"Aggy, I need to see you urgently; I have some very distressing news which needs to be passed on to the relevant people without having the moves exposed."
The Commodore considered the image of his fellow Grenob in the viewer of the PDA; Marcel Thoreau was one of the few people who, outside the Flock, possessed another of the Flock crafted hand com devices which were hand made in the very secure hold of R2, one of the FURS in "The Queen's Own".
"Marcel, do I need to take action stat?"
"No, no, its just the need to pass the information up" replied Marcel hurriedly but with a slight laugh.
"Where are you?"
"I'll send a UVA to your pad, should be there in twelve, thirteen."
"Suits, but you know those things terrify me."
The Commodore slipped the PDA into its belt holder and activated his internal ship's com to vid the OW in the CIC;
"Dispatch the pinnace to pick up the Grenoble Mil Sec at the Bollard House pad stat; he should be waiting. Thank you."
Thoreau was half out of the flush mounted deck hatch as he saw the pinnace on landing approach to the roof pad. He sighed in relief at recognizing "Vector's" pinnace and smiled wryly as Aggy had got him back for that Partheon 'invoice'. He waited until the pinnace settled, flashed its lights and opened its hatch before he moved out of the stairwell. He stood on the hatch control and as the green indicated seal, turned and entered the pinnace where he secured himself into a seat.
"In and tight" he called and heard the disembodied reply
"Thank you, Commander" as the pinnace hatch whirred sealed and the boat lifted off.
"You got me good this time, Aggy. Demned UVAs, give me claustrophobia" shuddered Thoreau. A faint twitch moved McCock's lips as he shook the extended hand. They walked quietly down the passageway from the boat bay ready room to the Captain's quarters and Thoreau followed McCock in.
"I see you haven't reversed Millicent's mods to the ready room's vids" Thoreau commented as he settled in the lift chair beside the coffee table cum work desk.
"No, we know what she did but its easier to replace them rather than try to reverse the changes; she certainly did a job on them" replied McCock as he passed the coffee percolator.
"By tbe by, I've got a chest of Jamaican Blue if you're interested?"
"Marcel, HM is not pleased with you. You supply Hernandes and us but not her Comptroller."
"When HM's Comptroller restricts donated goodies to the immediate household and not pass them around to his grace and favour sponging mates, then I would suddenly locate the top stuff."
"There's that. Now, your information?"
Thoreau passed across a chip which McCock inserted into the reader and sent the image to the wall screen. It showed a distinguished looking conservatively dressed man of late middle age at a podium in front of an audience of what looked to be middle level executives. He was informing them that Mountserrat was in breach of the seventh and eighth Geneva Conventions and that he would so inform the United Solarian Senate. McCock turned and looked at Thoreau who informed him:
"Solarian Ambassador to Harbouria addressing the combined sitting of their houses of Congress. One of my neutrals picked it up just as he was departing; he got in about ten days after your raid and it took him about twelve days to unload his grain cargo and had to leave empty as there was no longer a backload for him; took him another fifteen days to here. The only thing good about this is that the Ambassador is going to have great difficulty in getting his message out: and, yes Sol will accept that report and will act on it is my assessment. There are a lot of avaricious shipping cartels there who have been eyeing the Junction for decades. The truth of the damage actually done will be deliberately buried in an avalanche of propaganda which will be spread throughout the United Solarian Worlds and cries for a punitive expedition will resound as each politican will try to outdo one another."
McCock extracted his PDA, selected a connection, waited til made and then spoke,
"Uncle Rupert, Aggy, I'm on "Vector" and leaving now to collect Slow enroute; I need to speak to Aunt Lillibet ASAP. I'll have Commander Thoreau with me in "Vector's" pinnace."
There was a very long pause as the speakers looked intently at each other's image on their PDA vid before exchanging nods and the voice from the PDA said,
"No1 landing pad." The link disconnected and McCock replaced the PDA.
McCock walked to his desk to inform the OW that the pinnace was needed again for a sortie to the Palace picking up Captain Gort en route. He then informed Slow saying he would explain en route.
He then reseated himself to finish his coffee wondering as he did so how it had all ended up like this. He finished his coffee, pocketed that chip from the reader, stood retrieving his forage cap and looked across at Thoreau who also stood and together they made their way to the boat bay. McCock was still wondering as he secured himself in the pinnace seat.