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Self Configuring Modular Robot (Chapter Cover)

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Chapter 25 - Self Configuring Modular Robot[]


It's not that unusual...

...for a Noble Scion to be standing before the Archon before the age of eighteen. You might even call it a 'grace period'. Traditionally, such situations end up with the Archon assigning a Regent, and Guardian, to oversee any major inheritance.

"PATRICK!!!!" Elizabeth lost all appearance of decorum. Upon seeing who else was here, forgetting even that she was in the presence of the Royal Family in the Royal Palace of the Triad.

Little feet pumping, she crossed the entry hall at all the speed her young legs can muster, to slam into the young man in LCAF Dress Blues.

"Li'l BIT!!" He exclaimed, catching her mid-tackle attempt and scooping her into the air. "OOF! you're getting bigger. They must be feeding you right."

"Babysit her for years, and not even a word." the young woman with him, also in Lieutenant's togs, quipped.

"Hi Evvie." Elizabeth said over her brother's shoulder.

"Heya." Evelynn Mosovich gave her a little wave.

Lizzie twisted in her brother's grasp, suddenly remembering how undignified she was being. "Where's Henry?"

"Bathroom I expect." Patrick said, lowering her to the floor. "Let's take a look at you..."

"You didn't invite Mom, did you?" Elizabeth asked.

"No." he shook his head, "I didn't invite her...the Archon did that."

Elizabeth looked pained, "and Dad?"

"And Dad." he nodded. "Best behavior, 'kay?"

"Obviously." Liz rolled her eyes.

"SO, you're the older brother." Victor said, walking up.

"Sir." Patrick came to attention.

"Not yet. I'm still going to the Academy, you already finished." the Steiner-Davion heir said with an flippant grin. "Your little sister's a good kid."

"I hardly believe that." Pat said.

"For a given measure of good." Victor confided, "My bro Arthur likes her, and she doesn't have as many crazy lab accidents as some of the others."

"Not as many? I can believe that." Pat agreed.

"I've been good!" Lizzie defended herself, then paused, adding, "For a certain measure of good?"

This got chuckles from the two young men and a skeptical eyebrow from Evelynn.

"So you're swearing in too?" Victor asked.

"Apparently, Her Majesty wanted it in person-the signed affidavit wasn't enough this time." Patrick said agreeably, "You're going to the Nagelring?"

"Yeah." Victor answered

"Watch out for Hauptmann Weiss's galactic economics lecture then." Pat said, "It's so riveting I pulled nine demerits for falling asleep."

"NINE?" Elizabeth squeaked.

"Nine. I almost got bounced my Freshman Year for it." Patrick stated.

"Ouch." Victor nodded, "I don't have Weiss."

"Count yourself fortunate." Pat told him, "The man's full of more crap than a landing-day feast-bird. Komandant Hogarth's lecture on Logistics has better info."

"You're sure?"

"Pretty sure." Patrick asserted.

Arthur, Jess, Sierra, Penny, Terry, and Yvonne came trailing in with Melissa.

"Highness." Patrick came to attention again.

"Pish posh, relax." Melissa stated, "Elizabeth! make Introductions!" Melissa added.

"Her Highness the Heir designate Melissa Steiner-Davion, this is my oldest brother, Patrick, soon to be Duke of Kowloon, and his...girlfriend?"

"Fiancee?" Patrick shot an inquiring look at Evelynn...

...who flushed, "You're asking?"

"I'm asking." Patrick told her, "Kinda why I wanted you here, even."

"Uh, YES??" Evelynn grabbed his hand possessively.

Patrick dug a ring made of steel from his pocket, "I didn't hit the jewelers, is this-"

Evelynn grabbed it, "It's fine, Pat!" and toed up to give him a kiss on the cheek. "It's perfect."

"FIANCEe Evelynn Mosovich, baronial Heir to South Golden Lake district, alright, you two, these are my FRIENDS..." Elizabeth demanded attention, "Arthur Steiner-Davion, and his sister Yvonne, we get to call her 'vonnie' but nobody else, Penny Doons, who likes to light stuff on fire..."

"Only SOMETIMES!!" Penny barked indignantly.

"Terry Warden, he's real shy..." Liz continued, "My Bud Jess Harper, who can make anything work if you broke it first..."

"Not everything." Jess argued, "Most things."

"Everything!" Penny chimed in.

"Sierra Lowry, who knows lots of fun stuff to do and how to give the hall monitor the skip and slip." Liz continued.

"Geez, tell everybody..." Sierra shook her head.

"Guys, this is my biggest brother Pat." Liz continued. "He's the Duke of Kowloon now...or will be after we get all sworn in and stuff."

"Will you be handling the Regency for Elizabeth's holding as well?" Melissa asked, "Mother, wasn't clear on that one."

"Uhm...we're working on an arrangement." Patrick said, "I'm going to be handling the main planet and my brother Henry's holding, which includes some requirements for the Tithe And Tax that Grandfather didn't have to deal with..."

"Oh?"

"Yeah, I know damned near nothing about asteroid belts or Rokkajakkah culture and communities, Lizzie inherited title to a region full of burrows and setayshun communities. I'm lobbying Her Majesty to let me appoint Alicia Li or Jim Cartwright as Lizzie's Regent, since they're native to the area and both finished their mandatory five before I was born."

"You could study!" Elizabeth sulked.

"I fell asleep." Patrick said defensively.

"Uh-huh, okay." the young girl snapped from exuberant greeting to sullen sulking in an instant. "It's work to be done, Pat."

He sighed. "I know...I know."

"Plus you're the duke."

"And part of the job is delegating things I can't do myself to people who can!" he snapped firmly. "I don't know spacers, hell, I speak four languages and I still can barely keep up with conversational Rokkajakkah. I think Cartwright or Li will do a good job-Granddad had old Jim running the Coasties, you know? He knows how to do the things I need done."

"Uh-huh." Liz sulked, "Okay...do we get to eat first, or after?"


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