A slight brown figure slipped soundlessly down the ladder from the cargo hold at the rear of the Emperor’s Revenge, looked around warily and, seeing nobody, slipped into the shadows. Kat crept cautiously out of the docking bay, through the connecting passage and along the sector barrier towards the side exit. The secret codes for which she had risked her life were tucked into a pocket of her dingy brown coveralls. It was imperative to deliver the codes to the Solarian Intelligence Service.
Kat halted before the exit, hearing excited voices from the space cruiser. She rotated swiftly on her toes. No one was visible behind, so she strode boldly around the corner and out of the Emperor’s main sector. She ran lightly along the passageway to the adjacent sector, and darted into the crowds milling through the central hub of Hassam port.
Loud yells from the Emperor’s sector alerted her to pursuit. She weaved in and out of the lively groups of people, moving toward the Solarian sector. Shouting from behind and the stamping of heavy footsteps from the pursuing guards impelled her into a narrow side street. She raced to the end, flipped round the corner, and ran past the sleazy inns and brothels of the old portside town. Another turn took her into a broad thoroughfare lined with touristy shops, boutiques and cafes with tables flowing out onto the pavement.
She slowed her frantic pace to the casual stride of a tourist in the old town. She walked down the gaudy street, scanning the passersby for a potential ally. At length, she spotted two junior officers of the Solarian fleet, lounging in a small café. Kat sidled over to their table and leaned nervously toward the younger officer.She proffered the codes, whispering in a conspiratorial manner, “Take this to your intelligence office. It’s a gift from the Grey Kat.” The man stared at her ragged clothes in disbelief. “Take it,” she insisted. “I’m in great danger!” He clasped the com, almost unwillingly, glanced at his companion and nodded. As she sped away, they lifted their drinks and sipped casually as if nothing had happened. Good, she mused, they would deliver the codes. Now, she had to escape and switch her identity.
First meeting of main characters. The heroine in her guise as the thief, Grey Kat, has been dragged into a spaceship.
Two armed men escorted her to a large cabin. A tall man stood by a table displaying galactic charts. Strikingly, he was clothed entirely in black. He wore black leather boots, black gloves, and even his face was wrapped in folds of black cloth, exposing only his piercing green eyes under a black turban. She stared at him curiously. Sexy outfit, she mused. But, why did he cover his face? Was it a cultural obligation, or was he hiding some hideous deformity?
He scrutinized her small figure with equal intensity. He saw a slim woman with alert tawny eyes and brown hair, wearing coveralls of a nondescript brown. He spoke in a cool, dispassionate tone, “My men say you are the cunning thief who stole secret codes from the Emperor’s Revenge. Where are the codes?”
She stared back in silence, tilting her chin in defiance.“I am the Black Hawk. You are on my ship, the Rogue Star, and utterly in my power. I recommend you tell me what you know.” His deep cold voice sent a shiver down her spine.