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The Adjudicator Chapter (Cover Art)

Chapter 55 - The Adjudicator[]

Royal Hospital - Toyama City Taussen, Taussen Star System
Federated Suns Space
Mid 3160



[...3 hours later]

"Do you mind if my corpsman looks her over?"  Sharon asked.

"Kind of...primitive, but I haven't got objections if the medical doctors don't." Jon answered, "What are you looking for?"

"Evidence of tampering." Sharon stated, "The Word used brainwashing and implanted memories on a lot of not only their outright victims, but their members as well.  We never could crack the conditioning on Blakist POW's taken late in the war, especially not the cybenetically enhanced ones...but everyone got pretty good at spotting the signs of alterations."

She turned from the one-way mirror.  "Corpsman Bao, you're up. I want a full workup on Commander Ngo's condition, possible alterations they might have made. Get an interview in there, with full psyche workup using the Pham protocols."

"Aye, mum." Corpsman 1st Class Bao was Coast Guard, not an LCN naval officer.  More than half the Beagle's crew were Coasties and most of the escort group were cutters from 1st Division.

"Can my people observe?" he asked.
"I assume your people are going to observe." Sharon corrected him, "One thing our people learned about the Hegemony when they were fighting the Rim Worlds, is that Terrans love them some domestic surveillance.  All sorts of ludicrous security measures and it didn't do a damn bit of good for them, but it sure helped OUR people hunt down collabos."

"There are memories banked of your ancestor." he said, "including medical files."

"Figured that." Sharon nodded, "I bet you've got some juicy analyses too."

"Star League's domestic branch compiled a library on the man." he said, "Amazing what that man accomplished, given his...condition.  Look, Admiral, things got off on the wrong foot here. We aren't your enemy."

"Director-General, You're all that's really left of the Terran Hegemony, and House Amaris was a loyal vassal of House Cameron until the fat man's betrayal. It was a Terran officer who ordered the bombardment of Dinh Diep. It was Terran interference that let that man walk, it was Terran oversight that let the Rimjobs run death camps on Kowloon, feel me?" she asked.

"I think I do." answered Cameron

"Good.  We didn't go to war with the Terrans. We didn't fight for Kerensky for the Star League.  We went to war against the Rim Worlds Republic full-stop, to make sure it never happened again."

"Let me see...'Never Again'?"
"Some of us still remember that." Sharon stated.  "Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Amaris.  I'm here to make sure we don't have to add 'Cameron' to that list.  You get direct memory injection, my people remember without it. It's like our special cultural gift.  Feddies get to be super warriors on the ground, Heinies get to be rich, Leaguers make the best booze, Dracs make clever consumer goods, Rassies get along with everybody and we remember. We fight to keep it from happening again, but we don't always succeed. Something intercepted the 171st when they boarded ship for the last time to go after Jinjiro over what he did at Kentares."

"That was Comstar." he said.

"Figures." she said, "My point is, if you were the enemy, I wouldn't have been broadcasting the 'harmless truce' signals.  I would have declared the Niece closest to my heart a dead hero, and this city would be the point of a new fracture zone to the mantle of this planet, but you need to understand something."

"What?" questioned Jon.

"See all this advanced medicine you've got? How you brought her back from what was probably the dead?" she gestured at the room on the other side of the one-way glass.

"Yes."

"We had to fight a plague made by your ancestors authorized by them, maybe hidden by them or staged for deployment by them.  It killed eleven billion innocent people in the first three years. We held a quarantine, you probably have a cure somewhere in your databanks..." she sighed, "...I grew up training for that duty. The things we had to do to keep the survivors alive and the plague from spreading out to the trillions of people outside the zone?  You never stepped forward, never offered a hand in keeping the rest of humanity alive, and Director-General Cameron."

She pulled herself together, "You're not the enemy, but I'm not sure you're ever going to be a friend."



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