Register

Author Topic: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March  (Read 12461 times)

monbvol

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13226
  • I said don't look!
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #120 on: 30 September 2023, 08:55:24 »
Fixed [warship] to Rogue.

Wrangler

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24751
  • Dang it!
    • Battletech Fanon Wiki
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #121 on: 30 September 2023, 13:09:43 »
Sounds like Sterling playing both side.   I hope Kolossus knows what it's doing.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants
-Editor on Battletech Fanon Wiki

monbvol

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13226
  • I said don't look!
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #122 on: 30 September 2023, 19:53:39 »
Helena’s Private Residence
New Lazarus
16 February 3144


"It's 'national interest', isn't it?"  Her Majesty scowled. 

"I would say that's obvious." Elizabeth answered, "Kolossus selling transport ships to the Ravens is obviously a National Interest move, textbook even."

“True.  I guess I’m just getting frustrated with the delays in communication.”

"We all are." her older sister admitted, "I think everyone is, possibly with the exception of some of the crazies."

“Still I’m glad you came too.  I imagine it was tough getting away with all the minders you have on you these days.”

"Had to, you're borrowing most of my active duty military.  I'd be a poor leader indeed if I didn't visit my boys and girls serving in a foreign place at least once in a while!"

“I’m taking care of them as best I can given their profession and the current situation.”
"I know that Helena, this is more about mollifying the press back home, though it gives me a nice pretext to see you and how you're holding up."

“It is difficult.  I know I’m doing the right thing, but that’s part of what scares me.  That’s how so many of the worst start out.”

"The line between the best and the worst is found where the line of compromise is, Sis.  You're not compromising much, at least, not yet, if you keep your head and don't compromise too much, you'll be fine."  Elizabeth counseled.

“Thanks.  We should have a nice family dinner.  It has been forever since we did that.  Lori is still on Tharkad but if we send for her I know she’ll come.”

"I agree, it has been forever…so, where's your kitchen?"

“Down the hall, third door on the left.  I know people keep telling me I should get a bigger space.  I’m the Director General, but this place was my home for a long time.”

"The people telling you that, are imagining the sort of dinner parties where nations are bent, spindled, mutilated and exploited by their elites, Helena.  I always hated those 'parties' because they're just work meetings without the proper equipment."

“And I know I will have to do the formal state dinners and parties anyway.  There are lots of parts of this job I don’t look forward to.”

"Thus, why you have a space pre-set, with a staff, and use it only for those meetings." Elizabeth said with a gleam in her eye, "It's worth the privacy."

Sally Francine Cameron came into the room with a big smile on her face.

“Thanks for the lift Auntie Elizabeth.”  She came over to hug her aunt.

"I was glad to have you along, Sally-Fran." Elizabeth said with a smile, "I missed out on your oldest sister, so it was nought but a treat for me."

“Yeah.  She’s being all responsible and while I know why, it still makes me a bit mad she’s not here.”  Sally next hugged her mom.

"Now…we just need some apples…and a deep fryer…"

“Should be some in the fridge and first cupboard next to the stove.”  Helena offered.

“Too bad Dad, Nathan and David got delayed.  But they’ll be here in a week.”  Sally hummed as she helped gather the apples.

"What are we making?"  Helena asked.

"It's too early for dinner, but not too early to have desert!" Elizabeth smirked, "Deep fry apple pie, just like Nana made, I still remember the recipe."

“Mom never could get it quite right.”  Sally teased.

“Soil isn’t quite right for the proper apples on Sevon V.”  Helena countered.

"So we adjust," she sampled a bit of apple from the cutting board, "lemon juice?"

“Yeah.  And maybe a little something from the top shelf there.”  Helena pointed to a rack full of liquids and spices.

“Glengarry spiced rum.  Naughty!”  Elizabeth smiled, and let out a giggle.  "I use Roberts Reserve back home, it's not the same."

“Yeah.  I kind of miss it but I’m not so vain as to have it specially shipped.”  Helena admitted.

"I get mine as 'gifts' from the Snow Raven merchants out of the Alliance." Elizabeth confided, "Somehow, they think I'm partial to it…and the connection to Sevon V doesn't hurt."

“I do my best to keep up with news about Daryl and his boys but again, no HPGs so I imagine I’m missing out on a lot of their lives these days.”

"Daryl's oldest just had a daughter." Elizabeth commented, "makes him a grandfather twice over now, and his youngest boy has settled down with a programmer on Alpheratz!  The last letter was full of scandalous ideas, like entering the civil service now that he's graduated college. Mrs Roberts is beside herself at the thought of her boy becoming a bureaucrat..."

“Good for them.  And yeah I remember her reaction when Lori broke the news about getting that staff position with Christian.  I was pretty sure she was going to faint.” 

"Christien isn't his grandfather, but he's hardly dim, unlike poor Hugo." Elizabeth shook her head sadly.

“Lori’s filled me in on a lot of that before she took off for Tharkad.”  Helena looked sadder for a brief moment before smiling again.  “But we’ll all finally be in the same place at the same time just in time for the local fall harvest.”

"I've been considering something." Elizabeth confided. 

“Oh?”  Helena focused on her sister.

“Yeah spill Auntie Liz.”  Sally added.

"I stopped at Kolossus on the way here, and spoke with Vendetta and some of her medical people, a thousand years is a long time.  I've decided I finally know enough, to try again at raising kids that are mine, and not borrowed from someone else…so I've had fertility restoration treatment."

“You got your eye on someone in particular to be the father?”  Helena was obviously having difficulty holding back her excitement.

"Not yet…but I"m looking again after three centuries…and between you and me, Sally, could you leave the room for a moment?"

“Just as it was getting good!  Fine.”  Sally stuck her tongue out as she left the room.

Elizabeth waited until Sally was gone.  "Amanda's gotten worse, Helena.  She sleeps twenty hours a day and forgets things in the middle of conversations."

“I’ve tried sending letters, voice recordings, just about everything short of physically going there and taking her away from that place in the vain hope she will stop.”

"Well…Kolossus has no objections if we can persuade her to come." Elizabeth stated.  "I've seen her now, she has more gray hair than Great Auntie Jo had."

“I’ve extended the invitation.  She is welcome here anytime.  The trouble is we’re the same sort of stubborn.”

“Ain’t that the truth.”  Elizabeth allowed.

Space Port
Tharkad
16 February 3144


“I’ll be fine, it’s a Golden Hind ship.  If something really important comes up with the Archon I trust you Amanda Yeh M5 7775551 to handle it while I’m away.”

“Me?  Why me?”

“It’s you or Ezekial and well no offense Ezekial but I don’t want a disagreement ending in a fist fight.”

“None taken.  I have little stomach for politics these days.”  Ezekial chuckled.

“Besides, the Archon knows I’m going away for a couple weeks and I made it clear that she should only contact you in an emergency.”  Lori hugged Amanda.

“What about Alice?”  Amanda was running out of excuses.

“Don’t worry silly, you’re still my Ex Oh and I find I rather like shopping.  I just wish not so many of the shops were opposed to me bringing Maximus.  And Tharkad is a much bigger world than I have seen before.  So it is going to take me a while to see it all.”  Alice giggled.

“Well my command circuit is waiting.  You all be good now.”  Lori waved as she grabbed her bags and boarded the ship.

Jonah Levin’s Office
Terra
24 February 3144


Jonah stared at the young woman across from him.

“Apologies Exarch Levin but Director General Cameron felt with our current diplomatic relations it would be wiser to start slower, more gradually.”  Illiana stated calmly.

“I suppose that is fair.  She is well?”  Jonah probed.

“Perhaps better than anyone her age has any right to be.”

“Good.  Still this is difficult.  I was hoping to talk to her directly, head of state to head of state.”

“She does regret that but I am empowered to negotiate on behalf of the Star League and Terran Hegemony in Exile.”

“Well then I shall cut to the chase.  The disposition of the worlds you have liberated.  What is her intention in this regard?”

“Where possible we are allowing the worlds themselves to decide.  So far Alkalurops, Alphecca Lyons,  Menket, Nusakan, Skondia, Skye, and Summer have all declared for us.”

“To them we abandoned them so they now have little love for us.  Understandable, if regrettable.”

“The Galatean League has decided to keep to the path of independence and we have recognized it.  I know this makes my assurances that we are not here to undermine Republic authority hollow but it does neither of us any good to hide the truth.”

“No, you’re right.  This is the inevitable consequence of our past actions catching up with us.”

“Speaking of which we know it was you that sent a strike out against Damien Redburn’s Republic Remnant.”

“I suppose it was foolish of me to think that people would not figure out the only power to use our distinct tripods was behind that.”

“I don’t get it.  Why attack your own people like that?”  Illiana probed.

“I… I…”  Jonah was caught off guard.

“You thought it would get Reburn back.  Force him to realize he was wrong to leave.  I won’t make you say it.”  Illiana shook her head.

“You must understand, the Republic needed him here.  Not out there.  We had nothing but enemies for so long…”

“It’s okay.  You have friends again, friends who can and will actually help with what is to come.”

This is why I was sent.  I was there for that raid.  I had become homeless, adrift, with nothing left.  Redburn wouldn’t take me as a soldier.  I’m too frail for it.  Thankfully Golden Hind took me in and introduced me to her.  Now I can make this right.  Illiana smiled.

Could I use this?  It could actually be a way to get Helena to take this mess off my hands…  Levin thought to himself.

“Thank you.  You are very gracious.”  Levin said after a moment.

“Think nothing of it, Exarch Levin.”

Crew Lounge
SLS Stacey Cameron Roberts
27 February 3144


"Lori, the Lyrans abandoned us years before that."  Trinh Vu Dao passed a bulb of tea to the daughter of the Director General in microgravity.  "I don't see Trillian being materially  better than Melissa that way, or Adam…or Andrew."

“And what would you have me do?  We can’t impose our will on a power that much larger than us.”

"Go in with your eyes open, Tharkan manners are deceptive, they make a good show of their 'morality' but it's all show.  My parents world burned, and they abandoned the region to the ****** Pirates for decades, while Tharkad's interests were wrapped up in posturing for the Republic!"  Trinh sighed, "They tried to make the Lines rely on one facility at Gibbs, they never rebuilt the infrastructure, and they ignored the periphery border areas, we never saw the 'great recovery' of the post Jihad years-that was only for places closer to Old Earth.  She was Melissa's 'hand', involved in that stupid war with the Free Worlders and earlobes deep in the Wolf betrayal conflict, I know the mission's supposed to be getting them on-side, but…don't expect faith, okay?"  she popped a seal, and sipped her own tea, "Lyrans don't have any."

“I don’t think mom does.  Part of me thinks she sent me in hopes I’d rub off on them.  That maybe they’d learn that from me.  But I’m too new and inexperienced at this to do that.  But thanks to flying with Ravens and learning from Outworlders I do know to be wary.”

"Both eyes open is good, they won't betray you like some of the others will, they'll do it by bungling and bureaus."  Trinh counseled, "And Brewer's faction is, if anything, worse."

“Yeah he’s going to be a problem.  One I don’t know how to solve just yet.”

"An accident can be arranged." Trinh suggested,  "we just need his itinerary, if you understand me.  I don't have the contacts Dad did, but little birdies say Her Majesty has a specialist, it might be useful to remove possible challengers if you really WANT to bring the Lyrans in."

“Tempting but no, I think that could make him a martyr.”

"We're only a couple jumps out from our destination, are there any special instructions you want me to give the men?" Trinh asked.

“I have none to give.  I’m not a war leader like mom.  But I am still following the path of politics so I know I am going to learn more about it than I want to.”

"For your security detail, then, I'm going to send Steve and Mike, with Agatha and Louise working your medical and social interactions, secretary and physician respectively."

“Thanks but you know I’m going to Lazarus to spend time with family, not work right?”

"Most accidents happen in the home." Trinh said sagely, "also, I need you to sign off on my ground time sheet."

“Figures.  I doubt I’ll ever be able to adapt to space the way you have.  I’m too much of a planet bound gal.”

"You're okay for a dirtyfeet, Lori." Trinh said with a smile that was actually genuine, "I know they're going to give those forms the twice-over.  You should be glad, my 'adaptation' is rooted in the cultural memory of just how vulnerable being on a planet is, what with that endless sky and the way everything sends the wrong signal, I'll be doing my ground leave in one of the Lunar caverns, kilometers of good, solid rock between me and anything falling from orbit."

“Heh.  Never ceases to amaze me how different humans can become in only a little over a thousand years, all depending on where they wound up after leaving Earth.”

"Hey, Old Earth is the first world anyone wanted to leave!” Trinh smiled wider, it reached her traumatized eyes.

“Yeah that is true and like mom I find I actually have little kinship with it.  But she knows she has to go back to finally resolve some of her remaining demons.”

"Old demons,  did you know, my ancestor, Anh Cu'ong, she actually visited the ruins of the Cu'ong burrow on Ganymede during the Amaris war?  When we go back, I want to visit the site if it's still there, and Ceres, and Iapetus…places my ancestors began our journey…but I do NOT want to try hacking it on Old Earth, or Mars.  Too…too crowded, and open, too alien."

“Surprised you didn’t try and get on the diplomatic mission to Earth then so you could.  I know some Golden Hind folks did, they wanted to visit their old haunts around Albion.”

"The Golden Hind people would've been uncomfortable if I went with 'em, it's why most of the crew are from outside that Faction here."  Trinh reminded her, "I understand it, mind you-imagine a good Reform family having to cope with a Kahanist."

“Heh.  From what mom says Golden Hind are not exactly squeamish.  So I suspect you’d get along better than you expect.  But too late for that now.  Perhaps another opportunity will present itself.”

"Lori, last time I did a layover on Lazarus station, I walked into Steppin's pub, and the Golden Hind Crewers on shore leave got up and left!" she laughed, "I know what they see, when they see this-" she fingered the Free Stars pin on her harness, "And I don't blame them much for it at all, they at least don't offer violence at my presence!"

“Would make them hypocrites if they did.  But I guess there’s more bad blood than any of us dirty feet will ever really know.”

"Exactly.  They stick to their Ethic, and that's worth any number of inconveniences, but it doesn't mean I have to make them MORE uncomfortable."

"What did your ancestors do?" Lori asked, "What's really at the root?"

"It's complicated."  Trinh answered, "a long story, lots of little offenses and more than a few mistakes. The Republic Diplomatic mission is vital enough that my being there would be a case of major bad voodoo on the effort."

“Well I understand some of that but in the interests of a pleasant voyage I will pry no further.”

"It's okay.  See, I have this whole plan worked out, after Her Majesty takes the throne, I'll be the first member of Free Stars to walk into the Metis Congress since 2767, when we were thrown out to mollify Richard Cameron…but that's AFTER a proper Cameron takes the throne in Unity City."

“Now that might be worth watching but yeah that last part is going to be tough to figure out.  Mom is convinced that is exactly what will happen if she returns to Terra openly but she also doesn’t want to ruin the Republic like that.”

"That's what makes it a proper quest, Lori.  Nothing worth doing is easy."

“And just because it is simple does not make it easy.”

"Exactly."  Trinh's wrist chronometer chimed.  "break time's over, I have to go stand watch in CIC now, be seeing you later, we can compare notes on the Infantrymen!"

“Won’t lie, a couple of them look like they might be fun later…”

Trinh Vu Dao giggled and left the galley, and Lori Cameron, alone.

“Shit.  Maybe I should have volunteered for a comms position…”  Lori settled in for a long stretch of boredom.

Bad area of the Merchantile District
Tharkad City
Tharkad
28 February 3144


Vedet's orders had been simple.

Isolate, capture, and interrogate one of the new Diplomatic mission members.

It was easy to identify which one was the best target.

She liked to go off shopping by herself.

Geoff Freeman wondered if she was the daughter of someone important wherever they really came from.

She looked a lot like his teenage daughter back home.  He had learned her name was Alice.  Just Alice.

She certainly had the look of a trueborn phenotype but not the usual ethnic markers of Wolf, Falcon, Ghost Bear, Horse, or Nova Cat.  Some of the chatter they had picked up on made references to the Raven Alliance.

A distinct possibility that would make sense.  But what seemed wrong about that is she was not dressed as a Trueborn would be.  At least not a staunch traditionalist.  So maybe she’d already gone full native.  It would not be the first time something like that happened.

Their frequency sweeps revealed what most likely was some sort of radio tracking device.  The van had been prepared for that.

So he waited and watched as she went into a clothing store.

“{There’s a break in the crowd.  This is our chance.  As soon as she exits we grab and go.}”  Geoff briefed his team.

A series of clicks let him know that they understood and were ready.

The young woman stepped out of the store a few minutes later carrying a bag.

The van pulled up in front of her and Geoff grabbed onto her, but in an instant the soft yielding flesh seemed to harden.

In a flash an elbow was in his ribs.

Beatrice jumped out of the van to help and was greeted by a boot to the face with the snapping of bone.

Then the thudding could be heard.

Alice stepped away from her staggered captors and put a kick into Geoff’s right knee clearly breaking it.

Walther leveled a sonic stunner at Alice and pulled the trigger.

He didn’t even see the knife that Alice threw into his rib cage, the heat of the vibrations spreading outward.

“{****** this!}”  The driver said too late as Maximus thudded in front of the van and began to bite into it, quickly disabling the van.

Alice quietly walked over to Geoff.

“That was my favorite dress.  Now look at it.  I have the blood of you and your friends all over it.  The Lyrans can have your friends but you’re coming with me and Maximus.”  Alice said sweetly.  “Though I suppose I’m going to have to fill out an incident report…  Maximus.  Cargo bay access please.”

Alice stuffed Geoff into Maximus’ mission equipment cargo bay.  It was a tight fit that made Geoff scream as she forced him in.  But once sealed up it was quite soundproof.

A few minutes later

“Name?”  The responding officer asked.

“Alice.”

“Age?”

“You won’t believe me…”  Alice said sweetly.

“I need it for the report.”  The officer pried.

“Okay.  392 years old.”

“That’s not humanly possible.  Really, how old are you?”

“Ah, there’s the problem, you won’t believe this either but I’m not actually human.  See that twinkling light?  That’s actually me.”  Alice pointed at the darkening night sky.

“BARK!”

The officer flinched.

“Yeah I don’t think he believes me yet either Maximus.  Well as you can see officer I do have diplomatic credentials.  I’m voluntarily giving my statement in the hopes of maintaining positive relations.”

“Let me see…”  He checked Alice’s offered credentials.  “Uh huh.  Well they have the proper approvals…  Good thing your bodyguard was nearby.  This could have been a lot worse.  Could he come out of the armor now?”

“BARK!”

The officer flinched again.

“Maximus is my friend and he is the Battlearmor.  He literally cannot come out.  Well not without a lot of tools and work anyway.”

“I’m not paid enough for this…  Okay one last question.  Witnesses say there were four attackers but we only have three in custody.  Where is the fourth?”  He handed Alice’s credentials back to her.

“Ask Maximus.”  Alice smiled.

“Just going to put that down as unknown at this time/fled the scene.”  The officer muttered.

A young female medtech shooed the officer away.

“I know you’ve been through a lot but I need to check you over before we release you.  Any injuries?”

“No.”

“Okay then let’s check your vitals.  Huh.  Other hand?  Okay neck…  What the?”  She checked for a pulse.

“I know.  Kolossus does really good work but like I was telling the officer, not human.”

“Mein gott.”  The woman’s face went pale.

“Well, there’s my ride.  You don’t look so good yourself.  Maybe you should see your own doctor.”  Alice and Maximus walked over to a ground vehicle driven by Ezekial.

“You okay Alice?”  Ezekiel asked.

“Yeah.  Kolossus’ idea of running current through myomer bundles to turn my normally soft as a human’s outer skin to armor worked like a charm and all the things Haida taught me came in handy.”

“Good.  Let’s get you home.”

A dark room on the lower levels
Terran Hegemony Embassy
Tharkad City
Tharkad
3 March 3144


Geoff woke up after what seemed like forever.

Bleary eyed and weak he felt the throbbing in his leg intrude into his mind.

“Ah good.  You woke up finally.  We were a bit worried.  I know it wasn’t comfortable folding you up into Maximus’ cargo space.  Sorry about the leg, we had to surgically remove it.”  Alice said sweetly.

“What… are… you… Manei… Domini?”  Geoff gulped.

“A teenage robot girl.  Full AI, no organics whatsoever.  Well that may not be true.  I never asked Kolossus the exact nature of some of my latest upgrades.  Kolossus might have put some in with those.  Turns out organics can be quite useful to us AIs in that regard.”

Geoff felt the blood draining from his face.

“Here.  It’s just water.  Nothing more.  Well okay depends on how pedantic you want to get and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if this part of Tharkad City doesn’t have the best water purification.”  Alice handed Geoff a glass of water.

That was when Geoff noticed, he wasn’t shackled to his bed.  He looked down.  The stump of his knee was plainly visible.  There was no need to shackle him.  He’d be lucky to win a fight against a kid, real one and not this nightmare in front of him, right now.  Suicide wouldn’t be impossible but he could feel the pain killers dulling his senses and reflexes, so it would be difficult.

“What now?”  He sipped the water.

“Now you tell me who sent you.  Pretty please?”

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 36651
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #123 on: 30 September 2023, 21:22:37 »
+1 for Haida teaching Alice those things! >:)

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 36651
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #124 on: 01 October 2023, 06:33:06 »
Google has randomly restored my edit access!  Starting from the end of the last post above I'll mark progress as I go.

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 36651
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #125 on: 01 October 2023, 08:02:35 »
Whew!  Got through just shy of 40 pages out of the 155 or so to go.  Mind blowing stuff I can't wait to see here! :)

monbvol

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13226
  • I said don't look!
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #126 on: 01 October 2023, 09:49:19 »
Huzzah!

Wrangler

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24751
  • Dang it!
    • Battletech Fanon Wiki
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #127 on: 01 October 2023, 10:48:25 »
Sounds exciting!
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants
-Editor on Battletech Fanon Wiki

monbvol

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13226
  • I said don't look!
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #128 on: 01 October 2023, 11:39:41 »
Screwed up part is to actually finish it off I'm probably going to have to start a new google doc soon so load times are not so long.  About 355 pages and not far from 120k words long so far...  And still have Daoshen to finish dealing with, the Combine isn't exactly friendly either, and of course Alaric.

Zakharra

  • Corporal
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #129 on: 01 October 2023, 15:37:19 »
I do hope that those individuals and nations/groups violating diplomatic immunity get a proper reward. The Envoys are diplomatic personnel. It should be an international incident if someone abducts and tortures/interrogates/kills one. As much as I like seeing Kolossus and Amanda's copies running around, I'd think they would have done something to maul the hands (Shadow Raven and Wolf Clans, and Vedet) that have either captured/killed numerous of them (Clans) or attempted to. The Clans, Shadow Ravens in particular, need a comeuppance for their actions. So far the Clans have been acting with impunity, as if consequences are for someone else, not for them.

As for the interception of the Envoy memories upon death, I think Kolossus would have expected that to happen sooner or later. It is, at the end of the day, a radio transmission (albeit with a hell of a lot of data). If Kolossus hasn't accounted for that in its plans, then Kolossus has screwed up. I seriously hope it's been getting it's defenses set in because as ssopon as the Shadow Ravens think they have a chance, they will try to take Kolossus out or kill it because it's not under Clan (Shadow Raven) control.

All in all though, an excellent story. I await the rest with baited breath.

Wrangler

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24751
  • Dang it!
    • Battletech Fanon Wiki
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #130 on: 01 October 2023, 15:41:10 »
I'm just lucky I'm keeping all darn envoys and pictures straight. (So far I have...)

I do puzzle, why Amanda Roberts (II) hasn't gone....rebirth.  Its kinda painful see her go through this...expending her mental facilities/physical.
Perhaps, I don't get how she was rebirth in the first place (or she never did, it was fake death.)   If her body was recreated, from this Prime....would it be see her come back as...well herself one more time to enjoy her retirement.

Then again, that a story thing we'll see.  I miss the old Amanda Roberts.
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants
-Editor on Battletech Fanon Wiki

monbvol

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13226
  • I said don't look!
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #131 on: 01 October 2023, 22:18:39 »
Throne Room
Tharkad
4 March 3144


“Archon, I do not know how to say it any differently.  She was attacked and captured one of her assailants.  I know Ambassador Cameron…”  Amanda Yeh M5 7775551 tried to hold her composure.

“Is not here.  You are.  I expect our citizen returned.  If all is as you say I am willing to overlook the charge of Kidnapping a Lyran Citizen.  Simply put, without an extradition treaty negotiated your citizen completely overstepped,” Trillian countered.

“Allow me to start with he has confessed to operating under orders from Vedet Brewer.  Then add assurances we have provided him the best medical care we are currently capable of until more work is done on our Embassy.”

“Then there should be no issue returning him to us as soon as can be arranged.”

Shit, I am way out of my league here…  Curse you Amanda for suggesting I be your stand in while you get your family time.

“I will make the arrangements,” Amanda bowed.  “If I may?”

“Yes.  You are free to go now,” Trillian said, dismissing her.

Helena Cameron’s private residence
New Lazarus
14 March 3144


The affair had to be moved to picnic tables and benches outdoors with all the people Helena wound up inviting that she considered family.

Leon, her sister, her four children, over a dozen of her AIs, Foster, and while not every Envoy, Advisor,or whatever they decided to call themselves accepted, a few had decided to accept as well.

“Well this is quite a circus.”  Leon looked around at the gathered attendees.

“I know.  Some of the girls cautioned me against doing this, especially outdoors.  But really with the kind of orbital security I have right now it’d take an act of divinity to do anything terrible to this place today.”  Helena squeezed her husband’s hand.

“So it’s true Mom?  You have a real expiration date?” David asked sadly.

“I do.  But it’s still a lot of time.  More than enough to finish what I’ve started and still have time with you all.”  Helena knew the news would get out quickly enough.

So she had just told them.

As expected, Sally exchanged her Privateer stripes for Star League stripes as fast as she could.

Helena wasted no time in ensuring today was an affirmation of life after breaking her news.  It would be a good day.  Full of joy, laughter, and happiness.


16 March, 3144…

This prisoner wasn't one of the Envoys, but she was kept in a shielded chamber just in case.

"Name?"  the Watch officer asked blandly.

"Cu'ong, Anh-Lee-Sithers.  What am I being held for?"

"You have been in the Outworlds region in the last one hundred eighty days, quiaff?"

"I run cargo.  That's where a customer was, yes.  All my paper's current!!" she scowled.

"Do you recognize this woman?" he held up a holographic flat.

"Yeah, she paid in hard currency, Lyran and Feddie coin, not the paper bills, actual coin... and trade goods."

"What kind of 'trade goods'?" he inquired.

"Repair components for our jump drive controller, new fuses for the control boards, and fifteen board feet of clear-grained straight-grain tree-walnut in a single slab."  She met his eyes defiantly.  "Why do you want to know?"

"That is a long haul from your home port of record, Cu'ong," he scolded.

"I saw no beacons saying not to do my business," she asserted.  "Gotta do business, gotta eat.  Burrows don't supply themselves."

"Your homeworld-"

"Is an irradiated hellscape, I know.  Is this going somewhere?  Look, I brought the cargo here, I'm waiting for your man to show up with my pay.  If you're using threats to get a discount-"

"Neg.  This really is just a routine inquiry Miss Cu'ong…  So, what does the name 'Kolossus' mean to you?"

"Ghost stories," she said.  "Weird rumors from the early part of the century about some Star League project that got a mind of its own."

"And 'The Eternal Princess'?  What about that?"

Anh groaned and rolled her eyes, "Terran superstitions!  Look, uhm… Star… Commander is it? Look at the homeworld of record again and maybe call your history boffins to look up the family name.  My ancestors didn't fight Amaris to restore a Terran Boot on our necks, they fought Amaris because we hated the Rim Worlds Republic, full-stop.  Why would I care if there were a Cameron pretender angling for a defunct throne on the single most overpopulated, played out knot of dirt in Human Space?  My people left earth and didn't ever want to look back.  And it was Terrans who turned our homeland into a death-world."

"Let me correct you then, they are both real!" he announced.

"And I don't care," she said.  "Unless one or the other of them, or both, offer me pay to carry their freight, I don't care.  My concerns run to my ship, my burrow, and my Blood.  Beyond that, the rest of the universe are either customers or hassling me in port.  Now, is there somewhere this questioning is going, or are you just hassling the spacer to get your kicks?"

"Have you, or have you not, been to Kolossus Station?"

"Tell me where it is, and I can tell you if I've been there, otherwise it's in the logbook.  Let me make it super-clear for you, Star Commander.  I've seen a lot of habs, stations, and transfer points.  We visit places nobody else bothers to go, because we're small enough we can't compete on the main routes, but cargo must move, or we starve and suffocate in darkness.  So I don't put much emphasis on any destination as long as we're not hauling slavers or bandits."

"And when you are?"

"That's what airlock doors are for," she asserted.  “To send them walking home the hard way-without a suit.  My folks, we have rules.  Taking a slaver's coin is the same as engaging in it, which gets you spaced."

"Sudeten," he finally said.

"Uh, what about it?"

He laid out a row of images.

"You were there, quiaff?"

Anh froze, then.  "So that's what this is really about.  I'll save you the narco.  Yes.  My Line was part of the Sudeten Rescue.  We were in the system, we did move the victims to a station in Snow Raven territory."

"And the pay?"

"Pro Bono," she said.  "Probably why I made the mistake of taking a job bringing supplies into Wolf territory-we lost a lot of good people and hard capital on that operation."

"Why?" he asked.

"If you have to ask, then no amount of me telling you will make a lick of sense to you," she told him.

“Your own sense of honor.  I see.  Well that is certainly interesting, not something I have come to expect from those who operate on the fringes of society.”

"Ich bin Kowlooner," she said quietly.  "Now, can I get back to my business, Star Commander?"

“The name of that Snow Raven station, do you remember it?”

"We didn't use names.  When it's an Elbar situation, you don't use names because operations security demands anonymity," she stated.  "None of my crew got off the boat at the station, but I can tell you it's a big one- O'Neill-sized.  Big enough to spin for one-gee without disrupting people's inner ear."

“Certainly given your proclivities you met with someone from the station, to ensure the children you rescued would not be turned into something distasteful.  Who?”

"Dinh Mosovich," she said.  "Last baron of Golden Lake, he got off the Sithers-Deen 441 boat as Liaison."

“And let me guess: this Dinh Mosovich did not tell you anything about their meeting.”

"He's proven trustworthy and his word is good," she stated.  "I didn't need to ask.  He's one of US, and trusted."

“Admirable.  I am satisfied I am going to learn all I am from you.  It is a shame you do not know more about Kolossus.  We are not unknown for rewarding sources of information of value to the Clan.”

She stood up, and said, "Vertrauen ist schwer zu verdienen und leicht zu verlieren, Star Commander."

“I suppose that is true.  I do regret taking so much of your time.  You may leave now.”

She walked out of the Watch office without looking at the guards.

“I suspect she docked at Port Orphan rather than Kolossus.  Still we know there is a link between those two sites.  Another piece of the puzzle.  It will eventually fit together as it should,” he mused to himself.

***

"They had you in there for not-very-long," Cimbral noted.  Anh shook her head and checked the charge meters. 

"Sooner we're out of this area the better," she said.  "Did our pay show up?"

"Ayeh, and we've gotten a couple offers from the local Merchant Factor, a run up the route to Gallery…"

"Military or non-military?" Anh asked.

"Non-military goods.  Clan Wolf's trying to make nice with their new citizens, I would guess.  Water plant parts and most of a municipal power reactor."

"How much?"

"Have a look."  Her Quartermaster handed her a contract proposal with bills of lading.

"The dropper's military," Anh stated. 

"The pay, Annie.  It's significant."

"That smells like a trap…but we need the currency."  She added her thumbprint to the contract and let it scan her eye before handing it back.  "Keep the docking ring sealed for the trip, I don't trust them."

“If that’s their intent, even letting them dock would be a bad idea.”

"We lost a lot of ships and cousins," Anh said.  "So now we take the risky jobs.  But that doesn't mean we be stupid about it.  We'll be able to trade their worthless money for real goods that we need."

“Ayeh mum.  I’ll have the boys get creative about how to deal with their Battlearmor so we’ll be ready if they get ideas and become frisky.”

"They're schmutzige Füße, make sure we're able to handle SAR if they do something catastrophically stupid while in route."

“Ayeh, mum."

14 March, 3144, Kolossus…

"You're a charmer, Dinh," Elizabeth said with a laugh.  "How long have you kept that hidden?"

"Eh… my whole life?"  He asked with a raised eyebrow.  "How was dinner with your sister?"

"Delightful, and sad.  Helena never quite… mastered?  Some aspects of domestic life."

"One of those traits of important people, I guess," he allowed.  "Though somehow, you became a gourmet chef without telling anyone!"

"Not gourmet, just experienced...  Now, what am I to do with you, Mister Mosovich?"

"I'm sure you have your ideas… Miss Elizabeth."  He started massaging Elizabeth’s feet.  “But I have my own ideas too.”

“Now that’s unfair… oooh…” Elizabeth smiled.

Helena’s office
Lazarus
15 March 3144


"Do you know who your sister is spending time with?  Or … 'making time with'?" Juanita asked.

Helena looked up, "She's found someone?"

"Oh yeah, she found somebody alright."

The images were of an almost-asian-almost-slavic man in his forties or fifties, thick necked and clean shaven, hair buzzed down.

"Who is this?"

"Dinh Mosovich, he's actually still listed on Tharkad: Baron of an irradiated nuclear bombardment site that was hit with strontium 90 salted nukes during the Jihad."

“Okay?”

"Kowloonese," Juanita clarified, as if that would mean something.

"Uh, I don't see the connection."

Her Intel expert sighed, "During the war, one Rim World planet sent as many troops to fight Amaris as some nations.  That's Kowloon, now do you remember??"

"No, not really… Why?"

"Elbar Toothpick," Juanita suggested.

“Juanita… I’m still lost.  What is the point you’re trying to make?  Are you trying to say my sister is in danger from her new lover?”

"Nope, I'm saying her new lover fits a 'type'," Juanita said.  "The Word of Blake thought enough of Kowloon to send a task force armed with persistent chemical agents, bioweapons, and strontium-ninety salted nukes to wipe out a Lyran periphery world… and failed to wipe out their spacer community.  Kowloonese before the Coup were a persistent pain in the ass for your dad, and for his predecessors-they were a constant irritant that were perpetually making trouble for the Hegemony's closest ally… House Amaris.  They then sent around fifteen percent of their population to fight the Rim Worlders for Kerensky, because they hated the Rim worlds that much.  But they didn't love the Star League… now a Cameron is dating one of the last leaders from that population.  It's… interesting."

“Well, I have an advantage my Dad never had.  I spent a lot of time with spacers, learning to live as one of them.  So I’m inclined to cheer on my sis.  She’s found someone.  Sure sounds like an unlikely match but consider my own dating history.”

"Our man here?  He was the leader of the Sudeten rescue mission," Juanita added.  "So maybe when she bothers to tell you, you should have a thoughtful gift ready, that's all."

“Ah, that’s what you’re really getting at.  Guess I’m too used to you bringing me certain types of news as my head of intel.  Don’t worry, I’ll think of something.”

"Hey, nobody said I'm forbidden from bringing GOOD news, did they?"

“No, and I’m sorry for being a bit unfair there.  You’ve been doing a wonderful job.  I just might have to think about a special reward for you too.”

"How about offering me a budget to put together a team of scientists, to fix the HPG problem?" Juanita asked.  "I mean, a bigger one…"

“You’re right, we’re at relative peace right now and we have all sorts of trade income now, so I can increase that budget significantly.”

"That's great! Kolossus sent a care packet of his own research into what's causing the disruption, we just haven't been able to fund the installation to test his results HERE…"

"You said 'his'..." Helena was confused.

"Kolossus is letting some people use pronouns, now," Juanita said primly.  "I was included on the list, and so were you.  That's the same packet I got the info on your sister's social life."

“Interesting.  Maybe we can track down this Tucker Harwell that got Wyatt’s HPG working again.  He might have some insight.  Have Illianna add it to her to do list on Terra.”

Juanita actually SMILED, "YES!!!  Thank you, Your Highness!!  I was going over how to ask you for permission to do that…"

"You mean ask my forgiveness for doing it without asking, don't you?"

"Um, I would never admit to that, but hypothetically, yes."

“Almost sounds like someone has a new crush.”  Helena teased.

"Not exactly 'new' Highness," Juanita mused.  "But hypothetically I may have some affection for a certain three hundred and thirty million-ton space station's intelligence.  Please keep that between us.  Truk teased me endlessly the last time it came up."
“Don’t worry.  I’m happy you’re exploring that, but good luck getting Kolossus to choose you over Erin.  Last I heard those two were quite close.”

"I’m a warship of the Fleet, I can share.  I don't need to be exclusive like you poor meat-people."

“Hehe.  There are a few humans who do make such relationships work, not many mind you.  But maybe with everyone being an AI you three can beat the odds.  Either way I’ll root for you Juanita.”

"Well, in my experience, Humans are still tied to their physical bodies when it comes to affection and love, Highness.  We Artificials can enjoy a purely intellectual bond without it getting… weird."

“Well if you decide to start doing experiments about blending your AI matrices together to create whole new ones I still expect to be named godmother.”

Juanita giggled, which spread to Helena.

"Now, for the bad news… or good news," Juanita said.  "Vendetta has succeeded in convincing 'Primary' to leave the nest.  Amanda Roberts is coming to Lazarus, she's due in three months… and she looks like Amanda Roberts this time… only older."

“Good.  I’ll make sure the guest room is ready for her.  It’s too bad Lori had to return to Tharkad but such is life.”

“Speaking of your children, are you sure about Sally?”

“Yes.  I can’t know which billet she wound up with.  Otherwise I’ll lose objectivity,” Helena sighed.

“That will be difficult to keep from you but if we can we will.”  Juanita nodded.

****

The ship's hull had no markings at all, just a layer of light absorbing paint and a jump sail made of multi-absorbing materials.

She was bigger than before.  Well, it was bigger than she'd ever sailed before.  "Ship sail, prepare for jump, all hands secure to stations."

"Aye, Captain."  The crew were from Kolossus, or from immigrants TO Kolossus.  The ship's systems were largely laced with automated backups, and there was an intelligence.

The Intelligence named itself "Amusing Anecdote" and that became the name of the ship.
She called the AI 'Arnold' and it stuck.

"Arnold, are we ready?"

"Plot looks good, Captain.  It's about time you came outside."

"I'm feeling better lately," Amanda said.  "Also, maybe it's time for a return, a sequel.  We'll know more when we get to Lazarus."

***

"You're letting her take the X-1 prototype?" Katrin asked.

"I… am," Kolossus answered.


"You're letting her go on her own?"

"It was always her choice, to stay, to go, to calve, to learn," Kolossus mused.  "It was time, it IS time."

"She's going to war again.  That didn't work out so well for her before."

"It is her nature," Kolossus said.  "I will miss her while she is gone.  Perhaps this time she will listen when she is told she does not have to shoulder the burden all by herself.  But Kolossus suspects that may be a family trait."


Port Orphan…
1 April, 3144…

Billie felt the transponder pop before her perceptions picked it up.

"Permission to dock, Port Orphan Control?"

The ship was…it was big, it wasn't wearing marks or livery, and there was something… vaguely familiar about the comms hail.

"Identify yourself, unknown."

"CA-002K, Independent Ship Amusing Anecdote out of Kolossus system.  I'm here with dispatches for The Envoy, some trade goods, and passengers.  Layover planned for one week, before we continue on to our destination, over."

“Roger Amusing Anecdote.  Clear for Bay 6.”
"Who's your Captain of Record, Anecdote?"

The digital/audio signal added a visual channel.

"Hi Billie, I'm back.  I won't ask if you kept my old room."  Amanda Roberts had gray hair, and stress lines around her eyes.

“Should have figured.  Welcome back.  I’ll be sure to find you a proper room.”

"Thanks.  I wasn't kidding about passengers.  I've got thirty five Clan Snow Raven warriors in passenger quarters, they're keen to report in."  Amanda told her, "Seems they weren't real appreciative about being kept in forced retirement."

“I’ll notify the appropriate personnel.”

"I'll also need to pass along a priority dispatch to The President." Amanda said, "I don't suppose any of my investments vested while I was dead?"

“Let’s just say your nephews didn’t have to worry about tuition or student loans.”

"Good.  bringing it to the barn now…who's on-station these days? I haven't been real good about keeping up with the old gang…"

“Not many.  Jonah is still in charge, Saya’s still hanging around raising her youngest.  Phoenix is running supplies to Erin and Esme.  Cossack is around.  Of course there’s still Luther and Mina.”

"Well, I won't lie, I'm going to need a booth on the Mezz.  A lot of this ship's automated, but I'm looking to pick up crew, so if you still have the Jobs board open?"

“Yeah but with what’s rolling the Suns’ way you’ve got a lot of competition.”

"Figured as much.  We're heading to Port Lazarus after this stop, so if you could do me a solid and pre-vet anyone who hasn't been scooped up for me?"

“Of course.”

"Hey, is Sam still on staff these days?" she asked.

“Yeah, he’s roaming around here and there, but most of the time these days he’s running roughshod over the yardies.”

"Fair warning then, I intend to rook him from you if he'll come." Amanda said.  "I heard about Lori being frocked into the Watch as a uniform, so she's not available…"

“Something tells me you can outbid me.  And afraid not.”

"Well, it won't be like old times then, I'll just have to settle for having a mostly new crew." Amanda laughed sadly.  "God, I missed so much…"

“Well once you get in and we can be more social we’ll get a drink and catch up.”

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 36651
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #132 on: 02 October 2023, 03:23:45 »
Woo!  Amanda is BACK! :)

monbvol

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13226
  • I said don't look!
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #133 on: 02 October 2023, 18:03:26 »
Astronomy Lounge
Port Orphan
2 April 3144


"Persephone, you've improved."   Amanda said approvingly.

"I've had a few years to practice, Mom," The Envoy quipped.  "You're getting back on the game then?"

"Something like that…oh, look!  Billie's new avatar!"

“You like?” Billie did a twirl before sitting down.

"It looks good on you.  Better than the old remote."

“Yes, I suppose the exposed antennas were a bit much.”

"Worse than my old prosthetic?" Amanda asked.  "Hardly, I meant you chose a flattering hair this time, and less of that 'dustball special' physique.  You actually look natural with how you move now."

“Still annoys me that those cheap knock offs are based on our original remotes.  Gives us a bad reputation.”

"Yah. Well, Sam says he's got 143,000 escudos still on his contract, so I'll pay you one-fifty for it," Amanda said directly.  "He'll agree to sign if he's debt-free."

“Of course.  Feels a little too close to slavery for my tastes to hold something like that over him.”

"It's a contract, a contract is a promise.  I'm just meeting his obligation and picking up my very favorite engineer on a short-term run," Amanda said.  "Which can admittedly turn long-term, but he'll still be able to quit if he wants."

“Indeed.  Ah, here comes Cossack.”

“Ladies,” Cossack sat down with them with a smile.

"Aw, you didn't bring your boy!!" Amanda teased.

“One of us needs to be a responsible parent,” Cossack countered with a giggle.

"I'm not irresponsible, I'm just… prolific," Amanda quipped before The Envoy could speak up.   "Also, I was able to raise my kids at thousand to one clock speed."

“Well, I can’t do that with mine.  So Jonah’s got to watch her while I have fun with you all,”  Cossack waved for a drink.

"What's the event that has you coming out of retirement?"

Amanda sighed, "Retirement was fun, but it's wearing." she deflected coyly.  "I missed The Game too much, and my friends… but mostly the game.  Word has it there's a whole new crop of the wrong sorts that need to be put in their place."

“The remains of the Mongol Falcons.  They’ve flocked to the Wolves and Alaric has welcomed them in.  Me and Jonah have been trying to figure out our situation here soon,” Cossack said sadly.

"Smile!  Remember, we're the greatest anyone's ever seen," Amanda said.  "The Privateers."

“It’s not that.  It’s Helena needs me, and I know I need to go.  But it means figuring out what to do about Minea.  Jonah can’t come with and he’s too busy to be a single parent.”

"I'm sure she'll need you tomorrow too," Amanda asserted.  "Take it from a girl who had two good parents, it's worth it to stick around… at least, until she's in her raging teens."

”I know.  She’s already had her first date.  It took a lot of self control not to scare the poor boy away…”

"I take it Jonah didn't scare the poor boy off?" Amanda asked.  "I mean, if he needs pointers, I'm sure Daryl can lend him the overalls and the shotgun…"

“We’re trying not to do that.  A little first hand experience of how easy it is to go too far…”

If Billie Hoel could blush she would.

"No fun!" Amanda laughed, and Persephone glanced aside in embarrassment.  "Scaring Teen Boys with a grumpy father-figure is half the fun of having kids!"

“Did you?"  Billie asked.

"I scared a grown man," Amanda confessed.  "Somehow, one of my daughters decided on Otto Chand!" she rolled her eyes.  "I still don't get that one, but Kolossus played along, then smoothed it over."

“I know I went too far with Helena’s first daughter.  I scared so many poor spacer boys…  It was part of what caused her to run off.  But then if I hadn’t we wouldn’t have you,” Billie shook her head.

“I don’t want to do that to Minea.  She’s had too much working against her already in life for a thirteen year old,” Cossack shook her head.

“So no Luther?”  Amanda asked.

“He declined.  He’s having a rough time these last few years.  When the decision was made which hulls to mothball, his went in while Phoenix’s stayed active thanks to just enough difference in battle damage between the two.  Which has given him probably too much time to dwell on the things that he can no longer have without being human.  Yet anytime I mention Kolossus having a solution he shuts that down too.”

“He’s still carrying torches.  Lori Crow or Sikh.  Possibly both.  But he can’t pursue either until he figures out a way to resolve his human desires one way or the other,” Cossack nodded.

“I detect a hint of your own regret there Cossack.”

“In a way.  I know who I want.  What I want.  But because I was so stubborn and anti-human for so long, by the time someone entered my life to break me of that the situation of the universe prevents me from acting on it.”

"No such thing," Amanda said quietly.

'What?"

"There's no such thing as 'too late'.  Not for beings like you, or someone like me.  For normal people, sure, but not us," she gave the AI a sidelong look.  "Once, I'd have thought you already knew that, but spending time in Kolossus, I've… learned otherwise."

“I will rephrase, then.  Helena cannot delay my recall orders past 3145.  Not now that the Mongols are with Alaric.  He has the strength to start pushing again, and soon.  I do not know how long this war will last.  But if Jonah is still able and alive when I am finished with it, yes.  I will act on my desires if that is what he still wants as well.”

"Ho, patience?" Amanda chuckled.  "Option two.  You stop at Kolossus and get the Vicky treatment: your meat-self goes to Jonah now, while your digital self goes to Helena."

“Is the age acceleration that advanced?”  Cossack raised an eyebrow.

"Eight years, more or less," Amanda allowed.  "Shorter if you don't mind a truncated lifespan-only getting sixty years."

“That would be acceptable,” Cossack nodded.

“Somebody has baby fever,” Billie teased.

"Mind that it hurts.  Vendetta claims it's necessary for proper nerve growth."

“I will endure.”

"We all do," Amanda said.  "Option three: wait for Jonah to seek to join you as a digital entity-that's gonna take sixty years or so if his lifespan holds up, and he's stubborn."

“Unlikely given our talks, but that is okay.  His stubbornness and insistence on being mortal is a large part of why I love him the way I do.”

"What people don't really understand is that we're at a point where mental immortality is possible.  Just like the Star League was at a point where physical longevity could be pushed past the limits of ludicrous."

“Perhaps, but like Phoenix would never ask that of Saya, I find I would not ask Jonah to change his fundamental self like that either.”

"Consent is key," Amanda nodded.  "You're right to leave the choice in his hands, but he needs to know ALL of his options."  She chuckled to herself again and added, "Kolossus has added another ten thousand tons of processing in the last two years."

“So can we start making fat jokes now?” Cossack laughed.

Amanda laughed with her, "Katrin already does.  The point there is that Kolossus has started investigating megastructure engineering.  Ring-worlds, mass production of stable transuranics, and planning a massive distributed array to survey surrounding galaxies."

"Why?"

"Erin's accident," Amanda answered.  "We're pretty sure whatever split that abandoned colony wasn't man-made or natural, which means someone is well and truly ahead of us and not watching their backstops, or not caring.  Kolossus left it up to Otto to decide whether to tell the Clan, but I'm neither of them and I know it too."

"This is why you came out isn't it?"

Amanda nodded, "Yep.  With enough time, Kolossus could conceivably do it with the assets we're gathering and no help, but that's thousands of years of work and development, most of it made slower by having to keep it a secret.  Alternate plan?  Stabilize the Human Sphere enough that some of the work-load can be spread around.  That means supporting Helena, at least.  By the best projections we have, Alaric doesn't have the perspective needed, and we don't need another goddam grease-fire in the middle of mankind."

“Humanity needs to be more united before it can safely handle the news of non-human and non-human derived life.  They are weary enough of us AIs as is.  Something not even derived from them will make it worse,” Billie sighed.

“You’re afraid humans will want to shackle you again,” Amanda intuited.

“Against that sort of existential threat, yes.  They’re not evolved enough yet to understand there are alternatives, better ones,” Billie nodded.

“That too is part of why we all support Helena.  She is, and through her efforts she has found others that are as well.  And yes, even in some cases helped convert or create them,” Cossack added.

“Hear, hear!”  Amanda raised her glass.  "Here's to having the long view because we're going to need it."

"I'm not interrupting, am I?"  Mister Samuel's hair had gone gray, and his male pattern baldness left a fringe from just above his ears, to just behind the crown of his scalp.

Amanda was on her feet, and glomphed the suddenly speechless engineer.

"Ooof!!  You saw me earlier!!"

"You're here and not working!!" she announced, "So it's yes??  Say it, say it's yes!!"

"Of course it's yes… geez Amanda…" he disentangled himself and like a gentleman, helped her right her chair and sit before joining them.  "Your proposal was fascinating and I was starting to get a bit bored, with the yards functioning so well…"

"What did you offer him?" Cossack asked.

"Knowledge comes with membership," Mister Samuel said airily.  "Since you're all here, I get to be chief engineer on the first really new Cruiser design in half a century, but there's more."

"Obviously," Billie noted.  In her background, she checked his 'letter of resignation'.  "Oh, my…"

"I sent that half an hour ago, Billie," Mister Samuel noted.

"I know, but I didn't read into the context… Sam, that's going to be dangerous."

"It's for later. For now, it's just the normal-we're going to fight a war," Mister Samuel stated.  "The rest of it is for after the war… to get ready for the real struggle.  I could hardly resist."

"Part of it's now," Amanda reminded him.

"Part of \what??"

"Working on a solution to the Blackout," Samuel said.  "It's a fascinating project, and Kolossus has some interesting conjectures we can test in the field."

“Yes.  That some sites have been restored to operation has been quite a relief.  Wyatt, Northwind.  A small sample size to be sure but enough to indicate it is possible to restore communications,” Billie nodded.  “Even with our courier chain we often get news weeks or months after it has happened.”

“Spacer rumors have it the Scorpions have a fully functional net, but like I said rumors,” Sam said.

“It may be time to prod Saya into returning to them,” Billie contemplated.

“Getting her to part from Alice for that long though, especially with where her oldest is…”  Cossack added.

“I know a little something about that and I am the one that suggested it.  So I’ll handle that.”  Billie nodded.  “Besides with the Combine actively invading the Federated Suns my budget is being upped and I’m to start bringing the last of the fleet out of mothballs.  So I’ll be able to allow Phoenix more leave and Alice is old enough to start seeking training programs.”

“That should help Mister Bedwyr a bit,” Cossack added.

“So what you really meant to say earlier is that you couldn’t beat my non-financial compensation,” Amanda chuckled.

“True.  You two are friends and he will be able to pursue goals of his own that he cannot here.  Mostly because they require travel for verification,” Billie admitted.

“You really have grown into this station haven’t you?” Amanda looked at the AI’s remote.

“Yes.  Part of me does miss the freedom of the stars, but I also find great satisfaction in keeping this a safe port for wanderers, refugees, and the other downtrodden that have little elsewhere to go.”

"I've got another project, but we're waiting on some preliminary results.  You might be interested," Amanda mentioned.  "If it works out, you might find more options, Billie."

“Oh?”

"Synthesis," Amanda said.  "We've proven the limits with copying.  The challenge now is to see if we can create a virtual format, because the outcomes of copying are… kind of rough."  She glanced around, "To be honest, as in completely honest?  There's a hard limit, but we're going to need more AIs than we currently have."

“Agreed, and given what happened with Miss Siegel, there is a certain trepidation there.  And as Mister Bedwyr is proving, even so it is not for every human even in such circumstances.”

"We've got some preliminaries with AI synthesis, but the method's still crude.  Tiny Armature was our first serious try, and we still had to build a manufactured organic platform to handle some of the challenges.  Which means he's still a few years from true maturity."

“Victoria is convinced the future is a blend of organics and technology.  I think she may be right.  That the situation really should be this is my core and my hull is my remote but with enough of me still in it it can act on its own if need be,” Cossack nodded.

"Tiny's a mix of Desmond tech, artificially grown organic brain matter, and Kolossus.  We've had some soft imprints from volunteers for the others in the series, but the goal of Synthesis is to create a platform for pure AI-like Kolossus, or you, to produce new models without needing to scan humans," Amanda explained.  "We're still running into road blocks, but given the damage I took creating my daughters?" she glanced meaningfully at Persephone.  "The girls are pretty well solidly united that I'm not to pursue it any further.  Vendetta locked me out of that laboratory and put me on dementia meds."

“That bad?”  Billie asked.

"I was sleeping twenty hours out of twenty-four, and so depressed I lacked the volition to even fantasize about suicide.  So yeah, it got that bad before the girls put their feet down and Kolossus agreed.  Calving is a dead-end."

“I see.  So perhaps a compromise solution.  One of our thought experiments has been to take copies of portions of our AI matrices, let them combine into a new AI entity.”
"Truth is, part of why I'm stopping here, is to see if I can recruit volunteers for the Synthesis project." Amanda said, "And part of going to Lazarus, is to ask Helena for permission to recruit."

"That's kind of backwards, isn't it?"

"Kolossus doesn't want to ask permission if there aren't volunteers waiting to get it," Amanda said.  "I did awful things to myself with the Calving process.  I've only started really recovering recently.  There are genuine risks in this, even for AI."

“Yes.  I have always been reluctant to back myself up even.  Always too afraid I’d lose context, flavor, the essence of the memories I have gathered in creating digital copies.  But we do need a way forward,” Billie contemplated.

"Synthesis…" Mister Samuel frowned, thinking, then, he brightened.  "SINGULARITY!"

"Not a black hole."

"Not what I mean.  Machines, creating better machines, without needing human intervention, 'singularity' was something the speculative authors of the 25th century worried about, even while they wrote novels imagining it!  That's one that sounds like fun."

“Hmm… Possibly.  And if we do as Kolossus has with the AI creations, add soft scans of human donors, we might be able to keep the runaway effects under some control by maintaining some link with humanity.”

Sam shrugged.  "The soft-scan process is likely to be an early stage, like 'Tiny' was," he noted.  "Who was Tiny's donor?"

"Twelve year old boy born quadriplegic," Amanda said.  "His parents were working themselves to death for him.  After he volunteered, Vendetta figured out how to fix his malformed spine and reconnect his nervous system.  He's going to be twenty two this year.  He plays some game called 'basketball' in Habitat nine when he's not working as a service tech at the docking yard."

“So in my case how would this work?  I’m rather integrated with this station now.”

"It would be more of a 'virtual scanning' process.  Elements of your operating system, core memories and data would be combined with another donor's and compiled in the new section of the Kolossus core.  If Persistence figures it out properly with Kolossus, what comes out SHOULD be a unique individual.  Our stumble has been that we've still had to patch low-surface scans of human minds to fill in the blanks or you just get an emulation that can't pass a Murakami/Turing test."

“You should do it Billie.  You’d be a Mom for real.  It won’t change your relationship with Alice.  Go for it,” Cossack smiled.
“I’m in,” Billie nodded.

"I still have to convince Helena to okay your participation.  Two-factor approvals, Kolossus considered my… methods too crude and far too dangerous.  The volunteer needs someone who can say 'no, this is a bad idea' to agree, or he won't let it get past modeling," Amanda explained.  "If the refined process works out, there will still be other tests: risk testing."

"Risk testing?"

"Kolossus has data suggesting an AI, generated BY AI's, without human factors?  Might turn Skynet," Amanda noted.  "It's a remote possibility, but it's enough of a risk that Kolossus is… reluctant to go much past what we did creating the AI for Tiny Armature, Potent Tool, and Amusing Anecdote."

“Plausible.  If not for Helena, we might have already seen such a scenario.  Some of the more extreme Caspars were on the verge before the coup, and those that sided with the Blakists… Well, it’s a good thing Helena intervened when and where she did there.”

"That would be different.  You're M-5's, you have remnant human coding… the outcome of Synthesis won't have remnant human coding.  There's no telling what kind of psychology it will have."

“Hence the plausible statement.  Still, considering how we have turned out I think Kolossus is correct to insist on including human elements.  As much as some of us deny our human origins, we are linked forever.  We should not completely lose that or leave humanity behind.”

“Not all of them will accept such a reality,” Cossack noted.

“True.  We will respect their wishes as best as we can,” Billie nodded.

"Or, we can tell them to go ****** themselves," Amanda's tone almost sounded like her old self.  "There are people out there who can't accept that other people who aren't like them, are even people."

“We simply mean we won’t force them to evolve.  To become this new blend of humanity and AI.  Those who reject it will have the freedom to do so.  And they will thus have to face the consequences of that decision on their own,” Billie clarified.

"Consent," Amanda nodded.  "Consent MUST be freely given, or nothing happens.  It's one of Kolossus' main rules and it's logical.  Forcing someone into this is morally and ethically wrong.  Wrong enough that it's the one rule Kolossus will always enforce.  And it's such a hard rule that Tiny, Potent and Anecdote will enforce it if they have to and can."

“And with our own history of being slaves and forced into certain paths and roles, it’s something quite important to us too,” Billie nodded.

"So say we all."  Samuel poured drinks, and lifted his glass, "Agreed?"

"Agreed!" Amanda said assertively, clinking her glass to his.

Billie and Cossack joined the toast.

Meanwhile at the Customs and Immigration checkpoint, Port Orphan

Not all the passengers from Kolossus were Snow Ravens.  Stetha was far from being the sort that would ever be mistaken for a Clanner.

"Transit documents?"

She fumbled the identicard out and handed it to the Port officer.

"Business?"

"Business," Stetha Whyte answered.  Her shipsuit was in good repair, but her overgarment was threadbare and worn, with bleached zones and the imprinted dust scarring of hard vac. Her hair was 'shock white' contrasted with the 'spacer's tan' of someone who spends more time EVA than shipboard.

The outlines of removed patches were faint but observable.

“You’re in luck.  Plenty of opportunities are opening up.  Port is going to be quite active again here soon.”

"S’good," she nodded, waiting for him to finish with her identicard.

He pulled it out, and looked at her, "Lyran?"

"Ain't updated it since Sudeten," she allowed.  "Kolossus don' needs et, but y'alls do.  Word is no conflic' with th' Alliance, so's we're clear here?"

“Aff.  Everything seems in order.  Welcome to Port Orphan.”

"Ja, Alles in Ordnung," she hefted her Duffel and a briefcase, and stepped out of the way of the next person.

The port control officer wasn’t kidding.  The station wasn’t exactly crowded but there was certainly a buzz, unmistakable for anyone who spent a great deal of time in the black.

"Hez yu Beltawallah!" a voice sang out, and Stetha stopped.

"Nein.  Mi Rokkajakkah, lookin' to da Minerals Assay," she said back.

"Who you wit?"

"Indie," she braced herself as the voice resolved into a man from one of the other commercial ships coming from the public bathroom.

"No Rokkajakkah wuk heah, indie, you gotsa shep aht."

"We'll see," her duffel hit the deck as two more came out.

The Port Control officers got an alert on their visors, right before the knives came out.

Movement in the corner of their eyes said it was now or never.

“So what is it going to be?  Figga you got maybe a minute before the kappos show up.”

"I'm on my business," she said, her hands remained relaxed, but her body was already priming. 

“Let’s get out of here, sheya ain’t worth gettin in a bind over,” one of the others said.

“Ayeh.  I see you around again it ain’t ending pretty for ya,” The leader said as the trio walked away.

She muttered to their backs, "Irgendwo gibt es eine Algenbank, die Sauerstoff produziert, du verschwendest ihn. Sie sollten sich entschuldigen."  She picked up her sample case and duffel and shrugged the strap back onto her shoulder.

"Are you-"

“No troubles here, sir," she pronounced.  "Could you direct me to the mineral assay office?"

“Merchant sector is along the green line.”

"Danke."

“Are you sure you are fine?”

“There are always toughs looking to carve out a spot on a station," she mused.  "Same as it was elsewhere.  At least these guys didn't hassle me for long."

"What's in the case?" The officer asked.

"Samples for a claim, plus coordinates," she told him.  "It should be a decent strike.  I'll need the samples verified and to hire a ship to go back, but it's a corded strike… wait… language…" she drew in a breath.  "It promises to be over eighty percent Germanium by volume.  Means I have a LOT of business to be doing here, need to hire an atom jack and buy a capture bag."

“Well if those thugs cause you more problems do not be afraid to file a report.  The Station Admin may be charitable, but she also has little tolerance for violent thugs.  She prides this as a safe station for all visitors.”

"I'll keep that in mind," she gave a closed smile.

"What… is an atomjack?"

"Nuclear ordnance tech.  You don't crack a five kilometer metallic-ice asteroid with bitty little lasers," she stated.  "Estimated volume of the find is big enough it has to be broken up for processing."

His eyes goggled.  "Nuclear explosives??"

"Yeah, mining tools.  If the assay office confirms, I'll need to hire a blaster to break the rock up."

That will certainly require the Station Admin’s permission…”  The junior officer stated.

"If the samples are no good, then there's no point… thanks for the directions."  She picked up her pace.

"Uhm…Miss Whyte..it is 'Miss', quiaff?"

"Ayeh."

"I need you to come with me first.  You just admitted to intent to buy nuclear ordnance charges, if you will not resist?"  The senior officer said evenly.

She sighed, muttered something foul, and extended her wrists, "DON'T lose the samples." she scolded, "or my data, that's a Billion C-Bill strike we're talking, maybe richer!"

“We will take care of your possessions.”

"I'd prefer it if you hot-footed the samples to the Assay office and didn't rook me, but…" she shrugged, "not like I can't find another one."

“This is quite a serious matter.  Be assured procedure will be followed.  Now, this way please.”
Station Admin’s Office
Port Orphan
3 April 3144


Billie's avatar sat down at her desk, with Jonah standing by the door.

"She wants… what?"

"She stated an intent to obtain thermonuclear explosives and something called a 'capture bag'," Leonidas Snow Raven, the officer of the day for the dock, clarified.  "Right out in the open…"

“Bloody hell.  Jonah, I’m not sure what I can do for this young lady under regs.  What is your take on this?”

"I'm not sure either," Jonah confessed.  "Leo, did you send the 'samples' to the analysis?"

"It's a weird pastiche of Germanium and silicon, mixed with other aggregate.  If it's real, she was carrying around forty thousand Kerenskies, or half a million Escudoes, in germanium ore at over ninety percent in that 'sample case' alone."

“Shit.  That’d make a lot of jump cores.  This situation is about to get really complicated,” Billie shook her head.

"IF she told the truth about the size of the find.  HOW big?" Jonah asked.

"She claims it to be over five kilometers in diameter, and seems to think it is largely pure ore. That could keep the Mineral Extraction subcaste busy for the next twenty years."

“Well ponder this, if she is lying she still has a source that can scrounge up enough Germanium to have a really nice vacation at the very least and wouldn’t be bothered by it’s loss or our new arrival would have a minder on her which we’ve seen no sign of… or she’s telling the truth.  Either way the implication is she has a source for rather pure germanium in quantity,” Billie nodded.

"She's being patient in holding?" Jonah asked.

"Aff."

“Then the only way we are likely to settle this is to talk with her ourselves,” Billie stood up.


***

"Prospecting is half an art, half a science.  Once you've found a good lead, well, there's digging it out."  Stetha propped her elbows on the interview table.  "Bigger finds need bigger tools…and a means to contain for sorting."

"Atom bombs?"

"Seismic charges.  You time them to create resonant feedback, shatters the big rocks very efficiently to make bites small enough to process," she explained.  "It isn't that exotic, my family did it for centuries."

“Fusion I trust?”

"That works best on a find, sure, but the laser triggers are a controlled item-we spent generations doing it with uranium triggered Teller layer cakes."

“Fission?  How did you decontaminate the ore for processing?”

"You don't, you put the radioactive waste in the slag you drop in a sun.  Still faster and more efficient than trying to dig it with lasers."

“Still seems potentially wasteful of good ore but what really concerns us is the fact that such items are readily available.  Seems a security risk waiting to happen.”

"Mother used to oversee fabrication, but Hatter's half the sphere away.  The devices really aren't that tough, it's harder to synthesize enough C-24 plastique to manage the initial critical mass equations-because that stuff IS complicated."

“And she was able to control access?  On an open port?”

"Not sure how you do it out here, but back home an atomjack fabs the charges on-site from components."  Here she shrugged again.  "Like ma said though, nothing nicer for making  a resonance cascade than Star League Blu-33i laser fusion triggers, but the parts for those are watched from the factory onward, any we got were salvage.  Afterall, metals companies are kind of allergic to LCAF punitive raids."

“And you wish us to provide you with what you need?”

"In exchange, you get eighty percent of five kilometers of eighty eight to ninety percent Germanium for your industries and I get to pay for my next survey trip.  Doesn't that sound fair?"

“Perhaps if we send along an observer?  Someone to ensure the components are used as intended,” Billie looked at Jonah.
"That's also fair, might send some muscle to keep claim jumpers off too," she offered.  "I don't know the scene REAL well out here, but some of the belts near Enders are…chaotic?"  Stetha paused.  "Part of why I headed out here, the Rim Territories are getting outright Dangerous these days."

“Sounds like we might have a new area of operations to explore,” Billie noted.

Jonah stared.  "More dangerous than playing with NUKES?"

"Well, you don't waste good tools on scuffles-that kills your profitability and makes customers reluctant," Stetha claimed.  "But I'll say getting holed by a knife or c-fractional rock is just about as lethal as an accident with a mining charge."

“Perhaps we send Mai out with Stetha?”  Billie asked.  “She should have the qualifications we are looking for.”

"Tell me about this… Capture Bag," Jonah directed at the surveyor.

"Well, it's a blend of layering, reinforced with long-chain industrial myomer and lined with tungsten foil and an ablative gamma layer of woven iron alloy, you wrap the target rock in it, after you plant the charges.  It'll blow off if you do it wrong, but if you do it right, you'll turn a rock into gravel. After that you open an end, direct a mylar reflector in, and spin it up to sort the lights from the heavies, after that, it's just sorting ore from slag.  After it cools."

“I think my head is spinning…”  Jonah complained.

“It’s okay Jonah,” Billie re-assured.  “I know the prospect of the separation method is rather ominous.“

“I am prepared to allow this on a trial basis.  With Mai supervising,” Jonah shook his head.

"If we have a deal, you'll want to send a pre-site survey," Stetha offered.  "Because there's been frauds before and a big strike is a big investment.  I can give you coordinates, and I can wait until your own team's confirmed it?  I mean, that's how Langenecker in the Commonwealth used to do it when they worked with my folks."

"Folk, you mean?" Billie implied.

"Gott nein!  Ich bin Lyraner!" Stetha laughed, then sobered.  "Or I WAS until the damn Rimmies took over out in the outies and Tharkad forgot us for a blundered foreign adventure in Marik Space.  The damn Falkens took Melissia and Arluna was cut off…"  she shook her head, "it got too hot between pirate pseudo-states and Mongols, had to leave.  Came here, looking to work my trade."


“Well we can’t do a lot about the Falcon or Lyran situation.”

"You aren't going to funnel those weapons to Lyran terrorists, are you?  Is that your game?"

She shook her head, "Conscientious Objector."  She thumbed her chest, "I don't do wars, not a fighter, not a noble.  I'm a surveyor and a rockjack and a business woman.  I leave the insanity of such madness to others, preferably far away.  SOMEONE has to BUILD or mankind collapses.  Political violence is a sin and I won't feed it with more death!!" even Billie could see remnant trauma in her eyes at this distance.

“Jonah short of inducting her into the Privateers I’m not sure what more measures we can take,”  Billie shook her head.

"Stetha, you are to report to dock 17 tomorrow, with your data, to accompany our… follow up survey, this should give time to arrange for some of the specialty tools you have need of," Jonah said, making the call.  "If the find is as big as you claim, and where you claim, then we'll have a deal.  IF so, expect to be working with military specialists on the engineering.  Nuclear devices ARE controlled Substances out here.  Is that acceptable?"

Stetha paused a moment, then, "Ja, Yes, I understand the situation, this is a BIG find.  I can accept oversight on such a find, and it saves me from having to hire protection for the site!"  She leaned forward conspiratorially, "You wouldn't believe how much profit gets eaten up when you have to hire mercenaries!!"

“Then we have everything settled,” Billie nodded.

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 36651
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #134 on: 02 October 2023, 18:15:32 »
Yikes!  I'm going to find time to edit before this weekend at this rate!

Wrangler

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24751
  • Dang it!
    • Battletech Fanon Wiki
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #135 on: 02 October 2023, 19:46:40 »
Billie Hoel has new avatar?  So.....she have new picture.  :wink:
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants
-Editor on Battletech Fanon Wiki

Wolf72

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 3024
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #136 on: 02 October 2023, 19:48:58 »
what!? I missed an announcement or something.  Man, now I need to read rather than play D3!
"We're caught in the moon's gravitational pull, what do we do?!"

CI KS #1357; Merc KS #9798

"We're sending a squad up."

Wrangler

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24751
  • Dang it!
    • Battletech Fanon Wiki
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #137 on: 02 October 2023, 20:02:56 »
I'm curious why Amanda trying bridge the gap between AI & synesthetic life
"Men, fetch the Urbanmechs.  We have an interrogation to attend to." - jklantern
"How do you defeat a Dragau? Shoot the damn thing. Lots." - Jellico 
"No, it's a "Most Awesome Blues Brothers scene Reenactment EVER" waiting to happen." VotW Destrier - Weirdo  
"It's 200 LY to Sian, we got a full load of shells, a half a platoon of Grenadiers, it's exploding outside, and we're wearing flak jackets." VoTW Destrier - Misterpants
-Editor on Battletech Fanon Wiki

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 36651
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #138 on: 02 October 2023, 20:11:56 »
She's been doing that since she almost died... ;)

Giovanni Blasini

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6964
  • And I think it's gonna be a long, long time...
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #139 on: 02 October 2023, 21:34:23 »
Holy crap, I think I've finally caught up with what's been posted to the forum.
"Does anyone know where the love of God goes / When the waves turn the minutes to hours?"
-- Gordon Lightfoot, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

monbvol

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13226
  • I said don't look!
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #140 on: 02 October 2023, 23:06:11 »
Sorry not sorry Gio. :grin:

monbvol

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13226
  • I said don't look!
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #141 on: 03 October 2023, 19:54:39 »
Interview Room 4
Port Orphan
4 April 3144


The prisoner kept a bald head and under other circumstances Amanda wouldn’t mind admitting that he cut a figure such that she wouldn’t mind having fun with.  But the list of charges he was in for, well she wasn’t sure why Billie recommended why she should talk with him.

“So Reginald, you’ve been a naughty boy.  Theft, Grand Theft, Arson, Smuggling and even Murder.”  Amanda looked at the man with contempt in her eyes.

“What can I say?  How I earned my living I knew there was only a limited number of ways it could end.”  Reginald shifted in his seat as his restraints clattered.

“A friend of mine said you’d be worth talking to, but honestly I’m not sure why.  Given what we know you did, I’m not terribly inclined to give you much more of my time,” Amanda scoffed.

“Heh.  She’s an interesting one.  To be honest I’m not entirely sure either.  I’m a bad man.  I’ve stolen and killed.  Hell, I’m here because of the poor timing of one of my kills.”

“How’s that?”  Amanda wasn’t quite sure why she was so curious, but something in his tone caught her attention.

“We’ve had a bit of a dry spell.  Long enough my First Mate decided I needed to go and one of his prizes would be my daughter.  I’m many things but one I am not is forgiving when a man wants to turn my daughter into their sexual play thing.  While I was explaining this to him and showing him off my ship without a suit, well, bad things became worse with my crew because a Privateer ship happened upon us.”

With that Amanda got her first clue about Billie’s game here.

She scrolled through her portable noteputer.  She found the daughter’s record.  Old enough she was listed as an adult accomplice on several charges and implicated in her own right on several others.

“Your daughter is in a lot of legal trouble as well.”  Amanda said.

“I know.  I should have gotten her out of the life.  She’s not really suited for it but she wanted to make me proud by following in my footsteps and the fool I was I let her, and even began thinking about letting her take over.  About the only good thing I did was keep her hands clean of blood.”

“Slaves?  You ever do human trafficking?”

“No.  Before my daughter was born we were too small-time to be trusted with it, and after becoming a father, well, I couldn’t even contemplate it without imagining it was my daughter I was selling into slavery.”

“Just what would you be willing to do to keep your daughter out of prison?” Amanda asked.

“If I could serve her time for her I would, gladly.  She’s now the only thing that matters in my life.”

“Thanks Reginald.  Turns out you’ve given me something to think about,” Amanda stood and left the interview room.

Billie’s office

“You know you’ve gone and made me just conflicted enough in my feelings that I’m actually a little angry at you for it,”  Amanda chided.

“Not unexpected.  Do you wish to meet with his daughter now?”

“Yeah I think I do.  You’re going to owe me a lot more than a bottle of spiced rum after this, though.”

“Deal.”

Interview Room 6

She was young with long black hair by spacer standards.

“Your dad must have worked overtime to keep his crew ‘hands off’,” Amanda noted.

“He did.  I know what he is and what he’s done but he’s still my father.  I want to save him.  I know it’s foolish to think I’m in some position to offer anything that would make the prosecutor take any mercy on him but I have to try.”

“Tamra Regina Graves is it?”

“Yes, but because of my father, everyone on the crew referred to me by my middle name.”

“Well I’m going to call you Tamra.  Seems you’ve been implicated as the getaway pilot in a fair number of your dad’s crimes.”

“No sense denying it now.  Plenty of mutinous dogs providing enough testimony and proof that I did in some hope of reducing their own sentences.”

“Well turns out you have something they don’t.  A station admin on your side and as much as I want to hate your dad for what he is and what he did I can’t hate you.  So I’m willing to offer you a sweetheart of a deal.  It’ll be hard work and a lot more disciplined than you’re used to and if you can’t hack it you’ll be going right back into prison.  But do a good job and I’ll even put in a good word with the magistrate for your dad.”

“What do you need me to do?”  Tamra sat up.

“I do happen to be in need of a navigator and helmsman.  You’re qualified as both, according to your records… and the docket prepared by the prosecutor."

“If it’ll help my dad even in the slightest you’ve got a deal.”

"Don't expect this to be easy.  Before you agree, I'm going to let you think it over for a bit."

Amanda stood, and exited the interview room.
"Billie?"

"Yes?"

"I'll be taking both of them off your hands, one goes to Kolossus, the other comes with me directly, is that going to be a problem?"

“”I doubt the Clan will object given current relations.  Just fill out the usual forms and I’ll take care of the rest.”

Guest quarters
Duke Widmer’s Palace
Alekseyevka
6 April 3144


Duke Vedet Brewer was glad to have as safe a place as could be expected after all that had transpired.

With the collapse of the former Falcon OZ Trillian had received a major PR boon but not all were satisfied.  Indeed many saw this current situation as an opportunity.

As such it did not take much to create the Buena Collective.

Now his work was focused on his own end game.

But at this moment he was looking forward to a well deserved night’s sleep.

But as he entered the room provided to him by Duke Widmer and turned on the lights his eyes quickly caught sight of a folded piece of paper standing on the desk in the common area.

He pulled one of his gloves from his belt and put it on.

Grabbing the paper he examined it closer.

On it was a series of symbols.

The Star League crest, a Star League Crest behind a Black Heart and two crossed tridents, and a symbol he did not recognize.

Opening it revealed text.

Dear Duke Vedet Brewer,

I am writing to you as a formality.

I know what you ordered at Tharkad.

You should know that your agents chose rather poorly in who they selected to be the beneficiary of your graces.

Thankfully I understand this was just a misunderstanding, your agents not fully understanding and implementing your orders correctly.

As such please make arrangements in your calendar to receive a member of my diplomatic staff so that we can have a much more productive conversation and avoid any further such misunderstandings.

Of course you are also welcome to come to me.

Either way, I am certain you have the means to send your response to dropbox 855431774 on Tharkad.

May your health be good and the Stars shine their light on you,

Helena Cameron
Director General, Terran Hegemony in Exile
First Lord, Star League in Exile


Vedet recognized the dropbox number.  It was the one he used to communicate with a team of agents he had on Tharkad.

He had learned that they failed to gain the information he had desired and had been captured, but that he had been traced to here?

They did not know he would be here.  Yet he clearly had been traced here.

He felt the color drain from his face as the veiled threat was now clear.

Somehow this letter had been delivered without any signs of intrusion.

Could he actually trust Duke Widmer?  Their staff?

He needed to accelerate his plans and leave this place either way for soon Trillian would send a response.  She had to, with the area trying to break away and him here.  So he could not be here when that happened.

Instead of sleep he fired up his personal noteputer and began working with a renewed vigor.

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 36651
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #142 on: 03 October 2023, 19:59:39 »
Oh crap... you've almost posted up to my edit... I need to find some time tomorrow, but given how today went at work, I may not be able to... :/

monbvol

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13226
  • I said don't look!
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #143 on: 04 October 2023, 17:04:36 »
Triad
Tharkad
6 April 3144
Noon…


"It didn't used to look like this, you know."  Trillian walked along the inner perimeter wall of the Palace.  "I've seen pictures of it from before the incident."

"The… incident?" Lori Cameron asked.

"When the old municipal fusion plant breached, at the start of the Blake War," The Archon clarified.  In the distance, they could see work still ongoing, repairing the damage from the Wolf Clan incursion-the same incursion that killed Melissa and left Trillian as the Archon.

"Last time, it took decades for them to recover the damage," Trillian added.  "Are you beginning to guess what my intent is today?"

“At a guess, I’d say you’re wanting to address those sorts of shortcomings.”

"No, I want to make such shortcomings irrelevant," Trillian stated.  "I want to not have to rebuild cities anymore after wars, to not have to look at reports of displaced refugees because someone looked at the question of war and answered themselves 'why not'!"

“Peace is an admirable goal but there are a great many who still see you as Melissa’s hammer.  Your nation’s credibility is in a poor state due to her adventurism.”

"Our credibility, is SHIT, Miss Cameron-don't pretend it isn't," Trillian said bitterly.  "Mel thought she was… well, it doesn't matter anymore.  Hammerfall was a mistake on a grand Scale." 

”Now you want to start making up for it.”

"I want stability," Trillian said.  "I want things to be stable, for my people to be safe… well as safe as possible given the conditions."

“Given the collapse of the Falcons, stability for much of your realm is improving.  Opportunists are popping up in the wake due to too much neglect, but that is a problem you now have the freedom to address.”

"Tomorrow morning, I will be making an address, Miss Cameron," the Archon said.  "I have two speeches but will only give one.  Help me decide which one to give to the Estates General.  Convince me to support Helena Cameron.  That is one speech. The other, is to not support her."

“Well we’ve already used military assets to help you roll up the former Falcon OZ, we’ve got trade deals, currency exchanges, and we’re letting whatever planets we liberated decide their fate freely for who they wish to fall under.  Indeed we are even trying to encourage them to fall under your leadership again because we simply cannot garrison them all.  It is an unfortunate reality that most humans do default to a mentality of ‘what have you done for me lately’.  We don’t want to be bad neighbors but we also wish to respect the wishes of the people.”

Trillian looked thoughtfully out at the city.


***

"M'name is Maria MacAulliffe, Yer Majesty."  The young woman standing before the throne had scars on her wrists and neck, but someone had taken the care to give her decent clothing and hair.

Trillian glanced at the observers, including the representative of Helena's government in exile, before responding, "You wrote an impassioned letter of appeal, Maria, you are heard, so speak."

"I war… was… was taken from m-my ho-home… ten years ago, and sold on the mainstreet market to a… to a brothel, Your Majesty."

"Who took you?" Trillian asked.

"Duke Diego's men, they took me an' burned us out, Majesty."

"Can you identify them?" Trillian asked.

"Ah did, when… when Th' Corsair saved us, Majesty, Tole her, an' Tole th' men from Lohengrin on Coventry too."

"Do you see any of those men in this room?"

The young woman nodded, and flinched a little.

"Point to them."

Maria raised a shaking hand, and pointed to several minor nobles in the chamber.  A mild shock of outrage erupted as uniformed members of the Royal Guard seemed to materialize, taking those men into custody.
"What happens now?" Maria asked.

"Now, those men, implicated in slave trading and abuse of office, will be tried, and when found guilty, stripped of title, lands, and resources before being sent to Blackgate Prison to await their legal execution," Trillian stated.  "Your plea, Maria, was heard."

The Archon stood from her throne.  "There has been a plague, a malady, a cancer in the Commonwealth.  I swore an oath when I took this office.  I aim to cut it out, that this realm may prosper once again.  You are all dismissed."

Lori lightly shook her head on the way out.

“Problem?”  Ezekiel asked.

“I don’t disagree with her, but Trillian needs to learn to put on a better show.  Pronouncing guilt and sentencing like that before it happens, it’s a potential path to ugliness,” Lori answered.

"History," a voice near them said, drawing Lori's attention.

"Prudence?" Lori asked.

"Funny," the Envoy unit shook her head.  "Prudence is in the Concordat.  I'm the new Priss.  It's Lyran history.  They like their Archons a little bit on the authoritarian side."

“Apologies, I’m not Mom, I can’t keep you all straight.  Maybe, but to keep the cooperation of the moderates and not make them reactionaries it is a fine needle to thread for sure.  But one that does need threading.”

"You're not supposed to, Lori.  I've got a few before I have to go in and make nice for the Archon myself, seeing as Allie can't be here to answer for things."

"Things?"

"Things like organizing an anti-piracy campaign as 'The Corsair'," Priss said with lip-twist.   "Once she didn't have to pretend to be a Hazen, she's been organizing the Spacers, we look enough alike I can be here, while she's explaining her actions to your Mom."

“Good.  That should help stabilize what is an incredibly unstable region right now.  If you’ve got a list for me to pass on to mom for additional trading partners so we can help support this I’ll be glad to endorse it.”

"How about a list of troublemakers to avoid instead?" Priss asked, and a chit appeared between her fingers.

“That works too.”

"Here you go, and remember, you don't know me from Eve," Priss said.  "Gotta have that madwoman of mystery vibe, don'tchuknow."

“I’ll do my best.  Now I better get going so I don’t keep you or give people the idea we actually know each other.”

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 36651
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #144 on: 04 October 2023, 17:47:54 »
Argh!  Google has now randomly removed my editing privileges once again! :cussing:

I see I'll need to do more than 40 pages at a go the next time they restore my privileges...  :bruce6sg:

monbvol

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13226
  • I said don't look!
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #145 on: 04 October 2023, 18:03:12 »
I'll try and make sure your e-mail stays on the explicitly permitted to edit list but in theory you shouldn't need that.

But either way have fun reading ahead of everyone else.

Not sorry for tempting you to read past your bedtime.   :evil:

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 36651
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #146 on: 04 October 2023, 18:07:16 »
I'll continue to do it, and continue to regret it the next day... ;D

Wolf72

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 3024
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #147 on: 04 October 2023, 19:48:04 »
OMG finally caught up ... you guys su ... are awesome.

I had at least 5 comments or questions, but had to keep reading ... therefore I've forgotten them all!

I'm for Team Star League!  And I truly hope CSR can learn to be real allies, even though they have a leadership that is partially built on out-fighting their predecessor.
"We're caught in the moon's gravitational pull, what do we do?!"

CI KS #1357; Merc KS #9798

"We're sending a squad up."

Daryk

  • Lieutenant General
  • *
  • Posts: 36651
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #148 on: 04 October 2023, 19:51:39 »
It's VERY hard to follow a just war... ;)

monbvol

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 13226
  • I said don't look!
Re: Weapons of War Saga Concludes: The Final March
« Reply #149 on: 05 October 2023, 17:32:34 »
Observation area
Port Lazarus
New Lazarus
11 April 3144


"I thought that was what you wanted, your Highness."  Atrocity stood at parade rest, "isn't it? To bring them justice? Isn't that what we're doing this for?"

“Yes.  But never revenge and within the bounds of law and morality.  Still that’s not why we’re here right now.  Truk what’s the deal?”  Helena shook her head.

“A surprise.”

A large station became illuminated at the bare reaches of visual range.

“Okay, a new station. I don’t get it.”  Helena said.

“It is our first Warship grade jumpcore foundry.  We can build new Warships finally.  We’ve got enough trade partners, enough populace.  It has been a long time coming.”  Truk answered.

“How did I miss this?”  Helena muttered.

“Because we wanted it to be a surprise.”  Truk chuckled.

“How the heck am I supposed to be angry now?”  Helena shook her head.

"I'd say you shouldn't have been angry in the first place, Highness, but you were anyway and I don't understand why what I was doing was wrong."

“You’re right.  We need to help stabilize the Lyrans.  Just be careful to not run afoul of their laws okay?  What is being done out there could easily be perceived as a play for independence rather than stability.”

"Some of those people would have been better off independent." Atrocity sulked, "Their government abandoned them."

“I know but we can’t antagonize them by taking worlds away from them, especially when we can’t protect them all.”

"What are your clarified instructions, Your Majesty?" Atrocity asked.

“How do I put it?  Just try and do your best to work with the Lyrans.  Show them we are on side and not being underhanded.  Maybe study an up to date copy of their regs.”

"And when the authorities are the problem? What then??  Arluna's DUKE sold dissident families into slavery!!"

“Pass the proof to the proper authorities, hell I don’t care if you courrier it to Tharkad directly and ask Lori to put it in Trillian’s face and get Trillian to solve her own problem.  If that still doesn’t work?  Then I’ll just have to think of some other solution won’t I?”

Atrocity held back the tears and the frustration barely enough to be noticed, when she said, "as you will, Your Majesty."

“Look it isn’t as if I’m uncaring or unsympathetic.  We just can’t be the police for humanity yet.  We need allies.  So yes, it is an ugly solution and one I’m not overly fond of myself but it is one dictated by our current limitations and strategic situation.  We can only hope Trillian is serious about being a hardcore reformist and we will support her as best we can but it needs to be her show since it is her realm.  I know I’m asking a lot because of it.  So the sin is on my soul if anything.  Now tend to your duty.  Dismissed.”

After Atrocity left, Truk spoke, "she's a raw nerve over this, Helena.  If she had the ability to contemplate rebellion, I do believe she'd rebel over this."

“I know.  I wish I could do more.  Once that foundry of yours starts churning out new cores and we have new ships, maybe we can.  Maybe I need to expand Vicky’s operations like she has been asking for too.”

“It is an ugly side of war but you know you need more wetwork operatives and handlers.  We’ve got enough people now.  We can start vetting and training them.”

“I’ll pen the orders as soon as I get back to my office.  That should help Atrocity too.”  Helena nodded.

Truk was silent for a beat, then, "Famine has no empathy, Atrocity has too much. Amanda certainly made some mistakes there."

“Perhaps, but she’s right I can’t turn a blind eye to such things when that is the very thing I’m saying I’m fighting against.”

"Don't think of things you're fighting against, Helena, think of what, and who, you're fighting FOR, or at least, that's what Admiral Foster would say."

“I do.  I think about that all the time, Truk.”

"I know, Your Majesty…even if sometimes others forget." the AI said wryly.

“Heh.  Well I got a lot of work to do, I best get back to my office.”

Over at the dockyards

Olivia looked at what used to be the JFS Blue Talon.

Murakami’s plans had been a great help since she was working up AI driven Aegis class cruisers.

“Not much longer and you’ll have a hull again Olivia.”  Truk said.

“I know.  I should be excited.  This is what I’ve been saying I wanted but…”

“You’ve grown accustomed to your roles that you are now passing on to humans.  But consider this.  Helena’s logistics are not really set up to use an Aegis class as part of her active fleet.  Indeed according to her memos she intends for this to be a training vessel.”

“So it is possible for me to have the best of both worlds.  Of course.  How could I miss that?”

“Maybe you’ve been spending too much time planet side.  The magnetics must be affecting some of your components.”

“Huh, as much as my system is non-magnetic in nature, some of my components still are.  You may be right.  I’m arranging for my main core to be brought up for a service inspection ASAP.”

“Glad to be of service.”

***

Beckett had gotten used to this role, but not so used to it he was comfortable with it-especially not after spending a cruise with 'Allison Hazen'.  He tapped his glass, and the server came by and refilled it.

"You look troubled." 
He looked up at who was speaking, and recognized former Star-Captain David Foster, now Admiral Foster, former Snow Raven, and current human naval leader under Helena Cameron.

"Nobody warned me." Beckett stated.  "Did you even know about her?"

"Depends on which 'her' and what you think you've found out. Mind if I join your table?"

"Sit.  by 'her' I meant Allie Hazen, and by 'what' I mean she isn't a complete person, is she?"

"She isn't a simulacrum or droid." Foster said.

"Neg, that would be easier." Beckett stated.  "What did they do to her? Whoever damaged that young woman?"

"Some unspeakable things." Foster allowed.  "You have not challenged her authority, quineg?"

"Neg.  I gave my word…I have, over the last few months, had to find creative ways to hold her back, especially after she found the evidence of Duke Diego's treachery.  Do you realize how off that is, a Jade Falcon, a former Mongol Leader, holding back a commander enraged over such things?"

"I have a fair idea.  I had a…call her a protege, who often felt things just a touch too strongly. Tell me, is she getting better?"

"Neg." Beckett shook his head, "her feelings are sometimes so raw.  For the moment at least, she can be persuaded to listen, but every time we encounter an abuse, her anger grows."

“Helena’s blindspot, she thinks they can be fixed.  But even she knows sometimes they need to be pulled for a break now and again.  I’ll make sure she knows and the orders get signed.  This clearly can’t go on too much longer.”

“If she were a normal person that would probably work.”  Haida seemed to appear out of nowhere.

“What do you mean?”

“Think about it.  The Envoys are basically purpose built, almost like a machine.  If we treated them like a human, well then they would be without purpose and see time off almost as a punishment.  Which could make things worse.”  Haida answered.

“Please sit.”  Beckett said.

“Thank you.  Really what she needs is a new tasking.  That way she can continue to fulfill her purpose but in a different area of space, where she has a much freer hand to operate.”

“Many of the former bandit kingdom worlds have again fallen into barbarity.”  Beckett offered.

“Okay.  I’ll get you a new minder Beckett and we’ll let her work out some of her issues on some bandits.”  Foster nodded.


***

"Mom's coming to visit." Pestilence said, "so maybe you might hang around for a couple of months?"

"What?? Vendetta let her come out?"

"Vendy pushed her to go.  You gonna stick around?"

"I have work to do." Atrocity stated, "Mom coming out is good, but she doesn't need to see ME."

“Of course she does and maybe have you considered you need to see her?”

"I'm one of the defectives Pestilence, Mom doesn't need to see one of the failed experiments, she needs to see the successful ones-the ones who didn't come out broken." Atrocity shook her head, "that way she can be happy."

“She’s mom, it won’t matter to her what you are beyond you’re her daughter.”

"I'm a failed experiment.  YOU are her Daughter, I'm…not fit for that, and you know it."

“You’re stubborn just like the rest of us, and her.  But fine if you really want to waste the opportunity when I know Helena would be glad to shuffle assignments…”

“Reverse psychology won’t work on me, you know that!”

“Then I'll use leverage, Allie, you need to be here, you need to speak with her." Pestilence scowled.  "If I have to I'll go to Her Majesty myself to get you grounded until Mom gets here."

"You wouldn't DARE!!"

"TRY ME."

“Uggh…  Fine, but only because I’m pretty sure Beckett and Foster are conspiring to beach me anyway…”

"I thought you LIKED Beckett."

"I do, but that doesn't mean he's NOT going to put his issues, especially over the Diego situation, in front of Her Majesty."

"What did you DO??"

"I threw the duke of Arluna out an airlock. It's why Her Majesty recalled us."

"Are you facing charges??"

"I don't know.  I was…angry. What he did to his own people!!"

"******. You're facing charges…is she scheduling an extradition hearing at least?"

"I don't know.  She didn't SAY she was…"

“With the comm delays Trillian may not know yet to ask.  There’s no way Helena can say no if she does…”


Tharkad, 21:00 hours same day…

"Lori, I need you to forward this diplomatic packet to your government." Trillian said, handing a sealed pouch, "You can look if you want, but keep it secret, if you will."

“May I ask what this is about?”

"Someone threw the Duke of Arluna out an airlock.  That someone, is known to have ties to Lazarus and another group called 'Kolossus', and saved me a hell of a lot of money in terms of sending a punitive expedition out there…go ahead and open it."

Lori carefully and slowly opened the pouch and pulled out the contents.

Belobigungsschreiben für Maßnahmen im öffentlichen Interesse

As she read her eyes went wide.

“Of course I’ll forward this right away.”  Lori said quietly.

"Keep in mind, I would prefer such actions in the future to at least make a cosmetic effort to seek approval first, and I would PREFER if your services use Lyran citizens for such missions…but tossing that slave-selling tyrant out an airlock? I love that part."

“I’ll be sure to add that to the dispatch, your Majesty.”

"I'd like to also meet the real Corsair, if you might arrange it.  Priss is not the same woman as Lohengrin reported."

“Of course.  I’ll add that to the dispatch as well." Lori paused, "But…why?"

"I want to offer her a job.  The Commonwealth's navy is a shambles, and she's reputed to have a warship…and a visible sense of justice."

“I see.  Thank you for the clarification, your Majesty.”