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

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Chapter 120 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

Eddie Vanh checked his...

...field combat armor, then checked the gear for his squad. "Remember, our orders are strict here. Nullweps only, maximum shock value, minimum casualties." he recited, "We clear, Ayeh?"


The APC stopped, and the rear ramp dropped, as the men unassing it activated their helmet links and the roof rack released drones into the late evening sky of Tharkad's capital city.

As the infantrymen spread into five-man fireteams, and the fireteams broke into two-man maneuver elements, the drones applied thermal, milometer wave, and vibration-detecting lasers to pinpoint the occupants of the targeted building.

in the corner of Eddie's vision, the specific individuals 2nd Platoon was after, were listed-and located.

Maximum Shock began, with door breakers and rubber bullets. They hit the front and side entrances on three levels while the command element slammed through the street-facing front door.

This generated the expected screams and panic, as troops wearing combat exoskeletons with armoring stormed in, and began securing every warm body in the place, beginning with the front desk.

The armors were field-gray with Gendarmerie stenciled on chests and backs.

Eddie found his target on the second floor, in a bed, handcuffed, the prostitute the man was with was dressed in scant black leather and lingerie and screamed like she was being disemboweled at first, before she realized he was only interested in her client.

"Hands behind your neck!! Kneel!!" he barked, the prostitute complied, and he broke the cuffs with enhanced strength through the gloves. "You will come now!!" he added, directed at the fifty-something year old man dressed in garter and panties.

"Do you know who I am!?" the target argued.

"Ayeh, Leutnant General Felix Dormer, you are under arrest." Eddie stated through the suit's PA, "Resistance will be met by force. Resistance is Futile. you will come now."

The man tried to resist, Eddie grabbed the man's wrist, twisted his arm, and frog-marched him out of the room to join others also taken by the unit.

Six ground forces officers of O-5 to O-7 were gathered in various states of undress. One was bleeding from bruises and injuries.

"What is the meaning of this?" the House Madam was demanding, she was also being held by PFC Tate.

"Stand by." Eddie ordered, "Incoming."

The broken door was pushed aside, and the Archon-Prince of the Federated Commonwealth came strolling in.

"Report." Victor ordered.

"Sir, Eight out of ten suspects were in this establishment. We had two attempt to resist, Sir." Eddie reported, reading the feedback on the Platoon's network. "One was involved with desecrating a civilian below the age of consent, two were engaged in the use of illegal narcotics, the remainder were engaged in violations of Commonwealth Military Regulation 32b subsection eighteen."

"I see..." His Majesty regarded the officers being held. "What the hell do I do with you lot?" he asked, "Let's see...Dormer, you're here in custody because Lohengrin traced back your paper trail and discovered serious discrepancies in your finances. Discrepancies tied to your position in the Quartermaster department. You are under arrest for theft of government property, and various charges including treason...Sergeant Major, which one was diddling kids?"

"Colonel Hasselbuss, Sirrah."

'Secure him from the other prisoners.....ladies and gentlemen, your corrupt, unlawful, and in some cases outright obscene actions are no longer acceptable within the framework of the Federated Commonwealth military. For some of you, this means you can sign the resignation letters you will find upon being returned to you offices tonight. For others, there will be formal charges, followed by Courts Martial, followed by appropriate punishments..except you, Jack. You're going to be tried, you're going to likely be convicted, and then, the Sergeant Major will load you into a shuttle, take you out into orbit, and throw you out the airlock, and your Regiment will be subjected to an in-depth audit and examination to eliminate any and all corrupt officers that were 'safe' while they had this dirt on you. Secure the ones we're going to try for trial, and insure the ones we're letting resign get to their place of resignation safely, Sergeant Major."

"Ayeh, Sirrah!" Eddie barked.

Victor regarded the proprietor, "YOU, will get to explain your involvement in trafficking children for sexual deviates to a court of law. Who knows, you might even manage an acquittal, but your establishment is pre-emptively held and will be auctioned off in the event you're found guilty-which you probably will be. You and your employees will be conveyed to the City Prison and held until trial. do you understand, Madame Pomphrey?"

"Y-Your majesty! I didn't-", she began to beg.

"I don't care. You can face a court, I will not judge. This is a Security matter, you will only communicate with your lawyer, your Guards, or the Prosecutor. Until after the I have a couple hundred more of these to look in on before tonight is over."

He walked back out of the high-class brothel, as Tharkad's city police streamed in to arrest the staff.

The first blows of...

...Victor's reforms hit in May of 3054, with the coordinated, simultaneous arrests of 250 senior officers of the AFFC's Lyran state command, executed by enlisted men belonging to 1st Division, Commonwealth Marine Corps Provost branch.

The troops were chosen-selected, really, based on their not being beholden to anyone but the Archon-Prince and their parent service.

Only three suspects died in the action, and while property was damaged, no civilian lives were lost.

In the following days, more arrests would follow, along with a rash of resignations for 'Family reasons' or for 'the good of the service'.

Meanwhile, Judge Advocates were being summarily drafted from the legions of Lawyers that infest National Capitals throughout human space, to handle the literally thousands of investigations and upcoming courts-martial, and whole sections of basing were being cleared, to be converted into cells to handle the sudden influx of high-ranking prisoners.

Victor was making his mark, by purging the officer corps of the Lyran State Command, and he wasn't being gentle about it.

Charges ranging from corruption to treason were being prepared, warrants issued, strike teams deployed. This level of housecleaning only has one prior example-when Katrina cleaned out the Royal Guards after deposing late Lyran Archon Alessandro Steiner...only Victor's action was. If anything, broader and larger in scope.

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