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Silent enim inter arma Tribunals (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 45[]

Silent enim inter arma: Tribunals[]

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

[Prisoner visiting area...] "So. The mountain has come down at last." Elizabeth lounged in the chair.  "Hello, Devlin.  It is Devlin, right?"

Her visitor took a deep breath and tapped the mic.  "This is on?" he asked.

"It's on." she said, and licked her lip.  "So, what brings the Được cho là vua cao chỉ định to visit my lonely cell?"

"Presumed heir to the high king? That's fascinating, You may be presuming too much." Stone said.

"Not really." she said, "You're the Miracle man, come from nowhere to throw down the evil empire."  she turned in her seat and planted her elbows, "Or that's the narrative, anyway.  It's got everything you need; drama, miraculous saves, a giant evil conspiracy and a multi-world war. With a side of hero's journey and messianic trimmings. It's too bad we both know it's all fake, the only real thing in the whole mess is how many innocent people died to craft the story and erect your throne."

"Base allegations, Commander? I thought better of you." said Stone

"I've got proof." she said.  "I doubt it bothers you as much as it scares the shit out of your handler, especially if I threaten to give that proof to the one man who can torpedo the whole fraud."

"Who is that?" Stone asked.

"Why, it's you." she smiled, "You're the biggest sucker in the con. The most gullible rube they ever cooked up, 'Devlin'.  They didn't have to overlay an existing personality to create you, they fooled you from day one out of the tank. It's why you don't remember your past-you never got to have one."

"That's even crazier, Liz.  Seriously, that is insane." he said.

"Go to Brazil. There's a Comstar facility northwest of Rio about forty kilometers." she said, "If they haven't burned it down to keep you from seeing it, go there." she told him, "See for yourself.  One of my people's already been there, already got the files from the systems there, already seen your prototypes."

"Why haven't you gone public with this?" he questioned her

"Because it's not my problem." she said coldly, "Who or what rules Terra is no concern of mine as long as my people are left alone. The Master Control is dead.  We've confirmed it, the lock on the Belts is broken. You can't put it back, your 'republic' will do exactly what you're selling it as-a buffer and a non-threat instead of the first among equals...everybody wins. Except for the billions of innocent people who died because the leadership of Comstar wanted to bring back the Terran Hegemony and were organized enough to make it a multi-decade project. Something I'm not inherently opposed to, except for the Corrolary to the ends justifying the means is that the means shape those ends, and the means they used were horrific and evil and it had to be stopped."

"What do you want, Liz?" he asked.

"I want to go home, I want to put the uniform away and never look at it again." she told him, "I want to sell widgets and hug my kids, I want my daughter to be a scholar and my son to be respected. I want my husband to come home from work and stay with me because there aren't any active wars that need him to fight."  she drew a finger along the ferroglass, "I want to be cross with Peter Steiner-Davion over tax policies, and argue with Adam Steiner over budgets for refueling docks and repair stations.  I want to have barbecues at my house, and I want to see new surveys of new star systems to send new colonists to, and maybe I want to look for aliens...what I do not want is for the hell we've endured for the last twenty years to repeat itself." she stopped her tracery, and fixed his eyes with hers, "Can you give that to me, Devlin Stone?"

FINI - The Silent enim inter arma: Tribunals are completed. However the story series continues into the next story arc, The Wind at my Back, Stars at my feet.

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