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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 169

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July 3070
Interlude - Bitter Orders

Imperial Palace
Pesht District
Draconis Combine

Theodore Kurita, Coordinator of the Draconis Combine and lord of everything he surveyed stared at the reports in front of him from the front lines and felt nothing but despair. This was no longer a mere war between nations, but a fight for the very survival of his realm and dynasty. He had sorely underestimated Victor Davion's resolve to push home this fight and now it could cost House Kurita everything. For a moment he tried to rally his own thoughts, reminding himself that the Pesht District was still untouched, he still commanded the fresh troops based in the Kessel, Vega, and Buckminster Prefectures who could be used to counter this invasion... As long as he was prepared to risk Clan Ghost Bear crossing the border and smashing their way to Luthien in a matter of months... The brief hope passed and black despair closed in around him again, tightening it's grip on his heart...

The screams of the medical alarms that were now his constant companions drove home that it wasn't merely despair that was causing the agony in his chest. As he fell backwards he managed to whisper a final command as the darkness closed in around him to the bodyguards and doctors who were rushing to his side. "Bring me my son... Bring me Minoru... And my wife..."

Slowly Theodore awoke, what seemed an eternity later. He was in his bedchambers, that much was obvious. He was also heavily drugged, his mind shackled and slow. Around his bed hovered a half dozen of the finest surgeons and doctors within the Draconis Combine, so clearly he had had another heart attack. Although slow, his mind remained enough capacity to realize this one had been serious given the grave faces of the medical staff. Opening parched lips he rasped and coughed, before finally able to speak. "Water... How long...?"

As a tube of water was hurriedly brought, no doubt pre-tested for any poisons by his bodyguards and by the ISF, a doctor leaned forward and informed him that he had been unconscious for a week following the "incident". A whole week. "How... bad?"

The looks on the doctors faces said it all and before one of them could lie and condemn himself the Coordinator raised a finger to summon one of his guards. The ornately armored bulk of an Otomo Warrior was at his bedside in seconds one hand on the ceremonial and yet totally functional Katana at his waist the other on the butt of his pistol. "Your command, lord?"

"If any... of... these... fools utter a single... word... of falseness... kill them. How bad?" Theodore whispered, the water at least having eased his throat.

Glancing at each other, finally the senior surgeon spoke. "It is not good, My Lord. Your heart has been heavily damaged. Perhaps... perhaps a transplant might be the best option available in the circumstances."

"No." Theodore dismissed the suggestion and glanced at the guard. "Send for my wife and son... and Tai-sa Meshune and Tachibana."

"They await your word outside, My Lord."

"Good. Send them in." The Coordinator had expected no less.

A few minutes later both his wife and son entered and bowed deeply followed by Tai-sa Meshune of the Otomo and Tai-sa Tachibana of the Izanagi Warriors. All four were in the uniform of the DCMS. Good. With a hand gesture he summoned them closer and at the same time ordered the medical staff from the room. "Tai-shu Sakade. Tai-sa Kurita. Tai-sa Meshune. Tai-sa Tachibana. Here the words of your lord and obey. I hereby name my son Minoru Kurita as my heir and as Kanrei. I hereby instruct him to seek peace with the Yellow Bird in order to preserve the Dragon. In my name. I order that all loyal officers and men of the DCMS obey his words as my own until I am recovered. I order you Tai-shu Sakade, Tai-sa Meshune and Tai-sa Tachibana to support him unto death against any and all... would be usurpers. Do you hear me? Do you obey?"

Both non-Kurita officers went to their knees and bowed their heads. "We hear you, Lord Kurita. We will obey."

Tai-shu Sakade took her husbands hand within her own and bowed. "Your words will be followed, My Lord."

Minoru Kurita slowly knelt as well. "I will obey, Father. Though your words bring me no joy."

"I do not expect them too. It is a bitter tea to sip, My Son. We have been defeated. If this war continues it will destroy the Combine and our House. That cannot be permitted. You will make peace with Victor Davion. Obtain the best terms possible. Suggest to Davion that if the war continues we will be forced to use more desperate tactics that will only devastate both sides. We must obtain terms however. They will not be pleasant I know. You will do this in my name. So that your own reign is untainted by the peace. I will then... abdicate... and you will rule. You will rebuild the Combine so that one day we might be avenged upon House Davion. Do you understand?" Left unsaid was that Theodore Kurita intended to abdicate no doubt by suicide to cleanse the shame of the peace.

Minoru ignored the kneeling officers, even his own mother, and nodded firmly. "I understand and I swear I will avenge this shame."

"I know you will... If you can, spare Hohiro." Theodore's voice almost broke at the last.

"I will do my best, Father." Which was all that Minoru was prepared to promise. For all his small stature and bookish ways everyone in the room could see the inner strength that those who knew him had always known was there. If anything his time in Clan Nova Cat had only tempered this strength. "He might... resist."

"He will. If he does, he must be dealt with. Yet temper your resolve with mercy if you can. For your mother's and I's sake." Tomoe Sakade said nothing, still kneeling with her head bent as her husband discussed the potential necessity of executing her eldest child with her youngest.

"If he can be spared he will be, Father." Minoru promised.

"Good. It is all I can ask. Now go. Arrange a meeting with Davion. Make peace. Before he tears more worlds from the Dragon's Realm. Tai-sa's, leave us. I wish time with my wife..."

All three officers marched from the room and did not look back as Tai-shu Sakade rose and became Tomoe Sakade. She leaned over her husbands body to stroke his face as both of them wept for what had been ordered here today... For the Combine, for House Kurita and for their family...

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