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Chapter 34 - Important People[]

Royal Palace
Tharkad System
Lyran Commonwealth
November, 3097

[Palace complex, Tharkad...04:30 hours...]

They'd found a set of staff-only corridors.  There were a few dead people, and blood on the walls and ceiling.  Amanda didn't want to think about what she was stepping over, or in, as they reached the medical wing's kitchens.  She really didn't want to think about what might have been contaminated by the matter left over from someone's free use of a heavy needler in here.

"Why'd they kill the staff?" Irena was horrified.

"Staff pose a threat," Amanda said quietly, selecting a few choice slicing and carving knives from a polymer knife block.  "They know the palace better than the guards, if they're not cooperating with the coup, they're a potential source of intel, leaks, or a means of enabling a counter-move."  She noticed her emotions were blank.  It was a familiar feeling, she'd felt it before, the numbness inside.

A quick search revealed cooking oils and cleaning supplies that weren't damaged by the attackers.

"What are you doing?" asked Irena

"We need force multipliers," Amanda said. "Cooking is chemistry, and chemistry is often just cooking.  Listen at the door, we don't want to be disturbed until I'm done."

"What are you making?" Irena questioned

"Something unpleasant," she said.  "I'm not a very good cook...but I know chemistry, and how to make a nice mess.  Did you know the standard LCAF field uniform is only fire-resistant? And only when it's fully closed?  Lots of points of entry, there's a reason Marines wear skinsuits even on surface deployments.  I'm making... something unpleasant."

Irena had grabbed an enemy comm, and was watching the door while listening.  "They're coming through here soon."

"Good." Amanda added a potent, industrial grade degreaser and antibacterial cleaner, and lit the burners.  "Gas... nice, Patrick would love to cook on this one," she commented, then grabbed a bottle of cooking oil, punched a hole in the cap, and started laying a path. "Which door?"


Amanda pushed two more heavy ten liter oil bladders up against the doorway.

"They don't come with their own independent air, either," she commented.  "Let's go out the east door."

"What will happen?"

"Fire suppression is halon based, since fire in the palace needs to be put out quickly, and areas have to be isolated?"


"There's going to be a cooking accident in three minutes, follow."  The two hurried to the east door and slipped through.

"So?" Irena questioned

"So, this doorway and the one on the north side are standard units, powered types, in the event of a fire the bulkheads drop, room fills with halon, which displaces oxygen," Amanda explained as they headed past stored foods to a fire stair.

She stopped, and pulled the pin on a portable extinguisher, foaming the floor here before tossing it into the wall of foam.


"Well, big grease fire exacerbated by toxic fumes, the doors will drop, including ventilation," Amanda said.  "Trapping them inside the room-it's why they used Needlers.  Halon goes off, right?" She finished cutting the alarm's line on the emergency door.  "Ooh, nice, Halligan tool...anyway, Halon displaces oxygen, infantry gear doesn't come with it's own oxygen supply, and with the fumes, that cleaner is nasty stuff, heat it to vapor and it'll go right through most military grade filters, eats them, so the soldiers going through that kitchen will see a fire happen, and then be trapped, I hope, whereupon they suffocate...  But to make sure they're trapped..."

She pushed the fire-door closed and wedged the Halligan tool under it, to prevent it from opening.  "Let's go upstairs."

She knew she'd feel it later.  Not the aches or the bruising, but the emotions.  It had been the same when dealing with the Blood Spirit refugees early on.  Feeling grief, or fear, or anything-she couldn't, so she'd learned to be numb and focused.

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