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Chapter One

I just knew the day had gone to the toilet when my aide told me a bigwig from the Armada wanted me for an urgent conference call. I'd barely walked past my office door this morning when Admiral Bernd Graille’s call made me hurry to my desk. I didn’t mind if the call was about something important. But when the admiral bombarded me with a stupid story of how a siren had accidentally landed on his ship, I had to swallow my curse.

Same shit, different day. What a surprise.

First of all, sirens don’t exist. They were nothing but a myth that old farts told to their grandkids as a bedtime story.

And secondly, it was six fucking forty-five a.m. and I needed some coffee to sober me up. I had quite a few drinks last night. With this bitchy hangover, I didn’t feel like listening to this kind of bullshit first thing in the morning. I straightened my back, facing the holovid screen on my desk, nodding as if I took him seriously. Admiral Graille bombarded me with the story about how difficult it had been for his sailors to climb on the ledge of the bridge room’s windshield in order to rescue the siren. I would imagine it was pretty tricky, considering not all men were fond of playing trapeze on the ship bulkhead in the middle of a storm.

I fought the impulse to massage my temples from the pounding headache. I couldn't do that while I was being briefed. Admiral Graille was one of those old salts who adored the strict military rules like a pious evangelist. ”Sir, with all due respect, are you sure this siren isn’t some kind of mutagenesis? Archeria is famous for manufacturing genetically altered animals as exotic pets. And judging from the ship’s logs you gave me, I notice the Liberator patrolled near the Secrez De la Isle’s gulf last night. Biotrans Limited does have a manufacturing complex in that area. Perhaps it was a stray from a nearby offshore genelab facility.”

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