Chapter Seventeen

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Kita exited the elevator to Enterprise's bridge with Baby Doll. The pair approached the holotable where Sheppard, Defiance, and Blitz were in a video conference with several of the Djinn captains.

Sheppard saw Kita approach and announced, "Thank you, Captains. My staff will be in touch if they have more questions." She killed the feed much to the surprise of Defiance and Blitz, then turned to the approaching Angels. "Kita, we need to talk to you."

"You and everyone else," Kita said sarcastically. "Sorry, Rene, it's been a long day."

"I heard something went down in the medical ward."

"What do you need?" said Kita not interested in telling.

"What's wrong, darlin'?" said Defiance to Kita.

Kita shook her head. "Kids."

"I want to know what the plan is. I know—"

Kita waved a hand to shush Sheppard. "Everyone, grab my hand," she ordered as she held out her hands. Once everyone was touching her, she phased them outside of Enterprise near the bow.

"Rene, I do owe you and Case an apology. You've both been very good sports about my dealings with Collector and leading his fleet against the Shadow Fleet."

"I knew you had a plan," said Defiance. "I am curious to hear it since they are my ships we'll be attacking."

"I have no intention of leading Collector's forces to victory. Quite the opposite, in fact. I plan to lead them to their doom. As soon as we're in UEE space, we're going to contact the Shadow Fleet and tell them we're being pursued and under attack by alien forces. I don't know what forces guard the wormhole, I'm hoping you can come up with a plan and continue the ruse now."

"By the Emperor, Kita," exclaimed Sheppard. "I'm not a machine. I've been working days straight on this while trying to learn a completely new fleet."

Kita raised a hand. "I understand, Rene, and I thank you, but I'm not asking you to do it for real. I need you to go against your training and nature. Put together something that looks good on paper that will fool the Djinn captains. That's all you have to do."

"That would have been nice to know a few days ago," said Blitz.

"Sorry," said Kita. "I know you've been working hard, but I need to keep this ruse going for a little longer. I hope that's some stress off all of you. I do plan on running drills and exercises to give the appearance we're training them up. I expect you to tell them all the wrong things."

"That could be just as hard as doing the real thing," said Defiance.

"No," said Sheppard. "I'll hand it off to those who need to learn and are inexperienced with fleet-wide exercises. I'll make it a problem for the junior officers to solve. We'll just need to review it. In the meantime, we'll work on an escape plan."

"You expect your junior staff to be that bad?" teased Baby Doll.

"I expect them to not understand the nuance of the situation and understand the strategy involved. I expect to get back a competent report that will require some modification but will be good enough to fool the Djinn. And, it will give them some practical experience in fleet-wide operations."

"What will the Shadow Fleet need to defeat Collector's fleet?" said Kita.

Sheppard crossed her arms. "They have some anti-fighter technology mounted. It's not as sophisticated as ours, but it can still bring down some fighters. One expeditionary force should be enough. I brought three with me when I came for the princess. That would be enough to drive them from out space."

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