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Silent enim inter arma Tribunals (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 9[]

Silent enim inter arma: Tribunals[]

Kernigan Prison complex
Albany sector, New York
North America, Terra
Sol Star System
Terra Protectorate

[Under the surface in a prison meeting room...]

"Looks like it's gotten a little bit out of your control." Liz noted.  "Wonder how that happened, Victor."

Victor Ian Steiner-Davion, former Precentor Martial for Comstar, former Archon-Prince of the Federated Suns, and currently working for Devlin Stone, sat on the other side of 12mm of ferroglass, speaking with her through a speaker and microphone system.

"You bombed a capital city, Liz."

"Well, technically I was bombing the headquarters and command and control for the Terran Militia. A bunker fortified with warship-grade composites, heat sinks and kinetic sinks, but they put it under a city and failed to evacuate once it became clear that there was a war on."

"Estimated death toll is twelve million people, Liz." Victor told her.

"I know." she said, "It could've been worse, we could have used nukes, and then we'd be looking at an aggregate death toll in the hundreds of millions.  I could've aimed it at Yellowstone Caldera, and it would be in the high billions."

"Is that your angle? Stone told me about your conversation." Victor said.

"I'm sure he did.  I'm sure it's going to be entered into the record for the prosecution." she shrugged, "I heard there was a riot upstairs last night.  The Lynch mob wasn't here for the Blakist prisoners on my block."

"No, they weren't." he said

"I expected...more." she told him.  "They're still in shock, I guess."

"Jesus, Liz, just when...what are you?" ask exasperated Victor

"I'm me." she rolled her eyes.  "I thought Bert Habeas's hitpiece almost got it right, I wasn't considering Dinh Diep until after the first Crowbar impacts, but his speculations would maybe have fit with my great-grandfather's thinking."

"Devlin wants to offer a deal." Victor told her.

"No deals." Liz stated, "He demanded this. We're going through with it....all of it.  Even if I lose."

This caught victor by surprise.  "You've got kids, Liz."

"Yeah, and what kind of example do I make if I snake my way out of it using underhanded methods? I have been accused of war crimes, Victor.  I studied history. This trial goes through all of it.  No plea deals, no paperclips, I'm not going to make the same mistake Tranh Truk Ngo did when he accepted Kerensky's offer."

Victor regarded her carefully, "What offer?"

"That's ancient history.  All you need to know, is that it set a bad precedent that shouldn't have been set." she stated.  "So, for a better world, right? One we want our kids to actually see? We need to do better, and if that means we put me on trial so that what is and isn't acceptable conduct in war is precedented. Even if you win, then it's better than not. I have children, Victor.  I want to see my kids, I have a husband who for some freaky ass reason loves me and wanted to fight this to keep me.  I have a brother who's probably losing his goddam mind. I'm going to see this through, no deals, because it must be done and I'm the only one here to do it."

"You didn't even listen to the offer."

"I don't have to." Liz said, "The angry mob outside tells me everything I need to know. I'll either be convicted or acquitted, but I won't run."

"I misjudged you when we first met." Victor said, "You would have terrified Theodore Kurita."

"Considering the old man was the epitome of honorable leadership, I'll take that as a compliment, sir."  she folded her hands and leaned forward on her elbows, "So, are you realizing you shouldn't have pitied me yet?"

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