Previous Page Next Page

UTC:       Local:

Home Page Index Page

Mission of Honor: Chapter Seven

       Last updated: Monday, April 19, 2010 07:08 EDT



    “So, would you prefer we address you as ‘Admiral Alexander-Harrington,’ ‘Admiral Harrington,’ ‘Duchess Harrington,’ or ‘Steadholder Harrington’?” Pritchart asked with a slight smile as she, Honor, Nimitz, and a passel of bodyguards — most of whom seemed to be watching each other with unbounded distrust — rode the lift car from the landing pad down towards the president’s official office. There’d been too little room, even in a car that size, for any of the other Havenite officials to accompany them, since neither Honor’s armsmen nor Sheila Thiessen’s Presidential Security agents had been remotely willing to give up their places to mere cabinet secretaries.

    “It does get a bit complicated at times to be so many different people at once,” Honor acknowledged Pritchart’s question with an answering smile which was a bit more crooked than the president’s. And not just because of the artificial nerves at the corner of her mouth. “Which would you be most comfortable with, Madam President?”

    “Well, I have to admit we in the Republic have developed a certain aversion to aristocracies, whether they’re acknowledged, like the one in your own Star Kingdom, or simply de facto, like the Legislaturalists here at home. So there’d be at least some . . . mixed emotions, let’s say, in using one of your titles of nobility. At the same time, however, we’re well aware of your record, for a lot of reasons.”

    For a moment, Pritchart’s topaz-colored eyes — which, Honor had discovered, were much more spectacular and expressive in person than they’d appeared in any of the imagery she’d seen — darkened and her mouth tightened. Honor tasted the bleak stab of grief and regret behind that darkness, and her own mouth tightened ever so slightly. When she’d discussed the Republic’s leadership with Lester Tourville, he’d confirmed that Eighth Fleet had killed Javier Giscard, Pritchart’s longtime lover, at the Battle of Lovat.

    That, in effect, Honor Alexander-Harrington had killed him.

    Her eyes met the president’s, and she didn’t need her empathic sense to realize both of them saw the knowledge in the other’s gaze. Yet there were other things wrapped up in that knowledge, as well. Yes, she’d killed Javier Giscard, and she regretted that, but he’d been only one of thousands of Havenites who’d died in combat against Honor or ships under her command over the past two decades, and there’d been nothing personal in his death. That was a distinction both she and Pritchart understood, because both of them — unlike the vast majority of Honor’s fellow naval officers — had taken lives with their own hands. Had killed enemies at close range, when they’d been able to see those enemies eyes and when it most definitely was personal. Both of them understood that difference, and the silence hovering between them carried that mutual awareness with it, as well as the undertow of pain and loss no understanding could ever dispel.

    Then Pritchart cleared her throat.

    “As I say, we’re aware of your record. Given the fact that you come from good yeoman stock and earned all of those decadent titles the hard way, we’re prepared to use them as a gesture of respect.”

    “I see.”

    Honor gazed at the platinum-haired woman. Pritchart was an even more impressive presence face-to-face than she’d anticipated, even after Michelle Henke’s reports of her own conversations with the president. The woman carried herself with the assurance of someone who knew exactly who she was, and her emotions — what the treecats called her “mind glow” — were those of someone who’d learned that lesson the hard way, paid an enormous price for what her beliefs demanded. Yet despite the humor in her voice, it was clear she truly did cherish some apprehension about her question, and Honor wondered why.

    She used Mike’s title as Countess Gold Peak . . . but only after she’d decided to send Mike home as her envoy. Did she do that as a courtesy, or to specifically emphasize Mike’s proximity to the throne? An emphasis she wanted enough to use a title she personally despised?

    Or is the problem someone else in her Cabinet whose reaction she’s concerned about? Or could it be she’s already looking forward to the press releases? To how they’re going to address me for public consumption?

    “Under the circumstances,” Honor said after a moment, “if you’d be more comfortable with plain old ‘Admiral Alexander-Harrington,’ I’m sure I could put up with that.”

    “Thank you.” Pritchart gave her another smile, this one somewhat broader. “To be perfectly honest, I suspect some of my more aggressively egalitarian Cabinet members might be genuinely uncomfortable using one of your other titles.”

    She’s fishing with that one, Honor decided. Most people wouldn’t have suspected anything of the sort, given Pritchart’s obvious assurance, but Honor had certain unfair advantages. She wants an indication of whether I want to speak to her in private or whether whatever Beth sent me to say is intended for her entire Cabinet.

    “If it would make them feel uncomfortable, then of course we can dispense with it,” she assured the president, and suppressed an urge to chuckle as she tasted Pritchart’s carefully concealed spike of frustration when her probe was effortlessly — and apparently unknowingly — deflected.

    “That’s very gracious — and understanding — of you,” the Havenite head of state said out loud as the lift slid to a halt and the doors opened. She waved one hand in graceful invitation, and she and Honor started down a tastefully furnished hallway, trailed by two satellite-like clumps of bodyguards. Honor could feel the president turning something over in her mind as they walked. Pritchart didn’t seem the sort to dither over decisions, and before they’d gone more than a few meters, she glanced at the tall, black-haired woman who was obviously the senior member of her own security team.

    “Sheila, please inform the Secretary of State and the other members of the Cabinet that I believe it will be best if Admiral Alexander-Harrington and I take the opportunity for a little private conversation before we invite anyone else in.” Her nostrils flared, and Honor tasted the amusement threaded through her undeniable anxiety and the fragile undertone of hope. “Given the Admiral’s dramatic midnight arrival, I’m sure whatever she has to say will be important enough for all of us to discuss eventually, but tell them I want to get my own toes wet first.”

    “Of course, Madam President,” the bodyguard said, and began speaking very quietly into her personal com.

    “I trust that arrangement will be satisfactory to you, Admiral?” Pritchart continued, glancing up at Honor.

    “Certainly,” Honor replied with imperturbable courtesy, but the twinkle of amusement in her own eyes obviously gave her away, and the president snorted again — more loudly — and shook her head.

    Whatever she’d been about to say (assuming she’d intended to say anything) stayed unspoken, however, as they reached the end of the hall and a powered door slid open. Pritchart gave another of those graceful waves, and Honor stepped obediently through the door first.

    The office was smaller than she’d anticipated. Despite its obviously expensive and luxurious furnishings, despite the old-fashioned paintings on the walls and the freestanding sculpture in one corner, it had an undeniably intimate air. And it was obviously a working office, not just someplace to receive and impress foreign envoys, as the well-used workstation at the antique wooden desk made evident.

    Given its limited size, it would have been uncomfortably crowded if Pritchart had invited her entire cabinet in. In fact, Honor doubted she could have squeezed that many people into the available space, although the president’s decision against inviting even her secretary of state had come as something of a surprise.

    “Please, have a seat, Admiral,” Pritchart invited, indicating the comfortable armchairs arranged around a largish coffee-table before a huge crystoplast window — one entire wall of the office, actually — that gave a magnificent view of downtown Nouveau Paris.



    Honor accepted the invitation, choosing a chair which let her look out at that dramatic vista. She settled into it, lifting Nimitz down from her shoulder to her lap, and despite the tension of the moment and the millions of deaths which had brought her here, she felt an ungrudging admiration for what the people of this planet had accomplished. She knew all about the crumbling infrastructure and ramshackle lack of maintenance this city had suffered under the Legislaturalists. And she knew about the riots which had erupted in its canyon-like streets following the Pierre coup. She knew about the airstrikes Esther McQueen — “Admiral Cluster Bomb” — had called in to suppress the Levelers, and about the hidden nuclear warhead Oscar Saint-Just had detonated under the old Octagon to defeat McQueen’s own coup attempt. This city had seen literally millions of its citizens die over the last two T-decades — suffered more civilian fatalities than the number of military personnel who’d died aboard all of the Havenite ships destroyed in the Battle of Manticore combined — yet it had survived. Not simply survived, but risen with restored, phoenix-like beauty from the debris of neglect and the wreckage of combat.

    Now, as she gazed out at the gleaming fireflies of air cars zipping busily past even at this hour — at those stupendous towers, at the lit windows, the fairy-dusting of air traffic warning lights — she saw the resurgence of the entire Republic of Haven. Recognized the stupendous changes that resurgence had made in virtually every aspect of the lives of the men, women, and children of the Republic. And much of that resurgence, that rebirth of hope and pride and purpose, was the work of the platinum-haired woman settling into a facing armchair while their bodyguards, in turn, settled into wary watchfulness around them.

    Yes, a lot of it was her work, Honor reminded herself, one hand stroking Nimitz’s fluffy pelt while the reassuring buzz of his almost subsonic purr vibrated into her. But she’s also the one who declared war this time around. The one who launched Thunderbolt as a “sneak attack.” And the one who sent Tourville and Chin off to attack the home system. Admire her all you want, Honor, but never forget this is a dangerous, dangerous woman. And don’t let your own hopes lead you into any overly optimistic assumptions about her or what she truly wants, either.

    “May I offer you refreshment, Admiral?”

    “No, thank you, Madam President. I’m fine.”

    “If you’re certain,” Pritchart said with a slight twinkle. Honor arched one eyebrow, and the president chuckled. “We’ve amassed rather a complete dossier on you, Admiral. The Meyerdahl first wave, I believe?”

    “Fair enough,” Honor acknowledged the reference to her genetically enhanced musculature and the demands of the metabolism which supported it. “And I genuinely appreciate the offer, but my steward fed me before he let me off the ship.”

    “Ah! That would be the formidable Mr. MacGuiness?”

    “I see Officer Cachat and Director Usher — oh, I’m sorry, that would be Director Trajan, wouldn’t it? — really have compiled a thorough file on me, Madam President,” Honor observed politely.

    “Touché,” Pritchart said, leaning back in her chair. But then her brief moment of amusement faded, and her face grew serious.

    “If you won’t allow me to offer you refreshments, however, Admiral, would you care to tell me precisely what it is the Queen of Manticore sent you to accomplish?”

    “Of course, Madam President.”

    Honor settled back in her own chair, her flesh and blood hand still moving, ever so gently, on Nimitz’s silken coat, and her own expression mirrored Pritchart’s seriousness.

    “My Queen has sent me as her personal envoy,” she said. “I have a formal, recorded message for you from her, as well, but essentially it’s simply to inform you that I’m authorized to speak for her as her messenger and her plenipotentiary.”

    Pritchart never twitched a muscle, but Honor tasted the sudden flare of combined hope and consternation which exploded through the president as she reacted to that last word. Obviously, even now, Pritchart hadn’t anticipated that Honor was not simply Elizabeth III’s envoy and messenger but her direct, personal representative, empowered to actually negotiate with the Republic of Haven.

    The possibility of negotiations explained the president’s hope, Honor realized. Just as the disastrous military situation her star nation faced and the possibility that Elizabeth’s idea of “negotiating” might consist of a demand for unconditional surrender explained the consternation.

    “Her Majesty — and I — fully realize there are enormous areas of disagreement and distrust between the Star Empire and the Republic,” Honor continued in that same, measured tone. “I don’t propose to get into them tonight. Frankly, I don’t see any way we’d be remotely likely to settle of those disputes without long, difficult conversations. Despite that, I believe most of our prewar differences could probably be disposed of by compromises between reasonable people, assuming the issue of our disputed diplomatic correspondence can be resolved.

    “As I say, I have no intention or desire to stray into that territory this evening, however. Instead, I want to address something that will very probably pose much more severe difficulties for any serious talks between our two star nations. And that, Madam President, is the number of people who have died since the Republic of Haven resumed hostilities without warning or notification.”

    She paused, watching Pritchart’s expression and tasting the president’s emotions. The Havenite hadn’t much cared for her last sentence, but that was all right with Honor. Honor Alexander-Harrington had never seen herself as a diplomat, never imagined she might end up chosen for such a mission, yet there was no point trying to dance around this particular issue. And she’d offered Pritchart at least an olive leaf, if not a branch, with the phrase “resumed hostilities.”

    As Pritchart had pointed out to her Congress when she requested a formal declaration of war, no formal peace had ever been concluded between the then-Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Republic of Haven. And while Honor wasn’t prepared to say so, she knew as well as Pritchart that the lack of a peace treaty had been far more the fault of the High Ridge Government than of the Pritchart Administration. She wasn’t prepared to agree that High Ridge’s cynical political maneuvering and sheer stupidity justified Pritchart’s decision, but it had certainly contributed to it. And despite the surprise nature of Thomas Theisman’s Operation Thunderbolt, it had been launched against a target with which the Republic was still legally at war.

    Just as long as she doesn’t decide we’re willing to let her off the hook for actually pulling the trigger, Honor reflected coldly. We’ll meet her part way, acknowledge there were serious mistakes — blunders — from our side, as well, and that we were still technically at war. But she’s going to have to acknowledge the Republic’s “war guilt,” and not just for this war, if this is going to go anywhere, and she’d better understand that from the beginning.

    “Her Majesty fully realizes the Republic’s total casualties have been much higher than the Star Empire’s since fighting resumed,” she continued after a handful of seconds. “At the same time, the Republic’s total population is also much larger than the Star Empire’s, which means our fatalities, as a percentage of our population, have been many times as great as yours. And even laying aside the purely human cost, the economic and property damages have been staggering for both sides, while the tonnage of warships which have been destroyed may well equal that of every other declared war in human history.

    “This struggle between our star nations began eighteen T-years ago — twenty-two T-years, if you count from the People’s Republic’s attack on the Basilisk Terminus of the Wormhole Junction. And despite the position in which we find ourselves today, even the most rabid Havenite patriot must be aware by now that, despite all of ‘Public Information’s’ propaganda to the contrary, the original conflict between us began as a direct consequence of the People’s Republic’s aggression, not the Star Empire’s.



    “But because we saw that aggression coming, our military buildup to resist it began forty T-years before even the attack on Basilisk, so for all intents and purposes, our nations have been at war — or preparing for war — for over sixty T-years. Which means we’ve been actively fighting one another — or preparing to fight one another — since I was roughly four T-years old. In a very real sense, my Star Empire’s been at war, hot or cold, against Havenite aggression, in one form or another, for my entire life, Madame President, and I’m scarcely alone in having that ‘life experience’ or the attitudes that come with it. After that long, after that much mutual hostility and active bloodletting, either side can easily find any number of justifications for distrusting or hating the other.

    “But there are two significant differences between this point in the struggle between Manticore and Haven and almost any other point, Madam President. The first of those differences is that we’re no longer dealing with the People’s Republic. Your new government has claimed your primary purpose is the complete restoration of the old Republic of Haven, and I accept that claim’s validity. But you’ve also chosen, unfortunately — for whatever combination of reasons — to resume the war between Haven and Manticore, which leads many — indeed, most — Manticorans to doubt there’s any true difference between you and the Legislaturalists or the Committee of Public Safety.

    “I hope and believe they’re wrong. That this Havenite regime does care how many of its citizens are killed fighting its wars. That it does want to safeguard the enormous progress it’s made recovering from generations of misrule and domestic political brutality. And that it does feel some sense of responsibility to see as few as possible of its people, military or civilian, killed rather than simply feeding them into the furnace of political ambition and spinal-reflex aggression.

    “Which brings us to the second significant difference. To be blunt, and as I have no doubt you and Admiral Theisman realize just as well as Queen Elizabeth does, the Star Empire’s present military advantage is even more overwhelming than it was at the time of the Admiral’s coup against Saint-Just. We can, if we choose to do so, drive this war through to a decisive, unambiguous military victory. We can destroy your fleets from beyond any range at which they can effectively counterattack. We can destroy the infrastructure of your star systems, one by one, and for all of the undoubted courage and determination of your naval personnel, they can’t stop us. They can only die trying — which I, for one, have no doubt they would do with the utmost gallantry.”

    She looked directly into Eloise Pritchart’s tawny eyes, watching their expressionless depths even as she tasted the combination of fear, frustration, and desperation concealed behind them.

    “There are those in the Star Empire who would prefer, in no small part because of that history I just mentioned, to do exactly that,” she said flatly. “And I’d be lying to you if I didn’t admit Her Majesty is strongly inclined in that direction herself. If, as I assume you have, you’ve had access to Internal Security’s and State Security’s secret files, I’m sure you understand why Queen Elizabeth personally hates Haven and distrusts all Havenites with every fiber of her being. I suspect just about anyone would feel that way about a star nation which murdered her father, murdered her uncle, her cousin, and her prime minister, and attempted to murder her.”

    Pritchart said nothing, only nodded slightly in acknowledgment of Honor’s point, but Honor tasted a confusing whirlpool of emotion within the president. Obviously, Pritchart had learned about the assassinations — including King Roger’s — before Honor told her, and, equally obviously, she wasn’t surprised someone with Elizabeth’s fiery disposition would find it impossible to forget such offenses. Yet there was a strand of personal regret, as well. An understanding that someone as wounded as Elizabeth had every right to her fury, and a sense of sorrow that so much pain had been inflicted.

    “Immediately following the Battle of Manticore,” Honor resumed, “our own losses were severe enough to preclude our launching any fresh offensives. I’m sure your own analysts reached that conclusion, as well. Now, however, our new construction and our repair of damaged units have reached a point at which we can detach sufficient vessels to launch decisive attacks on your star systems without exposing our own system to attack. And, to be brutally frank, the situation in the Talbott Quadrant is nowhere near as close to resolved as we’d believed it was.”

    She paused again, tasting Pritchart’s reaction to that revelation. The Havenite president would have been more than human if she hadn’t experienced a surge of hope that Manticore’s possible preoccupation elsewhere would work in Haven’s favor. Yet there was also an even sharper strand of wariness, and Honor suppressed a desire to smile sardonically. She and her political advisers had discussed whether or not she should raise that particular point with Pritchart. Now, tasting the other woman’s mind glow, she knew she’d been right; Pritchart was too smart not to see the possible downside for Haven, as well.

    Still, I might as well make certain we’re both on the same page.

    “We continue to hope for a diplomatic resolution in and around Talbott,” she said, “but I won’t pretend we’re confident of achieving one. Failure to do so will obviously have potentially serious repercussions for the Star Empire, of course. I’m sure you and your advisers are as well aware of that as anyone in Manticore. But you need to be aware of this, as well.”

    She held Pritchart’s gaze with her own.

    “The threat of a direct conflict with the Solarian League is one we simply cannot ignore. Obviously, it’s also one of the reasons we’re seeking to compose our disagreements with the Republic. Any star nation would be insane to want to fight the Solarian League under any circumstances, but only one which was stupid, as well as insane, would want to fight the League and anyone else simultaneously. At the same time, I’m sure your own analysts have come to some of the same conclusions we have where the Solarians’ war-fighting technology is concerned. In case they haven’t, I can tell you that what’s happened so far has confirmed to us that the SLN is considerably inferior technologically at this time to either the Star Empire or the Republic. Obviously, something the size of the Solarian League has plenty of potential to overcome tech disadvantages, but our best estimate is that even if they were ready to begin putting new weapons systems into production tomorrow, we’d still be looking at a period of at least three to five years of crushing superiority over anything they could throw at us.

    “The reason I’m telling you this is that you need to understand that while we don’t want to fight the League, we’re a long way from regarding a war against the Sollies as tantamount to a sentence of death. But we’re not prepared to fight the Solarians at the same time someone whose technology is as close to equal to ours as yours is comes at us from behind. So as we see it, we have two options where the Republic is concerned.

    “One, and in many ways the less risky of them from our perspective, would be to use that technological superiority I spoke about a few minutes ago to destroy your infrastructure in order to compel your unconditional surrender. In fact, one month ago, I was instructed to do just that, beginning with this very star system.”

    It was very, very quiet in Eloise Pritchart’s office. The emotions of the president’s bodyguards were a background of taut anxiety and anger restrained by discipline, yet Honor scarcely noticed that. Her attention — and Nimitz’s — were focused unwaveringly upon Pritchart.



    “But those instructions were modified, Madam President,” she said softly. “Not rescinded, but . . . modified. Her Majesty’s been convinced to at least consider the possibility that the Republic of Haven truly isn’t the People’s Republic any longer. That it was not, in fact, responsible for the assassination of Admiral Webster on Old Earth, or for the attempted assassination of Queen Berry on Torch. To be honest, she remains far from convinced of either of those possibilities, but at least she recognizes them as possibilities. And even if it turns out the Republic was responsible, she’s prepared to acknowledge that killing still more millions of your citizens and military personnel, destroying still more trillions of dollars worth of orbital infrastructure, may be a disproportionate response to the Republic’s guilt.

    “In short, Madam President, the Queen is tired of killing people. So she’s authorized me to deliver this message to you: the Star Empire of Manticore is prepared to negotiate a mutually acceptable end to the state of war between it and the Republic of Haven.”

    The president didn’t even twitch a muscle. Her self control was enormous, Honor thought. Which it had no doubt had to be for her and Javier Giscard to survive under the eternally suspicious, paranoid eye of a megalomaniac like Oscar Saint-Just for so many years. She might have been carved from stone, yet her sudden burst of incredulous joy, leashed by discipline and wariness, was like a silent explosion to Honor’s empathic sense. However eager she might be for an end to the fighting, this woman was no fool. She knew how difficult “negotiations” might prove, and she was as aware as Honor herself of how many bloody years of hostility, anger, and hatred lay between the Star Empire and her own star nation.

    “No one in Manticore expects that to be an easy task, even assuming that, in fact, the Republic wasn’t responsible for the assassinations which led Her Majesty to reject the summit you had proposed. Nonetheless, Her Majesty is prepared to make a best-effort, good faith attempt to do just that, and I’ve been authorized to begin that negotiating process for her and for the Star Empire.

    “At the same time, however, Her Majesty has instructed me to tell you she is not prepared to stretch these negotiations out indefinitely. Given what I just told you about the situation in Talbott, I’m sure you understand why, and I fully realize that you here in Nouveau Paris feel — with what I recognize as good reason — that it wasn’t the Republic of Haven which failed to negotiate in good faith following the overthrow of the Saint-Just regime. Her Majesty was opposed to the stance of the High Ridge Government at the time, but the peculiarities of our constitutional system prevented her from simply removing him and replacing him with someone more responsive to the duties and responsibilities of his office. And, frankly, no one in Manticore had any reason to believe his intransigence, arrogance, and ambition would contribute to an active resumption of the war between Haven and the Star Empire. She, like virtually all Manticorans, regarded the situation primarily as a domestic political struggle — one which might have diplomatic implications, but certainly not as one likely to spin out of control into an active resumption of the war. Under those circumstances, she was unprepared to provoke a constitutional crisis to remove him rather than waiting until that same ambition and arrogance led to his inevitable eventual fall from office. I have no doubt that, as President, you’ve experienced similar difficulties of your own.”

    Despite all her own self-discipline and focus, Honor nearly blinked at the sudden white-hot explosion of mingled fury, frustration, and something which tasted remarkably like . . . guilt? . . . that roared up inside Eloise Pritchart with her final sentence. It was, in some ways, an even stronger emotional spike than the president had shown when she realized Elizabeth was willing to negotiate after all, and it puzzled Honor almost as much as it surprised her. Most of all, because it didn’t seem to be directed at Manticore or High Ridge. It seemed to be aimed somewhere else entirely, and a corner of Honor’s mind whirred with speculation as it considered the hours of political briefings which had preceded her departure for the Haven System . . . and occupied much of the voyage, for that matter.

    But she couldn’t allow herself to be distracted, and so she continued, her voice as level as before.

    “Her Majesty deeply regrets her inability to call High Ridge to heel, and she’s prepared to acknowledge the Star Empire’s fault in that respect. Nonetheless, she and the current Grantville Government are firmly resolved to move forward with a prompt resolution of this conflict. If it can be resolved over the negotiating table, the Star Empire of Manticore is prepared to be as reasonable as circumstances permit in order to achieve that end. As an indication of that, I’ve been instructed to tell you that the only two points which the Star Empire will insist must be publicly and acceptably addressed in any peace settlement are the question of precisely who falsified the diplomatic correspondence between our two star nations and why, and a public acknowledgment of who actually resumed hostilities. The question of reparations must also be placed on the table, although the final resolution of that question may be open to a later round of negotiations. It is not, however, the Star Empire’s intention to insist upon cripplingly punitive terms, and Her Majesty hopes it will prove possible to completely regularize relations — commercial, scientific, and educational, as well as diplomatic — between our star nations as part of the same negotiating process. Manticore desires not simply an end to the killing, Madam President, but a beginning to a peaceful, mutually advantageous relationship with Haven based upon mutual respect, mutual interests, and — ultimately, at least — mutual friendship.

    “If, however, it proves impossible to negotiate an end to hostilities in what Her Majesty considers a reasonable period of time, the offer to negotiate will be withdrawn.”

    Honor met Pritchart’s gaze squarely, and her voice was unflinching.

    “No one in the galaxy would regret that outcome more than I would, Madam President. It’s my duty, however, to inform you that if it happens, the Star Empire will resume active operations. And if that happens, the Royal Manticoran Navy will destroy your star nation’s Navy and its orbital industry, one star system at a time, until your administration, or its successor, unconditionally surrenders.

    “Speaking for myself, as an individual, and not for my Star Empire or my Queen, I implore you to accept Her Majesty’s proposal. I’ve killed too many of your people over the last twenty T-years, and your people have killed too many of mine.”

    She felt Javier Giscard’s death between them, just as she felt Alistair McKeon’s and Raoul Courvoissier’s and Jamie Candless’ and so many others, and she finished very, very softly.

    “Don’t make me kill any more, Madam President. Please.”

Home Page Index Page




Previous Page Next Page

Page Counter Image