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The Adjudicator Chapter (Cover Art)

Chapter 60 - The Adjudicator[]

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



[Everything man has built, has an override....]

Clarissa walked out into the Twilight of what passed for local 'noon' this time of year, with Bao's help.

"Have you got my crew?" she asked.

"We've checked on them.  They're conscious and alive, but they're being interned outside the city until this diplomatic...scuffle...can be resolved."

"So that part wasn't dreams." Clarissa noted, she leaned on a cane provided by the hospital.  "I'm out of uniform."

"Couldn't be helped, it would take days to fab up a new skinsuit and you're patient-status. The tailors are half the width of the Inner Sphere away. Unless you want to test a foreign government's generosity..."
Bao said.


"Screw that." Clarissa said, a Tram pulled up, and opened. The seats were cheap plastic instead of expensive pseudo-leather. They boarded, "Spaceport." Bao said.

The hatch closed and it rolled off.

"This would be an outstanding time for an ambush." Clarissa noted.

"Good thing they're not ambushing us yet." Bao said firmly. "Your aunt made getting you aboard Beagle a priority."

The trip to the port was quiet. Mostly because what Clarissa had to say couldn't be said where it was guaranteed to be overheard.


Jon watched them go on the monitor.  "You're sure the programming will go undetected?" he asked. "We are fairly certain of it, Sir."  JONAH, his AI assistant, answered.   "She will carry out the mission without knowing why, and without it being detected."

He winced.  "good..." I guess.  The techniques had been refined since being tested by the Manei Domini.  The first hurdle-hiding them from the Kowloonese medic was passed.  Still, he hated doing it to such a fine mind.  "Is the copy settled in?" he asked.

"She is proving..resilient at resisting, more so than the original was."

A warning surged, "The original wasn't as resistant to conditioning?" he asked.

"No." answered JONAH
"Oh shit. Stop that tram!"

"It is stopped."

"Where?"

"At the space port, the door's opened."

Military action now would tip their hand, it would also possibly result in damage to the Redoubt.  "They know!"

"Sire, you can not be certain-" began JONAH

"The copy is more resistant to adjustment than the original! Those crazy bastards built in a failsafe!!"

A commtech at a nearby console spoke up, "We're getting a clearance request from the launch pa-" and his eyes went unfocused.

"What is happening?" Jon Cameron demanded.

"Looking into it no-" JONAH stopped dead, and the speakers in the control room went active.

"Repeat, this is Coast Guard Boat Three from LCS Beagle, Murakami six one two, why is an orange? Because Elephants don't wear plaid pajamas, Cherry Tree, Cherry Three. six six Seven Banana Banana!"

and Jon's mind went blank.

In the buried biological part, he found his body had gotten stiff and sluggish, and his thoughts felt...disconnected.  Where did they get the override?


Inside Toyama City, forty percent of everything stopped, including all the automatic systems.  Safety overrides did prevent most accidents, but virtually the entire skilled workforce stopped what they were doing. They no longer could remember how to do it.  The info-feeds they relied on went silent, leaving only what was left of underdeveloped biological minds to struggle to grasp what they were suddenly having to do on their own.

Across the suddenly undefended sky, six re-entry trails arced downward to a point south of the city.  The landing boats landed unopposed.  A few minutes later, the small vessels were climbing again, leaving contrails across the sky.



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