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Ian Davion - Golden Lion (Chapter Art)

Ian Davion, Golden Lion[]

Chapter 15 – Sunburn[]

Carthage Hill[]

06/28/3041 - Location: Carthage Hill - Atreus, Free World's League

It was high noon and bright light reflected off the fish pond and onto the face and green formal uniform of Ian Davion, Prince of the Federated Suns.  The young man was presently thinking about current events.  He so wished he could get a real time HPG link to his father on the other side of the Inner Sphere.

An authoritative voice of an older man came from behind.  “You come to us at a difficult time, Prince Davion.  The Inner Sphere is in its standard state of turmoil once more.”

Ian turned and saw the horribly scarred visage of Thomas Marik dressed in a sharp black suit with purple accents.  “Apologies, Captain-General.  I was not expecting you here.  Everything I read tells me you are quite busy with parliamentary proceedings relating to the Capellan Confederation.”

“Paul is doing an adequate job of managing the diverse interests of the Free World's provinces without me.  He's admittedly not the sharpest but apt enough and still in his prime.”

“Its a difficult job being Captain-General sometimes I like to take walks in the park, but I normally disguise myself when I do so.”  He framed his face with his gloved hands almost certainly burned or replaced by well crafted cybernetics along with other parts.  More than five years ago his nephew and cousin attempted to kill him with a bomb and almost succeeded, they had paid for their failures with their lives.  “I wanted you to see the real me however, a bit broken perhaps but unbowed.  Your father however has gotten us in a bit of trouble.  His occupation of the Confederation is flirting with a COMSTAR interdiction.”

“I understand that you were once a member of the Blessed Order Thomas and likely believe their claims are credible but MIIO will reveal in time that the AFFS was not responsibility for the atrocities on Zanzibar, Huric, and Turin blamed on them.”

“War is an awful thing young man but so is politics.  This Capellan situation is growing out of control.  It is why I invited Mandrinn Tormano back to my capital.  It is my hope that with both of you here that we might come to an agreement.”

“He tried to kill me on Solaris.”

Thomas did a grim impression of a smile, “That seems a bit of a stretch, Ian.  If I remember correctly my nephew Photon was the one that was facing you in the Arena and you beat him in a quite spectacular fashion.  Even if that is true, you'll get used to it.  I had to.

My own cousin did this to me attempting to seize the throne.  Well Executive Seat of Parliament.”

“How did you not just put him in front of a firing squad when you returned?”

“The Order taught me a few things, one of them was that not everyone needs to like you all the time to be useful later.  He died all on his own with no blame or shame on me.

That is a remarkable necessary skill on Atreus, one day an MP will try to challenge you to a duel, a week later he needs something and is willing to deal.  You'll learn a lot if you stay here for a while.  Far more than on that decadent icy hell of a world, Tharkad.”

“I picked up a few tricks courtesy of the Lyrans.

Learned to ice skate, tried several different forms of dance, some experimental cuisine...”

“Experimental cuisine you say?  Why don't we talk about it on a walk together.  Perhaps Paul will even join us if I can separate him from that Regulan Derick (Cameron-Jones).  Persistent that one but its in his blood.”

“I didn't have any other plans today.”

“Perfect, then let me give you a personal tour of the City of Atreus.  Might need a few props and a change of clothes though.  You stand out in that uniform.”

“That was the point, sir.”  Ian looked down and pointed out some of the fancy embellishments that separated this one from standard issue, “This is a bespoke uniform straight from the tailors of Guthrin Reihe in Tharkad City.  Feel it.”

Thomas shook his head at that request, “I think not, Ian.  Might want to stick to black here, I don't think your red hair will work well with purple.”

“I agree.  It is close to the bottom of my favored colors.”

As they walked beyond the villa they saw the purple banners flying off the Atrean Parliament.  “Well you will have to get used to it.”

"I think that might be the hardest part.  I can take the blood sucking nobles." Ian looked at the clerks and other League citizens in the Punic Plaza outside Parliament.  He spotted a gorgeous woman following the Canopian ambassadress also a stunner, and put his sun glasses on to dampen the bright light.  "At least they get some sun here."

The Blue Mirror[]

07/05/3041 Location: Modré zrcadlo (Blue Mirror) - Atreus, Free Worlds League

Prince Ian Davion stepped off the yacht and onto the plank before looked back across the straight to Atreus City.  Its grand buildings reflecting on the perfectly clean water that separated the city from his current location.  The area was known as the 'Mounds (of Cash)', a series of privately owned and built artificial islands connected by air or sea just a short way to the Atreus City Aerodrome or Cothon.

Before him was the island known as Blue Mirror for its distinctive shape, the 'handle' was elevated and looked toward Atreus City.  Presently he was in the 'mirror' a perfectly serene cove protected by a sea gate that smelled of wildflowers.  The shores of the island were patrolled by soldiers of the 343rd Federation Jump Infantry.  They were part of the Davion Light Guards sister unit to his Heavy Guards so he expected jokes would be made on his behalf concerning weight and he prepared ones in advance about them.  A trio of men approached him, two were in light suits while the other was in a dark one.  “Ambassador Zibler, pleasure to meet you in person.”

The brown haired man in the dark suit bowed as did his guards all showing off the AFFS standard buzzcut.  “Pleasure is all mine, Prince Ian.”

He looked at the boat that Ian had come in on as porters were unloading things from it and another small boat, “Afraid things are still a bit of a mess inside.”

“Sorry to make you move all of a sudden.” Ian told him.

“We'll get it done by day end tomorrow, Your Majesty.  Your room will be top priority.

Thank you for improving my living conditions dramatically.  The main Zibler estate on Euclid is not nearly as nice as this one.” Ian commented

“Well IrTech never does things in half measures.”

“We got a lease on this estate and the plans for the GM Three Seven Five XL engine.  All for an improved large laser?”

“Well the Mariks do love their lasers.  We also got a good deal to buy out Irian's Marauder tooling.”

“What am I even here for?” the Ambassador asked

Ian patted the man on his back he was only slightly older than he.  “Cheer up, Damien.  I can't win them all by myself.”

“I should hope not, Ian.  What a drag living on this beautiful island without responsibilities would be.”

A dark haired tan woman exited from the small 6x6 utility vehicle walking down the pier with a walk worthy of a model.  “Ah yes.  Speaking of beautiful.  This is my wife Justinia.

Justinia meet Prince Ian Davion.”

She spoke with a heavy accent almost Canopian in nature but not quite, “Thank you for accepting our invitation, Prince Ian.  It is our honor to host you while you are on Atreus.”

“At least here I am not drowning in purple.  The sun should do me some good.  Augustine was far to hot most days and having separate men and women's beaches is just cruel.”

“You get used to it.  I am from Paradise, best place outside the Magistracy to vacation.”  She pulled her brightly patterned jacket closed, “This is almost cold to me.”

“Well then lets get you in the sun-room dear.  We'll show you around, Ian.” she told him

“Lead the way.”

Parliament of Worlds[]

07/06/3041 - 09:58 - Location: Parliament of Worlds - Atreus, Free Worlds League

“Speaker, I once more put forward my request to annex Westerhand!  We cannot allow the continued unchecked flow of weapons as well as the mercenaries and pirates to wield them into the Capellan Confederation.  It is only a matter of time before this spirals out of control and we are drawn into a larger conflict for which we are not prepared.”

Paul Marik stood at the podium in lieu of his brother Thomas today, the bookish man did not quite have the stage presence as his older half-brother or sister but was unflappable despite the sometimes heated rhetoric exchanged on the floor. “Mandrinn Liao has once more assured me that will not occur Duke Orloff.  Such an action will throw more fuel into an already overheated situation.  Regardless as is your rights Is there any support amongst you for this motion that would declare war on the Capellan Confederation?”

The only member that enthusiastically raised her hand was the young Duchess of Andurian Dalma Humphries.  Her outspoken realm had just been given its seat in Parliament back only this year but had not forwarded a motion yet.  'Prince' Kirc Cameron-Jones also offered his support, but the motion failed to carry.  Ian Davion stood in the observation gallery behind blacked out bulletproof glass; sometimes Parliament became a contact sport.

Ian had spent the past week familiarizing himself with the arcane rules and traditions of the Free Worlds League and was astonished it even worked sometimes.  Unlike the rest of the Successor States the Free Worlds League was a Republican state rather than a constitutional monarchy like the Federated Suns or a dictatorship like their perennial rivals, the Draconis Combine.  Thomas Marik had introduced some changes that gave the Executive Seat, traditionally held by a member of the Marik family greater flexibility in actually getting anything done.

“Just like last week.”

Ian turned to see Mandrinn Tormano Liao, whose sisters were busy tearing up their realms while he lived in exile behind him wearing the standard sharp black Zhongshan suit.  His arm was in a sling, “Mandrinn Liao.  What happened to your arm?”

“One of my sisters' people almost got me earlier today.  Fortunately I don't go anywhere without an armored car and armed security.  Fortune favored us.  Everyone is fine.”

“How about armed?” Ian asked

“Your security man searched me if you are curious.  Hardly a fair fight any how young man.”

The man sat in the chair next to him, “Maybe at one time.”

“I don't know about that, Tormano, I was on the pistol team at Albion.  Still keep in practice.”

“Its not my style anyway.  I think of myself as a Warrior of Peace.  I don't want my children to inherit a doomed realm.”

“A noble goal Tormano, but one that always seems elusive.  You said something about this happening every week”

“True on your first point.  I am not terribly surprised you didn't look up the video history of Parliament to understand the people in it better.  The young Duchess of Andurian is showing support to Andel Orloff because she has been attempting to get an engagement to his son and heir, Alfonso.

The Andurians rogue attack on the Confederation resulted in massive loss to both her Duchy and their allies the Magistracy of Canopus.  With the Defenders of Andurian disbanded as punishment for their rebellion she needs protection from the resulting spillover of the Confederation's Civil War.  Duchess Humphreys needs a political and economic ally to rebuild her realm.  The Orloff Grenadiers are the finest soldiers in the Free Worlds League's provincial militaries and are regularly brought in to decisively open or close a battle.

Duke Cameron-Jones also offers his Regulan's support to their cause as push back against Thomas Marik's attempts to centralize power in the hands of the Executive.  The Regulans have long chafed at the Marik's attempt to tie their hands and prevent them from fielding a larger military capable of offensive action.”

“Who do they want to attack?” asked Ian

“That is a good question, young man.  I think they just like showing off their might to the other provinces.  Kirc and his kin are more bluster than brawlers however.  I don't think the Regulan Hussars have ever deployed outside the Duchy's borders.  During Anton's revolt they even fought amongst themselves.

Probably going to make a move on the Rimward portions of the Confederation.”

“You know you could be a bit more decisive, Tormano.  You being here and not in the fight is detrimental to the resolution of the Civil War.”

“You would have me prop up your occupation of my family's worlds.  I think not, young Prince.  Your AFFS is out of control I'm both happy and terrified that the ComGuards are stepping into the gap.  I trust you ever so slightly more than them.”

“My father's intervention was justified Mandrinn.  The Chancellor attempted to double my father and worked with Micheal Hasek to harm the Federated Suns.  Turnabout is fair play.”

“So you think that excuses the double agent that seduced my sister and turned her against my family.  Your father started this War, Ian, and I think he prefers to keep it burning while he deals with the Dragon despite the horrific cost it has inflicted on my people, and yours.

Think about that next time you send him an HPG.”

TThe Mandrinn's Meeting with the Director[]

07/08/3041 - Location: Ryal City - Atreus, Free Worlds League

Mandrinn Tormano Liao sat on the balcony looking at the sun rising over the Partheon Sea.  The breeze was fragrant and strong enough to press his black silk robes to his body.  Smooth sapphire waves crashed over rough white rocks behind which were the manicured lawns and gardens of vacationing Parliamentarians.  It was a fantastic view like the Adriatic Sea on Terra or so he had heard, one day he would make it to Terra although it would have to wait for COMSTAR to be defeated.

He stopped a moment and poured a clear liquid from a crystal decanter into two glasses, “Director, you've come a long way from Tikonov.”

A tall lanky man with black hair and a wolfish face was waiting just inside the sliding glass door.  He walked forward and stood in front of the exiled son of Maximillian Liao.  “Where's the family Tormano?”

“Spending the night at a friend's house, Alexi.  They still think I am in Atreus City.”

Alexi pulled one of the well-finished wooden chairs from the table and sat facing Tormano.  “I appreciate the professional courtesy.  How did you know I was promoted to Director?  I doubt even some of my people know yet.”

Tormano handed the man one of the glasses of alcohol.  He moved with pained slowness and Tormano could see bruises on his arm, “A little bird told me.”

“This bird needs to shut its beak.” Alexi commented

“Did you kill Lord Sheng, Alexi?” Tormano asked

The man downed his glass in a single gulp, “Hell no!  I told Quintus and Hanse we shouldn't do it.  Justin died on a battlefield in his mech he knew the risks.  They didn't treat him any different than any SIAC soldier.

Quintus' went rogue and blew my cover.  Hanse had to cut him loose, now he's rogue with Candace.

ROM sniffed me out and too many Rabid Foxes died to get me off that world. Now Romano is fighting dirtier than ever before and Candace is pushing the First Prince's resources to the limit.

We can't afford an interdiction!  Not with the Dracs circling the Draconis March.”

Tormano refilled the other man's glass from the decanter, “What brings you to Atreus then, Director Mallory?”

“I want your help and am prepared to offer mine in exchange.  How long have we worked together, Tormano?”

“Thirteen years.  You know I refused to let the Capellan Confederation be a client state of New Avalon's why does MIIO keep bothering me?”

“You damn well know why.  Candace is out of control and she has Quintus Allard in her corner.  Romano gets more unhinged by the day and has ROM on her side.  We need you to step up and you can have us in your corner.”

“I can handle myself well enough alone, Alexi.”

“Really?” Alexi asked him

“Yes, dammit! Tormano told him

“Hanse Davion started this, he should act to finish it or accept the consequences for his inaction.  He sent this all in motion he needs to stand up and put a stop to it for real.  Yet he hasn't been seen in two weeks.” he told Alexi

Alexi sipped at his liquor, Vodka from League space wasn't quite as good as from Tikonov but it was good enough.  “Alright I'll tell you a secret, Tormano, Hanse Davion is not well but, improving.  I know you talk to Prince Ian regularly you had best not be speaking venom into his ear.

The First Prince would not appreciate such behavior.”

“Only the truth raw and unfiltered.  He's a smart young man in that he listens and judges.  Without Bishop beside him he's had a rough time accepting his place as just another pawn.”

“He's at least a Knight in Hanse Davion's board.  You're a Bishop that just so happens to turn colors every other round for advantage.”

Tormano smiled and sipped at his drink, “Well I do spread propaganda and take the most efficient path so that seems fair.  I'd like to think of myself of at least a Rook.”

“You will have to accept being a Bishop, Tormano.  Well like I've said I need your help and we can help one another against ROM.  I know your looking for dirt on Precentor Senaca.  He's a fast riser on the seniority track but immensely skilled for a League originated Spy.”

“They don't make them like they do in the Mask.  Fair enough we can call it a truce for now but you have to begin to withdraw support for Candace.” Torano told him.

“Quintus took a lot of our best people with him to StIMI, I can get the First Prince to par back our support for her and refocus it on the real threat.” Alexi informed him

“Finally!  Alexi, why don't you stay and play some chess with me while we discuss our future partnership.”

“Which color are you flagging this time, Tormano?” he asked Tormano

Tormano smiled a wicked smile at the man who looked disconcerted in its wake, “I think I shall go with Gold and Green.”

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