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Silent enim inter arma Tribunals (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 14[]

Silent enim inter arma: Tribunals[]

Ozark sector, North America
Terra, Republic Protectorate

"How much do you already know about The Five?" he asked.

Seether accepted the cup of clear solvent-smelling alcohol.  "Some. We've got coordinates for New Dallas and Third Fleet's sending an expedition.  A little flaky on the location of Taussen. There's the Fleet Base in Odessa's system, but the other two are...blanks? No nav data in the database Captain Minh's people seized."

"How does this tie into your investigation?" he asked.  "What do you think ties to Devlin Stone?"

She sipped, "Facial recognition software." she said.

"Excuse me?"

"Eye spacing, underlying bone structure.  He's a Cameron, isn't he? and since that family line was...annihilated, and to show that many mutual telltales with Simon Cameron's images?" said Seether

"You think he may have been manufactured." he said.

"Weirder things have happened.  If he was, then someone made him.  My money is on Comstar."

"Not the Word of Blake?" he teased.

"They're the same organization when you scrape the paint off, just like I'm a Naval Commander when I'm in charge of a ship." she said, "But when my mission is primarily at the bottom of a gravity well, I put on the greens and they call me 'Colonel', or "Lieutenant Colonel'  the organizations are part of the same organization, but fill different operational roles."

"That's...remarkably perceptive, Colonel Sithers-Deen." he commented

"Just Sithers." she said, "If you please."

"Of course.  Yes, to your question.  There was a program to reconstruct the Terran Hegemony, and yes, we used our bolthole facilities in the Hidden Five as staging grounds.  I don't know if cloning was involved, or if they were sheltering a family line."

"A sheltered family line would be subject to inbreeding." she noted. "Just to keep the physical resemblance so thoroughly uncanny."

"True.  Surprising you'd know that, as a lawyer."

"Not that surprising, my first ground tour was as an investigator with the special crimes unit of the Kowloon Coast Guard." she stated

"Special crimes?" he inquired

"Rape cases mostly, a lot of child abuse cases, traumas...seeing people at their worst.  You end up learning a lot about biology when you're chasing down certain kinds of perverts or prosecuting certain sorts of cases."

"So you're not normally involved in political work." he judged.

"No sir.  Generally the service is pushed to be apolitical in nature."

"This case is very political." he said, "What do you think your client's chances are?"

"not great." she said, "I mean, if this were a Lyran world she'd be getting a medal, same for FedSuns, Marik territory, Combine...but this is Old Earth, the politics alone make it a problem to defend any action, and she nailed half a dozen major heritage sites, at least half the Tribunal board will be Clanners, who worship this place, there's going to be at least one Comstar rep who will be out for blood over Hilton Head, and my Duchess isn't a sweet strike when it comes to making foreign friends, or even getting on with other Lyrans..." she cradled the cup in her palms, "...and I think the Archon may be tossing her to the wolves for his own purposes."

"Oh? that's interesting, why?"

"They grabbed a junior Judge Advocate whose medal rack has more to do with combat, instead of sending Marsden und Kobel, high priced attorneys specializing in international law." she stated, "My experience is digging out serial killers and perverts and putting them out the airlock or onto a gibbet.  This feels like a sacrifice play."
"Thats because they did not send their best?" he inquired.

"Exactly." Seether told him.  "It doesn't fit."

"Yet you knew enough to seek out knowledge of The Five, and you're good enough to catch on to Augustus." he said.  "You're framing the defense as sabotaging an attempt to conquer the Inner Sphere."

"Not my idea." she admitted.  "MY idea involves bundling the Duchess into a beachball and running for friendly territory as fast as the drives will go, because we can't win this."

"and hers?" he asked

"She wants to stand we use it.  Get as much out in the open as physically possible, eat the loss and hopefully move on."

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