“Nope, nope, and possibly,” he answered, “Rumors are flying that it’s being used for some government operation that’s strictly hush hush. Other rumors been saying it’s a not so nice hush hush.”
She gave him a sharp look and demanded, “Are you accusing the Union of illicit practices?”
He spread his hands and said, “I ain’t accusing nobody of nothing. I just want the registered name of the place and it’s coordinates.”
“You could have gone to any Information Center in the Union and asked for this. Why did you have to kidnap me?”
Captain Otama straightened the chair and settled suddenly intense eyes on her, “We have gone to the Centers and got zippo. Plus, I have a feelin’ you’re going have to break into the Grid to get at this. It’s buried deep and we need us an information expert, who knows the Grid, to dig it up. Now, you created that system, you can find it and find it quick.”
Katherine’s eyes widened and she laughed in surprise, “You must be joking!”
“Not at all,” Captain Otama said as he stood from the chair and stretched. “There’s a computer con in the mess. You start right now and find me that planet.” He brushed past her as Caleb opened the door for him. “Caleb, a word.”
The first mate stepped into the hall. He didn’t close the door, so Katherine could hear their quiet voices, but could not clearly make out what they said.
“You’re to look after her while she works,” Otama told his first mate, “I don’t want her left alone on the console for a minute. No tellin’ what mischief she could wreak.”
“Why do I have to be her babysitter?” Caleb complained.
“Two reasons, one, because you’ll make sure there ain’t any shenanigans. And two, because I said so.”
He moved away from Caleb and looked again at Katherine. “Katie, you need anything, Caleb is your man.”
Before he could disappear, Katherine rushed to the door. “What happens if I can’t give you what you want?” she asked, her mouth suddenly dry. The captain stopped and half turned.
He gave her a cheery smile and said, “Don’t let’s be gloomy about the future, Katie. Just make it happen.” His feet clanged on the stairs as he climbed them, leaving Katherine to look at Caleb with a rope of dread tying itself around her gut.
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