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Chapter 16 - Important People[]

Tharkad City
Tharkad System
Lyran Commonwealth
September 3097

[Gagnon's continues......]

"Are you certain you won't try the heels?" Laura asked.

"I am certain." Amanda said, "I don't want to feel like I'm about to topple over and hit something."

From the next room over, a man with frameless glasses and nonexisting hair came in wearing a shirt that was more ruffles than shirt.  "Ladies, Ladies! This is the Duchess Ngo's child!"

"Of course, Gagnon!"

The nervous, fidgety man said, "There is a certain decorum and impugning her father is not part of it!  Laura!! Fetch the wine, and a nice plate of refreshments! Margi, begin preparing the hair-bath!!" He stopped, and regarded Amanda, "I do apologize for the rudeness of my daughters. They are used to a certain kind of customer. They have not had to contend with your mother for many years!!"

"Uh, apology...accepted?" Amanda half-asked in response.

"Baroness Von Oosten, if you please. Henri will be with you in a moment for your final fitting."

"Amanda's with me this time, Gagnon."

"As if that would make it better?" the man fussed, then turned to Amanda, "The way of dealing with a Ngo, your mother, and by your resemblance. I suspect you, is to begin with asking what do you want?"

"um...I...they said mess-dress is appropriate or a ball-gown, but I've not worn a dress since I was five." Amanda said.

"Ah, we are getting somewhere!" Gagnon smiled, "The earring-is that something you wish to wear?"

Amanda hesitated, "I...yes." she said, "I earned it, when my ship was destroyed in combat and I survived."

"Then, we shall begin with finding the most fetching way to display it, like any other hard-earned medal!" he said.

Amanda decided she liked this nervous, fussy man far more than his assistants.

"You will need to wear something other than a skinsuit." he said, "Sadly, while the rest of the lines no doubt flatter your figure. The helmet-ring is quite...prominent and makes it a bit like wearing a MechWarrior's coolant vest and shorts to a formal occasion. I do believe I can find a compromise, if you are willing?"

"What does it involve?" Amanda asked warily.

He waved and a hidden holotable lit, giving a halfway decent image of herself.

"I have patterns for the Kowloon Coast Guard's wet-naval dress uniform. The Marine ground service dress uniform as well...and the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces Mess-Dress."

The holoimage Amanda split into four variations.

"Where'd you get these?" she asked.

"I have worked with your mother since she was a teenage girl." he said, "Though she does not find many reasons to visit Tharkad these days, her staff still keeps me updated on everything she might wish to purchase on her infrequent trips to the core."

"It's duty." Amanda decided.

"Yes." Gagnon said, "Which service is your primary?"

"Coast Guard Naval." Amanda said, "Navigation department."

The other images vanished. Leaving a crisp uniform with high collar and buff white 'sam browne' belt and polished low-quarters.

"It's not vacuum rated I'm afraid. You can't wear it in the front seat of a fighter." He told her, "However, it is authorized under LCAF and LCN regulations, I have the patterns and materials in stock, and we can have it ready for you in time."

"The swagger-stick?" Amanda asked, "I-can I substitute something?"

"Well, of course, what do you have in mind?"

"A crowbar." she said.

The nervous little man smiled '"and claim it's a dress uniform item?"


He giggled like a little girl, "Yes!  You are certainly your mother's child, Amanda, with your subtle subversions!"

"A Crowbar?" Irena asked from her place across the room.

"They give Mechwarriors sledgehammers." Amanda said primly, "It's not like I'll be the only one in the room with a melee weapon."

"I want one now!" exclaimed Irena

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