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The Adjudicator Chapter (Cover Art)

Chapter 2 - The Adjudicator[]

LCN Special Operations Command
Tharkard Shipyard
Tharkad Star System
July 3159

Special Operations-the name suggests commando raids and assassinations, stealthy planting of agents, and the recovery of POWs.

It isn't just that.  'Special' really is a catch-all term for operations that don't fit a normal institutional or organizational designation.  'Operations' in turn relates to actually planning and executing these bizarre, outside-category missions and tasks.

You see, LIC has a strong institutional 'ownership' of those bold commando operations. A strong enough success rate doing those tasks that they really don't need a competitor for Loki or Lohengrin or the Molehunters.

Likewise, Propaganda has a pretty decent home, and normal psyops (if you can call professional head-games 'normal', it's a context thing) also has a pretty decently capable office all its own.

No, 'special' has a different meaning, a nice warped bizarre niche all its own here.

LCN's 'Special Operations' revolves around things not normally covered in the purview of the various offices in the 'straight' LCN or LCAF hierarchy.

"What am I looking at here?"  Clarissa asked.

There were piles of records going back to the Jihad in this room. 

"Your new office, Lieutenant Ngo.  Every dead case we could find references to."

"What's the mission again?" Charissa asked.

Fleet Admiral Emily Falcone crossed her arms, "We want to know why the otherwise supremely rational Clan Ghost Bear is obsessed with helping the Republic." she stated, "We also want to know who Devlin Stone is, but we don't have records that might explain that."

"Why would it matter?" Clarissa asked, "Is there something game-changing about it?"
"According to a couple of our deep-periphery sources?"  Emily shivered, "Yes.  You'll be given whatever manpower is available, but we need you to build up a missing persons case starting with the subject. Then working your way back to his origin."

"There has to be something of a starting point." Clarissa said, "Otherwise, it's a snipe hunt."

"We do have a couple clues that the NIOPS territory passed on.  Stone's escape from Word of Blake custody.  Do you know how hard it is to hack a neurohelmet?"

"Training wasn't that long ago. It's hard. You need a rig that precisely maps the neural connections and unlocks the biometrics-those are possible, but they're rare, we had a shipjacker who almost fried himself trying to steal a fighter..."

"Right.  So how did Devlin Stone manage to jack a three century old Atlas prototype? IF he was a garden-variety POW, that is? How did he get the obsessive loyalty of a group of captured Smoke Jaguars?"

"Let's work on that." Clarissa said, "I'll need every interview with known Fidelis and any senior Ghost Bear POWs."

"What's your operating hypothesis?"

"That I need more information, Admiral Ma'am...and I need to get to work if I want to be trying cases as a civilian before my hair turns gray.  I assume you can get me some clerks to help with this mess."

"It's your department, Ngo, run it how you see fit.  Give your requisitions to Commodore Healey. If he denies you and you really need something, direct telex me on the box."

"Aye mum."  What did I do to deserve this?? thought Clarissa

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