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The Adjudicator Chapter (Cover Art)

Chapter 47 - The Adjudicator[]

LCS Beacon
Exploration Vessel
Interstellar Space
Undetermined Location

['s as important to know when to stop fighting, as it to know...]

"...when to start."  Vice Admiral Sharon Ngo offered a bulb of Ijero Wine to the headman of the Folk ship.  "My Grandmother said that, it's proven to be somewhat...prophetic."

"You're going into the sinkhole." Job Tandali said, "Ships get lost up there all the time."

"I'm sure we'll find  more than a few-or evidence of them, at any rate." she answered.  "How are your repairs proceeding? Any trouble with my people?"

"No troubles, you're not in your usual waters, Admiral. You didn't hae ta stop f'r us."

"My first commission was with Kowloon's Coast Guard.  When we weren't hunting ships trying to break the quarantine, we were rendering aid and support to commercial vessels, especially small haulers who didn't have the funds to both operate legitimately and keep up on maintenance. I think that program did more to quell piracy in our neighborhood than all the nukes in the arsenal. So it's kind of a point of pride that the Navy would take on some of that to help spread something like peace out here.  I'm just glad you didn't try to run when you saw us coming."

"Yah, you can't force peace, Admiral."

"That's true, but you can take away one more argument for war." she said, "Barring that, we can at least try to be good, and if we can't be good, we can try to be just, and if we can't be just..."

"...try to be kind, yoive read the classicals." he said, impressed.

"My uncle, Patrick, married a girl from The Folk. I spent a lot of time in their steading." she said, using the Folk word.

"Do you hear the chorus then?" he asked.

"I...yes." she said. "Among...other things."

"Some of the space is rotted out there." he told her, "You should be careful going in. I can't tell you to avoid the place, as that's where your star is guiding you, but be Vleeping careful. it's Finagle's waters, there be dragons there.  However it comes out, you and your crews will be remembered when we next meet our own, ayah?"

"Ayuh. I will remember you to the next vessel of the Folk we meet." she replied.  "Fair exchange and free stars."

"Free Stars and a safe traverse." he replied, before handing her the empty juice-bulb and donning his helmet for the walk back to his own ship.

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