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

Chapter 37[]

Dead Man's Hand: Family Values[]

Dinh Ngo Medical Center
Hue, Kowloon
Bucklands Province
Lyran Alliance
22nd September, 3058


Jasmine. The first thing she noticed was the scent of night blooming jasmine.

Next came the all too familiar, steady bleeping of a heart monitor. She'd heard it often enough that she could recognize the rhythm of her own heartbeat.

"So, you're finally awake?" a voice asked, and Liz slowly opened her eyes, surprised to find herself in her own bed, in her room of her house.

"...guh!" she gurgled, unable to form actual words.

"Don't worry, your throat is no doubt still sore from being intubated." the voice assured her, "On the up-side, I can confirm that the procedure looks to have been a complete success."

Liz blinked. Her eyes finally focusing enough to make out the smiling form of Dr Banzai standing beside her bed.

"Yet again, all be it with some help, I have done the impossible." the scientist grinned, "I guess I'll need to clear some space for yet another Nobel Prize."

"I get to go back to prison." Cathy spoke up from the other side of the bed, "Maybe they will give me an extra blanket."

"No." Liz shook her head, "Stay."

"Not possible." Gabriel Bang-Chu stood in the background, half hidden in the shadows, "Scientist Cathy is part of Clan Jade Falcon..."

"Kowloon." Liz croaked, "No slavery under Cameron Star."

"Being a member of a Clan is not slavery!" the implication seemed to have genuinely upset the Star Captain, "She has responsibilities... duties!"

"If I may interject?" Nathan Roshak asked from the doorway, and everyone turned to look at him.

"Star Captain Gabriel Bang-Chu of Clan Jade Falcon, would you consider your mission a success?" he asked, directly.

"...aff." she nodded, still defensive, but unsure where the conversation was going.

"Indeed, under your direct supervision, two firsts have been achieved. Clan Jade Falcon has acquired a legacy of the Great Father's line." the former Star Colonel continued, "A legacy that includes someone who I think everyone presents would agree was one of the finest MechWarriors to ever live in Natasha Kerensky."

"I have met many great MechWarriors, and I can name maybe two would could have fought her on an even level." Dr Banzai offered.

"Add to that, you have overseen the impossible: The treatment of an ailment that even the Star League, at its height could not overcome." Nathan Roshak added, "Even the abjured Wolves can not make the same claim, but instead had to enlist the aid of an outsider from the Inner Sphere..." he turned to the scientist, "No disrespect intended."

"None taken." Banzai waved him off.

"You have done what many would call impossible, even for a Bloodnamed warrior of Clan Jade Falcon." Nathan Roshak continued, "Now... you have the possibility to add a third victory to your mission."

"Explain." Gabriel Bang-Chu sounded intrigued.

"Scientist Cathy is a prisoner in Blackheath, Quiaff?"

"Aff. Life imprisonment for conducting unsanctioned experiments."

"Then she is a net drain upon your Clan, her current mission aside, quiaff ?"

"Aff."

"But, what if she could at not cost to Clan Jade Falcon, once again prove an asset?"

"I do not understand." the Star Captain admitted.

"It is often said that the first step on the path to true wisdom is admitting that you know nothing." Nathan Roshak smiled, "Allow Scientist Cathy to remain on Kowloon, and I am almost certain that she will be offered a place teaching at Nha Tranh University. In which is set to become one of the foremost seats of learning in the entire Inner Sphere. There she will be responsible for educating the best and brightest minds from across the Successor States. Educating them from the prospective of the Clans. Of Clan Jade Falcon."

A look of revelation came across Gabriel Bang-Cho's face.

"There is a phrase I have learnt since arriving on Kowloon; take the win." Nathan Roshak stood with his hands open, "If Cathy wishes to stay on Kowloon, let her. Go back to your Khan with the legacy you were sent for with the news that a Jade Falcon did what a Wolf could not. That you have a voice in the ear of planetary leaders for generations to come. Take the win, Star Captain, for the truest victory of all is one where you never have to fight."

"You have made a compelling argument, Nathan Roshak." the Star Captain turned to face her charge, "Do you wish to stay?"

"I can do good... good things here." Cathy stuttered, amazed that she was even being consulted, "I can do research... pure research with a set end goal. There is so much I can learn..."

"Take the win." Nathan Roshak repeated.

"I am probably overstepping the bounds of my authority, but there is another old saying: Who dares wins." Gabriel Bang-Cho nodded, "Scientist Cathy, you are released from you oaths of loyalty and fidelity to Clan Jade Falcon. It is time for you to spread your wings and chart your own destiny."

"Excellent choice. It would have been a shame to have to kill you." Nathan Roshak admitted, "Scientist Cathy, did you ever earn...I believe the term is, a 'labname'?"

"Franklin." The Scientist nodded, still trying to process what had just happened, "I was once known as Cathy Franklin."

"Dr Cathy Franklin." Liz managed a weak smile, "Welcome to Kowloon."


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