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Strategos (A Great Captain Roberts Tale!!)

Chapter 16 - Domestication

"Is it just me…

…or is there something wrong with these people?"

She processed the impressions. "Yeah, there is." She stayed in the truck, while Seron accompanied the Mayor into the rather well camouflaged HPG site.

"Speculations?" she muttered. What are you trying to tell me, Desmond?

The memory formed crystal clear in a pop-up, and as she spoke with the Mayor, elements lit up, with labels.

Something came up. Atypical Obedience behaviors.

"Conditioned?" Amanda mused aloud.

"if the Mayor is conditioned, so, too, are the population. They remain afraid of the Bandits, but they're conditioned to be servile. This size and level of environment does not tend to breed obedience, yet there have been no incidents with our people of open, or dare I say, veiled hostility. This is atypical in Liberation scenarios."

"Someone always likes the the old regime and resents intruders."


"But not here?"

"No indicators from helmet cam or audio pickup."

"Domesticated." she sighed, "Three hundred or more years of having disruptive people taken away or killed before they breed-they've been selectively bred and conditioned, they're Domesticated!"

The idea was horrifying…but fit with farming practice. The 'ornery' male calves get neutered, then sold as meat.

"This isn't a colony, it's a social experiment!"

"One might wonder how long it's been going on." Desmond offered.

Amanda got out of the truck. "I know where to look." she said, "let's go have a look at the comm buffer of the HPG site here."

"What do you hope to find?"

"I don't know yet, but isn't it strange the HPG site was left, but there's no Comstar?" she asked, "Doesn't it seem weird to you?"

"Yes, Ma'am." One of the Marines, thinking she'd spoken to HIM, reacted as she reached the no-longer concealed entry.

"Damned right it's weird. Glad someone agrees, uhm…protector…"

"Giles Ma'am." the young man in armor would make three of Amanda, and his skin was that shade of brown that looks black in the wrong lighting.

"Giles, you're with me? I may need some heavy lifting, you okay with that?" she instructed/ordered/asked.

"Yes'm." he said, and fell into step.

"Okay, Giles, you've been on-site for…what, a week?"

"Nine days, Ma'am."

"Weird things you noticed?" she prodded.

"I do not know what you mean, Ma'am."

"Behaviors among the civilians that don't seem…normal."

"Ah…not really, Ma'am, I'm not…that is, I am trueborn? I do not have a lot of experience with civilians."

"Okay, how about behaviors that seem too normal, then."


"Obedience." She asserted. "Do they seem really really obedient?"

"Normal for Civilian Caste, maybe not as prone to complaints as-"

"Okay, Giles, future reference for you?" Amanda was in 'instructor' mode, "There is such a thing as abnormally obedient civilians. IF there is no pushback, that isn't normal, it's an indicator of an external threat they are aware of and you are not, or it is an indicator of something to hide."

"And…in this case?"

"Something someone else is hiding, using an external threat." she told him, "Hence, review in your mind, and look in your memories-did anything seem really off about these people?" a panel outlined in green in her vision. "Here, while you're thinking, give a hand opening this."

"No passive resistance." he said, "they are eager to please, which they should be given why we are here, but…they would not know that for certain!"

"Bingo, chicken dinners." She nodded, "They're cooperative without anything but our say-so and no passive sandbagging, but also no enthusiastic welcoming. Just obedience."

The opened panel revealed a spiral maintenance stair going down.

She led down the stairs, letting augmented reality overlays and sensors compensate for the limited range of her flashlight.

The bottom was an alcove, with a pair of steel framed, steel faced doors. One was unlabeled, the other led to 'coolant assembly'.

She opened the unlabeled door using Giles-as in ordering him to tear the door out of the frame when it proved to be locked.

A dusty, dried smell greeted them, and a command center style security room, overlooking a series of desks.

The desks were not empty.

"Mummified." she observed, "Dry air, dead bodies, anoxic environment. Rebreather time." she donned and closed her helmet, before stepping into the security room.

"Captain, what are we looking for?" Giles asked.

"I don't know yet." Amanda stated, "but this is where to start, I know that much."

She reached out, and pulled one of the slumped corpses back from the security terminal.

"Do you recognize the symbology?" she asked two entities.

Giles studied the insignia. "No."

"Star League Social and Development Agency" Desmond informed her.

"Huh…Giles, that is the insignia for a Civil Service department of the Hegemony, that was also in service to the Star League as a whole-the Social and Development Agency, subset of…"

"Office of Colonial Development"

"The Office of Colonial Development." she added. "Basically administrators for first-in colonies from the Terran Hegemony out to the periphery…weird they'd be in a Ministry of Communications site, and that they'd be dead at their posts."

They went through an ordinary glass-fronted office door into the main chamber.

"Had the city wired for sound." she noted, as lights powered on and terminals lit.

Fans kicked on and her O2 meter showed the atmosphere stabilizing…

Let me know when I can take the helmet off. she silently ordered.

Then she found a terminal marked 'supervisory'

It wanted a password.

"You can open the faceplate now, Amanda."

She sighed, "Giles, if I start doing the funky chicken. Get my helmet back on me and carry me out. Don't unseal until it's safe. Understand?"

"Yes, Captain."

She undogged her helmet, and sniffed, before popping her fake eye out, and plugging it into the data-port.

"I guess the air's safe." she quipped.

"It was a social…

…Experiment!!" Amanda scowled in quiet fury as the data flood hit her consciousness. She looked over at Giles, "It was a social experiment, and the damn bandits were continuing it!!"


"Selective sterilization processes, but the method might be different, the goal was domestication!" her face twisted into a rictus of rage, "D'you get it, Giles my-boy? The ****** TERRANS were deliberately running a 'breed the resistance out of the population' experiment here, where they could control it!!"

"A Eugenics project?" the trueborn Elemental asked, "Here? Back then??"

"I guess your founder had someone's notes to crib off of. The only difference is that the pirates were using raids, oppression and torture, these guys were using Free Health Care with the intent of making subservient, obedient, permanent slaves!! Slaves who wouldn't know they were enslaved!!"

Her armored gauntlet splintered the centuries old desk with a cracking boom.

Giles caught on thanks to her blatancy. "That offends you."

"Yeah, it really does. The project notes say this was part of a long-term initiative in cooperation with House Amaris, and it was overseen by Star League Intelligence's Domestic branch!!"

His face twisted in hatred, "Amaris!! No doubt part of his perfidy!"

"Yeah, you keep thinking that, we both know Amos Furlough was given medals for his atrocities "yes." she said, and unplugged her eye, putting it back in her face. "More than one crime here, this one's an old one at that."

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