Part 5 Volume 2 of the Liberty Schoenhauer series
Walter G. Esselman
Liberty looked through the scope of her sniper rifle. Malibu beach was right where she had left it.
She was leaning over the bow of the boat, which rocked gently on the water. To her left was Malibu Pier, which a cheesedoff alien ship had nearly burnt down. But on the sand, only a few zoms milled about.
Twisting around, Liberty looked back at Uncle Danny.
"Looks quiet," she reported.
"That's good," said the big Mexican slowly. But he looked pensive.
do we need to abort?" asked Liberty.
The other two men in the boat, Smalls and Bordeaux, looked at her in surprise, but she ignored them.
After a moment, Uncle Danny just shook his head. "There's never going to be a better time."
"No, there won't," she agreed with a quiet voice.
Taking a deep breath, Uncle Danny gave a wry grin. "Okay, we go."
When Liberty was convinced that he was truly okay, she turned to the soldier manning the outboard motor. "Can you take us in?"
"Yes ma'am," replied the young marine, Rex Bordeaux.
Liberty's eyes went back to the beach as they closed in on the shore.
12 hours earlier aboard the Saulk Medical Ship
"There's a guy in a really cool uniform looking for you!" said Colin excitedly. The boy immediately looked back out into the hallway. "She's over here!"
Stepping into the door was a man who was indeed in a snappy Naval uniform. He held his white hat in one hand.
"Ms. Liberty Schoenhauer?" asked the Naval man, though he seemed reasonably certain that it was her. Besides, Liberty did not think that there were many beretwearing, former librarians with full sleeve tattoos running about.
Liberty stood. "I am. Are you the Admiral?"
"Actually, Rear Admiral Antony Cirilo," said the Naval man.
This made Colin snicker. "Rear Admiral?"
Perturbed, Liberty looked past the naval man to the boy.
"Colin?" she said dangerously. "Don't you have some homework to do?"
The boy made an unhappy noise. "I don't wanna read today."
"Tough," said Liberty, and she pointed towards the room that she shared with the boy. "You need to have that book done by Friday, and next week, Uncle Danny is going to start you on Spanish as well."
"Can I at least go up on deck to read?" asked Colin.
"You can," allowed Liberty. "But hold on to that book carefully. It gets windy up there. And I have more than one copy of 'To Kill a Mockingbird'."
Colin sighed melodramatically and left.
Liberty turned back to the Rear Admiral. "Sorry about that."
"It's okay," smiled the Naval man. "I raised a few kids myself." And for a moment, a dark shadow crept across his face. However, it disappeared quickly.
Liberty was getting used to seeing grief, but had found that the social etiquette here was not to pry. If someone wants to talk, they will bring it up.
"Can I help you?" she asked instead.
"I'm hoping so," said Rear Admiral Cirilo. "News of your dramatic escape has been running through the fleet."
In truth, the vast flotilla of ships only had a handful of U.S. Naval vesselsincluding the Medical Ship that they were on, and the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. The rest of the floatilla consisted of a mishmash of ships, but people still generally referred to it as 'the fleet'.
"We need your help," he continued.
"How so?" asked Liberty wearily.
"After I took command of the fleet, I repurposed almost all the soldiers at my command to serve as peace officers," said the Rear Admiral. "It was chaos at first, with no real authority, so I had to take control."
"So, we're under military rule," said Liberty carefully.
"For the moment," nodded the Rear Admiral. "But we really need to change thatcreate a more democratic processbut
but we're getting offtopic. I need soldiers."
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