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Chapter 82[]

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

Elizabeth House
Nha Tranh
Kowloon, Lyran Alliance

So many irons in the fire now.  Elizabeth found that she couldn't pull the 20 hour workdays anymore. She had to delegate more and more, and it felt a little like losing track from time to time.

There was moving out of the old Ducal Palace. Turning it into a University, that project had been done by 3060.  What hadn't been done, was getting a close look at what she'd set into motion there. Not with the politics, national politics, military happenings, raising armies, funding defenses, and all the rest.

"Three bedrooms?" Nathan asked.  "One might call this austere."

"One should know better." Liz reminded him.  "One of the major means the Archons have used historically to keep the coffers of their nobles drained is hospitality.  It's a lot easier for someone like Katherine Steiner-Davion to do that. If there's a Ducal Palace with barracks for guards and ballrooms to host receptions.  It's a lot easier to just 'expect' opulent receptions if there's a gymnasium-sized area to host them.  Three bedrooms and a garage, a living room, and a basement, isn't nearly as easy to squeeze the retinue of a House Lord and their hangers-on into...but if we need the space, well...there's a backyard, and a common."

"Security? access to staff and administration?" he inquired.

"Every house in this development is owned and lived in by a member of staff." she told him, "The buildings look like stickbuilt homes, but they're closer to AFFC bunker spec. The storm drains double as fighting positions and are ALSO to bunker spec. The whole housing development is wired with networks. All tied together for communication, coordination, and information, there's a red-line to the HPG compound and a Blue-line to the Militia command. There are both passive and active defenses scattered around in the greensward-the development's the fortress, only without being an easy target to get trapped in. I've got at least nine escape routes and plans if we suddenly get a regiment dropped on us."

"Privacy?" Nathan asked

"Non-existent by position." She told him, "Only the paperazzi will have a harder time surveilling it, and enemy infils will be spotted a lot easier. Quicker since there's no 'secret' passages for them to lurk or visible guard posts to evade. Just roving patrols on irregular schedules, people with homes, gardens, and families close by that provide a constant motive for vigilance, and regular patrols by cops.  I should remind you, your own Khan demonstrated what a monument to stupidity it is to bunker in a fixed position. Expecting walls and guns to keep you safe while you don't move."

"And when the Archon is insistent on hospitality?" he asked.

"There are hotels." she shrugged, "His staff can stay in town, or on the military bases. if he insists on staying the night, that's what the guest room is for."

Nathan's grin turned to a deep laugh. "You are devious."

"You're marrying devious, dear." she said.  "You've been close-lipped about guests."

"Well..." he shrugged, "I presume I will be opening more of the former military structures on the east side of Hue."

"Ooh, dish?"

"Inspection tour by the Khan is scheduled for the same week as the wedding date." he told her.  "I was told to prepare for a possible visit by an allied Khan from the homeworlds, but she has not been clear on who...which I was informed I should inform YOU that diplomacy will be in the offing."

Liz's frown deepened.  "Funny.  Adam said I would need to prepare for a visit by the Archon for the same week, and that 'diplomatic talks' would be on the agenda.  I warned him that the University is set up on the site of the old Ducal Palace, but he didn't seem to mind."

"I hear a rumor that one of your warships has returned to the system." said Nathan

"The Golden Lake." Liz confirmed, "Back from a three month patrol that turned into a year long campaign. They're in the refit shop and the crews are on liberty for the next thirty days. After which, I'm pinning a bunch of medals on a bunch of my sailor. Some of whom have issues with being planetside, which means I have to take my pregnant ass up on a shuttle with a really soft-hands pilot, and then pin them on the lunar base because, you know, Jumpships aren't great for fetal development, and our babies aren't gonna be sickly or deformed, dammit."

He rubbed her tummy and wrapped an arm around her from behind.

"You're entirely too fascinated with this process, Nathan." she said.

"I got in trouble." He said.

"I got you into trouble." she grinned.

"You're the one who is 'knocked up'." he said to her.

"And you're the father." she teased, then looked back to kiss him.

Their lips met.

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