“Captain Geary, I wouldn’t blame you for wondering if you’d have been better off if we hadn’t found you. ‘Black Jack’ Geary, back from the dead to accompany the Alliance Fleet to its greatest victory.” Bloch closed his eyes for a moment. “Now I need to leave the fleet in the hands of someone I can trust.”
Geary grimaced, wanting to yell at Bloch, tell the admiral that the man he wanted to leave in charge of the fleet wasn’t the man actually standing here, that such a person had never existed.
He finally just nodded slowly. “Aye, aye, sir.”
“We’re trapped. This fleet is the Alliance’s last hope.” Bloch leaned close, speaking more softly. “Dauntless has the key onboard. Do you understand? This ship must get home. Somehow. The hypernet key must get back to the Alliance. If we can do that there’ll still be a chance.”
It wasn’t like Geary would be in charge forever. Bloch would negotiate with the Syndics, then return and be back in command. Geary would never have to learn any details about some “key” on the Dauntless that somehow related to a method of traveling between the stars, which was much more rapid than even the system-jump faster-than-light transportation used in Geary’s time.
“Yes, sir . . . ”