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The Crimson Heart Part 6 by Cameron Olson
SUMMARY: Part six of a novella detailing a mission undertaken by Marsden Security, a small StarNavy-for-Hire operating in the year 2413 AD.
::Private Thoughts of a Character::
Part 6 "Warrior's Prayer"
July 23'rd, 2413AD
Teska sat in her chair on the bridge of the Firedrake Redeemed reading a printed book she had taken at random from her ‘to read' pile. It was a well-written telling of the last months of the third war between the Mrrinn and the Kir'Tenz in 2309 AD. The account was that of Grand Admiral Hirellin Jzakentayr, the woman who had commanded the remnants of the Mrrinn Republic's StarNavy in the wake of the Harzgen Catastrophe, the last battle in which the Mrrinn fleet had stood any chance against the might of the Kir'Tenzian Paradisium. Admiral Jzakentayr described the crushing shame that had overtaken the fleet at that point as they proved unable to do more than slow the Kir'Tenzian advance while the last refugees escaped. That shame, when combined with the hubris that had caused the Mrrinn to goad the Kir'Tenz into another war in the first place, had formed a deadly poison in the minds of the surviving Mrrinn warriors. The self-hatred they felt had rendered their tactics increasingly suicidal in the weeks approaching the final battle over the fortress world of Kintanay, where the last of the Mrrinn navy had faced off against a massive Kir'Tenz fleet bent on genocide. The Mrrinn had learned the meaning of helplessness that day, and its only answer.
Teska remembered her great grandfather giving her his own account of how, as a child, he had looked up from the surface of Kintanay as the flashes of missiles and exploding ships filled the night sky. Reading the admiral's powerful description filled in many of the details her grandfather hadn't told her, details of a story so bittersweet and awesome that it had changed the very nature of Mrrinn culture forever. Teska was just about to begin the chapter on the Battle of Kintanay itself when one of the ensigns whispered,
"Skipper, you have a visitor."
Teska looked up and scanned the bridge, smiling at Arthur when she saw him. "Well, you're up early," Teska said, noting that it was 0415 hours. She was quite certain that the children had been put to bed at 2300 the previous day, so she figured Arthur must not have been able to sleep, which wasn't too surprising. "Did you get any sleep?"
Arthur approached slowly, looking nervous. "Some, but... he told me to get up."
"He?" Teska asked.
"God," Arthur replied.
With any other child Teska would have thought they were looking for attention. With Arthur, she immediately took him seriously. "Why did he tell you to wake up?"
Arthur looked relieved and came all the way up to her chair. "He said I had to tell you to do something. A class-E comm. scan to starboard for ten minutes."
"A class-E comm. scan?" Teska asked, her eyebrows almost vanishing under her auburn bangs.
Teska studied his eyes and then bowed her head, seeking guidance. She felt nothing, but she knew the time lost in doing the scan would be negligible.