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The Silent Black Ocean (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 24 - The Silent Black Ocean[]

Clan Cobra Interrogation Room
Idrmach Star System
Chainelane Isles, Deep Periphery
September, 3165



"Why were you defending this place?"

"They are not Lyrans, they are not even loyal to you, they even disparage your culture...so why?"

The drugs were off, and she was in a medical couch.

"Do I need to outline it for you?" she asked.  "Why are you here?  You threw six Clans out of your club. All the while killed thousands of their people while declared you didn't want the 'taint' of the Inner Sphere. Why are you here?" Christine asked

"So you were placed to stop our return?" her interrogator asked

"No, we're  here to keep the peace." she almost growled, "That is what we do.  We keep the peace.  You came looking to break that peace against people who did you no harm. What were we supposed to do? Sit back and let it happen?  Let you come in, rape these worlds, and their peoples the way the Invasion did before. Lie back and think of a Star League your own ancestors abandoned to chaos and murder?"

She was clear, she didn't know what they got out of her while she was drugged. Whatever it was, they were suddenly very interested in having her answer their questions with a clear head.

"It was not like that-"

"By my count, your people abandoned us all twice.  Three times if you include the Kerenskyists." she said, "First, in 2784, then in 3069, and again in 3070. Yet here you are again, just as we're getting things back together, your people have come back to bring chaos, more war, more suffering and murder, more billions of people burned up for some damned fool crusade. Your people left mine a long time ago, Star Captain...but you can't stay away, can you?"

Her stump hurt.  Christine rubbed it with her free left hand.  "What is it this time? Did you finally use up your worlds? Did you get in another internal fight, and you're fleeing your former comrades? are we going to see more genocides on our doorstep?"

"You were one of the saboteurs deployed against the Incense, Christine."  the officer in front of her said.

"Yeah.  That's what you do when you're dealing with a ship filled with innocent bystanders. You take it down without killing them so that you can save them from their captors.  In our doctrine. You showed up with a boat-loaded to the gunnels with hostages and the intent to pick a fight. How were we supposed to deal with that?  Standard anti-shipping rounds can't be used with your using civilians as human shields.  The objective was to neutralize drives and weapons, and force a negotiation, secure the release of the hostages, transfer them to a friendly port and arrest the hostage-takers."

"Those are our people, not hostages." he stated, "You are working from wrongthink."
"No.  Did you know Kerenskyism is a recognized religion on Kowloon?  We know all about the Caste system. The structure and the interaction, they're chattel you trade them like currency in the Homeworlds. It's serfdom, not freedom. They are enslaved by every rational definition and my people do not accept chattel slavery as legitimate.  Even our domestic Falcons have learned the limit there, what will and will not be tolerated."

He stood, slamming his palms on the table, "THey are not slaves!!"

"Why did you come back? why did you bring colonists?"  she asked.  "Let's leave out the astropolitical arguments. You had a good setup, why are you here?  Why are my shipmates dead?"

She studied his face.  He looked...satisfied.  "You were baiting me." he said after a moment.

"Did it work?" she asked with a cocked eyebrow.

"You have not answered my questions." he said.

"Yes, I did, if you don't like the answers, you're asking the wrong person." she mirthed.  "You know why we did what we do, you just can't accept it.  you're not alone. The Wolf Empire can't accept it either or the Dominion, or the Dracs.  I think maybe the Feddies or the Cappies might grasp it-to a degree."

"Grasp what, exactly?" demanded the officer.

"We keep the peace." she said.  "That is what the Coast Guard does. When someone comes with an intent on breaking the peace, we deal with them.  We do it because someone has to. Someone who remembers the massacres, and the atrocities, someone who can stay their hand and avoid killing civilians. Who will aid the common people? Your kind don't. I know that after seeing the mass gravesites on too many worlds. Seeing too many places with warlords and serfdoms, chasing down slavers, and pirates and worse. We do it because nobody else will, but someone must."

He met her eyes, "We lost." he said.

She nodded slowly.  "Tell me about it, Star Captain."

Somehow, the interrogator had become the interrogated.



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