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

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Chapter 64 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

"Elizabeth, there is a leak..."

"...and so far, my molehunters, and Hanse's molehunters haven't found it, but the numbers in this report. While exaggerated, are pretty close to the Kowloonese proposals." Her Majesty, Melissa Steiner-Davion explained.

Elizabeth had spent weeks shipboard on the way here.

"You mean, my proposal." Liz said, laying the sheet on her sovereign's desk. "My pie-in-the-sky, optimistic, vaporware. someone at Comstar got ahold of it, Ayeh Mum?"

"Yes." the Archon asserted. "How much of it is true?"

"We're still having problems with Landmark number one, two isn't finished fitting." Elizabeth stated, "The cores forge well enough, and all the components are off-the-shelf except the primary armament...but there's some integration issues-or at least, that's what the Sithers-Deen people tell me. Their numbers are about twice what we've actually got on the Sampans, and I have NO idea how things are looking out toward Filtvelt, New Syrtis, or Galax-those guys send the firm tooling orders and we deliver them, but I don't get progress reports beyond which lines my people finished up their work-contracts on."

"and Ioto?" Her Majesty asked.

"She doesn't like to tell me things." Liz said diplomatically, "but Maggie Doons, she talks to, and Maggie, as a good customer of Ngo Industries, tells me Ioto's people are having kittens over the structure for the universal turrets just like Sithers-deen are. They want to go back to using fixed bays for their version for the trials."

"Mmmh...did you enjoy your adventure over Blackjack?"

Elizabeth flushed. "I knew this was coming."

"Too right you did. FOUR YEARS OLDER and I could Draft you into civil service and put paid to your fantasies the hard way, with a ride through the Tax it is, I have to use a waiver."


"You're going to work for the an intern...that gets you out of the business of putting your ass in danger and defying my instructions to my officers, and it lets me keep you here, on Tharkad, where you can make all of your medical appointments on time."

"How would you know-"

"NEVER assume I don't." Her Majesty said darkly, "Never make that assumption. If your grandfather was alive, he would agree with me on this-you're sick, you're also ridiculously useful, useful enough that I'm not going to let you commit suicide-by-clanner and then have to tell Arthur, who for some reason likes you (I don't know why)." Melissa managed to make the 'parentheses' happen in her voice, like she was speaking to an unseen audience. "You, are grounded. Until further notice. the only way you are going higher than the tropopause, is as a passenger."

"The Tax office."

"The Tax Office." Her majesty confirmed, "Which makes it much, much, much easier to get your oldest brother off of the front lines and where he belongs-in the Kowloon system, overseeing things as Duke, instead of playing battalion commander with the twenty-sixth."

"Why now?"

"Your father was confirmed KIA this morning by LIC infiltration teams inside the Jade Falcon zone. He's off the MIA list, and your biological mother is currently in confinement after a suicide attempt after being informed.


"YOU are a Civilian now, and a civil servant, and you work for me. Karissa will have your information, and we've got an assigned person to act as your guardian-ad-lidem for the next four years, where you will be working, here, in the Triad, as an INTERN."

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