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An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court (Chapter Cover Art)

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Chapter 22 - An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court[]


Owning Up[]

The Fox's Den, Mount Davion
New Avalon, Federated Suns
October 2nd, 3029


Early afternoon

General Hodges arrives at Mount Davion and is subsequently conducted to the office of the First Prince. Other than Hanse Davion and Minister Justin Allard, those present are a number of the First Prince's staff officers; the matter under discussion was how to better-integrate the territories won from the Capellan Confederation. As Hodges enters, one on the staff officers is concluding his summation by saying "in total, the AFFC took half of the Capellan Confederation's territory and half of it's industrial capacity; the Federated Commonwealth now has the largest industrial base in the Inner Sphere."

Just then, Hanse Davion looks up from his desk and says "Good afternoon, General. Operations told me you were coming, and that you had 'CRITIC' information to present to me..."

"Yes, sir; I do. Before I present it, I must ask that only you and Minister Allard be present to receive it; also, I ask that the room be sealed and that all recording devices be turned off."

A look of curiosity crosses Hanse Davion's face as he replies "very well; you've piqued my curiosity." To is staff officers, he says "that will be all for today, gentlemen." After the men leave, Minister Allard locks the doors form the inside and turns off the office's surveillance systems.

"Alright, General; I have done as you asked. What could be so important that you felt these precautions are necessary?"

With an enormous, self-satisfied grin on his face, General Hodges replies "Your highness, I am pleased to report that my campaign of psychological warfare against Romano Liao has been successfully completed."

"What do you mean, sir?"

"Only this, your highness"

Hodges hands Minister Allard the data disk; he slots it into a player built into the First Prince's desk and hits the start button. As the video starts to play, their eyes go wide and their jaws drop wide-open with amazement. Very soon thereafter, the room echoes with great thundering bellows of laughter; in particular, Hanse Davion is laughing so hard that his sides are beginning to ache.

"So that's what you had in mind when you asked me to give Romano Liao safe conduct to New Avalon and back again? I don't know what's more unbelievable; Romano Liao submitting to you, or you getting away with what you did..."

"Your highness, do you recall those tow instances back on Terra where Rommie and I had our little 'tete-a-tetes', as it were? I told her that she was acting like a spoiled, petulant child, and that she should be punished as such; well, that's just what I did. By giving her what she deserved, I wormed my way into her mind so deeply that she'll never, EVER be rid of me; from now on, regardless of whether she's asleep or awake, her thoughts will be consumed with the image of my happy, smiling face and my hand coming down on her hindquarters."

"Indeed."

A pause, then "May I suggest that you show the disk to your good lady wife and make further arrangements to show it to Archon Katrina as soon as possible? I think they'll find the subject matter to be of interest.."

"I'll show the disk to Melissa tonight. As for Archon Katrina, I don't know when I'll be able to show it to her. As you said, the video is of great importance; if it were to be sent to Tharkad via HPG, it would be in Myndo Waterly's hands before the transmission was completed..."

"Your highness, I have a feeling that the Archon will be coming here sooner than you think?"

"What makes you say that?"

"Sir, now that the business between Romano Liao and I has been concluded, I'll be asking Kym Sorensen 'The Question'. I would ask you for the honor of standing as my best man, and that Minister Allard be one of my groomsmen. Furthermore, as Archon Katrina will be invited, I think it only appropriate that she and your wife act as bridesmaids."

"General, for all that you have done for the Federated Commonwealth, I would be honored to do so, and Melissa would be delighted to accept; I don't think that Archon Katrina will hesitate at all in accepting the invitation."

"Thank you, sir. I do have one more request to make before I go."

"What's that, General?"

"I'll be sending an invitation to Luthien, asking that the Coordinator come to my wedding and that he also be one of my groomsmen. Given the honorable dealings that I have had with Kurita-sama, I think he'll be pleased to accept."

The First Prince grins and says "That can certainly be arranged. I'll say one thing, General; you certainly don't do things by halves, do you?"

A return grin, then "no, your highness; I don't?"

"Do you have a day in mind for your happy occasion?"

"April 2nd, 3030 sounds about right; there's a great deal to be accomplished before then."


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