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Silent enim inter arma Tribunals (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 39[]

Silent enim inter arma: Tribunals[]

Unity City
North America, Terra
Sol Star System
Republic of the Sphere
3079


"Play stupid games, win stupid prizes, Your Grace, I need to get you out of here."

"I'm not going." Elizabeth said, "You can pull our people out without me, it might even be easier.  Did you forward whatever finding you came across that makes this an emergency to the Archon?"

"What??"

"I asked, did you forward your findings to the Archon? or to the Jade Falcon Khan?" Liz asked.  "It's important, did you or didn't you?"

"Yes."

"That's right, because you're a Professional Seether." Liz said, "This is high stakes, we keep playing our hand...keep Peter in the loop, Seether, keep Marthe in the loop too. We know Devlin Stone didn't mastermind this, he's a pawn.  We need the chessmaster or we'll be doing this in twenty years all over again."

"What if you got him already?"

"Seether, how did I run an intestellar industrial empire, build a navy, and reform the logistics of an interstellar empire to make the Commonwealth something besides a joke?" Liz folded her hands, "Did I sit in command centers, or not?"

"Not."

"Exactly." Liz said, "This guy is better than I am, do you really think he was at any of our targets, or was he sipping mai tais in a villa somewhere while his subordinates, partners, and the people who thought he worked for them were doing all the legwork.  The evil overlord wasn't in the bomb shelter, he was on vacation, and he's still in control."

"How do you know though??"
"That's because they stopped fighting too soon." Liz said quietly.  "When Kerensky retook Terra, those first four years. He was still fighting pockets of resistance and collaborators, even on Terra. Stone landed and within a month, everything was quiet. That's not consistent unless someone had the power to make them stop fighting.  Acceptance of defeat still requires centralized authority if it's going to take with ten billion people...and I'm accused of converting that central authority into high energy particles and thermal bloom."

"That's what I'm trying to tell you! they're running Stone-" Seether began say

"Yes." Liz nodded, "They are.  I have to wonder who he was before they hollowed him out, Seether, only I think he wasn't.  what I know is, he's not the one in charge, he's the puppet of the one in charge.  We need to be taking care to assure we're not also the puppets."


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