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Dead Man's Hand - Family Values (Chapter Cover Art) 1

Chapter 13[]

Dead Man's Hand: Family Values[]

Zenith Jump Point
Kowloon System
Bucklands Province
Lyran Commonwealth
24th February, 3058

"I'm sorry, gentlemen, but it looks like you've made a wasted journey." Midshipwoman Linda Seether did her best to sound sure of herself, even if she was actively using her suits waste recycling system.

At seventeen, she was still technically a cadet at the Coastguard Academy, on her first shipboard tour. And yet there she was, standing before a Clan Wolf... Clan Wolf-in-Exile, she corrected herself, Star Colonel in full dress uniform, complete with genuine wolf pelt cape and ceremonial mask... and the living legend that was Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Allard of the famed Kell Hounds mercenary regiment. They didn't have to try and intimidate her: they achieved that simply by existing, and it was only the very genuine fear of what her instructors back at Spider Moon would say if she screwed up that was maintaining her poker face.

"A 'wasted journey'?" the Star Colonel asked with that all too perfect accent all Clannners seemed to share, "Please, explain."

"Yes, please do." Allard added with a polite nod.

"I'm sorry, but I have official orders, signed by the Duchess herself, baring any members of the Clans from entry to the Kowloon system." Seethers held up her data-pad for the two men to read, "I'm sorry, but you'll have to wait here until this ship leaves, or you can book passage on another JumpShip headed out-system."
"I have been sent by Khan Phalen Kell himself..." the Star Colonel started, but Allard held up a hand, then produced a sheet of very official looking paper.

"We are traveling under the authority of Duke Morgan Kell, as his duly appointed representatives." he passed the paper to Seethers, "As such, we request and require that you allow us passage to the surface of Kowloon, where we will meet with Duchess Ngo ourselves."

"That certainly looks official." Seethers read the note, then pressed a button on her data-pad, "Duchess Ngo thought something like this might come up, and prepared a response." She took a deep breath, and started to read the text on the screen, "From, Elizabeth Ngo, Duchess of Kowloon. To, Morgan Kell, Grand Duke of Arc-Royal..." she hesitated, then steeled herself for what was inevitably going to follow, "Go ****** yourself, you traitor spawning son of a bitch. Stay the hell out of my system."

The Star Colonel looked ready to pop a blood vessel, but fortunately, his companion was more level headed.

"Well, that certainly sounds like something Liz Ngo would say." Allard sighed, "Message received and understood."

"Gentlemen." Seethers bowed her head, "Have a safe journey back to Arc-Royal."

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