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Chapter 6 - The Absolute Zero[]

Capellen Confederation
3159 CE

[The Chancellor's Temple, two hours before the guests arrive...]

San Ben Bing Dim Suk spotted it first.  A displaced stone, carefully replaced, where such things should not be.  He signaled his Si Ben Bing, a blonde man named Carter, and got a nod in confirmation.

He managed to remove the loose flagstone with his dress uniform's bayonet. The stone tilted up and he performed the emergency action drill for stepping on a pressure landmine, which is to leap fifty meters into the air, and be distributed across the manicured grounds in a fine, pinkish mist.

Another device was found by another soldier in the reviewing stands of the nearby parade ground, right under the section reserved for the First Prince of the Federated Suns.

The soldier that found that one, didn't bother to try to disarm it himself.  He used his brain, instead of his incredible brass balls, and called in the bomb-squad.

Shia-ben-bing Li Phuc was here to lift and carry-a recruit, barely a soldier.  He noticed a rippling and a shadow where there should be none.  Quite reasonably, his next move was to look for someone in authority, and seeing nobody else, he did the next most reasonable thing.

He shot it, while calling for help on the general channel.

Purifier armor is immune to small arms, well, most small arms.

The watchful young recruit survived due to a miracle, in this case, two Fa-shih equipped soldiers who were responding to a bomb call in the stands.

THEY were equipped with weapons that can actually harm a suited trooper.

For the next hour, a running battle on the ground where the late Celestial Wisdom, Daoshen Liao, was to be memorialized and laid to rest went on.  CCAF Regulars and members of Warrior House Ma Tsu Kai against a sixteen man team of foreign sappers and assassins.

[Embassy Row...Lyran Embassy]

CPO Noreen Hawkes was from Hue and her bloodline was Icaza where it wasn't pure Kowloonese.  Being assigned to the Archon's bodyguards and attached to the First Royals was the kind of feather that would get her a chance to be acknowledged by the Icaza Mosovich's as a blood-cousin...which is a pretty big deal for any of the 'Falcon blooded' in Hue on Kowloon.

Her Majesty was getting dolled up for the big shindig and Noreen's neck hair stood on end.  So she did her damn job and personally checked on the Archon.

In the process, surprising a man in a stealth-suit who was emplacing a disposable gas-generator in the bathroom.

No words, she rushed him, catching the device one handed as she used her Elemental Heritage to its fullest extent. Bolding her breath because she didn't have a hand to grab her helmet with. She forced the device out of his grip, into the expensive toilet, and then shoved him face first into it with bone-dislocating force.

Then she flushed while he struggled until he stopped struggling and went limp.


"Get OUT! Gas!!" Noreen croaked.

Her Majesty didn't need to be told twice, as the rest of the security detail bundled the Archon to a safer location.

A Corpsman from the Frederic Steiner retrieved CPO Hawkes before the toxin finished killing her.  The prisoner who was planting it was...less fortunate.  He might have had the antidote for the poison gas, but nobody yet has found an antidote to the inhalation of liquid-phase DiHydrogen Mono-Oxide and blue air freshener from a toilet bowl.

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