Register Register

Author Topic: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)  (Read 3239 times)

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« on: 13 September 2015, 06:02:04 »
[[Posted 10-01-2007, 00:57:28]]

 
LCS Indefatigable, 3081/08/23, 1400 Hours...

"Where the hell are the Medics?" Phelan Kell, Khan of Clan Wolf in Exile demanded.

 Peter Held the thrashing woman's head.  "I called for them-they should be here in a moment." 

Ranna Kerensky snorted in disgust.  "I really do not know why you tolerate her." 

Peter grimaced, and the hatch banged open, admitting two LAAF Medtechs with full gear.

"How long?" the lead medic asked.

"about two minutes, I'd say this is the worst I've ever seen her."  Peter said.  One of the Medtechs ran a scanner, the other pulled a blood-sample into an analysis filter. 

"****** It." the analyst muttered, and dug into his bag for an injector and a device that resembled a sort of defib-unit.

"What?" Peter asked.

"She's off her meds again-probably about a week if the tissue-test is right...Jonesy, setting three, half-second burst."

the second medtech applied the pads, set the machine, and pressed a stud.

Elizabeth Ngo went completely rigid for a moment, then dropped like a limp sack of smashed tomatoes.

The Senior tech took readings, then injected her.  Peter noted the number of needle-tracks in her good arm-the natural one, the one that wasn't a low-tech piece of junk prosthetic.

"What's that?" he asked.

"Stabilizer,  First we 'stun' the central nervous system to interrupt the chain-reaction, then, we hit her with a chemical stabilizer to hold off further siezures.  She'll be awake in about six hours."

Peter nodded, "Take the Duchess back to her quarters, and see that she is cared for until she can rejoin us." He waved dismissively.

The Medtechs and a crewman moved her out of the room on a stretcher.

"Well... six hours' guaranteed peace."  Phelan quipped, "Why in the Founder's name do you keep that woman around?"

Peter shrugged, "It is...complicated.  I get tired of having everyone around me play-acting devotion while they pursue their own agendas-she doesn't play courtier games, and keeping her where I can see her makes a certain amount of sense..."  He sighed,  "She also is the only member of the Advisory Council that does not think I am a total idiot, with present company excluded,  I hope."

Ranna licked her lips, "She Called you an idiot-I saw it."

Peter nodded, "Exactly-because I want to let Stone take Skye-she said what some are thinking, but she would have been silent if she actually thought I was stupid."

Phelan looked at him oddly, "Peter, are you sleeping with that Witch?" he asked.

"Um...no?" Peter said.

"Okay, so you have not lost your mind, at least." Phelan relaxed and sat down.

"I Have thought about it, though." Peter said impishly, "Unfortunately, I don't think she'd be up for it."

"Not to mention the damage it would do to your image."  Ranna nailed it squarely.

"Adam would have a cow."  Phelan said.

"Not to mention the scandal-vids, considering some of the words and such she used on the floor of the Estates General..." Peter looked at the ceiling, and said, in his best Bert Habeas voice, "Scandal rocks the Court, the Archon's new cookie: is she demon-possessed, or just a lonely psychotic?"

Phelan and Ranna both cracked up.  "Imagine the children!"

Peter sobered up fast.  "Yeah, imagine that.  I think they'd give the job to Marsden or someone, anyone, maybe Adam even, to keep one of hers off the throne."

Phelan sobered instantly.  "You have been seriously considering it.  Jesus, Peter, what the ******?"

Peter shrugged, "I got tired of being constantly courted.  Liz is good for keeping the worst sycophants away,  her and Maggie Doons, that is-and since nobody would believe it if I were, she's a safe...person-at least, if I could figure out a way to get her to say 'yes'."

"Rumours were true?" Ranna asked.

Peter nodded,  "Some of them-the uglier ones.  I had LIC do a little digging.  I think Amanda's daddy was probably a test-tube and a turkey-baster, we found nobody alive or dead that could get that close." He sat back down, "Found her son's father though- the body was dumped in a landfill and registered as a John Doe...until we ran the DNA through.  Turns out he was a Leutnant in Sharon Bryan's personal staff, and a Loki Operative with a rep for moral...flexibility.  he was minus a couple of things-his balls."

Phelan looked ill.  "Your sister..?"

Peter nodded, "Probably-probably a try for intimidation.  He was plugged by a nine-point-five milimeter pistol, now there are only four makers that chamber that, and three of them are Kowloon Native-the other one is in the Marian Hegemony."

Ranna looked ill.

Phelan looked horrified.

Peter picked up his glass.  "I keep her around, Phelan, because she is a walking reminder of what I can't afford to become, or let my subordinates do in my name."

"Victor knows?" Phelan asked.

Peter nodded, "He knows, he doesn't really care, I don't think.  One more thing to chalk up to dear sister Katherine...You know, I think I'm going to spend the rest of my life cleaning up their mess? It's like being a janitor in an asylum for ****** psychotics with loose bowels.  Everywhere I go, I end up wiping the shit they leave behind, fixing the things they break, and dealing with the aftermath of their...actions."  He let that float in the air between them, "And I mean both Victor, and Katherine.  I never wanted this job."



Quote from: NaN, 10-01-2007, 01:44:32
It's clear why they replaced Peter: he's likable, fairly sane, nad prefers crazy-but-honest people.

That will never do.

Quote from: Krieghund, 10-01-2007, 09:20:23
Quote
Peter nodded, "He knows, he doesn't really care, I don't think.  One more thing to chalk up to dear sister Katherine...You know, I think I'm going to spend the rest of my life cleaning up their mess? It's like being a janitor in an asylum for ****** psychotics with loose bowels.  Everywhere I go, I end up wiping the shit they leave behind, fixing the things they break, and dealing with the aftermath of their...actions."  He let that float in the air between them, "And I mean both Victor, and Katherine.  I never wanted this job."
You are so lucky I wasn't drinking anything right then.  ;D

Quote from: Cannonshop, 10-01-2007, 09:43:34
Quote from: Brainburner, 10-01-2007, 09:15:20
WHOA.................. ???
[out of story]
Why would Kowloon be important enough for foreign agencies to monitor them with alarm?
Why would they wait four years to call her back to Tharkad under Adam's administration, and have an arrest-party waiting?
How did Kowloon manage to stay "Under the radar"?
Why did Liz send all those soldiers to fight in foreign lands?  (She could have just as easily stopped at the ACR's, she didn't...)
This is part of the "Rewrite"-I'm working on answering questions...

Like: How could a planetary noble get away with saying the things in public that Elizabeth Ngo said?  there's  a lot that could be read as pure sedition...

Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 10-01-2007, 09:31:14
Translations for the Vietminese (i think) swearing, please?

Oh man, Liz and Peter?!!  :o :o :o :o :o :o :o  Liked how he lied trough his teeth to his Pet Wolves about it.  "down boy, she's not gonna kick you off the bed..."  ^-^

I mean I can follow the reasoning, she isn't Gold (or is it Germanium when your target is a House Lord?) Digging, but can't he find anyone else safe?
ỏ ý ngạc nhiên-roughly translates as "For God's Sake!"

không ai nhìn ngó tới-roughly translates as "To die through Neglect"

gái bao- translates as "Concubine"

người nịnh hót- "Sycophants"

"Safe" is relative- Peter knows how dangerous Liz is, but all of her dangerous parts are no danger to him.  Originally, I thought she would be a total danger-a Cincinattus type, but... she doesn't work out that way.  It's not her 'makeup'.  Heimdall, maybe, if she'd had the chance when she was a little girl *(she didn't, that's Amandas).   Elizabeth is safe, because almost nobody would believe it-even with pictures-at least, nobody who "counts" in the BTUniverse.  People constantly underestimate Peter's charm, wit, and charisma, and they always assume he's dumber than he looks.  "people" not Liz.  She's spent the better part of her political career making people underestimate her.
In a way, the character I created as "The Anti-Katherine" is kind of an ideal match-for the last few months of Peter's life.

We really don't "Choose" who we fall for, either- her "safe" status is really just rationalizing what can't be explained rationally.

Of course, his assassination is going to send her into a spin for a bit...

[/out of story]

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #1 on: 13 September 2015, 06:02:48 »
[[Posted 10-01-2007, 09:03:55]]


Stateroom 5, LCS Indefatigable...

"So...how long was I down?"  Elizabeth asked.   

"About two minutes for the Seizure, about six hours from the sedatives."  Corpsman Petty Officer Elaine Deane replied, folding the blood-pressure cuff.  "I think you scared him.  I Know you scared us." 

Liz frowned again.  "Six hours... and we're what, fourteen from landfall now?"

"About that-they've already come into the traffic-pattern... why didn't you stay on top of your meds, Your Grace?" Elaine asked.

"I...got busy. I forgot."  Elizabeth replied, "Won't happen-"

"-Yes it will.  And next time, or the time after, it won't be something we can fix...ỏ ý ngạc nhiên! Your relationship with the Archon is critical to planetary security."  Elaine stowed the instruments, "We can't afford for you to không ai nhìn ngó tới."

"I promise I won't die from neglect."  Elizabeth said.

"Better not... When are you going to go public with it?"  Elaine asked.

"Can't...not yet anyway-while it would probably help our people, it would harm Peter's position horribly-right now, the Nation needs a bachelor on the throne, a man who's available for powerful alliances through marraige."  Elizabeth sat up, climbed out of the bunk, and sorted a towel out. 

"Leaves you as what, a gái bao?"  Elaine said, wrinkling her nose.

"Statesman, Elaine.  Sacrifice for the good of the People."  she slipped on a pair of slippers and her robe, "besides, This way, I'm credible as a leader for the Loyal Opposition.  If we made our relationship public, I'd lose that, and he would gain many deadly enemies he does not already have."

She stepped into the shower-cubicle, and dropped the robe outside the door.

"Well...I don't like it.  Most people would be brimming with news of something like that."  Elaine said.

"I'm not most people-" Liz activated the water.  In the half-gee created by the rotating grav-deck, it was a gentle sprinkling. "-I can't afford to be, either-you know what the folks back home think of the Steiner-Davions.  Peter's different, but it's going to take years to get the taste of the War out of their mouths."

She scrubbed while Elaine kept watch.  "Yeah, I know-and I also know your favourite phrase is 'I'm not my father', which the home opposition would latch onto if they found out you were in a relationship with a Steiner."

Elizabeth finished, and dried herself off.  "Yeah-exactly.  Three hundered years doesn't rinse off the way a little vomited blood does.  Maybe in a decade, when things have gotten good agian, we might be able to admit it.  By then, the crisis might be far enough in the past..."

Elaine shook her head, "You know that isn't the way it goes-crisis today, crisis tomorrow.  Crisis next week, you two should just get over these stupid games and do the right thing-the traditional thing."

"What, move to bloody Tharkad?  Sit in court all day with those người nịnh hót?" she shook her head, "Please! Kill me now!  If this lasts, then it will have to be kept quiet-and the weather in Nha Tranh is better than anywhere on that frozen hell-hole, and I wouldn't raise a dog in that pit of vipers."

she pulled her robe on, slid her feet back into the slippers, and sat down at her desk.  "Besides, I know what I am-just a fling, someone safe he doesn't have to worry about what it's costing him to spend time with.  Peter can't choose his wife-he has to keep the Realm firmly in mind."

"I don't like it..." Elaine said, "But I understand it."

"good. um, can I have some time alone now?"  Liz asked.

"Certainly Your Grace."



Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 10-01-2007, 13:36:15
Quote from: JA Baker, 10-01-2007, 10:46:04
House Steiner-Ngo?  :o
The entire LCAF re-organised Kowloon style?  }:)

As they say in the CapCon: we live in interesting times...  O0
You know, the anti-Peter coup makes lots of sense if this got out.  Of course Cannonshop's fanfics are completely non-canon, though he writes better than some CBT official writers.  O0

Quote from: Euphonium, 10-01-2007, 20:32:12
Quote from: JA Baker, 10-01-2007, 10:46:04
House Steiner-Ngo?  :o
Welcome to the Lyran Commonwealth, a wholly-owned subsiduary of Ngo Industries.  ;D

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #2 on: 13 September 2015, 06:03:21 »
[[Posted 11-01-2007, 00:05:43]]


Geneva, Terra...

"...brother is coming with a representative from the Advisory Council."  Curiatis said.

Victor Steiner-Davion nodded, "Yeah, who is it? Marsden, or Kelswa Steiner?"

"No sir, it's...well, Elizabeth Ngo."  Curiatis said.

"ah, so he's bringing the leader of the Opposition.  That's either a move to 'legitimize' the Treaty, or he brought her to serve as an excuse to refuse."  Victor said, "Interesting move either way-Peter's not that subtle.  He must be getting advice from Phelan or someone."

"I think it's her, sir." Curiatis said.

Victor almost sprayed his tea all over the desk, "You What?? the woman is a Viper- my god, she called him an idiot in the Estates General! she insults him publically every chance she gets, she disobeys the law, she flouts it, in fact-she curses our whole family, and she's already threatened to withold her support for the Archon.  She's practically done everything someone could do, short of open rebellion, to generate enemies..."

"Ah, you're aware of the phrase, 'Methinks she protests too much'?  Duchess Ngo gets away with saying and doing things that nobody else in the realm, not even Robert, can get away with, both in word, and deed.  That tells me, she has a handle on him somehow."  Curiatis insisted.

"Well...it could be Doons, too, couldn't it?"  Victor pointed out.

"Maggie Doons specifically refused to come-reports say the head of Nashan is home, in bed, and sick.  Now, while they're economic allies, and share political views, I don't think Elizabeth and Maggie are working Peter together...at least, not the way my source at LIC says Liz is working him." 

"What's your source say?"  Victor asked, interested.

"My source in LIC seems to think they've been...closer than colleagues.  a lot closer." Curiatis smirked, and let Victor piece it together.

Victor curled his lip in disgust, and said, "Eww.  That's not an image I want to think about...or contemplate for Peter.  I don't think he's that masochistic, for one thing.  For another, I don't think he'd be that stupid."

Curiatis shrugged, "The source is reliable."

"What's the numbers on the treaty, though-are we going to have to fight too hard?" Victor asked.

"Well... Liao won't give in easily, they don't feel that the Resistance holds any debts on them-they fought the Blakists themselves and did a credible job...but the threat Stone has lined up should keep Sun-Tzu from walking out, and we've got enough forces massed to press the issue, if the other states cave the way they're supposed to."

"Good...and Kurita?" Victor asked.

"The warlord of Dieron has already comitted, and the remains of their government really lacks the ability to stop him-they can't, and with the Ghost Bears' support, they won't.  The wild card is the Lyrans-if Peter backs out, they've got the ability to enforce it-thanks in large part to that woman you find so distasteful...We've got friends in the Estates General, and a Plebiscite in Skye, but if push-goes-shove, we could find ourselves fighting on two fronts...and my source with the Jade Falcons has already made a point of telling me that Pryde will sit it out if the Lyrans elect to fight over Skye instead of handing it over."  Curiatis leaned forward, "I need to know, if she's sleeping with him, can she convince him to refuse to sign?"

Victor frowned, and thought about it.

"no."  He finally said, "Peter, if he wants to sign, will sign.  Phelan's going to back our play-so even if the Falcons sit it out, and Vlad doesn't take the opportunity, we have an ace inside his most vulnerable area.  Peter knows this."

"Then, I'd say you should tell Devlin the good news, and work with him on how to go about presenting it so that it looks good in public."

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #3 on: 13 September 2015, 06:04:07 »
[[Posted 11-01-2007, 00:44:45]]


Radio Room, LCS Indefatigable, 6 Hours from orbit, Terra system...

Elizabeth sat down at the console, and typed in the addresses while the LIC "minder" watched.  "Just business..." she gave him a winning smile.

"Right.  You know we're going to have to screen it."  he said.

She nodded, and handed him the thumbdrive and the hardcopy.  He ran it, the two matched, he furrowed his brow a bit, but nodded.

"Thank you, may I send it now?" she asked.

"sure." He said.

There were eleven addresses total, all of them within forty lights of Terra, and LIC knew all of them as being "branch offices" of Ngo Industries' international branch.

The message was extremely bland, included nothing of political or military value, and it was very, very, short...


Ten minutes later...

Elizabeth headed back to her quarters, deep in thoughts.  "what did you say to them?"  Peter appeared out of nowhere.

"I paid attention to your cousin's body-language, Peter.  He wants this.  He wants it a lot, and he's totally gone kẻ phản bội."  she told him.

"I don't know what that means, but I get the feeling I wouldn't like it."  Peter said.

Liz nodded, "You wouldn't.  he's cộng tác viên to the Clan he's made himself leader of, and they want this.  God knows why."

"..and?"  Peter asked.

"He'll stab you in the back if you vote 'no'...so I took some steps.  Steps to insulate the Commonwealth.  I think Stone intends to talk everyone into standing down, then, he'll take each state, one-by-one while they're too damaged to resist-he'll do it either through their internal politics, or by force-probably saving the force for those he feels he can beat quickly.  The trick is the speed of rebuilding war industries." she said.

"Ah... and your company is one of the prime contractors for machine-tools, one that's still standing."  Peter nodded, "What's the plan, Liz?"

"Dis-Investment.  Stone 'nationalized' Krupp on Terra almost as soon as he was in charge enough to do it-he's already moved on 3M, Irian, and New Earth.  What's his next step-all those are in pretty rough shape after the fighting..." she stopped and Peter opened a hatch.

"he's going to want to bring those factories back on-line, and with Hilton Head a radioactive crater..." he stopped.  "You didn't."

"I did, you'll thank me in twenty years, when your peace has lasted twenty years and they're importing Lyran finished goods, instead of exporting Stone's Revolution across the Sphere in Jihad round two." She said pointedly, "Of course, for this to work..."

Peter followed her, "Yeah?"

Liz looked up and down-there was no-one in the corridor.  "For this to work, you're going to have to tell him no free-trade pact."  she said, "and put my products on the controlled list."

"Won't that hurt your company?" Peter asked.

"It's already going to hurt losing those branch plants-I'm going to try and evacuate as much of the labour and their families as possible..."  she wrapped an arm around him, her good one, the natural arm.

"...you'll need time."  Peter finished for her.

Liz nodded, "Yeah, which is why I used an internal policy document reference, and sent the order before you sign away a third of your sovereignty to your older brother and his friend."  she gave him a kiss, "If they can't rebuild their military industries quickly, that buys time-time you'll need because I don't think Stone is going to stop with the old Word of Blake Protectorate borders, or the old Hegemony borders."

He placed his hands on her shoulders, "what is going to happen, exactly-I mean, you pull your people out, that leaves the physical plants in place..."

She looked down for a moment, "ask the Falcons about the Chahar plant."  she said.

"You...you wouldn't! that's dangerous!"  He said.

"Only if they try to force the doors before the area's cleared.  There won't be any fallout, just a big hole and some busted up buildings filled with slag-slag they can't use to build a war-machine to crush the Commonwealth.  And there won't be any workers or technical people for them to blackmail or torture, either...My employees will be safe, and coming home, with their families.  He'll have to buy from us, or from one of the other established, stable states, if he wants to build weapons that use Fusion Engines, or Myomers, or advanced electronics, or advanced materials-either that, or he'll have to reinvent some of the core technologies, because most of those factories are too torn up to use right away."
He kissed her back.

"What about the Clans?" he asked.

Liz shrugged, "I can't stop them, but... the only one likely to actually supply him with the necessary gear, isn't going to because it would cut into their profits, and create a competitor instead of a good customer-that's the Diamond Sharks.  The Falcons won't because he's a Spheroid, the Wolves won't because they need the stuff for themselves, both exiles and Crusaders, and Vlad's got your evil sister, who despises Victor with a purple passion enough that she'd talk him into killing any deal.  Since Stone is a Spheroid, he can't run a Clan Trial for the stuff with the Bears, who won't sell it because, again-they need it themselves and aren't interested in proliferation to potentially dishonourable people.  I've got the Fedsuns' locked up in a near-monopoly and Yvonne needs the cash, the Free Worlds leaguers are divided and won't hand out tech that can be used against them-or their merchies, and the Cappies hate Stone already."

"Nova Cats?" he asked.

"Don't have it to sell-they're buying everything they can get their hands on, and it looks like the Blakies got their industrial base when they nailed Irece.  No industrial tooling to move, and it's only a splinter faction that wants to go to the Republic." she said.

"You're very well informed." Peter said.

"Industrial Espionage, Peter, is an artform that any company in my position must constantly practice, or be eliminated.  We gather info on customers, contractors, regulators, and potential competitors.  Maggie knows most of what I know, because she's in the same position-though she's a Prime contractor to military sales, rather than a tooling outfit, and she's one of my better customers...so's Bradford, and Irian was, until Stone got 'hold of them.  I already terminated most of the rebuild contracts I had with outfits inside his proposed borders, I even issued refunds."



Quote from: GeorgeK, 11-01-2007, 02:24:40
Did not see the plot twist coming! Great job!

Quote from: Hanekem, 11-01-2007, 11:52:06
You know, if she keeps this up, she'll have to rename her company to " Genom"  :D

Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 11-01-2007, 15:27:18
Only if she plans to start a line of AI Battlesuits called Bumas. ;)

Quote from: chanman, 12-01-2007, 00:40:41
Victor thought his clanner cousin was giving his brother lessons in subtlety?  :o

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #4 on: 13 September 2015, 06:05:14 »
[[Posted 12-01-2007, 01:19:15]]


Reception Hall, 2045 Hours, 3081/08/25...

The room swirled in conversations and the tinkling of glass over strains of baroque music played by bored musicians.  Uncle Darius would love this.  Peter noted somewhat nostalgiacally, as a Terran "lady" tried to chat him up.

Over in a corner, he could see Victor, passively watching alongside Devlin Stone.  Yvonne and her Fiance' were drifting about as well-Peter liked Sandoval. 

His annoying "company"-one of the newly selected "Senators" for Stone's "Republic", inevitably found someone more interesting to talk to.

Peter didn't see Her.

Where is she? she was supposed to be here...

"...does she ever smile?"  Yvonne's voice penetrated his concentration. 

"What?" he turned.  His sister was standing on his left, expectantly.  "I asked about your Gadfly- the Duchess, does she ever smile?"

Peter quickly traced Yvonne's stare, and saw a shadow- among the glittering heraldry, jewels, and shimmering fashions, the wool suit Elizabeth wore to every public function was like a pit eating the light. "Sometimes...when did she get here?"  He asked.

"About five minutes ago, while that slut Duvall was trying to chat you up."  Yvonne said,  adding, "I think she scared the poor Heralds to death-the way they announced her was reluctant as hell."

"She has that kind of impact on some people."  Peter agreed, wishing Damn it, I asked her to wear the ****** evening gown!

Elizabeth was dressed the way she showed up at Court, or the Estates General- a black suit-jacket with the "Natural" shoulder-width (No flaring), plain knee-length skirt, also black, and a white blouse that showed Nothing but the rise of her bosom-no cleavage, no enticement, what the Lyran fashion magazines were calling "Anti-Fashion".

He noted absently that she had altered her usual costume, however- the Lyran Commonwealth armband, and she was wearing ear-rings and eyeshadow.

"She looks solid, and I hear she's single." Yvonne commented teasingly.

"She sponsors the leadership of the Opposition party in the Estates General, and my biggest headache on the Advisory Council.  Hardly a prospect." Peter said.

"Hey, I'm just teasing, Pete.  DMI says she gives Victor fits, though-she cancelled a multibillion C-bill contract to repair damage at Irian Metals, and rumour has it she's sold off her shares in half a dozen outfits at fire-sale pricing.  Makes the markets nervous when someone does that."  His sister's tone was light and friendly, but she was talking business.

"Elizabeth has an allergy to dealing with companies that have been 'nationalized'.  She threatened to cancel her contracts with Defiance last year." Peter informed her, "I talked her out of it...but it took a LOT of talking...and threats...and bargaining."

"I'll bet."  Yvonne said.  "You brought her on the trip out of everyone else you could have-this mean you're reconsidering Stone's offer, or is she here for cosmetics?"

"She's a good negotiator, and if you think I'd do anything like the scale they're asking without negotiating something first..."  Peter replied.

"Thought so...Victor seems to think he has an edge on you, though."  Yvonne pointed out.

"He always thinks that.  I already know what his Ace is."  Peter said.

"Oh, do dish-maybe I can salvage some concessions..?" Yvonne trolled.

"Phelan.  Our dear cousin thinks he walks on water, Victor's going to use a threat based on Phelan as a lever."  Peter said, "Probably the Exiles.  Which is why the Duchess of Kowloon is here, instead of Bradford or Doons."

"You're certain?" Yvonne asked.

"Dead certain.  I already knew about Robert's Plebiscite two weeks ago-we helped supervise the elections, dammit.  Out of my Advisors, only miss Ngo there, doesn't think Victor walks on water and has regular discussions with God, and she's the only Noble I have that can field a force the damn Clanners won't roll over in an afternoon without hiring Mercs." He sighed, "So she gets to come to sainted Terra, and meet with the ten-foot-tall Devlin Stone and his Heroic backer Victor."

"Bitter much?" Yvonne asked.

"I was happier when things were...organized.  Victor would be Archon-Prince, Kate would be his advisor, I'd get a nice quiet billet out in some obscure end of the realm...and I wouldn't be spending my life away cleaning up after those two because they couldn't get along.  Instead, I've got a half-shattered, half-ruined, half of the realm Dad built, filled with people that hate each other's guts because of Katherine and Victor, with a third of it occupied by invaders and another third about to secede-with my blessing, no less, to join a patchwork polity governed by my irresponsible ass of an older brother and his drinking buddies."  He took a deep breath, "Yeah, you could say I'm a touch bitter about that.  If Victor there had come home and demanded what was his responsibility, if he'd put Kate on the Leash and told Aunt Nondi to stick it..." He sighed, "Arthur would be alive, and we probably wouldn't have gone through the hell we are finishing now."

"Not her words, then...yours.  You use her for a mouthpiece."  Yvonne said, narrowing her eyes, "I thought about that much, when I watched the transcripts...you use Duchess Ngo to say the things it would be political suicide for you to say... That's damn subtle of you."

"Yeah, me, mister clumsy...subtle." Peter sighed and shook his head, "I don't tell her what to say, Yvonne, I just think she's right about too much of it...and I can't say so in public."

"oh.  Peter, now I Must meet her." Yvonne said it a little too brightly.

"Fine, I'll introduce you..."  he led her over to where Liz sat, in her own little pocket of gloom.

For a moment, he was awkward again when they reached the corner table Elizabeth did not share with anyone.

"Um...duchess..?" Peter began.  It would have been crystal to anyone close-by that he was fumbling.

"Archon.  Lovely party, when do the clowns start doing acrobatics?" Elizabeth asked mockingly.

"This is-" Peter began again, regaining some of the steel for a moment.

"-Princess Regent Yvonne Steiner Davion."  Elizabeth finished for him, "Your sister, and the person saddled with that pestilential pit of pampered Nobles known as the Federated Suns...Please, have a seat, I don't know about you, but the need for heels kills my ankles."

"One becomes accustomed to them, after a while, but I think I shall..." Yvonne sat down, and looked up at Peter, "Why don't you go and network for a while, Peter, talk to old friends, If I remember correctly, Tancred got on well with you, and I really ought to have someone I trust keep an eye on him-you know how he gets when he drinks?"

Peter picked up on it immediately-the girls wanted to talk, and not with him around.  "Right...Tancred..." He turned and wandered away from the table.


"Let's get to it, shall we?"  Yvonne opened.

"To what?" Liz replied.

"When, exactly, did you seduce my brother, and when are you going to admit it?" she demanded, still smiling benignly.

"I did NOT seduce Peter-he is, after all, the ARCHON, Working relationship, nothing more." Liz replied, "The very Idea is ludicrous."

"Hardly."  Yvonne said, "I watched him when He spotted you, and I listened to him a moment ago-and I've known Peter longer than anyone here, including Victor."  She leaned forward, and stirred her drink.  "I know you only from the volume of distressing reports from DMI and MIIO-that is, not one bit...except that it usually takes an Archon's command or something similar to get you off that rock of yours, or out of a boardroom, and he was able to make you show up at a pure social function, something that is widely known to be outside your normal habits."

"What do you want?  He made me come all this way to make a good show for the Evening news."  Liz shot back, "Meanwhile, my important work is neglected."

"Don't bullshit me, you're not up to Katherine's skill, hell, you aren't even up to Sun-Tzu's level.  Your hooks are in Peter, and his, clearly, are in you-so when are you going to make it public, or are you waiting for the ScandalVids to do it for you?" Yvonne pointed out, while smiling delicately and gesturing-to an observer fifteen feet away, they were gossiping.

Liz mirrored the 'cheerleader' body-language, and said, "Okay, you caught me-but it's NEVER going public.  If Peter is to be successful, he's going to need a prominent political marraige and a viable heir.  I can't give him either one."

"Why not? You have the biggest military, the least damaged industrial base, the strongest political base..." Yvonne listed them off.

"I have the largest and most varied enemies-list, My family is viewed as third-tier at best in the nobility, my world is on the arse-end of the Commonwealth, half my 'biggest army' have been accused of one sort of atrocity or another, my people merely 'tolerate' being Lyrans because it's marginally better than independence, my native language is not German or English, and I look, to half the borderers, like a Drac.  I've been compared unfavourably to a Liao, and half the political rags in the Commonwealth think I'm at least mildly insane...there's also the small matter of uncorrected Epilepsy and my rather ugly rejection-spectrum, which makes treatment a matter of dealing with symptoms rather than the root of the disease."  Liz shot back.  "I can't, and he can't afford it politically if I did."

"So...you two play the enemies in public, and in private... you don't.  No wonder he's so gloomy."  Yvonne said, "I knew it wasn't the pressure of the job."

"Job's bad enough-could you imagine having to defend marrying a crippled nutcase from a bad family?"  Liz asked pointedly.

"ah...yeah, actually, remember, my best friend was engaged to Sun-Tzu Liao at one time." Yvonne replied, and took a drink from her champagne glass.

"Well, I'm not going to let Peter put himself through that."  Liz said, "It wouldn't be right, or proper...it wouldn't be good for him."

"Better the Bridesmaid?"  Yvonne asked.

"yeah. Better for him, which makes it better enough."  Liz said.



Quote from: Ghost0402, 12-01-2007, 02:49:18
Quote from: Cannonshop, 12-01-2007, 01:19:15
Uncle Darius would love this.
;D ;D ;D ;D
Should get Tokage in here to do a quick bit on what Darius would think of all this.  }:)

Yvonne having a heart to heart with Liz, interesting...

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #5 on: 13 September 2015, 06:06:02 »
[[Posted 12-01-2007, 11:23:41]]


Conference Room, 26 August, 3081...

"...in the hell is This?"  Victor flinched, the delegates, including Peter, looked on in interest.  Devlin stone held up a stack of communiques.

"Looks like paper, to me, Mister Stone.  Lacking details on what information might be on it, I would guess it's from a printer."  Elizabeth Ngo spoke first.

Devlin loomed over the conference table, and glared straight at her.  "You..." he opened his mouth, closed it, and calmed down.  "Your facilities seem to have had a series of horrible accidents.  Eleven of them, to be precise."

Elizabeth cocked her head, "More pressure tactics, mister Stone? Hoping I'll cut your factory-men a break if your followers trash my subsidiaries?"  she looked over at the Cappellan delegates, "I am liking this gentleman less and less, every day... first he threatens to nationalise my employees, then he robs one of my customers blind-and now, his men are what, vandalizing my property? what's next, Devlin, are you going to burn the Estates General and incite rioters in a Krystallnacht, or just round up everyone who disagrees with you and carry out a nice Year Zero?"  she shook her prosthetic left hand, and a cigarette dispensed, which she lit with the thumb.  "Seems to me, if those were in your space, space you've already claimed, that is, you owe my insurers an explanation."

Victor was aghast, he blurted out-"it wasn't US!" before Stone could stop him.

Elizabeth sighed, and took a long drag.  "Well... If I can't do business safely in your space, which it appears that I can't, I would say that things are a touch less stable than you've been portraying.  I will have to recommend to the Archon, that certain assurances will be key-and that free trade is less viable a solution than you've claimed."

"Trade is vital-" Victor began, and Stone stopped him.  "Trade, Duchess, is, as you have often pointed out, more stabilizing than Tribute."

"You're demanding both, you can't have both, you either get Trade, or Tribute-and you know Peter's policy on that one-the same policy, incidentally, that I endorse, and the only policy of his that I endorse."  Elizabeth said.

"The Plebiscite-" Stone began.

"The Elections spoke for themselves, and the Archon is willing to allow the Isle of Skye to secede-this doesn't make them automatically yours-it means that Robert and his followers are free to choose...as for the matter of my facilities, if you will allow me to find out which ones, and how extensive the damage is, we can discuss the rest of that in closed chambers, with discretion."  she flicked an ash onto the fine burled walnut table,  "If the Isle of Skye chooses to join your, ah...'republic' of their own free will, the Lyran Commonwealth is willing to stand aside-but if you try and use force, The LCAF will intervene to protect their rights as stated under the Articles of Incorporation."  She inclined her head, and looked straight at Phelan Kell, "We have the Second Corps ready to deploy in support of the Lawful and Legal government of our allies in the Isle, should it become necessary." 
Her underlying statement was directed at the Wolf-in-Exile Khan: I know-and we can tear you apart if you try for the backstab.

"You have a Corps?" Stone asked.

"Southwest Division, 5th Ersatzkampfgruppen, 5th Alliance Guards RCT, and the Bolan Jaegers, with transports and heavy support.  The Lyran Government may be willing to let the Isle of Skye go their own way, but we're damned if we'll let them be bullied by anyone else before they are in shape to defend themselves."  she said, "You might want to read the text of what those people voted on, before you make assumptions about them being low-hanging fruit."

A throat-clearing sound came from one of the Clan tables.  "The Jade Falcon Clan will back the Lyrans on that play."  Serious, sour-faced STar Colonel Aaron Icaza announced, "We view with alarm the lax discipline of your subordinates, Devlin Stone, and the Clan has little trust of your statements about 'peace' and 'stability'-too much of your rhetoric in this conference sounds like the Comstar of old."

The unspoken here being (we know about your alliance with Phelan, and if he goes to war on your behalf, it's an excellent excuse to take him from a vulnerable side and eliminate an enemy.)

Victor's mouth dropped open, "Wha-?"

Elizabeth read his surprise.  "Your people didn't show up on Skye until after the Falcons and My people had already liberated several atrocity-sites, Mister Steiner-Davion, The horrors they uncovered...I note that the Liao is not surprised at the Falcons' declaration, and Khan Ward's man isn't surprised either-the Crusader Wolves were on the eastern landmass..."  she tapped her plastic fingers on the table, leaving small dents, "Never Again, and they have agreed in separate talks that this is so-if Skye chooses the Republic, they can go-but only if it is their choice.  It means no 'Black Operations', no coercion, and no threats-and they have not chosen to go yet."

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #6 on: 13 September 2015, 06:07:04 »
[[Posted 13-01-2007, 00:43:10]]


Reception Hall, Anteroom, 1900 Hours, 26th August, 3081...

Peter puffed on the Grand Mariner and rested his feet on a stool, while Victor poured the sherry.  "I met her today.  You know, Peter, she told my representative in '64 to fold my offer up until it was all points, and pound it up his ass, she wanted no part of what she called...oh what was it..."  Victor paused, thinking, and continued, "...the bickering of spoiled brats over the estates of their parents-she flat out said that, now, you have her here, negotiating, and she tells me, god, and everyone else in the room that you've got a corps-level unit ready to spring on Skye."

Peter shrugged, "Yeah, I expected her to be a bit more subtle about it...but we do, and more if it's necessary.  I promised the Estates General that if Skye voted to Secede, we wouldn't be seeing them in five years as a springboard for someone else's invasion.  She called it the 'Rassalhague Lesson'."

Victor snorted, "The What?"

"Rassalhague Lesson- after the 4th Succession War, we turned about half the Tamar Pact into part of a newly formed, allied nation-and drew down the defenses on that border.  Then, the Clans hit in 3049, and we lost the rest of the Pact, along with a whole lot of adjoining areas, and this new enemy had a line straight in on our unprotected belly.  The lesson is, if you're going to cede territory to a new nation, make sure you're not making a paved road straight into your most vital remaining areas." Peter flicked an ash, and added, "This is a good cigar."

"Thank Stone-I wanted to give you Havatampas, and a bum's rush for the head when you turned green from the taste." Victor said with a grin.

"I'm not nineteen anymore, Vic.  You stuck me with a fractured state, I've developed a bit since then."  Peter countered, "Maybe two-and only if they've got bad quality control and bugs..."

"How's Amanda?" Victor asked.

"What?"  Peter replied.

"Okay, Peter, you can stop the playacting, Yvonne ratted you out... Tell me, is she yours?" Victor asked.

"Who?" Peter responded.

"The daughter of the Duchess Ngo, is she Yours?" Victor pressed, "I gotta know-there are reasons."

"What kind of reasons? Vic, are your people up to something?"  Peter put the cigar into the ashtray.

"Not if she's Family, they aren't."  Victor replied, adding, "It's not My People in any case."

Peter's mouth worked for a moment, "Jesus! Victor!! what in the HELL?"

Victor shook his head, "She is, ******, Peter, is that how you're keeping this a big-damn secret back home? freaking out over every minor implied threat?"

Peter sighed and leaned back.  "Okay, caught.  I asked her, you know... she didn't answer, so I pushed on her medical people discretely.  Gene-analysis says Amanda's daddy is a Steiner-Davion male with blonde hair."

"You... when did you knock her up?" Victor asked.

"Same week I publically drafted her."  Peter said, "It was kind of blurry, you know?  She wants it kept under-wraps, says it's bad for my position..."

"Oh, god...Peter, if you had to sire a bastard, couldn't you have found anyone, I mean, a Whore, or maybe a felon?"  He paused, "WHY the single most...gods, she's as bad as Kat, you know that, right?  She ****** Crucifies people."

It was Peter's turn to sigh.  "You don't get her at all, do you?  She memorized forty-thousand names, people from her world that are listed Missing In Action.  She follows up on them constantly.  She corresponds to around five thousand families on Kowloon about their sons-per week.  Her condition, you know it's treatable, and so does she.  She turned down a cure until every man she sent to war is home, and whole."  He studied his glass for a breath, and added, "She's ruthless, but she cares, Victor."

"She sounds like Dad..." Victor said.

"Yeah... and yeah, she's crucified people, she's impaled people, she's shot people.  In the last ten years, I think every Noble here has done the same, or worse-I hunted Aunt Nondi down like a dog and killed her Personally.  She was, if you recall, the only one of mom's relatives that actually thought I was worth anything."  Peter picked up his glass, and swirled it, then downed the sweet wine, "I loved Aunt Nondi, but I did what had to be done to save the Lyran half of the Realm."

"You're a lot more ruthless than I remember, Peter."  Victor said.

"Well, pat yourself on the back for that one, big brother-you let Kate run riot and you let the realm split, you walked off on both sides of what dad built, and then you started a war to honour poor Arthur."  Peter growled, "..and I'm not sure Kate had ought to do with it, but I know that what you left behind was a shattered nation divided against itself and ripe for outside attack, and I can't find a single, solid, reason why you did it that way...but I have to clean it up, and Yvonne has to clean it up, and you're down here, in your self-imposed exile, shaking fingers because I'm involved with the wrong kind of girl."

Victer frowned.  "That's not all of it."  it wasn't a question.

"No.  Not by half... I didn't want this job, Victor, I don't want it-but I have to do it.  Now, you're back, and you want Skye-and I'm going to let you have it-but there are conditions, because you've walked out on everything you ever said you felt responsible for...including us."  Peter slammed the second glass, and snapped it down with the flush of an accomplished drinker.

"Such as?"  Victor asked.

"She outlined the political bit pretty well, Victor-Skye gets a period of independence, and a vote-whether to return to the Commonwealth, or join your Republic.  No coercions, no rigging, no threats.  A clean decision.  Here's the other half-no free trade until the Republic's stood for at least twenty years, no open borders.  Once they're in, border-crossing is to be sharply controlled, no easy travel in or out along the Lyran border, and the Commonwealth Government decides who can do what business with the Republic, and how much."  Peter said.

"Why that one? won't that hurt your economy?" Victor asked.

"Simple reason, Vic.  Liz can smell her own a thousand meters away from upwind-she thinks Devlin Stone is a ruthless cuss with ambitions, he's also charismatic..." Peter downed his third shot,  "Her term is 'political sociopath'.  When someone who's ruthless tells me someone else is ruthless, I tend to trust the evaluation.  The moves your Republic has made, the Nationalizing of Irian, the siezure of Krupp Interstellar, and some of the other actions, she thinks he'll want to export his 'revolution', including making war.  I'm not inclined to help someone conquer the rest of the Inner Sphere in hopes of being the last man in line for a 're-education'...easiest way to prevent a new Army from rising in this new 'republic', is to limit access to the tools needed to build that army..."  Peter nodded at the fire, "Of course, it serves to keep your own assurances honest-Stone can't go on a conquest jag if he can't replace his losses right away, or easily.  We can't legislate for you, so we'll just deny you access to the tools to repair war industries that have been seized, and limit what kind of arms, and in what quantities, you can obtain from the Lyran Commonwealth."

"We could still buy from the Federated Suns." Victor pointed out.

"Yeah... there is that.  Of course, that's presuming Yvonne or Tancred are willing to sell, and whether you're willing to pay their asking prices.  I know Hasek won't-after what you and Kate did, I don't think She'd sell you a packet of nuts and bolts for less than the price of an Avalon."

"The Kuritas..?" Victor pointed out.


"well, there is that-but which is more likely, Vic-they sell you guns, or they come in guns-blazing to take you over because they think you're weak?"  Peter replied.

"The Clans, or the former Leaguer states!" Victor said triumphantly.

"The Falcons won't because you're Spheroids, the Crusaders won't because they need the production to keep the Horses at bay and the Falcons off their backs.  The Bears might, but they have extensive needs and a problem border that's higher priority...and they also have a pretty cunning Khan of their own.  That leaves the Sharks, who won't sell you the tools if they can sell you finished products at a markup-they don't want competition."

"And the Leaguers?" Victor persisted.

"When has the League ever been not-at-civil war? why, under Thomas! they're split three ways with three people claiming the Captain-Generalcy, how much surplus are they going to have for someone who took the biggest industrial pot they had and gave them nothing for it?"  Peter said.

"So... you won't go with the free-trade thing, you want closed borders, you think you can make this work?"  Victor asked.

"Yeah, that's about it.  You get Skye-if they'll go willingly, we'll be cordial-but-distant until I'm satisfied that I'm not financing 'the Master Part Two', complete with a re-run of the Jihad."  Peter said.

"You wouldn't be-if you were, I wouldn't be involved with it, you ought to know that much." Victor said, showing his hurt.

"Yeah, but you've been fooled before, Victor, and Stone's line is the kind of thing that is calculated to fool someone like you."  Peter replied, "Buck up, I'm sure that Skye will go to the Republic, and you'll get some good units out of it, units that can hold your border to keep the neighbours from getting...ideas."



Quote from: JA Baker, 13-01-2007, 01:06:16
Amanda Steiner-Ngo, come on down... 8) }:)

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #7 on: 13 September 2015, 06:07:32 »
[[Posted 13-01-2007, 01:41:40]]


Another Anteroom...

"...never to know, Yvonne."  Elizabeth said, passing the bottle to the Regent of the Federated Suns, "The Nation couldn't handle that kind of shock, and I don't want my little girl growing up in that kind of environment." 

Yvonne looked slightly hurt, "but...surely, the opportunities-"

Elizabeth shook her head, "Opportunities? for what? to have Hanse's enemies, to have your enemies gunning for her too?"  she tossed back a dram, and set the glass on the table.  "No.  Amanda's got enough being My daughter without having half the unethical scum of the universe looking to use her for their political games.  As far as she will ever know, her daddy died in a fighter over Hesperus before she was born...it's safer for her, safer for Peter.  I can tell you, because if you ever let it slip, you're a foreigner talking about conspiracy theories.  Nobody will believe it back home...and she has a tighter connection to the people back home that way.  They see her as 'theirs', and that'll make her life a lot easier than being the spawn of a foreigner."

Yvonne chewed on this for a moment, cracked a peanut, and tossed it back with a rum-and-cola.  "Even if the foreigner is the Archon?" she asked.

"Especially if he's the Archon-the first thing they'll be angry about, is that he didn't acknowledge her, the second, is that I didn't marry him.  The second is the biggie back home- it's okay to have a baby out of wedlock if the father's dead, or unknown...or a criminal who forced it, but an affair...hoo.  No."  Liz shook her head, "Much bad on that one-they'll be split mainly on whether Peter's the devil, or I'm a slut, or both- there'd be people theorizing he used his position to force it, and there would be people wondering if his wife knew about it..."

"Peter isn't married." Yvonne pointed out.

"Right-and that would carry its own issues, they'd wonder if he took advantage of me because I'm 'lonely', or 'crazy', or if he forced me into his bed the way he forced me into the Military... no.  Amanda's better off, Peter is better off, everyone is better off, if nobody knows, and those who know, don't talk."

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #8 on: 13 September 2015, 06:08:24 »
[[Posted 13-01-2007, 10:38:46]]


Conference Chamber, 27 August, 3081...

"...point six of the proposal, you all will note that the trade benefits of adopting this proposal will..." Victor watched the proceedings today.  It was Lear's show, and he was making a championship try at selling the delegates on the Trade provisions.
Oddly enough, the Lyran delegate (Victor forced himself to think of Duchess Ngo that way, rather than "Peter's girlfriend"...it was difficult.) wasn't hammering it publically, or interrupting, or any of the bag of parlaimentary tricks she was infamous for in the Lyran Advisory Council meetings.

She raised her hand, and Victor felt his heart sink-too soon, whoops.

"Subsection 4, Proviso A, Point six.  Doctor Lear, do you really expect to get a one-way free trade agreement that allows your Senate to apply regulations to companies outside your borders, or did I get the copy with the typographical errors?"  She asked.

"Um, what are you talking about?"  Lear asked, "this is not one-way..."

"I'm referring to the lack of reciprocal articles, and the lack of specificity in the range of enforcement in subsection twenty-one, I know that the Cappellans aren't going to be thrilled with having their factory sites inspected by foreign agents, and frankly, Neither am I. Further, there are areas of proviso six, nine, and fourteen that strictly interpreted allows your Senate to apply so-called 'technical standards' that are enforced in section twenty-one, those enforcement provisions open the way for the theft of technical and process data, what we in industry call 'Trade Secrets' for a reason."  she was frowning, and her tone was smooth, direct, and utterly calm.

"what are you saying?"  the Cappellan delegate wasn't a business type, his specialty was criminal law.

"Re-read the section as it's drafted, in the English, the Cantonese is deceptive."  Liz said, "Their translator probably thought he was being clever inserting portions in Mandarin.  As it sits, this trade agreement is a license to conduct industrial espionage scot-free.  It's totally unacceptable without changes." Liz said, adding, "The German copy is just as bad."

This elicited commentary as several delegates re-ran the translations to chinese, then back to english, re-read the resulting text, and frowns spread around the room, some accompanied by glares-especially from the Clan delegates, professional Merchant-Castemen advising their Warriors, and now seeing a threat to their markets hidden in a package meant to entice them.

Lear looked confused, he re-ran it himself... and his eyes went wide in surprise, and shock.

"That's not-not the intent!" he barked.

"Well, that would be for a Judge to decide, but before you offer a sweeping treaty on trade and tariffs, it's usually a good idea to read what you wrote the way it'll be read by the customers." Liz said tartly, "It's also good not to hire the most predatory corporate criminals in the inner Sphere to write your script-review it, sure, but not write it..." she propped her elbows on the desk, and said, "as this stands, the Lyran Commonwealth's interests are harmed greatly-but the harm is not ours exclusively, it's harmful to anyone not part of Mister Stone's republic.  I'm going to advise the Archon to pass, and suggest strongly that anyone that has concern for their own economic sovereignty to advise non-adoption as well."

And that was it.  Lear tried for the rest of the session, but the audience was gone, they weren't going to buy off on the proposal.  Victor felt a crushing sense of impending defeat.

We're going to have to work the Primaries, these people won't endorse it...  The meeting broke up around noon.

"Well, that went...badly." Devlin was next to him, and Victor hadn't heard him coming.

"Yeah.  I've never seen a friendly meet get scuttled that fast, that woman is a deal-killer."  Victor said.

"She lives her reputation, Victor.  She held back a dozen jumpships by reclassing them to an exempt status during the war-she assigned them to her Coast Guard, they were officially 'Emergency Vehicles'."  Stone said with a smirk, "I expected something like this-any info on what they used to blow those factories?"

Victor shook his head, "No traces of military explosives or radioactives-at least, not the kind that could make holes that big. It almost looks like a really big industrial accident."

Stone nodded grimly, "and the workers?"

Victor sighed, "Absent.  We found no bodies, and the addresses for the employees are vacant. Orderly move-outs, non-portable possessions are turning up in pawnshops, traffic controls on the impacted worlds have reported several jumpships came in, picked up commercial droppers, and left-but nothing in terms of flight-plans were filed. What's really interesting is that several Mortgages were paid off in lump sums the day before."

"Orderly...reminds me of Chahar, only nobody was shooting." Stone commented.

"Yeah... weird.  We don't have enough to pin it on her directly."  Victor reminded him.

"Diplomatic immunity anyway, we'd have to tell Peter to send her home-and that kills the conference."  Stone said, "I don't like messy, Victor.  I really don't like putting up with someone who can pull that kind of stunt off, then wreck what should've been a pretty easy presentation."

"She is going to be a problem for the duration, I'm afraid."  Victor said.

"Yeah.  We need something to get her on-something that will defang her."  Stone said.

"I'll work on it.  we've got three more days."  Victor said.

"You do that."



Quote from: Axeman89, 13-01-2007, 11:18:43
FAE?
Stone (and his Republic) reminds me of a very famous man, but since the man has only been dead for less than 100 years, I'm not going to say who.  :-X

Quote from: chanman, 13-01-2007, 11:20:26
Quote from: Cannonshop, 13-01-2007, 10:38:46
"what are you saying?"  the Cappellan delegate wasn't a business type, his specialty was criminal law.
hehe, I'm sure some people will have snippy comments about Capellan criminal law

Quote
Victor felt a crushing sense of impending defeat.
Could this be the story of his life? (I kid, I kid.... sorta)

Quote from: Cannonshop, 13-01-2007, 23:47:49
Quote from: Cavalier, 13-01-2007, 16:21:23
Well, that revelation was... unexpected. Definitely a rather surprising twist on the relationship between Ngo and the Steiner-Davions. But it does add a new dimension to Elizabeth's character and raises some interesting possibilities for future events.

Victor comes off as Victor. Yvonne seems like the Davion who ordered George Hasek assassinated for defying her orders and endangering the Federated Suns, which is to say more mature, intelligent, and world-wise, capable of making tough decisions. Like what you've done for Peter; his reflections on the confrontation with Aunt Nondi add some more depth to him, as does the relationship with Elizabeth. David Lear comes off as a bit of a clown, while Stone...

The problem with Stone that I've wrestled with in even thinking about writing about him is that he's pretty obviously a very exceptional person. In a sense that not one extant character has ever been, not even Hanse Davion. Nicholas Kerensky might come close. But in terms of ruthlessness, charisma, drive, and vision he's a world-historic personality, someone who can sweep events along with the force of his will. At least that's my take, even considering the various good reasons the House Lords and Khans had in going along with his ideas (or saying they did and cheating on them; but then the Republic did that too, didn't it?) it was still a paradigm-shattering idea and it would have taken an extraordinary man to pull it off. If he did it from a position of strength, by melding units and forces from everywhere into a major anti-Blakist coalition, it demonstrates even more what a magnetic personality he had to have. Like Muhammed, or Wallenstein, or Caesar, or Napoleon... or Hitler, and perhaps the Master.

On Irian; by the Dark Age it's accounted a rather important factor that Jessica Marik, Captain-General for Oriente, is married to Phillip Hughes, the successor of Sigismund as CEO of Irian Corporation. It's implied in Principles of Desolation that Oriente is getting enough BattleMechs from that connection to make a major difference in the looming Free Worlds Civil War. Whatever the Republic did, it doesn't seem to have stopped Irian from having some measure of independence, and apparently did not even strip the old corporate leadership of their influence.

[out of story]
 Elizabeth's alarmism aside,  I'm probably working this from the angle of a temporary Nationalization-like Kruppwerke went through right after the second world war.  Stone will desperately need the support of Irian's Board in the future, but the grip will likely loosen only with a great deal of time passing.
REmember-he wants to use it, he has to go to the people who know how to make it work.

Thanks for the compliment on the SD kids, and I'm sorry if Lear's looking a bit foolish, I'll work on that when and if the opportunity arises. The scene was meant to show that, given her free rein, Liz is a bloody terror in negotiations, and a demonic lawyer for the details.  (Remember-she tends to work twenty-hour days for weeks at a time...) Lear's a strong speaker and a good negotiator, but he's trying to handle the details of a universe-shaking event named Stone.  Elizabeth, on the other hand, is positively Satanic when it comes to negotiation...[/out of story]

Quote from: Cannonshop, 14-01-2007, 07:46:26
Quote from: Gingiva, 14-01-2007, 03:54:36
Quote from: Cannonshop, 13-01-2007, 10:38:46
"Re-read the section as it's drafted, in the English, the Cantonese is deceptive."  Liz said, "Their translator probably thought he was being clever inserting portions in Mandarin.  As it sits, this trade agreement is a license to conduct industrial espionage scot-free.  It's totally unacceptable without changes." Liz said, adding, "The German copy is just as bad."
just a nit pick here, as a Capellan and ethnic Chinese CBT player. Mandarin and Cantonese are in fact written in the same chinese script, but words are pronounced differently. its like how a scotsman and a japanese might not understand each other's english with the accents in the way, as well as slightly different syntax and turns of phrase, but could understand each other well enough in writing.

Dialects are a funny thing when you think about it, for instance, in writing, a Texan may understand a Scot, but turn of phrase and slang means that athe understanding is imperfect.  Languages change too- Depending on which dialect is prevalent root in the Capcon, and how much divergence IT has had in almost a thousand years...

(We read the stories in 21st century english, but that's because the writer is a 21st century american... and I'm not doing "A Clockwork Orange".)

I'm presuming that Earth's Cantonese is different from Cappellan Cantonese, both of which are different from Earth Mandarin.  Language is a funny thing, and Law is verry dependent on language.

And that's why...
Quote from: Headshot, 14-01-2007, 06:20:12
Quote
slightly different syntax and turns of phrase
Which is exactly whats often used to cheat in legalese...

In Legal settings, words have power, and how those words are arranged has power as well-in Law, it really does matter what your definition of "Is" is.

Quote from: Gingiva, 14-01-2007, 22:03:41
Quote from: chanman, 14-01-2007, 11:59:47
Spoken Cantonese is based largely on colloquial and slang - I remember being in Chinese school for some years and finding things are written and read far differently than they are spoken.

The only script difference is the use of simplified characters in the PRC and traditional characters elsewhere (which is in some places slowly changing)

While there are many spoken dialects of Chinese (sometimes mutually incomprehensible), there has been a unified script for over a millenia.  If they are still using Chinese characters in 30xx, it will have persisted as a single written language for well over two millenia.

think chanman got my point across much better than i did. they have a unified script, but sound only very vaguely similar to each other. for example, cantonese is supposed to have, what, 8 inflections, while mandarin has 4.

as for the turn of phrase... well its not quite like how you imagine. its really more in the aspects of colloquial usage rather than formal usage. formal chinese writing (which once again i would like to emphasise should remove the problem of it sounding different) would not be significantly different written by a mandarin speaker or cantonese speaker. and without actually reading the whole thing through a few times one might not actually be able to tell if it was scripted while the writer was thinking in mandarin or cantonese, especially if the reader only knew one of the dialects.

Quote from: Cannonshop, 15-01-2007, 17:04:07
Quote from: chanman, 14-01-2007, 11:59:47
Spoken Cantonese is based largely on colloquial and slang - I remember being in Chinese school for some years and finding things are written and read far differently than they are spoken.

The only script difference is the use of simplified characters in the PRC and traditional characters elsewhere (which is in some places slowly changing)

While there are many spoken dialects of Chinese (sometimes mutually incomprehensible), there has been a unified script for over a millenia.  If they are still using Chinese characters in 30xx, it will have persisted as a single written language for well over two millenia.
Well... that depends in part on whether it was written in chinese characters, or just 'anglicized' chinese words & Sentence structure.  The Star League has been Anglophonic, from what I've been able to dig up, practically since the formation of the Terran Hegemony-languages may well be very different after six hundered years.
(Look to the difference between Gaelic, Welsh, and English...and remember that they have the same historical root.)

At any rate, y'all can count me firmly chastened.

Quote from: chanman, 15-01-2007, 19:51:19
No problemo

Hey, if Stone had really wanted to be an ass, he'd have his documents written in obscure and/or dead languages.  Nothin' like trying to find law-trained linguists

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #9 on: 13 September 2015, 06:09:23 »
[[Posted 14-01-2007, 01:51:55]]


Reception Hall, 2200 Hours, 3081/08/26...

Elizabeth sipped her tea, and scrolled through directories on her PADD.  How I hate these things, let me count the-oh, better file a sell order on that one...   Something Loomed, and she heard a scape of one of the chairs at her table moving.  After logging the sale, she looked up.

The man was big, brawny, suntanned.  Handsome in a rugged way that was completely different from Peter's rugged handsome.  This man filled his tuxedo almost to bursting.

"Devlin Stone, again?"  Liz greeted him, "I thought you would be more interested in persons of more significance."

"I could hardly stay away, Duchess Ngo.  You seem to be the only person here not pretending to be having a good time."  A steward brought him a cup of something hot, steaming, and definitely non-alcoholic.  Liz sipped her tea in silence, waiting.

He sighed heavily, sipped his drink, and broke the silence.  "You're the key to the Lyrans.  Not Peter, you.  I don't like going around a point, when I can get straight to it."

She smiled at him, it was a false smile, her eyes did not carry it.  "Well, you are mistaken, I am merely here to assist the Archon in a particularly difficult negotiation."

Stone snorted, "Yeah, and I'm here tonight to be photographed with famous people and make inspiring quips for the morning tabloids.  Bullshit.  You're heading this up, even if it's Peter who gets the credit...and you're doing a fine job of sabotaging the whole affair.  Pray tell me why, if you would be so honest?"

Liz folded her PADD.  "I assume you have the good sense to record this.  You want to know...why."  she poured her cup full, and added  spoon of sugar, and a shake of black pepper.  "Study History much, Mister Stone?"  she asked casually.

"Hmmm...some."  he replied.

"Familiar with the mid to late twentieth centuries, European history and Asia?"  she asked.

"Very." he replied, "Pre-Terran Alliance history,right?"

She nodded, "You're also familiar with the conditions leading up to that time, are you not?"

"Yes...I am.  I am, in fact, considered rather well-educated.  This is going somewhere, isn't it? the Krystallnacht reference...and Year Zero."  He answered.

"Correct, and correct.  You're a dangerous man, Mister Stone-your kind of charisma happens maybe once or twice in a Millenium under normal circumstances-but the Twentieth Century saw four men with it, and the nineteenth saw three.  We're in a 'Transition' century right now-something that hasn't been since Stephan Amaris and Aleksandr Kerensky were both alive... and you're him, you're the Millennial.  You're Ceasar, and Alexander, Lincoln, Washington, Pol Pot, Lenin, Mao, and Hitler."  she sipped her tea for a breath, "Men like you have big dreams, and the ability to make those dreams happen.  Unfortunately, there is no real room for common people in those dreams, it's the commoners who wind up crushed and abandoned under the heels of the Idealists marching to Utopia."

"I'm doing this for them." he said.

"Ah, they all say that, Mister Stone, usually right before they line the dissidents and counter-revolutionaries up to be shot, or maybe shoot the leaders and sterilize the innocent bystanders, perhaps round up dangerous elements and try to crush the will out of them..." she set the cup back down after taking a sip,  "Men like you may not be able to be totally stopped, but they can be slowed down, 'moderated' so that those powers and ambitions don't consume innocents like a firestorm in a paper factory."

"So... you think that by damaging my position now you're going to accomplish some kind of 'moderation'?" He said scornfully.

"Yes.  It is fortunate that those Plants went up when they did-I didn't have to sneak a team in to demolish them later, after you've rebuilt your war-machine and gone looking to add territory, or worse, export your 'revolution' to adjoining states to create dependent clients, clients governed by your men, from here, on Terra." she said smoothly.

"the Star League was governed through the highest period of human achievement from Terra...by the descendents of a...what did you call it, 'Millenial'?"  He pointed out.

"The Star League was a boot on the neck of humanity, Mister Stone.  To achieve it's 'Peace' it slaughtered millions-even during alleged 'peacetime'.  Averting such an Iron Dream from recurrance is well worth the risk."  she countered, "The Camerons put the Amaris family in place in the Republic, and backed their most horrific domestic policies,with force, right up to the day that Stephan Amaris killed First Lord Cameron."

Stone's turn to be silent for a while, Elizabeth sipped her tea, and waited quietly.

"You said 'Trade is more stabilizing than Tribute'...it's a quote, I presume?"  Stone asked.

"Yes, Jerry Pournelle, a futurist from the Twentieth Century said it in a piece of speculative fiction, it's true-to a point." she replied.

"That point being?" Stone pressed.

"When Trade becomes Tribute, when the trade balance is one-sided, and when the Trade is a cover for other, less savoury activities-for instance, buying British Oil right up to the point that the Germans were ready to begin the Battle of Britain, or getting loans from Jewish Bankers, then lynching them to avoid paying back the agreed upon interest."  she stated.

"Hitler for the first, and Richard the Third for the second-he took Loans to launch his Crusade, then had the Jews in London put to death to avoid paying them back."  Stone snapped.

"Well... I guess you are educated.  Then you understand-I have nothing to show me that you will not, if given the chance, turn out to be a Stalin or Lenin...or Castro, sending Guevarra to topple governments in the South America in order to build his empire.  I won't allow that, but I can't topple what you have already built, so I will throw sand-in-the-gears to slow you down and buy time for everyone else to catch up."

"I wouldn't do that.  I just want things to settle down."  Stone insisted, "I'm trying to forge something that will bring an end to these stupid, petty wars."

"Can you speak clearly for all who succeed you?  The United States was isolationist at the beginning of the 1890's, by the end of the 1990's, they were the most powerful nation in the most powerful alliance of nations mankind had ever seen-the Pax Americana, of course, did not extend to Israel, or to the zone under Chinese domination, but it held sway over China as well-and they held the rest of asia in their hands.  Isolationism turned into Interventionism, and interventionism turned into a poisonous form of cosmopolitan Tyranny...your 'Republic' won't even allow all of its subjects the rights that, for instance, my own enjoy as part and parcel of their birth -you've created a system with a permanent underclass that will only become MORE permanent the longer it runs.  At first, it will look like anyone can rise above the level they were born to, Mister Stone, but there are limits to how many can enter government service, or how many can buy their citizenship.  Sooner or later, stratified societies either stagnate, or erupt.  teh typical cure for impending eruption has typically been to go fight a war with someone.  The longer it takes you to get to the point you can, the less likely it is that your successors will...and that's even assuming you aren't trying to tool Krupp and Irian to start pumping out war-machines as fast as they ever have."

"Pot and Kettle, Duchess, you're a Noble and you speak as if you cribbed from My speech book."  Stone said, "You're a closet Republican, aren't you?"

  she folded her hands, "Government should serve the interests of the People, it should Govern, as opposed to Rule them, its powers are rightfully limited, and in the end, it is answerable for what it does in their name."

"Agreed...******, I thought I was going to be dealing with a Monarchist Blue-nose...I find out, you're threatened because you think I'm doing something wrong."  Stone said.

"I don't advocate my world's governing style for the rest of the Commonwealth, mister Stone-that's our main difference. I wouldn't try to force our way on someone else unless there was no other choice-anymore than I would tolerate someone else forcing my people to their system.  Your Republic is going to try and force an alien system on billions of people simultaneously, whether they desire it or not, whether they are responsible enough to handle it, and it tightly limits who derives the benefits, not to those who work hard, but to those who are seen to work hard.  Party Membership becomes more important than Honest labours, and it's an evangelical philosophy you have, that, combined with your brilliance, charisma and the weight of your followers, makes you the most dangerous man in the Inner Sphere."

Stone paused... "So, that means you won't change your position, doesn't it?" he asked.

"About sums it up neatly, yes." Liz said, "I see no other course.  At its current size, and with what you have on-hand, the Republic is a buffer that no-one is going to cross for generations, but if you're allowed to grow, you go from being an assurance of some kind of peace, to a threat in your own right...a threat that my people will likely bear the brunt of thwarting in blood later."

"And you think Alliance is out of the question, or you wouldn't be working so hard to prevent it." Stone said.

Liz nodded, "It is the experience of my folk, that cooperating in hopes of being the last one executed is poor policy.  If Israel had struck pre-emptively, the Pan-Islamic alliance would not have conquered Israel in 2041, if they had resisted, instead of relying on non-existent Alliance aid, millions would not have been worked to death in Germanium Mines in the Sinai-death camps that the Alliance ignored because output was so high, and there was such a demand for Jump-ships in the early part of the 22nd century, death by Dhimmitude, enforced and endorsed by the majority of the Western Alliance government-which was the Terran Alliance at that time.  An ignorance powered by greed and faint feelings of guilt over the Middle-East's role in the late 20th century."

He frowned, "and justified by Revisionist historians in Europe..."

"Nice, most people don't pay attention to that part." Liz said.

"I was very well educated preparing for this meeting."  Devlin confessed, "I read most of everything I could get when I saw who was coming."  He pointed at her, "Your ancestors from that period weren't Israelis, though."

"Nope,  một nước tự do, Anti-Communists."  She said, "Christians, as a matter of fact.  Kept in the dirt as potential tên phản cách mạng...for generations."

"Counter-Revolutionaries...nice."  He sighed.  "I wish you would reconsider, the Commonwealth needs all the allies it can get, and not to be too humble about it, I'd say we make a SPLENDID ally."

She shook her head, "Peter's decision in the End, Mister Stone.  he's his own man, nobody really pulls his strings but him."  she said that last bit with a little peaking of pride in her voice.

"Oh... I see."  Devlin said, suddenly abashed.  "I heard rumours, but..."

"Oh, Please, not you too!" Liz almost snarled.

"Come on, anyone with eyes-anyone, could see that it's an act, Duchess, you two make moon-eyes at each other even when you're spitting in his face for the Vid-Crews, I myself didn't really believe it, until just now."  He grinned, it was a grin that normally could quell a riot-or start one.  "I've been sitting here trying to dazzle you with my intellect, since you quite obviously aren't impressed with the package-and you leaked the first genuine emotion I've seen since you got here-and you were talking about Peter the Man, rather than Peter the Ruler." He spread his hands, "It all makes sense now... you're not stopping the great threat of the next century-you're trying your damnedest to preserve the legacy of Peter, Steiner, Davion.  Period..."

"THat...is the most ridiculous thinking I have ever witnessed, Mister Stone." Liz said primly, "I could care less what happens to Peter's 'Legacy', I find the man irritating and a boor...almost as boorish as yourself."  she forced her mouth into a hard line.

"There you go again... false fronts. Jesus, I was blind." his grin widened, "you're almost funny, you know that? Like the girl in class who sighs, but never talks to her crush, and denies it to everyone who bothers to be in range of her voice... Tragic, really, he obviously feels the same way about you...and he won't do anything either."  Stone folded his hands, and leaned forward onto the table,  "..which, of course,  is also a false front.  Here's what I think-I think you're too damn logical and politically aware for your own good, You want him to succeed, you want him to succeed on his own, you'll do anything to preserve him-and you have. Here's what is going to happen next-you're going to get what you want, because it gets the Republic what it needs-you're right about the dangers, there is a danger that it will get out of control, that it will go Soviet.  I already know this."  he tapped his cup, "So, you'll do what you're going to do, and in the end, you'll get what you think you want-and you'll lose him, because he's on a house of cards, and that house can topple in the first breeze, and I don't have to be the one blowing this time.  when it does, well... good luck to you, you'll need it."

With that, Devlin Stone bade her good night, stood, and walked out.



Quote from: Giovanni Blasini, 14-01-2007, 02:15:17
Well, that's different....  :o

Quote from: JA Baker, 14-01-2007, 02:17:54
A not-so-subtle warning that Stone has what he believes is a way to bring down Peter, unless Liz plays ball. While that might have worked with most people, I don’t seeing it working on her: she’ll have a card or two up her own sleeve...

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #10 on: 13 September 2015, 06:10:14 »
[[Posted 15-01-2007, 22:14:31]]


Conference room, Signing Day, 30 August, 3081...

"...about does it, the revisions requested by the Cappellan, Lyran, and Federated Suns have been ratified by the other delegates.  I think, unless we want to be here another two weeks, we'd best get on with this."  Devlin Stone announced.

Peter looked at Liz, and she shrugged- Do what you think is right...you know the consequences. He looked at her harder, and she finally looked down and shrugged.

Peter picked up the stylus.  "As the Archon of the Lyran Commonwealth, I hereby signify my agreement with the terms of this Treaty.  I do so with my Name, as symbolic of my Word..."  He placed his autograph on the document, and the Press photographed it.

Elizabeth wanted to scream, she wanted to cry-but she didn't.  Peter is his own man, He has to do what he thinks is right, or he's another puppet.  she reminded herself...but the treaty provisions were too weak, they gave Stone's people too much power, they endangered everything she was working for.

Silently, she cursed Victor.  The runt had played a card she hadn't expected...but should have.

The Liao rep seemed resigned-and Liz knew why even if everyone else here did not-Stone gave on the Skye independence issue, and shifted forces to pounce on the Confederation- which was already locked in a struggle with Andurien-one that was likely to turn bloody by November.  Stone's offer was an open secret-those forces could attack the Confederation,or they could intervene with Andurien to head off a war the Chancellor was in no condition to win.

Well...they won't get everything they want. Liz was resigned to it. 
 
Peter sat down next to his "loyal opposition", and she took his hand below the table.

"I'm sorry about this, Liz...but..."  He started.

"Family, Peter.  Yvonne is your sister, and she never betrayed you-not for one second.  It was unfair of Vic, and I should have predicted it, but...I didn't.  We'll simply have to adapt."  she whispered through a carefully guarded mask of impassive disapproval-the mask she wore at all of these activities.

"The big problem is selling this back home."  Peter hissed.

"Smile, they're looking a you.  wave to them, and look like you're the cat that ate the canary.  We still have options, and a year."  She reminded him.

"Right...You realize, we're on Earth, right?"  He nudged her.

"Yeah, I know." she replied.

"We've still got a couple of days.  Let's go out, sight-see a bit..."  He said.

She thought a while as the Andurien rep signed off on the treaty, and handed the stylus to the first Clanner- it was, she noted, Phelan.  Traitor-dog-backstabbing Phelan, Quisling and double-traitor, Mercenary...  the thought ran through like a poisonous river until she quelled it.

"Yeah...we'll let him go on ahead." she whispered, "I don't want to share a ship with Him."

"That's the Margrave of Arc Royal, dear.  Never mind he's a Clanner now, let bygones be bygones."  Peter said,  "I want to discuss something more important after this."

Liz couldn't think of what.


1745 Hours...

While the signers mostly went to observe the Kruppwerke dismantling and smelting 'mechs, Peter took Elizabeth on a private flight.

"where are we going?" she asked.

"It's a surprise." He said, and poured for them both.  "it's got to do with what I want to tell you."

The leased jet banked sharply, and dropped below the cloud-deck.  Liz could see ornate structures below-surrounded by blasted zones.

"It's amazing, but the Romans, they built good.  St. Peter's Basilica."  Peter said.

"Holy ground."  Liz whispered, "a church...the church."

"The one, and in spite of my upbringing, the only.  THE Holy See." Peter said.

"Why?" she asked.

"I have something I want to confess...when we've landed." Peter said.

The rental banked, and settled in a flagstone courtyard that had survived the Germans and the Allies, Moussolini, and the Italian Socialist government of Fabrizo, it had survived the war that tore the Terran Alliance apart and forged the Terran Hegemony, it had survived a First Lord who detested religion, and a usurper who wanted to destroy god.

"come on, we're about on time."  Peter said, and led her off the plane.

"on time? for what?" she demanded.

"you'll see..."  his long strides and tugging hand made her hurry.

"What's this about?"  Liz demanded.

He led her into a building that predated internal combustion, decorated by a master who had no access to computers or synthetics.

"This."  He stopped, jerking her short, and dropped to one knee, gripping her 'good' hand with his left, while he fished something out with his right.

"I should have done this some time ago..." He said, "Elizabeth, I love you, but sometimes you just need to shut up, and I'm not letting you get a word in edgewise until I'm done.  I should have done this a long time ago-when I realized what we had, what we have, and how much you mean to me.  I'm not afraid, and you shouldn't be-and to hell with them, because dammit, what we've been doing, it isn't good for either of us...here it is," he pulled out a small box, and snapped it open.

"Peter-" for once, Elizabeth was truly wordless.

"This...is an engagement ring.  It's one I should have given you a long time ago-don't look at me that way, I know you deserve it, you're the only one that deserves it-I want you to say one word, that word is 'yes'...and dammit, I'll hold out right here, until you do."

"Peter, they'll Kill YOU." she found the words, "They'll kill you for this-No, I don't want to lose you-not that way..."

Peter snorted and gave her his best daredevil look, "Let them try.  Liz, you said it to Yvonne last night, you said it to Stone in public... I'm my own man, and I'm not going to hide from my enemies, or yours.  Will you say Yes?"

"Peter, the men in my life die..."she almost wailed.

"I don't care about that-everyone dies, but you have become everything to me.  Say yes." He insisted.

she tugged, and the action pulled her into him.  "Please don't do this, Peter, I love you, Don't get yourself killed..." she was wailing now.

"I won't, but you're going to say yes."  He said, "I want us to not have to hide anymore, I want us to be joined in matrimony, I want you for my wife, to have, and hold, and support in sickness and in health, to grow old together out in front of god and man and everyone.  Say yes." 

She was crying fully, she blubbered, she...took the box.  "yyyyYes...oh god, I'm sosorrry you've no idea...I'm so sorry..."  Elizabeth felt the doom descend, the hand of an angry god poised to finally deliver the killing blow.

He stood up, and pulled her into his arms, holding her as she wept.  "You said yes, let me worry about the rest."

She knew-their happiness would be cut short-but he wanted it too badly, and because he wanted it, she would give in...

she felt his joy in his strong, strong arms...

and in teh back of her mind, she heard Devlin Stone's prediction of doom.  ",,,in the end, you'll get what you think you want-and you'll lose him..."

she clutched to her hero, and she desperately wished Please, let it be wrong...



Quote from: Axeman89, 16-01-2007, 04:45:41
That was a surprise.
Poor Peter seems to have married his way into a Greek tragedy. I wonder if he knows.

Quote from: shadrachvs, 16-01-2007, 04:54:26
That does bring up the question - Would it be better to continue to deny your own heart, and in thus lying to yourself and all others; or to admit the truth and face the punishment for what is there?

Basically comes down to a short time of happiness followed by pain, or a lifetime of small torments...

Quote from: Krieghund, 16-01-2007, 04:55:32
Even if he does know, why run from it? You can only hide for so long, if you can't look yourself in the face, whats the point.

Trace Coburn

  • Starfighter Analyst
  • Global Moderator
  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4176
  • За родину и свободу!
Re: Sweetness and Light (A Ngo story by Cannonshop)
« Reply #11 on: 13 September 2015, 06:10:58 »
[[Posted 16-01-2007, 08:56:29]]


Von Steuben Estate, Southern Tharkad...

Graf Stephan Von Steuben looked at the files carefully.  He closed the folder, carefully.  This will NOT do.  "Thanks for passing this on, MacAfferty.  I'll see that it gets prompt action."  Very prompt.  If this ever went public... He handed the Assistant sub-director of Lohengrin a small PADD-Chit.  "The accounts are in the usual place.  You will be discrete, I trust?"

MacAfferty grinned, "Indeed."

After MacAfferty left the office, the Graf started composing a series of carefully worded messages.  Something must be done.  He glanced back at the security file,  For the good of the commonwealth.



Quote from: Paladin1, 17-01-2007, 10:10:44
Yeah, I'll second the remark that Cannonshop's writing is one of the primary reasons for visiting this site every day.  I've been trying to pick up some writing tricks and style for my own use and Cannonshop is the primary source that I use for style references.  He does something that has so far either eluded or been denied to the current crop of writers, which is to make the story believable.  There's no super powerful characters, in the sense of Sun-Tsu,  Victor S-D or (Insert random Kurita here) who are all but unstoppable, but there are plenty of believable, realistic characters who seem to be modeled after real life people.  Even the Clan warriors are not only believable but are realistic and their actions make sense, which is something that I can't say about how the Clans are portrayed by the current PTB.  Cannonshop's Clanners actually make me want to play a Clan character, which coming from a member of the Old Guard is high praise indeed.

Keep up the good work CS.

Quote from: Cannonshop, 18-01-2007, 00:23:01
Quote from: idea weenie, 17-01-2007, 15:02:02
I can't believe I missed this story.

Very well done.


Edit - Is Ngo mad because of the attempted industrial espionage clause in the Trade agreement, or is she mad because it was so sloppily done?  The former is understandable, but the latter could hint to others that whoever drafted the paperwork is not paying enough attention to their legal teams.  And if they are not paying enough attention to legal, what else are they not paying attention to?  Very dangerous precedent there.

Still, if Doctor Lear had the authority, he could have simply inserted the necessary authorizations right there on the spot, so both sides can perform industrial espionage on each other.  I'm sure she wouldn't have minded the ability for her people to take a free look at Clan manufacturing techniques, to see what could be applied in her own factories.

Unfortunately, Dr Lear's credibility might be shot, as he did not know the real contents of the treaty he was proposing.

Not necessarily shot, remember that Liz was acting as Peter's "Bad Cop" in the negotiation.  She was supposed to look for any reason she could to counsel rejecting the treaty, in part so that he could play the "Good Cop" and insert proposals or make "Compromises" that favoured the Lyran Commonwealth.  This is a standard diplomatic and business technique, and one that the Kuritas probably pursued as well (I couldn't find a Kuritan or Cappie 'voice' character, so they were very passive in the story.  sorry guys...)

Lear's needing to "Consult his superiors" is also a standard technique-while he could approve changes on-the-spot, being able to delay action and regain the initiative in negotiations is useful, being able to make someone sweat over "Secret" deals is also useful.  As for the mutual spying-that's one that Liz would oppose on any front-remember what's going on the "restricted" list?? 

 Ngo Industries is the corporate descendent of Bridgeport and Central Machine, and the big tooling company out there.  They don't build 'mechs, they build the nanopolishers you need to produce your fusion engines, the picoscale chemical looms for your Myomer production and TSM production, the electron-scale ESM systems that let you make the precise magnets for Gauss rifles and the accurate-to-.00001mm lathes and mills you have to have to produce working military-grade laser and particle beam systems.  They also produce the extrusion machines, wire-looms, micron-scale gyroscopic-stabilized drills and milling equipment...and the spare parts and control interfaces to run that high-precision, high-cost, absolutlely-vital-to-war-industries equipment...and they make most of their income on maintenance of high-wear items.  Before the Jihad, Liz had two major competitors-they were both slagged, she's it, and she knows it, do you think for a nanosecond she's going to sacrifice that kind of market-dominance?  To get her competitors' remaining facilities producing, they're going to need to buy...from her. (unless they can talk someone like the Diamond-Sharks into supplying them, which would be bad for the DS bottom-line, since they want to sell finished goods, not the tools to compete against them.)

Infrastructure was the prime target of the Blakist Jihad, and their enemies hit their infrastructure on the way in-that means oodles of factories were put up, but they're all in bad shape, The Republic might be able to scavenge enough from a dozen 'mech factories to get one in limited operation right now-but if they ever want to go full-scale prewar levels, they're going to have to re-tool...and guess, just guess, who has the equipment they need to do that?

Would you hand over that kind of advantage?

The big archives of info were smashed during the reconquest of Terra-so Stone's people would have to reinvent or monkey-model off of working samples if they can't have it delivered like a pizza to the door.  This can be done-inevitably, it would be-but it's going to take time, and during that time, the Republic isn't making war-machines or the parts to support them.

It forces the Republic to buy from outside vendors at retail, instead of producing from raw materials at wholesale.  This works to the advantage of every other state and entity at that conference...and everyone, including Dr. Lear, knows it.  What do you suppose the advice is going to be?  I don't think even Yvonne is going to play middleman to allowing the new state to become a military production capable superpower, do you?

Quote from: Headshot, 18-01-2007, 05:01:17
I've always wondered if that wasn't a major reason behind Stone's "swords to plowshares" program.
I mean, the core of the Republic is the former WoB Protectorate and the dead worlds bufferzone around that, so the industry base of the republic must be smashed.
So, if you can't rearm yourself, and can't buy the weapons from someone else (everyone else needed to rearm too, and where get the money?), why not incite and then ride a wave of public sentiment to convince everyone to put down the swords and even stop producing new weapons?
Keeps your borders safe, and as an added bonus allows you to pour your limited resources into rebuilding the infrastructure.

What kind of doctor is Lear anyway? I have no idea about his background, i just always assumed he followed his mother.
If he isn't a legal eagle himself, its entirely possible he didn't spot the issue himself. As i read it, it was the interplay of two different clauses that made this mess possible, such stuff is hard to spot, as the fact that only Liz (who's notorious for those things) spotted it proves.

Quote from: Paladin1, 18-01-2007, 05:12:40
Quote from: Headshot, 18-01-2007, 05:01:17
I've always wondered if that wasn't a major reason behind Stone's "swords to plowshares" program.
I mean, the core of the Republic is the former WoB Protectorate and the dead worlds bufferzone around that, so the industry base of the republic must be smashed.
So, if you can't rearm yourself, and can't buy the weapons from someone else (everyone else needed to rearm too, and where get the money?), why not incite and then ride a wave of public sentiment to convince everyone to put down the swords and even stop producing new weapons?
Keeps your borders safe, and as an added bonus allows you to pour your limited resources into rebuilding the infrastructure.
Well, that would work on a couple of borders (Davion, Steiner and Marik) but I don't think Kurita or Liao either one would go for the whole "peace, love and happiness" idea and all it takes is one aggressor to ruin your day.  I'll be very interested in seeing how this actually does play out, both in the Ngo-verse and in the canon universe for this very reason.

Quote from: Headshot, 18-01-2007, 05:24:40
Shrug, just a few save borders would already go a long way, and let you concentrate the few forces you still have, and we know there's been a lot of trouble on the Capellan front.

Quote from: Nikas_Zekeval, 18-01-2007, 05:47:36
Works even better if you are a hypocritcal and sneaky SOB, and instead of melting those weapons down you take them in and stockpile them for your State's military.  Substitue some broken down machines, and or mock ups to cerimonally 'destroy' of peace medals.

Quote from: Headshot, 18-01-2007, 06:11:16
Thats a given, didn't think it necessary to point that out... 8)

"a hypocritcal and sneaky SOB" is basically my translation of "politician"  ::)

 

Register