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The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye (Cover Art)

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Chapter 112 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

"You proved you could... it with sub-corvette Cutters, and that proves a lot, Liz." Patrick explained.

"I proved anyone could do it." Liz told him, "Not just me."

"Not just anyone." he countered. They were waiting at the grounding for the DropShip's hull to cool. Outside, the mid-summer of Tharkad was clouded and drizzling, waiting for the mid-day sun to break through and shine baleful light upon the Triad. "Just anyone and they wouldn't be impressed enough to accept the results. Reputation has Power little sister, and you've racked up one hell of a rep, especially for a sixteen year old."

"But it's not mine, Pat, it shouldn't be. I helped, sure, but we've got some fantastic people, and they did all the real work."

"WHich is exactly why the Archon and the First Prince are making it about you." he told her, "if they had to admit that a bunch of prison recruits, enlisted, and Rockjacks pulled those wins, it would upset the whole structure that keeps them in power-or at least, threaten it, or did you think Victor's really a super-'mechwarrior who wins battles single-handed?"

"That's different, he's a crown prince-"

"And you're the ex-girlfriend of his little brother, who managed the breakup without generating bad feelings. Bask, Lizzie, the flipside of the credit is always the blame."

She sighed, and finished the correspondence course program on her lap, setting it to queue for transmission to UW Donegal's annex when she cleared the hatch of the dropship in the concourse. "I feel like the blame is more appropriate." she muttered.

"Don't play martyr, you'll get to feel that one soon enough." Patrick warned her, then he helped his sister to her feet, and straightened her over-tunic. "Her Majesty's going to pin you for winning that fight. Enjoy the spectacle for what it is."

"A dog-and-pony show for the dirtyfeet?" she griped.

"YES." he asserted, "That is exactly it, Cadet Commander Ngo, a dog-and-pony for the civilians, who need a bit of good news that doesn't come with too many letters beginning with 'The Federated Commonwealth regrets to inform you'."

Her uniform was the 'Surface duty Dress' uniform for the Kowloon Coast Guard Militia, with cadet pins indicating attendance at Kowloon's own little academy at Spider Moon.

The Cadet uniform is dark gray with black piping to indicate her branch, a double-row of brass buttons and a collar cut away to allow a helmet ring, her helmet clipped to her dress uniform's pseudo-leather harness, and a foldable, flat, envelope-like cap with the Coast Guard badge and her cadet ranks at the peak.

Pat had found a loophole in the law, and used it-Liz was still ineligible for AFFC Regular call-up, but her status as a baroness and role allowed him to write a waiver-she could hold the Militia ranks, which meant she could wear the Militia Cadet uniform until next year, when she would be eligible to wear the full Coast Guard's uniform as a full member of that service.

For now, it's gray cadet woolies over a skinsuit-one that just happens to be laced with medical monitoring circuits because all skinsuits are. The full-service Corpsman watching her vitals wasn't standard issue, but the sensors in the suit are, and with that, she had an excuse to dress how she liked...within reason.

The first thing they encountered at the airlock, were the flashes and lights of a gaggle of press being held back by infantry troops from the 1st Royal Guards, the second, was Arthur Steiner-Davion with his current fiancee, Penelope Marsden-Doons.

There was glomphing, as Liz greeted her friends without all the studied decorum of proper nobility.

"You know you have got to tell me everything!!" Arthur insisted...

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