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Ian Davion - Golden Lion (Chapter Art)

Ian Davion, Golden Lion[]

Chapter 9 – Mandrinn takes Bishop[]

Scheming in Cathay[]

1/08/3041 - Location: Cathay sector of Solaris City - Solaris VII, Lyran Commonwealth


Tormano Liao walked through the streets of Cathay wearing a mask as expertly tailored as his black Zhongshang suit.  Both had been acquired in the same place, right here in Cathay, and he had need for some new acquisitions.  The man walked toward 'The Perfumed Garden' whose bright neon sign was presently dark during the day but would draw all manner of attention in a few hours.  Tormano walked up to the door and knocked thrice, a burly man in a kilt opened the door.  “De tha thu ag iarraidh?  Mura robh iad fosgailth.”

The mask was very good if it fooled Angus Stout, the former Northwind Highlander, “Tha duil aice rium”

Angus looked over him once more, the big man picked up the much smaller Tormano with a great hug.  “Little brother!  Come on in.  Fine craftsmanship you got on there fooled me even.  The Madame will be in the Jade Tea Room shortly.  Trust you can find your own way there.”

Tormano brushed himself off and stepped into the parlor before removing his mask, “Tapadh leibh Aongus.  Amazed it fooled you even for a short while.”

The large man settled back into the thick Highspire hickory chair and Tormano set off through the main entertaining area where the barkeeps, elegant ladies, and attentive gentlemen were getting ready for their long evening.  One of the waitresses a thin woman with soft skin the color of teak wood intercepted him with a bottle of his favorite drink on a tray which she placed on the table in the Jade Tea Room.  “Xixie ni”  The woman departed with a smile and sashayed out of the room in her tight cheongsam dress with black fishnet stockings and heels closing the curtains behind her.

Madame Mai Shi entered shortly after, despite her biological age of nearly 50 she was still remarkably beautiful in her elegant robes with gold combs in her hair.  Once she was a close friend to both of his older sisters until she became their father's mistress after his second wife Elizabeth Jordan was found to be having an affair with Pavel Ridzik.  The affair unfortunately resulted in both of their untimely deaths due to 'suicide'. Max's fall from grace during the Victoria War and Romano's ascension to Chancellorship and the ongoing uncivil war with her sister had caused her to seek fortune elsewhere.  “Jie Mai Shi.  Ni kan quilai hen hao” ('Older sister' Mai Shi, you are looking well.)"

She leaned over and gracefully poured out two shots of the New Kyotan Imperial shogu on the table, “Tormano, it is a pleasure to see you again.  How is the family?”

“We are well.”  He raised a cup and she did the same, “To continued good health and fortune.”

“To continued good health and fortune.”  Both placed the cups down and she poured another but let it stand for now.  “Tormano I've heard a dreadful rumor about Ian Davion's near death experience at the hands of Photon Brett in The Jungle.  Seems people think you might have arranged some of this...unfortunate coincidence.”

“While I did have access to both men's diplomatic schedules I would never do such a thing.  Just boys being boys.  You should know such things rarely are quite so simple.”

Both drank another shot of the liquor which was rapidly replaced.  “Yet you were recently on Atreus and had a chance to know about the troubled young man, have strings enough to pull for a match, clear the Jungle arena, and know that Ian enjoys the spotlight.  Seems you'd be the perfect man to arrange for such a fate for the Confederation's primary rivals.”

“Unfortunate coincidence I assure you.”

She smiled lightly, “Of course.  It was almost a terrible tragedy.  I hope you bet on Ian.  I did.  He could certainly stop by but I believe his Bishop is keeping him out of perfectly manicured hands.  Think of the publicity for my girls...or boys.”

Tormano sipped at the cup this time rather than rocking it back, “Based on what I saw on Tharkad its definitely girls, Mai.”

“Excellent I should trying spicing young Zena on him.  Those Tikonovians will surprise you...in many ways.”

“I don't think that will work, not unless you have a plan for his minder Bishop Sortek.  Ian may be inexperienced but that man is frustratingly competent when he chooses to be.  Must be in their blood, my father's doppleganger plan would have worked without his cousin Ardan.  Either way that is not what I wanted to ask you about.”

“Oh...why must you ruin my fun, Tormie?  I might still do it anyway.”

“I'm not going to stop you but I do have an alternate target I am trying to get leverage on.”

“And who might this be?”

“ComStar's Precentor ROM Charles Seneca.  He's a League native and I hear that ROM is gathering for a big operation.  I want to know where it is, what they want, and why.

Free Cappela might need some help to turn out the heroes to Ian.  Hanse Davion is not going to stop with the Victoria Commonality not if our young prince charms Corrine Marik.  The Confederation would lose all its allies if that comes to pass.

The Steiners are still rocky but more stable now that Melissa and Thomas are together.  I can cause chaos in the League but only so much before they kick me out.  One of my sisters is going to lose their war and I need support to take down the other one out.  Once that's done I can reclaim the Confederation but to get that done I need COMSTAR to stop prolonging it for their own benefit at the cost of our fellow citizens.”

“Very well, Tormie.  You always were a dreamer.  I will make some calls and get back to you.  Perhaps you would like to meet at your place next time.  Would like to meet Treyhang and little Fengmian.”

Tormano looked at her curiously, “I will bring age appropriate gifts, just because I run the finest entertaining house in Solaris City doesn't mean that is my sole interest,” she looked longingly at a ink painting on the side wall with her name on the bottom right of the canvas, “just the best paying one.”


Meeting at a Bar[]

1/18/3041 - Location: Black Hills sector of Solaris City - Solaris VII, Lyran Commonwealth


Bishop Sortek parked his red Argyle Sunspot electric motorcycle in the parking garage attached to The Pelican Pub.  He secured his helmet behind the seat and next to his pack which had his Class A uniform neatly folded within.  The heavily muscled Sikh bouncer looked him over and found his lower key but trendy enough clothing acceptable but asked for ID.  Bishop presented his military and diplomatic IDs to the man.  “No weapons inside even for you Major.”

Bishop handed the man his matte black Serek 7875 sidearm and its holster then man looked him over.  “Got a knife or club?”

“No, just a flashlight...and my hands.”

The man let a small smile break his gruff exterior, “Enjoy the Pelican Pub, Major Sortek.  Your pistol will be right here and I'll keep an eye on the bike.”  The man walked over to a series of small lockers with tab keys on them, pulled one out and handed it to Bishop who put it into one of the discreet pockets in his pants.

Bishop pushed his way through the walkway where there were a few private booths to conduct 'business' of all sorts.  The club was packed inside with the huge tri-vid projector mounted at the center of the circular bar throwing colorful images of dancing forms against the massive glass dome above.  2D Screens showed sporting matches from across the Federated Suns and by request elsewhere.

Patrons occupied the dance floor in a variety of outfits ranging from neon bright against the black lights to almost non-existent.  Bishop didn't get out much so his outfits while trendy and well-fitted were no quite as daring, that and he wasn't a big fan of dancing he was here for the Markesan League's Football Championship.  He walked up to the bar and caught the eye of the attractive barmaid who was wearing very little but enough.

 “What'll it be soldier?”

“That obvious, huh?” answered Bishop

“Well most of our clients don't keep their hair high and tight unless they are active duty.  I like it though.  What can I get you?  Kinda busy tonight.”

“I'll take a Talcott Tan and a menu.” he told her

“Sure thing, hun.” barmaid answered as she left get his order.

The woman returned with a brown ale from his birth-world of Talcott, the quaint world known primarily for being one of the largest providers of the advanced Aerospace engines used by the AFFS' fighter craft.  He moved his beer to one of the quieter corners to watch the football game just uploaded to the FSBS from the hosting world of New Valencia.  Fellow fans were wearing the colors of the New Valencia Wildcats or the Northfield Bloodhounds.  Bishop didn't care who won but it was going to be a good game and he needed to relax after spending all day working at the Sortek building to get clearances to League space and new orders from New Avalon.

A young woman in a fashionable black dress sat next to him, she smelled pleasant far better than the sweat and spilled spirits of the other Pelican patrons. “Oh wow!  I made it.  I thought I was going to miss the opening play.”

Bishop idly opened with some innocent banter, “Any favorites miss?”

She leaned over and pushed her honey brown hair back to reveal the face of a pixie with bright hazel eyes that caught the bright light of the screen, “I'm a Wildcat fan.  Name's Helena.”

“Bishop.  Nice to meet you.”

“You too.  That's a neat name.  I don't think I know any other Bishops.” She patted his head, “Where's your hat?”

Bishop cracked a rare smile at her silliness.  “I'm not that kind of Bishop, Helena.  The only Miter I have is a saw.”

Both of them laughed she more so than he, “Do you know how to use it?  I was thinking about remodeling a loft here in Solaris City.  I don't typically stay in one place very long though so it's probably not worth it.”

Bishop wasn't paying any attention to the game.  He was fixated on a different one but still wary of this woman's sudden interest in him.  “I know the feeling.  I live out of a duffel bag and a cramped footlocker.  It is a rare treat to not be wearing green.”

“I'm sure you look quite handsome in it.” she told him

“Maybe.  Can I get you a drink?” Bishop asked

“So sweet of you.  I would love a whole bottle of Tequila but I'll settle for a shot of Alegre, if they have it.  It's been a long day.”

“A woman of fine taste.  Lime juice?”

“Is there any other way to enjoy Alegre.”

“Not that I know of.”

The waitress worked her way around and Bishop ordered two shots of the higher end Tequila with Lime juice.  Helena held her glass the light of the screen refracted in the clear liquid within.  “What shall we toast to, Bishop?”

He looked at her thinking for a second.  “To shorter days...and longer nights.”

Her meek smile was replaced with a larger grin.  “I like it.”  She downed the shot and lime juice chaser, “Let's take a bottle to go.

Bishop did the same, “I have more back at my place.  You'll have to ride on the back of my bike though might be a rough ride.”

“Practice makes perfect.  Let's get out of here.” she told him with enthusiasm.

Bishop's red Sunspot peeled out of the garage with two helmeted passengers aboard.  The bike white-lined it all the way to the Davion Arms condo that was reserved for visiting VIPs and was hastily parked on the manicured grass outside the door.


Aftermath of a Soft Ambush[]

01/19/3041 07:58 Location: Black Hills sector of Solaris City - Solaris VII, Lyran Commonwealth


Zena Usyk aka Helena Blair woke up after a fun night next to her mark Bishop Sortek.  Her vision was still blurred from sleep and tequila.  An empty bottle was probably somewhere on the floor under their discarded clothes, Bishop's bag, and her counterfeit designer purse.  She blinked it clear and went to the bathroom to get a cup of water.  As she got up she could hear Bishop groan and attempt to stand.  She returned with water and aspirin for both of them.  She covered herself with the sheet and sat up, he didn't bother, typical man.  “Been a long time since I've done that.”

“Me too.”  She took a long drink from her glass, “You poor thing; your Commander not let you out to play much?”

“He needs constant adult supervision.”  He did the same, “Every time I take my eyes off him he gets into trouble of interstellar magnitude.”

“Well at least that's exciting.  My work is typically boring.” she said

“What do you do anyhow, Helena?”

“Better to talk about it over breakfast.  I need a shower.  You probably do too but you can get it afterwards while I fix my hair and nails.”

“You go get cleaned up.  I'll make breakfast.  We both seemed to work up an appetite last night.”

She dropped the sheet and worked her way tantalizingly slow to the shower using the door to cover everything but her face, “But it was very satisfying.”

Bishop waited until she turned on the shower and not receiving another invite put on shorts and worked his way to the kitchen.  Zena washed herself quickly and dried but left the shower running.  She peeked back into the bedroom and finding Bishop not there worked her way to her purse.  The sound of cooking and rock music from the Federated Suns could be heard from the bedroom doorway which she closed.  “Time to get to work.”

Zena opened up Bishop's bag and pulled out some of the papers he received at the Sortek building yesterday as well as his ID cards.  Using her phone she snapped pictures of the IDs of 'Sortek, Bishop Gambit.  Major AFFS' as well as new orders received from New Avalon.  Ian was cleared to leave for Augustine by the end of the week.  The Augustine that was the current location of Thomas Marik's baby sister Kristen, and her new baby Alys.  Gifts were to be brought and a photos taken of the dashing young Prince making nice with the Mariks.  “Saccharine but you can't go wrong with the classics.  Showing up at a friend's wedding, for the birth of a baby, and comforting the family of an ally during a state funeral for one of the best leaders in their time.  All very cutesy.”

She rifled through the bag and found a noteputer with a classified sticker on it, “What are you bringing with you?”  Zena was no hacker but she did have a datacard with some scripts on it from StIMI and MIIO acquired via moles working with Tormano.  She pulled out a tin of mints and opened the false bottom to reveal the card which she inserted into the computer slot.  The worms didn't seem to work they might backdoor onto something else though which would be sent to Mai Shi.

“Helena, what kind of jam do you like?”

“Damn, no time to mess around with it though.”

She pulled the datacard out and put it back in the container which she placed in her purse before returning to the bathroom and turning off the shower.  “Whatever you have is good, Bishop.  Just finishing up now.  Five minutes.”

Bishop Sortek waited seven minutes for her and she arrived wearing a white sleeveless blouse and gray skirt with tan sandals.  He hair was in a messy bun that still framed her face nicely.  “You had all that in your purse?”

“Why did you think I carry around such a big one?  What else would I carry in it, fancy gadgets?  Skirts fold up small, these sandals are really thin but comfy, and I don't need sleeves in this subtropical climate.  A proper lady always needs to have a change of clothes.”

The table was set with a fine quick breakfast of bacon, toast, and eggs, two jars of jam were out as well as a metal tea kettle with presently full cups.  Bishop held the chair out for her, “Please sit.”

She smiled at him, “Why thank you kindly sir.”

Bishop sat down opposite her in the breakfast nook the mid-morning sun was beaming through the window to the side of them.  “Where did you put your dress?”

“It unfortunately tore last night.”

“Sorry about that, don't know my own strength.”

“It was going to go out of style soon anyway.”  She spread some jam on the toast, “You can keep it if you like, as a trophy.”

“That's not my style.  Get a new one on me.”


Helena looked at him with amusement, “That could end up costing you more than you are willing to pay.”

“I'm good for it.  Make it another date?” Bishop asked

“I didn't realize we were dating now.  Thought it was just a fling.” Helena commented

“I've only got another week on world figured I'd make it count.  That is if you are down for a few more long nights and nothing long term.”

“I'm also shortly about to leave town for a new job on Augustine.”

Bishop couldn't hide his interest, “What do you do, Helena?”

“I'm a contributor for a faith based e-zine.  There's a columnist opportunity in Troy on Grecian that I've been vacillating upon but I think its a good one.  I hear the world is beautiful and calm, very different than this one.”

He stirred a sugar cube into his tea while looking at her, “When do you leave?”

“Ten days till liftoff, have it booked through COMSTAR already.  Will require a few shuttle transfers that will take me a little longer than a direct jump route but I don't have the money to route there directly.”

“What are you doing today?” asked he

“I didn't have anything planned, Bishop.  Don't you have work to do?”

“Light day actually.  Can finish up early this evening.  I have all afternoon and night free.”

“Why don't we have a shopping date then.”  She leaned across the table and undid one of the buttons on her blouse, “I'll try on dresses and you see if you can get them off...without tearing them.

Unless you want to of course.

Its your money I'm just in it for the fun.”


A Friend who was late to Work[]

01/23/3041 - Location: New Avalon Technologies, Black Hills sector of Solaris City - Solaris VII, Lyran Commonwealth


Ian Davion walked through the cavernous Bays of NAT like he had done every morning for the past few months.  The eight Red and Gold mechs and four sleek Corsairs Aerofighters of his guard unit were still arrayed but they were packing up.  VEST Engineers milled about checking the diagnostics of the pieces of equipment they upgraded and panels were open for inspection.

Ian stood at the feet of the rebuilt Golden Lion, not only had he installed the new laser but it got a new paint job courtesy of a Solaris body shop based on the poster art from his special.  The Marauder's front showed a Golden Lion with his paws on a Black Eagle.

His personal tech Vance hopped down from the scissor lift and took off his gloves hanging them off the heavily loaded belt of his green jumpsuit before taking his AFFS issued cover off and fanning it for a bit.  “You know I hope you never get in another fight Ian; but if you do make sure it’s somewhere with some good artists.”

“I hear Tamarind has some good artists.”

“Don’t push your luck, Ian.  At least not while I’m still around.  Already put in a lot of overtime putting Golden Lion back together.”

“I guess so.  Have you seen Bishop lately, Vance?”

“He’s been sparse this week.  Mykah only has a little bit to do on Jumping Jack.  That Penetrator is new undamaged equipment and all.  It’s not like she needs his help that much. As long as he changes the coolant regularly she won’t care unless he gets into a fight.”

“I haven’t seen him in days, he’s been keeping weird hours and staying at the Davion Arms condo at night rather than Starlight.” Ian told Vance

“Did you try calling him?” suggested his Tech

“He still calls me I just haven’t seen him.  Think he’s upset over something?” Ian said

Vance sat down in the rolling chair and moved it to the Marauder’s leg access panel as he pulled out his diagnostic computer. “Or he’s found a local piece (woman).  Good selection on this planet; not that I have been taking full advantage while we were fixing your mech.

Almost makes our unscheduled stay worthwhile.  Just gotta stay out of Cathay, the 'massages' are good but the prices are high even for the level of service.” Vance told his Prince

“You’re probably right.  Just strange it seems like I’m missing my own shadow.”

“I'm sure he's fine.”  He slapped the prince on the shoulder, “You're doing great, kid.  I'll keep you out of trouble.”

Ian let out an incredulous laugh that echoed off the walls and drew the attention of the few remaining VEST Engineers, “You!  Oh man.  I'd rather try my luck playing Mahjong at Tormano Liao's than trust you can keep me out of trouble.”

Vance feigned a wounded look, “That hurts me deep.”  Patting himself on the chest, “Right to the core of my being, Ian.”

“You'll live.” Ian told him

“I might need the embrace of loving woman to heal however.” suggested Vance

“I'm sure you'll find one.”

Vance handed him the diagnostic computer, “Or two.  You can finish up here, Ian, everything that needs to be done is on the computer, should be an easy night.”

“Where are you going?” Ian asked

“Viewpoint.  Got a hot date and only a few more days on world.”

“Fine...have a good time.”

“I will.  Chin up Ian. We're heading out soon to see you potentially lovely teenage bride to be.  I can have some fun then it will be your turn.”

He put his motorcycle helmet under the crook of his elbow, “Keep it clean, Ian.”

BattleMech Hangar

Mechbay

Ian looked at the to do list on the diagnostic computer, there were few things he couldn't do on Golden Lion after learning under Vance.  That didn't make all the duties pleasant ones and Vance typically saved at least one unpleasant task for him to keep him humble.


Lovers Bidding a Fairwell[]

01/26/3041 - Location: Solaris Spaceport, International Zone - Solaris VII, Lyran Commonwealth


Ian Davion and the crew of the FSDS Valor had been busy the past few days reloading the now steaming spheroid Union dropship.  A contingent of blue clad Solaris Authority's Gendearme and a Copper SecurityMech were on hand to ensure that nothing unauthorized was loaded onto the Prince's vessel.  If something was going to go wrong it wasn't going to be on their watch.

An Aurochs 8x8 heavy cargo truck rumbled past him.  Its internal cargo bay and the trailer it was carrying were the last of the supplies his unit was loading up for the next leg of his Interstellar cruise.  By oh six hundred he was going to be lifting off heading toward a Jumpship that would take him to Free Worlds League space. Heading toward the planet Augustine where the Captain-General's little (half-)sister was about to welcome the next Marik in the already heavily extended family.

He looked at his watch '04:40' and went over the checklist again, “Where the hell is Bishop?”

Twenty minutes later he was still on the tarmac while the crew finished up final preparations.  A small car worked its way across the Tarmac heading his way, the diminishing SAG contingent intercepted it but after a short inquiry waved it through.  The vehicle stopped a short way from Ian and another man in a green jacket and casual clothes stepped out followed by an attractive brunette.  He opened the trunk and grabbed his bag before the woman came over and gave him a long kiss before returning to the car.

“Sorry, I was late, Captain Davion.  Slept in.”

“Easy to do with a woman like that I suppose.  What's her name?” Ian asked

“Helena, from (Novaya) Zem(la).”

“Glad you had a good week, Bishop, been missing you buddy.”

“Well we have some time to catch up while en-transit to Augustine.  You didn't get into any trouble while I was away did you?”

“Not enough to get a headline.” said Ian

“Well keep it up, Ian.  We only want good news headlines.” Bishop commented

The woman lowered the window, “Au revoir, á beintõt l'amour.” then blew him a kiss.

“Je t'attendrai, Helena.” she rolled away and the rest of the SAG contingent followed her.

“What did she mean, Bishop?”

“I'll tell you in the Valor.” he told him as boarded the DropShip.


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