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

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Chapter 141 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

"My friend is dead, Victor...


...and I want time off."

Archon-Prince Victor Steiner-Davion looked up, "How did you find out?"

"I still have friends in the fleet." she said firmly. "Has anyone told Arthur yet?"

"So the AI intercepted the message."

"I didn't say that...but it's a good assumption." she scowled, "I want the leave of absence. Arthur's in trouble and my friend is dead." her eyes were hard, steady, and angry. "WITH your permission, Highness. The Ministry can handle the tasks that have been approved without my presence-the first thing I did when you set this up, was make sure I had competent people to delegate to."

"What will you be doing on this 'time off'?" he asked her bluntly.

"Accompanying Maggie Doons to Filtvelt, Highness, Penny was her granddaughter. Arthur and Penny were my friends...are my friends...I need to go. I was scheduled for a rotation to New Avalon to inspect the projects there anyway."

"So you were." Victor allowed. "You're not to do anything crazy, Liz."

"I could hardly do anything, as you put it, 'crazy' Your highness, I don't know the rules well enough on that side of the realm, to even dream of contributing something useful to the investigation."

"But you want to."

"I would be lying if I said I didn't want to." she agreed, "but Fedsuns Jurisprudence isn't Lyran, I can't go in waving a blank warrant and bully my way in, I don't have a royal sanction, and the Feddies are supposed to be pretty good investigators anyway. There's nothing to do, but check on one of my best friends and mourn another."

"Your mind went straight to investigation. why?"

"Suicides are investigated as murders, Highness." she said, "If she overdosed after being clean for more than five years. I have to assume that you have the best people available on it, but Arthur going to be hurting. So I know this hurts me, so it must be infinitely worse for him."

Victor nodded, "I do. Bring more."

"Pardon?"

"Arthur was cracking down on organized crime tied to piracy, Liz. This may have been revenge for that, or an attempt to distract him-it might well be murder, but if it is, they had to get past AFFC base security, a protection detail from MI-9, and other measures in place. The only way it could work in my mind, is an inside job. I'm sending a cadre of Molehunters with you, but officially, you aren't involved in the inquiry. Are we clear?"

"Crystal."


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