Prime Obsession:The Prime Chronicles 01(9)

By: Monette Michaels

“What about any remaining traitors?” Huw asked, his narrowed gaze sweeping the room.

Wulf smiled grimly. “Any traitors among us will show their true colors as time passes.”

Code Argenta protocols would assure that. The Prime had a long-standing policy of not allowing any of its military equipment to fall into the hands of the enemy—or opportunistic pirates. The Galanti’s destruction count-down clock had already started.

Unless help arrived in time, it would continue to explosion. They had ninety-six standard hours.

Huw nodded and ran to find his brother and their friend Maren.

Settling his shoulders back against a bulkhead, Wulf’s narrowed gaze swept the engine room several times. The cavernous room hummed with activity; the sound reflecting off the titanium walls raised goose bumps on his flesh.

Operating under reduced power, his highly trained crew went about their expected duties in the dimly lit room; their bodies cast ghost-like shadows on the pale titanium walls. All stations were manned continuously, the flashing lights and monitors adding to the surreal glow in the room. Each member of his crew could operate any piece of equipment on the ship. Those on duty monitored the security systems and watched live camera feed from inside the ship and without it. Others slept until it was their time to man the various stations.

Wulf noted with approval that the healthy aided the injured. They’d been fortunate to have lost so few lives. The surprise attack was responsible for the majority of his crew’s injuries in the docking bay. Emergency protocols had kept their casualties down in the rest of the ship.

As expected, his men maintained the preternatural calm of Prime warriors preparing for battle, and possibly their deaths. Nothing seemed out of place, but an undercurrent of something “off” niggled at his subconscious. Somewhere in this room there was at least one traitor, maybe more, but even his highly attuned empathic senses couldn’t single him or them out. There were just too many sets of strong emotions in the enclosed space. That fact, coupled with the interference of the computer and machine sounds, distorted his ability to test the emotional status of each man.

He turned to his left and switched the monitor on the master command console to an exterior view.

The pirate mother ship, a battle cruiser that had probably been salvaged, or liberated, from the Volusian military, lay off the starboard side, dead in space, operating on emergency power. They’d been lucky. The pirate ship’s power source was of the type that his new beta-weapon could defang it. If he and his crew survived, the Prime—and through the newly signed treaty, the Alliance—would have an effective new weapon to use against certain of their shared enemies.

Huw, Iolyn and Maren came to stand with him.

“What is our status, Wulf?” Maren asked in low tones.

“We control the Galanti. Engines have been shut back to emergency power. The pirates may be in possession of the command deck, but they have no power.

Environmental is cut off on every level of the ship but this one. And the pirate ship is dead in space and has no working weapons.”

Wulf motioned the three men closer as he scanned the immediate area to see if any one of the crew expressed more than a casual interest in what the four of them discussed.

He saw no one in particular and the emotional levels in the room had not changed. If there were other saboteurs, they were not ready to make their move just yet. “Iolyn, what is the intruder count?”

“We are outnumbered by almost a three-to-one ratio,” Iolyn responded. “We are trapped in engineering. The apayebo Solar corrupted the computer program controlling some of the maintenance tunnel traps leading to and from the engine room. Currently, I can’t command them.”

“So, we can’t use them to leave and take the battle to the intruders,” Wulf said. He muttered several Prime epithets under his breath. “The good news is that they can not use them to get to us, either.”

“The self-destruct mechanism?” Maren asked.

“It is functioning as programmed, and I can still halt it at any time,” said Wulf.

His brothers and Maren visibly relaxed at that news. No Prime wanted to die under a Code Argenta. They were warriors and would rather die in glorious battle. But they would go up with their ship as long as it kept the pirates from stealing the Galanti and its advanced technology.

“We need to monitor the crew in the engine room for signs of increased fear or stress as the countdown proceeds,” Wulf said in a low voice that only carried to his companions. “I expect our other traitor or traitors will attempt to halt the countdown.”

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