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- Hegemony - Chapter 6 -

Day 9

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Final Disposition of Helena[]

Day 9
Caesar's Palace, Alphard
Marian Hegemony
November 30th, 3162

Cyrus had made it known he wouldn't be 'working' today. Horace, still in his old rooms in the Palace, had agreed. Neither of them wanted to try pretending it was 'business as usual' as their family's murderers faced a trio of Magistrates and treason charges, but both of them were aware of the need to keep some distance from the matter and keep the decision at arm's length. Dressed in loose, casual clothes from their time at the Collegium, the two of them sat silently on the soft furniture of the Atrium.

I wish Helena could be here, Cyrus thought sadly. But perhaps a clean break would be for the best.

The audience present for the televised ceremony was hushed as the three men entered the Senate chamber; open to the public, the Hegemony's legal courts were normally held in smaller venues, but the insatiable curiosity of the public to know the secrets behind the Caesar's death and the assassination of most of his family ensured the need for a larger forum. Cyrus had been forced to ask that the Senate delay today's deliberations, allowing the throngs of eager Plebs to attend the trial in person, rising from their chairs in a display of respect for the Court.

Patricians and their notable clients, curious, or seeking to ingratiate themselves with the new Caesar stood in silence in the Epitheatron, no better informed but just as still. Unlike the rest of the viewers, Cyrus knew the security forces had been authorized to quell any disturbance by any means necessary, and that those admitted to the Senate chamber had been warned the Caesar himself would be watching, and be… Unforgiving, of any disturbance, let alone the detachment of I Legio visibly armed with automatic rifles or archaic riot shields and gladius.

The simple curule chairs and lecterns were arranged in a semi-circle in the center of the room, the legal representatives of the defendants and the government standing behind tables in a line before them. As the men took their seats, Cyrus got up and walked away to seat himself at his desk. Unable to stay and watch the trial begin, he let Horace watch the unfolding drama while trying to distract himself with business.

"I can't watch it either." Horace said quietly, entering the office to flop down in one of the chairs facing the heavy desk. "I'll bet you fixed the outcome, Cy. What's going to happen?"

Cyrus looked up folder he had been reading, folding it and tossing it back on the desk to slump backwards in his own chair.

"Justice," he said finally, staring back at the younger man. "The Justice Minister assures me there's only one penalty for treason in the Hegemony's legal code, and he's absolutely sure the proof is ironclad."

"And you're going to make them pay it?"

"Yeah," he said, closing his eyes. "Promises of leniency notwithstanding, they can pay it."

"Not worried about being accused of lying about it to convince them to turn on each other?"


"I wish Helena was here to see it." Horace said finally. "I don't understand why she's so angry with you. Maybe if she saw the evidence, learned what happened…"

"I ordered her sterilized before the trial." Cyrus said quietly.

"What?!" Horace jerked upright in his chair, staring incredulously at him across the desk.

"I ordered her sterilized," Cyrus repeated quietly. "I went to her to try and make her see reason, before the trial. She was absolutely poisonous – I've seen her angry before, and she was absolutely livid about everything from not being eligible as Heir to demanding the cooks be punished for not adding a dessert to her breakfast tray."

"When I told her what the outcome of the trial was going to be, she had to be restrained. She had the spit hood added to her restraints because she started spitting on them when they tried to keep her from attacking me. They let her attack and spit on them without touching her until they could get me out of her cell."

Horace hissed in shock, eyes wide and slumped back in his chair again.

"She started screaming she'd be back, leading an army of Periphery and Empire troops to put her daughter on the Dias before declaring her support for [L Alaric's new Star League]," he continued. "So I wasn't going to exile her knowing she would run to the Magistracy to try and carry out her plan without taking precautions. So… I ordered her sterilized."

"Shit." Horace said finally.


Punishing the Guilty

"The Magistrates are coming back in!"

Cyrus left the folders and datapads he had been searching spread out and open on his desk, rising with a feeling of relief that he could put something else behind him. He had actually managed to get something worthwhile done – losing himself in research for the next meeting of the Consilium Securitatis. There was no shortage of corporations across the Inner Sphere in financial distress; whether they were viable or insolvent, many of their approaches to business were flawed in some way. In some cases, they offered advantages to established products or industries but were unable to break established supply chains or expand to a point where they became self-sufficient.

The Meyers had identified a number of ways to identify those companies, and Cyrus was in the middle of approving budgets to outright purchase those businesses or allow for capital investment and relocation to benefit the Hegemony's economy. None of the companies would be involved in groundbreaking or sensitive developments, only a few would be involved in military-adjacent technologies that might be adapted, and most would be simply service providers that had no equivalent competitors in the Hegemony. Cyrus was planning to use the resources available to the government to lure promising innovators to the Hegemony with promises of tax agreements, land grants, and assistance to relocate to the Hegemony to obtain their services – not to mention the jobs and tax income that those businesses would eventually generate.

Finally freeing himself from the process he stood behind Horace, still sprawled on the comfortable chair as they watched the spectators return to their seats from washrooms or just stretching their legs elsewhere in the building while the Magistrates deliberated. More continued to trickle in silently even after the Magistrates had reclaimed their seats, summoning the defendants to stand before them. In short order, Flamen was called and allowed to shuffle forward to stand before them. Any cries of despair or surprise for his sentence was lost as the crowd roared approval and Flamen was quickly removed from the chamber to carry out the life sentence at hard labor in the Germanium mines he had been rendered.

Blacklake, however, was still waiting to be called as the auditorium's main doors opened behind them and a Contubernium of Legionnaires marched to the center of the room to come to a halt before the magistrates. Hearing the commotion and turning to face the marching soldiers, the camera perfectly captured Blacklake's face as shock turned to terror. The officer advanced to stand before the three Magistrates as they rose to greet him; the Signifier remained frozen in place beside Blacklake and his lawyers as the men behind him turned as one to break ranks and gag the prisoner and dragged him roughly from his chair to stand in the front rank behind the Signifier.

The four men conferred for a moment, and the crowd roared its approval as he turned to follow Flamen from the chamber. The Magistrates waited for the noise to fade away as the doors closed, then announced their decision to return the prisoner to military custody to face Legion discipline.

Horace shut off the television rather than continue. Cyrus slapped his shoulder, then turned to return to the office and his paperwork. Now, they had to wait for nightfall to end this once and for all.

Avenging the Fallen[]

Finally, it was time. Torches lit the darkness; a more fitting accompaniment to tradition than technology. A low mound of earth was the only deference paid to the Caesar of the Marion Hegemony and his Imperator as a crowd of soldiers milled around him. Dressed in standard field uniforms, the ranks on their epaulets were the only concessions.

Seeing the naked traitor dragged through the crowd, a path cleared before him and a ring of silence grew until the former Imperator was thrown to the ground before him.

"You said you'd exile me if I cooperated," came the complaint as Blacklake tried to rise from the ground to confront him.

Cyrus picked his moment, taking a lightning-quick step forward to plant the toe of his boot in the older man's crotch, then smashed a fist in the heavy gauntlet of the Legion's field uniform into his face, forcing him to stumble backwards off the mound to lay in the dirt in front of it.

"I LIED!" Stepping off the mound, he aimed another kick at the small of the prone man's back and feeling the satisfying impact, he continued. "Gives us something in common!"

He turned back and climbed the mound again, turning to watch a pair of Legionnaires with cattle prods repeatedly shock him to convince him to climb back on his feet. He was a little shocked to see his younger brother step forward and watched the naked man flinch, trying to turn aside only for Horace to reach around and slam a fist in a kidney then caught him and kneed him repeatedly in the face. The man's dead weight eventually forced Horace to drop him back to the ground, and he followed Cyrus back up the mound, breathing heavily.

Cyrus waved off the Legionnaires who began to step forward again; there was time to allow him to recover, and the men started to turn from the mound to murmur quietly amongst themselves as the traitor tried to manage the pain he felt. Cyrus was fine with that. He wouldn't feel it for long.

Finally, he waved the Legionnaires forward to goad the man to his feet again, and drew the Gladius at his hip before he stepped down from the mound again to face him with Horace a step behind.

"Any last words?"

Cyrus waited until Blacklake turned to see him before swinging the blade, making a shallow cut vertically across the man's ribs. Blacklake recoiled, and as he cried out, trying to defend himself from Cyrus, gave Horace the opening he was waiting for. Horace made a swift, efficient stab with the short blade; a shallow wound that began to bleed profusely on the opposite side under his ribcage rewarded him, and he stepped forward again to push him off his feet away from the mound towards a group of Legionnaires in worn, soiled uniforms hefting short wooden clubs in one hand.

Cyrus and Horace reclaimed the low mound, and waved back the Legionnaires again; soon enough, it would all be over. Let him suffer before forcing him to his feet again.

Eventually, the Legionnaires were waved forward, and the Contubernium of mechanics and techs he had blamed for his father's death stepped forward. The swings of the truncated clubs were painful, landing on many unexpectedly tender spots but staying well away from the man's head. Without trying to keep him on his feet, the men had to begin bending low to use their clubs as he collapsed on the ground, the hands and boots of his assailants keeping him from curling into a defensive ball as they took turns with their clubs.

The Legionnaires were eventually prompted again, bringing him to his feet again, and the slow passage of the rest of the entire Legion began. The rest of the men were equipped with short, coarse lengths of braided rope, frayed to individual strands. The ropes were nothing to an uninjured man with even minimal clothing; as the night progressed, the threads left him a bloody mess as they were used all over his body, the Legionnaires prodding him back to his feet again and again.

Eventually the last man struck his blow with all the force he could manage over the bleeding wound in his side, and the legionnaires turned him back towards the mound and Cyrus, flanked by Horace and the wrongly accused aircraft maintainers. The circle around him tightened, leaving Cyrus and Horace in the center with him, Legionnaires beginning to sit or kneel as Cyrus drew his gladius for the last time and approached the prone, but conscious man to allow those further back to witness his death.

When the time came, the short stab of the gladius was without warning.

Growing up in shadows of sorrow[]

The sunlight was a welcome change to the Palace lighting, even if he was leading a funeral procession. Marching in Ravagers decorated in the colors of I Legio with the rest of his escorting Contubernium, he was carefully off to the side rather than in the center of their line. The tradition was clear; the surviving family and military escorted the bodies of the Caesar and his family to their final resting place in the family mausoleum in the Palace.

As a compromise, his unit led the procession to the outskirts of Nova Roma, then paused to join Horace in Hegemon's cockpit for the final leg of the journey. Finally walking out of the private chapel with Horace after the dedication of their newly-occupied crypts, the two brothers exchanged a final embrace before separating. Cyrus watched Horace walk down the hall, noticing for the first time the deference paid him by the Staff and Guards.

He's grown up.

Turning to leave for his own Apartment, he had no idea the people he passed considered him a worthy successor of his House.


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