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The Administator (Chapter Cover Art) Chapter Page - Book 1

Chapter 77 - The Administrator[]

RAF Middleton
Essex, England
Terra System
Prefecture X
Republic of the Sphere
3150

"...we are the ONE state in the Inner Sphere who doesn't want to take what you have, and leave you with nothing."

"Freeze frame." The Exarch, Devlin Stone, snapped. "What do you think, Tucker?"

"She doesn't throw any tells." his aide, Tucker Harwell, stated, "I think she's sincere here-which is puzzling. I can't imagine one of the successor houses not wanting something from us."

"Sure she does, she wants us to leave them alone. That's something, the question is why she wants it. Lester did black her eye good... she dared us to reactivate the fleet."

"No." Tucker said, "She recommended it. Her reasons are completely rational."

"Nobody is that rational, least of all a Ngo. The whole damn lot of them are almost as bad as the Liaos."

'ALmost?"

"No real power." Stone asserted, "at the end of the Star League era, Kerensky held their leash. Then he it passed to the Steiners but, the whole damn family are a pack of rabid guard dogs. Things had to have gotten real bad to put one of them in a job that close to the throne..." he traced the image on the screen, "Without her, Trillian and Roderick would have fallen in line like Julian did. Study that face carefully, Tucker, because that's the face of our real opponent."

"With all due respect, she's negotiating." Tucker said, "We can present a reworded offer, and she's gone-she wants to go be an explorer."

"Liz just wanted to run her business and take care of her planet. Amanda wanted to keep the Quarantine and rebuild the Zone." Stone recited, "Yeah, she wants to run off, and she's not going to." He turned to face his confidante and aide, "It's like their whole line's cursed, Tucker. They always want to be somewhere else, they always want to be doing something else."

"Uhm, yeah?"

"They're always in the way of someone else. Liz wanted to be left alone and ended up establishing the Quarantine, which saved trillions. She wanted to keep things stable and had to send ships and men to help us with the Word of Blake. Amanda just wanted to keep the Quarantine Border and rebuild, and ended up being a thorn in everyone's paw." he tapped the image, "Sharon here? She wants to go chase aliens but, there's a problem and Trillian isn't going to let her go. If we offer a compromise that still achieves our aims? Trillian still won't let her go. If we capitulate, Roderick will convince Trillian to keep this bitch in place-because that's what Peter did with her Grandmother...and look at her eyes."

"I..it's an image, Devlin."

"I know that. Look, if this girl were born in the Draconis Combine, she'd be one of the Coordinator's most loyal samurai, regardless of who that coordinator is. Ngos are..." he sighed, "...Servants. It's like it's written in their DNA somewhere-they're loyal in a way the Fidelis are, only they don't turn when they lose."

Devlin Stone studied the face of the Lyran CNO. "Two choices: Change Trillian's mind, or kill the Admiral. We need that Navy they've built on-side and under control."

"How do we change the Archon's mind? She's using Ngo as her firewall." Tucker asked.

"I guess..." Devlin sighed, "It's time for a summit meeting. I guess I have to go to Tharkad."




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