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Chapter 32 - The Administrator[]

Tharkad City
Tharkad System, Lyran Commonwealth
July 18th, 3143

Sharon stepped off the deck of the Mark VII landing craft in full armor. The area was supposedly friendly, in friendly hands.

The officer who greeted her wasn't, in her estimation, bad looking. "General Steiner." she stopped, and looked around, "I'd salute you but, I don't feel like marking targets, sir."

"No need, Admiral. There's a cease-fire with the remaining Wolf units on-planet." he told her, "They're requesting assistance in leaving. I understand you're to blame for that?"

"They employed insufficient security on their transportation assets, sir." she told him. "Not unusual in these cases of attempted illegal immigration."

"Illegal immigration?" he asked, showing a little amusement.

"Yes sir. That's what I'm writing it up as. attempted illegal immigration into the Lyran Commonwealth, along with domestic terrorism and anything else I can use to explain why a law enforcement agency is out playing Navy, Sir. It was a stone bitch finding the necessary legal precedents to operate this far outside our jurisdictional remit. As an agency of law enforcement, we do have a remit in cases of illegal immigration, and I can show we were invited by legitimate sister agencies. So it's a joint immigration issue. I can probably lay charges of piracy and domestic terrorism too."

"So...thoughtful. Why the cover story?" he asked, "It's kind of unnecessary-"

"No sir, it is completely necessary. The rules of engagement for a vigorous enforcement action are looser than the RUNT allows."

"Victor didn't-"

"Republic Uniform Naval Treaty, sir. I am given to understand that the Archon's successor has a kindly and friendly view of Devlin Stone's little personality cult. If we were here as a military force, conducting military operations, our operations would class under that treaty as a war crime...but the RUNT doesn't apply to domestic law enforcement actions. Hence, the Wolves and their Falcon buddies are illegal immigrants and domestic terrorists, and we weren't working with the LCAF, we were working a joint operation with Lohengrin. Obviously, my people won't have to process the paperwork for pressing charges, since this is Lohengrin's turf and not ours."

"You have an interesting perspective, ahm...Admiral."

"Thank you Sir."

"Is the armor really necessary?"

"It is comfortable, sir." she said, stepping with him up the stairs to the command post.

"You refused Brewer's requests." he noted.

"Brewer was a ****** usurper, sir." she said, "Mutiny is mutiny. It's unprofessional and a mutineer is fit only for throwing out the airlock, sir."

She doffed her helmet as they walked into the complex.

"I take it you opposed our nation's ties to the Republic?" He said.

"Yes sir." she said, "We caught some of his nasty boys trying to blow up the Boojum yard when I was an ensign, sir. I have neither love, nor respect for the Republic."

"Brewer opposed them as well-"

"Vedet Brewer is a mutineer." she said, "Please don't compare me to that sack of shit. He and his collaborators should be lined up and walked out into the black without suits." her tone dripped vehement contempt. "Conspiracy to mutiny and high treason, barratry, abuse of office, high crimes under color of law, shall I go on? My grandmother would have put him on a cross. My Ancestor, Tranh Truk Ngo, would have put him on a stake. I would do the same and sing about my work...but that's politics. The officers that collaborated with him deserve no less for dishonoring their nation, oaths, uniforms, and profession."

"And Trillian, that so-called 'stone lover'?" he asked.

"Is the Archon." Sharon stated. "If she wasn't, I would not follow her, but she is. I don't have to like her politics to follow her orders, I don't have to like her, or you, to be loyal to the nation and to know who gives me my orders. My authority is derived from legitimacy, that legitimacy comes with certain expectations and professional standards. not one of those standards will accept the idea of mutiny as a legitimate means for transfer of authority." She stopped at the door to the inner office, and turned to the General of the Armies. "I am a professional, sir. If I catch someone plotting, much less attempting what that cabal of scum did with Vedet Brewer? I will kill the ones I can't subdue, and charge, try, convict, and execute the ones I can subdue. We are not the ****** Clanners."

"The Archon's going to love you." he said.

"Hope not. I prefer a professional relationship based on respect and the chain of command." she said, "Love is too complicated and has too many exceptions. I have no use for it."

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