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CHAPTER EIGHT A Question of Authority

Senior Chief Petty Officer Hussein watched Captain-no, he reminded himself, Commodore-Avram stalk into Dunkerque's boat bay and felt sorry for whoever the Old Lady was going to meet.

He sprang to attention with alacrity. The sideboys did the same, but Commodore Avram hardly seemed to notice. She saluted the Federation banner on the forward bulkhead with meticulous precision as the bosun's pipe shrilled, then stepped silently into her cutter, and the atmospheric pressure in the boat bay dropped by at least a kilo to the square centimeter as its hatch closed. It departed, sliding through the mono-permeable force field at the end of the bay, and Chief Hussein shook his head sadly.

Some poor bastard dirtside was about to grow a new asshole.

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