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

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Chapter 52 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

Blackjack System, Lyran Commonwealth - August 3050

"Coast Guard Vessel Tabiranth...

...I am Star Admiral Alain Von Jankmon, commander of the Clan Jade Falcon WARSHIP White Aerie. Identify your commander!!">>

"Well, that's kinda rude." Tabby said, "Liz, this may be my battle plan but it's your show. Answer the phone, be gracious."

Elizabeth nodded, and switched to the ship-to-ship comm.

"This is Baroness Elizabeth Anne Ngo of Spider Moon in the Kowloon system, acting on behalf of the Federated Commonwealth to which I am sworn, you are intruding into Federated Commonwealth territory aboard a vessel last seen participating in the largest act of Treason and Desertion in Star League History, you will surrender your stolen property and stand down, or you will be destroyed. At no point, will you be allowed to land on the planet of Blackjack. Accept it. As of this moment, I don't want to kill you, and you don't want to be dead. So do the smart thing, surrender, you will be tried in accordance with applicable treaties derived from the Ares Conventions as amended in 2751, or you can try to fight, and face treatment as unlawful combatants engaged in terrorist activity and piracy under those same statutes...OVER."

The radio carrier waves and light delay had reached the point of simultaneous transmission, which meant cross talk on the enemy ship could be overheard through Tabby's rather extensive signal-cleaning algorithm.

<<"...sounds like a child, and baroness is a civilian, not a military-">>

fighters launched from Tabby's bays now, linked to smallcraft equipped with tanker rigs on the hardpoints. The manned fighters and the Blackwasps could handle the flight-but it's better to go into a dogfight with full tanks, especially in deep space.

"Elizabeth Ngo? How old are you girl?" a woman's voice overrode the rest of the cross talk.

"Older than my teeth and younger than my tongue." Liz responded, using one of her grandfather's favorite sayings, "I'm old enough to bring a naval task force to interrupt your party, Lady, that's all you need to know."

There was a pause, the enemy found the mute button.

"They're not buying it, Tabby." Liz mourned.

"correct...which is good for us." Tabiranth replied, "It means they'll underestimate us even more."

The ping cleared, <<"You are a CHILD!!">>

"So? I have a gun, makes me a combat soldier too." Elizabeth hissed back, "Stand down your vessel if you know what's good for you. You're one step too close to something I value. Back away now, or did your ancestors forget the lessons of Elbar?"

The hull vibrated, hull damage monitors on the corner of Elizabeth's visor lit-the enemy's ranging shot had hit.

"Returning bought it, guys." Liz said, and cut the link, right before the Caspar drone shifted to an evasion pattern and began replying with a storm of fire. Fire, laced with ECM and delivered to keep the enemy focused on them, and not on the torpedo launches from the escort ships.

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