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

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Chapter 142 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

His Majesty...

...arranged an express-route to New Avalon. In part this was to allow Elizabeth to complete both her National duties as Science Minister and to expedite her trip out to Filtvelt. Naturally, the next leg out was ALSO expedited. From New Avalon to Filtvelt.

The New Avalon inspection could wait until she'd met Arthur at Naval Base Filtvelt, with a group of very angry MI-9 operatives and LIC Molehunters. Someone had dared to...something.

"The body was kept in cold stasis, Madame Minister..."

"Good." Elizabeth commented. "Pol? Dinh? check the work done by the Medical examiner." It wasn't a request. If the AFFC Provost's medical examiner had any doubts regarding her authority to re-autopsy a body, he didn't bring any of them up until Lady Elizabeth was outside of the morgue.

"What do you expect to find?" he asked.

"I don't know yet." she said, "but I do know that Pol Nguyen and Dinh Tram are qualified homicide investigators with, between them, over forty convictions including the Melissa sex murderer."


"Serial Killer, hid his activity by going from world to world. Pol, Dinh, and Linda Sithers caught the son of a bitch and proved he was the killer in one hundred forty unsolved cases dating back nearly ten years-they're professionals, if there's anything other than self-inflicted overdose, they'll find it. Corpsman Dinh is an expert forensic scientist, and Pol's...persistent as a forensic analyst. Lohengrin's best is on the case. If your findings were correct? then it confirms your expertise...and if they're not, don't feel bad-these guys are 'ringers' and solidly top-shelf."

"You mentioned three people."

"Linda's unavailable-she's doing XO duty with the Navy on the AFS Landmark out on the Falcon front this year, and she's also a specialist, so unless there's signs of rape, her specific expertise probably isn't going to contribute much. Kommandant Dana Ries should be able to handle leading the investigation from our end." Liz commented, then checked her pocket-watch. "He's due back in a little under twelve hours."

'He' meaning Arthur.

"So you're here to..?"

"Well, first, I confirm that that is, indeed, the mortal remains of one of my best friends." Liz growled, "I'm here because Peter has to run this half of the realm with Victor on Tharkad, running the war AND the other half. Katherine would have come but she's needed in her role as Chamberlain, and making Yvonne look at dead people is..unkind." Liz stated, "I, on the other hand am a stone-hearted bitch, ergo, I get to handle the dirty work here of dealing with my other best and closest friend's monumental grief, because I don't want anything from him."

She leaned on her cane, and added, "Besides, I've learned how to compartmentalize my feelings. IF your judgment of death by misadventure is true, then I'm afraid I'm going to be nearly as distraught as Arthur...but if it is not true, then here is where I will be until I can put the men who did this in front of a tribunal, followed by putting them out the airlock somewhere in deep space so their souls never find their way to heaven or hell."

"You think she was murdered."

"Ayeh. I do." Elizabeth said, "funny thing about a lifetime of curiosity and a love affair with non-fiction books." She said, "Did you know that bruising shows up several hours post-mortem? Of course you do-we can even tell whether an injury happened before or after death-that's what Dinh is doing right now..."

"...she was restrained, see here, Pol?" Corpsman Dinh Tranh's transfer to Lohengrin was temporary, a loan-in from CGIS doing a joint tour for his pre-officer qualification.

"Yeah, I see it." Pol Nguyen's Coast Guard career merged into Regular Navy Service after the case that would've made him famous closer to the core worlds, and he, too, was 'on loan' to Lohengrin's Criminal Investigations unit-but his 'loan' was specifically for this case. "restrained, looks like...maybe a large man? bruising here, here, and here..."

"Ayeh...note the tearing at the entry wound-she was struggling when they put the needle to her..."

"You think Her Ladyship's going to ride this one down?"

"I think she's going to do that very thing, and we'll have lots of help this time-this was definitely foul play, and not 'someone smuggled her favorite joy-juice' type foul play." Dinh commented.

"Well, I guess I get to tell Herr Kommandant to release the hounds then." Pol commented, "Whoever did this is probably either off-world, or headed that way in a hurry."

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