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Chapter 19 - Important People[]

The Royal Palace
Tharkad City
Tharkad System
Lyran Commonwealth
September 3097

[Archon's ball...]

"...I've read some interesting reports, and some of them don't make sense." Andrew said, filling a cup from the punch-bowl and offering it to Amanda.

"What kind?" she asked, accepting it.

"Oh...let me see...a junior officer fresh from the frontier showing up and angering one of the largest industrial concerns in the Commonwealth by taking it on herself to continue work that was stopped."

"True-to a point.  I wasn't doing anything that wasn't in the book, sir."

Andrew nodded, "I know, it very nearly gave Max Haranshire a heart attack, his screaming tirade at my father was hilarious."

"I have a question then, aaaaand I can't really ask the Admirals." Amanda said, "WHY?"

"Oh, the delay? that's politics." Andrew told her, "It seems there are a number of interests with fingers in some interesting pies, and for whatever reason. They want us to scrap much of the fleet.  Bring it down to parity with the other major nations.  Father is even reviewing a treaty to that effect."  He poured his own cup, " not a fan but, a lot of influential people in the Commonwealth are."

"Seems counterproductive." Amanda noted.
"I agree." he said, "We're stronger than we've ever been. Maybe that is our undoing-success has let powerful nobles forget the failures we've had to endure.  the problem is, we need the peace faction."


"That because there are factions that are pushing to open wars on our borders, Amanda.  Groups calling for war against the Free Worlds League and renewed offensives against the Clans. Those people are calling for a repudiation of the Blair Atholl accords, the Kowloon Protocol, and they're popular.  We need the Peace Faction as a counter-balance."

"I'm so glad I'm not stuck doing politics." she said, "I would hate having to address that mess."

"You don't think you'll have to?" he queried with a raised eyebrow.

"Patrick's going to inherit. I get to finish my active duty five, and then I can go be a Shipper or set off as an explorer." she said, "Nobody dragging me into no-win situations where it's cuddle up to the people you don't trust because the others are worse."

Andrew looked grim, "What if doing that is the worst possible thing to do?" he asked.

"I can't tell you. You're going to be Archon someday.  I don't envy anyone stuck with that.  I'm not going to be Duchess, so I can still follow my own path, which I intend to do.  My ideal outcome is a good ship under my boots, and open sky ahead."

He sighed.  "I wish I could go." he confided, "I won't hesitate to tell you, I envy anyone who can take their own path."

"Make the path your own? That's what Dad used to tell me when I was going to be the heir instead of my brother." she suggested, "Maybe instead of reacting to external forces, is to create your own internal force and bend them to follow?"

"Sounds vaguely totalitarian." he told her.

"Might be, I'm not a good advisor."

"Can you dance?"

"Uhm, I..." Amanda embarrassed began to respond

"I'm not a great dancer myself, shall we?"

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