Operation Caesar’s Folly (part XXV)

Beth let the air flow out of her chest as she brought her elbows up to her knees. She lowered her shoulders to the floor, then brought them back up, touching her elbows  to her knees again.

She had so much time and nothing to do in these quarters. She’d been allowed a short list of personal effects when she’d come aboard, but she hadn’t actually anticipated much downtime. She had thought at this point that she would be prepping for the attack in Zadar, or wherever they were going to end up.

Vic would change the target again since Beth’s confession.

It was the smart move.

Beth would have done the same.

She kept up the crunches, wondering who would be replacing her as First Lieutenant and where Vic would change the target to.

She thought Colonel Khan was an obvious choice, as he was technically the second highest ranking officer on board. He was a Marine, not Airborne Division proper, but then neither was Beth. Laymen found it silly but flyer and jetpack pilots were considered their own fiefdom within the Airborne Division. They even had a separate ranking system.

“Dragoons,” she’d heard the Admiral call them. “Mounted, maybe, but still infantry. Still hand to hand fighters at heart.”

There was certainly some truth to that.

Marines, however, were an entirely different animal. Airborne marines were the last line of defense an airship had. Their primary duty was to repel boarders, and if the ship was taken, then it was only over the dead body of every marine aboard. Khan was a good marine, and he may as well have been cast from adamantine steel. The marines he’d brought on board were built to match. No flexibility; not exactly Vic’s usual speed, but good to have in an emergency.

Somebody else then.

Whoever it was, their first order of business would still be to change target. Beth knew about Zadar, and she’d just admitted to handing over information to the enemy. Or an enemy. Maybe not even an enemy?

Beth momentarily entertained the notion that perhaps this was all some double-bluff by the Admiral.

No. Too many things had piled on, too many spanners in the works. Somebody was definitely trying to get the mission to fail.

Oh well. There was nothing more Beth could do about that. Not from here in her bunk.

At least Beth had come clean when she did. Now Vic knew to watch her back. She’d suspected of course, she’d told Beth as much at the party over the Alps, but now she knew.

That was something at least.

Whether they ended up in Zadar or Atlantis though, Barrington and Anavior would have to take over her part of the mission. She hoped they were up to the task.

Those two were pretty good. Not as good as her of course, but there was nothing to be done about that. They’d just have to take…

She stopped mid crunch.

They’d probably fly her plane.

She shook her head and kept going.

They’d fly her plane and hit the machine-man garrisons with…

She stopped again.

They would have to fly her plane.

She gritted her teeth and returned to the crunches.

They would be flying her plane.

She grunted and sped up, trying to push the thought away.

They were going to fly her plane in Zadar.

She fell back to the floor and threw her fist out, slamming it against the deck so hard she felt something break.

She wasn’t sure if it was in the deck or her hand.

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