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Can you tell me where we can start again (cover art) Chapter Art

Chapter 66[]

Can you tell me where can we start over?[]

Hue City Airfield
Kowloon, Lyran Alliance

This time, the meeting was in Hue itself.  To the north and west, the Ia Drang plateau looms tall-2000 meters higher than the surrounding foothills and as large across as Texas on Terra.  From Hue, less than 20 kilometers away from the base (and just across the 2 Kilometer wide river) it is an impressive sight, moreso because of the massive waterfall and the Ia Drang Terrace, which are visible if a bit further north.

"Hue was originally established in the middle of the First Independent Century as a secondary transport hub, and as part of the effort building Highway Two."  Elizabeth was giving them 'the tour'.  "Later it was an important city in Kowloon's Republic, as a hub for domestic trade with the agricultural lands on top of the Plateau, trading lowland crops and fruit for highland grain.  The City didn't become really 'important' until after the destruction of Dinh Diep in 2729. Thats when the Rim Worlds Garrisoned two divisions here, and played host to SLDF joint exercises in 2735."  she gestured east, away from the Plateau, "You can see the old barracks and 'mech hangars-or at least, where they were.  Some of that is now industrial park and some of it is completely abandoned, but from 2730 to 2753 Hue was the Rim Worlds Republic's administrative center on Kowloon, while slave laborers built Nha Tranh out on the open plains of the Eastern half of the continent."

She folded her arms, and turned to Star Colonel Roshak, "If you win, you'll be in possession of one of the most beautiful urban areas on Kowloon-as long as you don't look straight north at the former administration housing.  Then it's the ugliest city on Kowloon.  Star League Brutalist apartment blocks." she pointed, at buildings Nathan, at least, found quite familiar-the same shapes and configurations make up most cities on most worlds in the Clan Homeworlds-Star League era prefabricated utility block buildings, suitable for emplacement anywhere.

"The rest of the city is nicer." she assured him, "That area was the compound built for the Rim Worlds Authority administrators and the 13th Rim Worlds Regulars by the SLDF engineers in 2730."

The view here was quite good, and she led them to an overlook on the terraced city, pointing at a gossamer like structure arching over the Little Yangtze.

"Highway Two bridge." she said, "Our ancestors hanged quite a few Rimjobs and collaborators along its length during the '68 revolution.  See where the span arches highest?"

"Aff?" Nathan asked.

"That's where they dangled Governor Bin Hawi, the man who oversaw the work camps." she smiled as she said it, "The story is, his neck didn't break when they pushed him over the rail and the rope went taut. Which is fantastic, when you consider it was holding up a two hundred kilogram man by the tension in his neck muscles.  Witness reports say Slaver Bin Hawi died of dehydration six days later, and that they left the corpse hanging from the bridge until it rotted enough to fall into the river."

"That is dark." Nathan noted.

"He oversaw a system that worked over a million people to death and sold their children as slaves in the rest of the Republic." she stated, "Hanging was too good for him.  His three wives hid in the fortified part of the city until the SLDF arrived, they were among the first to seek asylum with Kerensky's soldiers." she turned to meet his eyes, "Probably because they knew how safe they would be, without Star League protection on Kowloon. you know what you're buying."

"Highway two, still goes to the top of the Plateau, Quiaff?" Nathan asked casually.
"Yes." she said, "It's still a major route between the Plateau and the East side of the continent."  she raised a finger, pointing, "Up there, are the Ia Drang falls, terminus of the Blue River, and if you look very carefully you can see the Terrace.  The view from there, is also spectacular, especially in springtime.  from there, this whole side of the valley is mist and vivid greens, the rainforest in the mid-season between wet and dry looks amazing from the Terrace."

"Why did you keep the capital in Nha Tranh? This place is beautiful." Nathan said.

"Biggest space port." she stated.  "The Largest space-port, close to the HPG station, and all the infrastructure was already there.  There's a smaller one that serves Hue just to the Northeast, and it's inside your proposed property line-that one is left over from when Hue was being used as the administrative capital and it's mainly maintained as a secondary safe landing for ships bound for Ia Drang's port at Canyonside."

"My Khan has reviewed your proposed terms and finds them for the most part acceptable, save for an additional clause." Nathan told her.

"What's the clause?"

He extracted a PADD, "Read it yourself.  Our Scientist caste love a challenge."

She read it.  " way, uh-uh. I will not be a lab rat!"

"Well, I suggest you win then." Nathan told her, "As it sits, this is not a bondsman status, but instead, it is a voluntary commitment status for medical treatment. The Clan has submitted sufficient and correct documentation to the Lyran Alliance Court on Melissia. Which is Lyran again...and Adam Steiner has agreed to move forward on involuntary commitment if you refuse, see the attachments."

She checked the attachments.  "That son of a-!!"

"Keep in mind, this only goes into effect if you lose." Nathan told her.  "It is legal in both the Lyran Alliance, and under Clan law." Nathan continued, "We are not monsters, Duchess. If we can not cure you, we will alleviate your suffering in a manner you consider 'decent'...and with dignity.  Consider it a...concession for a successful negotiation."

She glared hotly at him.  "If you weren't so-EUGH!!" she pulled out her cigarette case, and extracted one of her dope cigarettes, lit it, and drew in a deep drag. " I want to win this."  she shot Henry a glare, "You did this, didn't you?"

"I did not." Henry said, "I admit to being pleased by it.  You are my little sister, I love you. I do not want to see you die horribly if something can be done to stop it."

Her scowl deepened.  "Term Accepted."

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