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The Bull and the Genie[]

Chapter 22 - Book II - The Ninety-five Theses[]

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First Meetings[]

Deep Space Rendezvous[]

Undisclosed Jump Point, 3028

"It's the first time since the Star League that this has happened," Ardan Sortek told his executive officer. The DropShips of the Heavy Guards were attached, while the Taurian troops attached their Union.

They seem to use that hull for everything. Granted, everyone had variants of Unions but intelligence indicated the Taurians were planning on replacing all of their mid-ranged DropShip designs with it, even in a few cases, where a specialized hull might be more useful. On the other hand…

Give them ten years, and literally every one of their mid-ranged droppers will use the same parts, need the same style of training. That was one thing they'd gotten via back channels from the Lyrans—the Taurians took logistics seriously.


"A Taurian general officer boarding a Federated Suns ship when they weren't surrendering or accepting a surrender. The men briefed?"

"Yes, sir. There won't be any problems."

"Air locks secured," the deck officer announced. "Boarding commencing."

The hatch opened, and a small form drifted in with a few companions.


The side party saluted her, the same formality they'd use for a Federated Suns RCT commander, and she saluted them with the same formality. The petite figure of the Taurian commander touched down, knees flexing slightly so that she wouldn't accidentally jump up and overpower the magnetic patches in her shoes. Like most Taurian soldiers, Ardan had seen, even her dress uniform was drab, rank insignia dark gunmetal, only a few decorations visible, all of them combat related, including two Lyran badges, a campaign ribbon and a unit citation.

Well, I suppose taking down a warship counts as a campaign. Granted, I wonder what she'd say if she knew that MIIO had managed to grab some of her reports and were using them for our own operational training. Probably best not to mention that. Might be taken in the wrong way.

"General Cheng," he said. "Thank you for your assistance."

The woman looked up at him and nodded. "Thank you. This is Force Sergeant Judith Chen—you'll pardon her nerves, but as the leader of the unit that arrested the former Chancellor, we decided she deserved some more responsibility. Her platoon, once we've gotten Carlyle and his officers into custody, will be tasked with their security."

"I think that's an excellent idea." Because you were able to handle the man who murdered fifty thousand of your own citizens and keep him safe, which implies a good deal of self control. Which would be needed to protect the men and women who had murdered fifteen million civilians.

"Do you have any up to date information?" General Cheng asked. "There's no good time for something like this, but it caught me on the way back to take command of the Police zone, and in the middle of a major rotation of troops back from the anti-piracy units. The only other unit we could have cut loose was an infantry battalion and honestly, they wouldn't be that helpful."

"Well, MIIO claims that there is currently a large amount of confusion. Janos claims he never gave the order for that specific raid, and to be blunt—Hanse believes him. All their other raids were intended to lay claim to lightly defended worlds. Sirius was deeper than any other raid."

"Who did give the order?" Mary asked.

"Right now? We have no idea."

The petite woman shook her head. "Lovely. Still, I can't imagine anyone wanting to get into a war with the Federated Suns, not with the Lyran Commonwealth on the other side, and for that matter, the Capellans."

"No. But the issue remains. If the order was given by someone else, was Carlyle in on it or was he a patsy?"

"And he could be both. It wouldn't be the first time a mercenary unit carried out an illegal order only to find out their employers oddly seemed to have forgotten giving it."

"Correct. First Prince Davion wants to find out who gave that order, however high it goes. Beyond the moral issue, anyone willing to murder that many civilians is not someone we want walking around."

"Agreed," General Cheng said. "Before we jump, we should get together and discuss how my teams will interface with yours." A smile flickered on her face. "If any of my people seem to have difficulty talking, well, they didn't expect to be discussing power armor doctrine with the Davions."

"I understand." Ardan said.

Panic in the House of the Duke[]

Sirius V, Free Worlds League - 3028

"The Davions! Coming here!" Lord Garth was shouting, his chins wobbling. "This proves how unfit Janos is for his position!"

"I agree," Precentor Rachan said. Not that you would be any better. Fool. "But this means we must move quickly."

"With the contents of the Cache!"

"Id—" Rachan controlled himself. "The Cache will not benefit us. It would take time to bring the systems online, time to prepare. If the Davions have any hint of that cache they will not leave. Colonel Langsdorf must secure Carlyle, alive or dead so we can turn him over to his pursuers, so that they will leave us be."

"And the Taurians?"

"Irrelevant, they are merely here to give Hanse Davion a legal cover."

Garth snorted. "Barbarians. I expect not a single noble among them and they feel they have the right to try a ruler of the Inner Sphere. Liao is right to refuse to play their game."

Liao is a mad fool who will end his days in a cage. The Taurians were an obstacle that would have to be removed, eventually, but Rachan had come up the hard way, as did any in ROM, and the inbred fools like the one in front of him set his teeth on edge. He'd work with them, but…

I will not cry when Lord Garth's attempt to claim the throne ends as it most probably will.

"Come, we will be grounding soon, and we must prepare to discuss our plans with the good Colonel, well, at least those plans he is privy to. Remember, when the Davions arrive, we will have Carlyle, or his body, and will turn him over to them, in order to let them exact revenge for the dead."

"Pity they won't have the right man."

Can anyone be so stupid? "Do not say that again. Do not ever say that again, so long as you live. Some secrets should never be spoken, even if you think there are none to listen." And maybe I should consider removing you myself. Your tongue wags far too much for my comfort.

But that would come later.

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