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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 106

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January 3069
The Coordinator and First Prince

"Enough Victor. You've made your point." With 6 simple words Theodore Kurita opened the discussions between himself and the First Prince of the Federated Suns. Considering how many months of effort it had taken to set the meeting up, how many units had been moved to provide security for this dead system, how many advisers had had to be cut out of the meeting to keep it practical and in some regards informal, it didn't seem like a particularly impressive opening salvo. However the words were said with total conviction. Unfortunately perhaps too much conviction. Instead of the Coordinator's hoped for conciliatory tone there was a hint of the order about it and he knew it.

Sitting in the hurriedly built dome which had been constructed for the meeting which lay exactly half way between his own Colossus class command dropship and Theodore's older modified Overlord class command dropship Victor reflected that the 2 regiments of troops in orbit and the crews of the half dozen warships would be shocked at the informality between the 2 men who were from longstanding rival houses. The preparations for Operation's Bird Dog and Bulldog however had led to the himself and Theodore becoming more relaxed in each others presence. While things had become strained between them since, at least this last vestige of their former alliance remained. Which is why he responded to the older man without any of the usual political phrases that were becoming more and more natural to him as First Prince. "It's not enough, Theodore. You have seen the holo-vids from St. Ives. Kai and almost his whole family dead. An entire city destroyed and it's people massacred..."

"The work of his sister! Not Sun-Tzu! You can't destroy the whole Capellan Confederation because of one crazy bitch!" Theodore snapped, uncomfortable with that line of argument given that he had seen the footage of St. Ives.

"I can. I think that's the whole point of this meeting. I can destroy the Confederation and you know it. What you are asking me to is not too... To hold my hand. Let's admit that at least between ourselves." Victor fired back.

For a second, Theodore struggled to fight down the anger at the arrogance displayed by the younger ruler. He had once almost considered himself something of a mentor figure to a man that might have been his son-in-law if things had worked out perfectly. That time was past, but it was still hard to hear the total self assurance in the tone of the younger man - worse to know that he wasn't wrong. All of his own analysts agreed. If the war continued it could now end only one way: with the total conquest of the Capellan Confederation by the Federated Suns. Which was anathema to the long term safety and security of the Draconis Combine. Forcing himself to nod he ground out. "Yes. You can. But you shouldn't."

"Why not? Because it makes my realm stronger? Because it removes a threat to my borders? Because it finishes the job my father started 40 odd years ago? Or because it weakens the position of the Combine in relation to my own realm? That's the real reason you want me to stop Theodore, let's not pretend otherwise. You want me to leave a viable ally for your own realm on my other border as a threat to the Federated Suns... And that argument is hardly one I'm going to see much favor in!" Victor leaned forward, his eyes flashing with fire. "There won't be any more St. Ives. My children won't face the threat of any more mad Liaos sending assassins for them. Nor will my subjects. I'm going to end this Theodore... Be sure of one thing, Sun-Tzu Liao will go down in history as the last Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation!"

There. It had been said. What Theodore Kurita had hoped to avoid having to discuss. But to the older man's credit he didn't shrink from the argument. "Fine. Your right. It does benefit my realm to keep the Confederation as a viable state on your border! But think of it this way - you are destabilizing the balance of power within the entire Inner Sphere! Risking a Fifth Succession War! All because of your hate for Sun-Tzu! Is it worth that? Trust me Victor, this isn't worth it!"

A cold laugh wasn't perhaps the answer that the Coordinator had hoped for. Victor leaned forward and something inside him almost visibly snapped. "Trust you? Why would I trust you, Theodore? After all... You lied about Omi and my son. Kitsune. Yes... I know about Kitsune "Kurita". I believed your lies when you told me them. But my intelligence agencies are remarkably competent. They soon discovered the lie you hid from me. That I have a son. One you were raising as a full blooded Kurita. I KNOW!"

Theodore recoiled in horror at the revelation that Victor knew and at his roar across the table! He knew! All his careful arguments seemed to blow away in the face of the fury in Victor's eyes now. Before he could speak Victor continued. "As for risking destabilizing the Inner Sphere... Risking a Fifth Succession War? There's no risk of that. Right now this war is between the Confederation and the Suns. The only way it could escalate would be if another party was to join in... Is that what your telling me, Theodore? Are you really prepared to go there?"

Fighting past the greying of his vision and the pained tightness in his chest Theodore almost growled with the shooting pain surging through him. "I am the Coordinator of the Draconis Combine. I do not answer to you Victor! I will do what I must for my realm... As I always have. Regardless of the cost! Do not force my hand on this!"

Victor stared back levelly at the older man, sensing in some way that Theodore was in pain perhaps ill and for a second his resolve flickered and the words of question formed on his lips, but then he remembered Curtis's single grainy picture taken at long range of a small boy playing in the Imperial Palace on Luthien and his resolve slammed back into place. Standing he looked down on the Coordinator and shook his head. "I'm not forcing your hand, Theodore. You are trying to force mine and it won't work. If you decide to stand with the Butcher's of St. Ives that blood is on your hands... I'm fighting to end such massacres. Not save their perpetrators. Throw your lot in with the Liaos if you wish... But this isn't the War of 3039. Be careful what choices you make. They will have consequences."

Before Theodore could master the growing pain in his chest to respond the First Prince turned and strode from the small room they had been meeting in, leaving him to stare at the closing door in the bleak knowledge that he had failed...

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