     Taggart cocked a brow. "You didn't ask."

     The reverence in Taggart's eyes when he had examined Blair's cross and the pain he suffered when speaking of the Pilgrims were now clear.

     "Long-range scanners are picking up Kilrathi ships, sir," Obutu told Gerald. "Looks like a destroyer and a cruiser."

     "Mr. Blair. Can you do it?" Gerald asked.

     "I think so, sir."

     "Not good enough, Lieutenant!"

     "Sir, I can do it, sir!"

     "Very well. I'll have the Kilrathi jump coordinates transferred to your Rapier and copied to Deveraux's. We'll create the diversion. Just get those coordinates to Tolwyn."

     "Aye-aye, sir."

Part Two

On the flight deck, Deveraux hurried off toward her fighter. Blair continued along the flight line toward his own Rapier.

     "Pilgrim," a familiar man called out.

     Blair craned his head as Hunter came toward him. His muscles grew tighter with the pilot's every step.

     "I heard what you did on that Kilrathi ship," the big Aussie said. "We all heard. I was wrong." He extended a hand.

     Trying to hide his feeling of relief, Blair took the hand and gave the pilot his firmest shake.

     "Good luck." Hunter ambled back to his Rapier.

     As Blair turned, he found Maniac standing in his path. "You trying to sneak out and die without me knowing?"

     "Uh-uh, don't say anything. I want to remember your pretty face just like this. See you on the other side, bro." He banged fists with Blair, then winked and dashed off.

     Blair continued on to his fighter, and once there, he settled into the cockpit as the commotion outside came to a roar.

     Within sixty seconds the deckmaster waved him into position for launch. He saluted, got clearance from Raznick, and for the first time in his military career, he felt uneasy about punching his thrusters. The Rapier accelerated through the energy curtain and over the runway. He flipped on his VDU and watched the Tiger Claw shrink into the vast sea of darkness. Deveraux formed on his wing. She sent him the order to maintain radio silence as they approached the asteroid belt.