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Chapter 60 - Important People[]

Guest Barrack
New Capetown Star System
Lyran Commonwealth
Early 3098

Morning.  Amanda had gotten used to the way worlds with only a single sun have such short rotations.  Her natural inclination was a 30-hour cycle, not 24 like New Capetown or Tharkad, and some of that still filtered through despite training to adapt to what the bulk of humanity considers 'normal'.

"Good visit with the folks?" she asked cautiously when Irena came in at 01:30.

"Ja... You left early." commented Amanda

"It was... uncomfortable.  Sorry I put you through it."  Amanda sipped the local excuse for coffee, and continued doing paperwork at the small table in the hotel room.  "I should've asked, I had no right putting you in that position, or leaving you behind like that."

Irena flopped into the other small chair, stinking of distilled alcohol and some undercurrent to it.

Amanda looked up.

"Well, you didn't know, now did you?" Irena said.  "Relax, Mum minded her manners and I left shortly after you did."

"Where were you then?" Amanda inquired.

"Out with people," Irena said.  "Tried hooking up with a girl I knew in school..."

"Ah." Amanda lowered her eyes to the Padd display as she continued pretending to work.  "So... hookup?"

"Failed," Irena said.  "She was interested.  I found I wasn't."

Amanda was silent... and then, "We can be off-world by tomorrow afternoon if you want, but we're stuck in-system for another week.  Our ride's getting a replenishment and we're supposed to hook up with fleet elements.  I've been studying schedules to find a space-available flight that's sooner."

Irena reached across the table, and put a finger under Amanda's chin.  "Look at me," she said, gently raising her friend's chin.  "What did my father tell you?"

"He told my why you stayed away." Amanda said quietly.  "I had to leave before I made a scene.  I didn't want to embarrass you."

"How sweet.  I'm not that fragile." Irena told her.  "But it's sweet you got angry for me...  I know your family's reputation, Amanda, so I'll tell you this once, 'kay?"

"Okay." answered Amanda

Irena's bloodshot blue eyes locked Amanda's, "Nobody gets crucified for it, all right?  I still love my family, Amanda.  Nobody gets nailed up or spiked.  Understand?"

"But they-"

"I mean it," Irena told her. 
"You're my friend, and you care, and you're angry over what they did to me before we even met, but it's not your business.  Am I clear?"

"Yes.  Clear," Amanda said quietly.

"It's funny, I didn't think I would be the one who had to talk you down. We can stay the week.  There's more to my hometown than an... unfortunate story from my past,"  Irena told her.  Then she said, "And if you keep this berry light going all night, I'm going be quite cross, you two-suns freak!  Get to bed.  We're going shopping tomorrow, and dancing tomorrow night."

"Geez..." Amanda straightened, "You... really?"

"Jah, really!  Go to bed, I'll be turning in after you so you better go to sleep, makkah."

"The danger posed by the Lyran refusal to disarm can't be understated.  For three centuries, the Inner Sphere's leaders have been in a continuous war of domination, and while Peter Steiner-Davion, and then Adam Steiner, both swore the Commonwealth had no expansionist objectives, that has ever been the subtext of threat to the rest of the Inner Sphere.  Their bloodless conquest of the Jade Falcons, and the recent withdrawal of the Jade Falcon clan from the Grand Council underscores this threat."

"For the safety of your realms and nations, I have been moved to act in offering my support to replace an unstable regime that has repeatedly denied common sense restrictions on Naval forces and threatened the stability and recovery of Inner Sphere nations."

""We have the local support, we have the legitimacy.  The Lyran Commonwealth needs to be brought back in line with the rest of Humanity before they can become a threat to each of your nations.  Right now, the largest industrialized military force in the Inner Sphere is wracked with civil war, and we can not in good conscience stand by knowing the weapons they have available...  I trusted Peter, and I trusted Adam, but Andrew is young, and he's getting bad advice from Elizabeth Ngo and her militarist factions.""

"It is with reluctance, that I find I must step forward, and with the help of your nations, bring my homeland back to the community of mankind."

-Former Archon-Prince Victor Steiner-Davion, addressing a multinational summit in New York, Terra, January 13, 3098

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