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Strategos (Cover Art)

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Strategos (A Great Captain Roberts Tale!!)

Chapter 15 - Farms
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"...They also haven't met…


…my colleagues." Amanda added. "Ruthless? Okay, there's a solution for that. In the meantime, you've been mayor here for…what? How long?"

"Ten years."

"So ten years of still being nominally in charge when they come to sweep up your people and their food…how have you managed to stay in that position for so long?"

"It's been hard…"

"I'm sure it has." Amanda clapped an armored hand on the Mayor's shoulder, "Walk with me a bit, Madame Mayor, please?"

The woman's expression was confused and befuddled, but she didn't resist.

"There's a thing about herds and farming." Amanda continued, "See, a Shepherd can't be with their flock the whole time all the time. There's usually some helpers, now you can pay men, or you can have guard dogs, that help herd the sheep to the grass, and under cover, and maybe protect from other predators…" Amanda gave her a conspiring look, "Of course, people are a little more complicated than sheep. The best way is to have your sheep-dog mixed in with the flock…you know what I mean??"

"I…I Never-"

"Shhh…and you never 'suggested' they take maybe the troublemakers? Or encouraged people to submit to avoid casualties?" her left eye, this close, looked fake, and Mayor Hopkins could see something like illumination in the cornea. "To save who you can, right? Because hey, they're ruthless, and you still have to have a community here when they're away. Am I close?"

Fear worked its way into the Mayor's face.

"Yeah, I thought so." Amanda said, "Since because you have to live here, you told yourself, you were doing it to save the most you can…so tell me, how did they contact you so that you could have the list for them?"

The grip was no longer gentle, it was inevitble, like a constrictor.

"The-they… there's an HPG site, with a transmitter on a coded channel, and it links to a pager." Mayor Hopkins said, "I was supposed to call them if anyone…anyone not theirs, showed up."

"Did you?" Amanda asked.

"N-no!!"

"Then, I'm going to let you go, and you're going to call them...with Mister Seron as your escort." the young woman stated, "You're going to call your masters and you're going to plead for help, for rescue...and do you know why?"

"W-why?"

"Because my people can trace-route the call for a destination." Amanda told her, "And because I intend to kill them all." Amanda explained, adding, "Do you believe me?"


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