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

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Chapter 75 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]


"I intend to try a different tactic."


Nelson Elam, saKhan of Clan Goliath Scorpion and Seeker extraordinaire, Leaned on the podium with a reckless confidence and glassy eyes. "The reason being, I want my mission to work...so, after careful study of everything we still have about the targeted system, My approach, simply put, is to approach them with Diplomacy."

The other Khans, both those present, and those joining in through HPG conference call, were stunned. "Diplomacy? They are Spheroids!!"

"As someone just demonstrated why editing history has not served the Clans well. Let me put this into some kind of perspective for you." Nelson growled without ever losing the amused, friendly expression. "In twenty-seven-sixty nine, Kowloon revolted for the fifth time against the Rim Worlds Republic. Unlike the last try before then, in twenty-seven-twenty-nine? This time, it was the whole system, and there was no SLS Belleau Wood under North American born Major General Jacob Samuel Chivington the Third...so, here is what they did to kick it off..."

Images popped up in insets on everyone's screen-at least, everyone who could not see the display behind saKhan Elam. "They dropped kinetic kill weapons on every Rim Worlds base on the planet...as the opening move. These people were fighting Amaris long before Stefan Amaris launched his coup-a long-term, low-level insurgency, that lasted centuries."

He ran a finger along the podium top, "They dropped rocks-asteroids, at near-relativity speeds, as their opening move to throw off a hated occupation."

He let that sink in for a moment. "THEN, when General DeChevalier arrived to 'conquer or liberate' the planet, it wound up being a negotiation for the SLDF to rescue Amaris Officials from a lynch mob comprised of most of the planet's residents-they DID lynch the governor appointed there, they dangled the man from the Highway Two bridge out of Hue city. Hundreds of his colleagues and employees were found dangling from lamp posts in the major cities, the survivors were holed up in a fortified apartment block and begged the SLDF to get them off that world alive." he paused, "next slide."

The images changed. "DeChevalier negotiated with the revolutionary council of the system, and offered them the chance to join the war on Amaris, the terms, are on display here-they made it clear they still held the Star League responsible for the destruction of Dinh Diep-their first city and original capital, which was annihilated when an SLDF warship, the Belleau Wood engaged the municipal fission power plant causing a chain reaction that irradiated the entire valley and killed fifteen million people in the first detonations...an act which was quietly overlooked, as it was on behalf of a loyal vassal of the Cameron family. the terms of their alliance was that they would fight in support of the effort to kill the Amaris dynasty-they had no interest upon joining up in restoring the Camerons, they just wanted to kill Rim Worlders-and they were quite open about this...next slide."

"This is the agreement that DeChevalier signed, the SLDF promised to guarantee that Kowloon would never again be under the rule of the Rim Worlds Republic. It is a guarantee of sovereignty, and a purchase of loyalty...can anyone tell me, what happened in 2785?"

"Operation: Exodus." ilKhan Ulric's expression on the monitor was serious. "That is what happened."

"Indeed. Your prisoner, Khan Lynn McKenna, is Kowloonese, They remembered. When she refers to 'the deserters' and spews her anger at our ancestors? Our ANCESTORS abandoned her people after a long war, throwing their forgiveness in their faces, and she is a Belter subtype, a group known even in pre-exodus times to place a huge amount of stock in Honoring your word and keeping your promises."

He straightened up, "SO...Here is what I think, and why I am offering this alternative-if we go in as invaders, we will wade up to our earlobes in blood-our own. These are not people who will hold back against a conqueror...but, if we come in with diplomacy. We might be able to JUST convince them we are fellow human beings long enough to accomplish something meaningful, because their ethics will restrain them from simply attacking at first sight with everything they can muster....which is probably a lot. Since they are building a navy in that system, and have been, according to Interclan Watch, since before our forces reached the Inner Sphere. I rather imagine their use of nuclear explosives as industrial supplies means they may well have enough on hand to make surviving the trip into the system and back out again...challenging in ways not seen since the age of war."

"What makes you believe they will hold back?", Khan Crichell asked.

"Something they observe called 'guestrite'. Even groups that are rivals among Belters will hold back on violence and extend hospitality if the other side is approaching under flag of truce." he explained, "So long as the hospitality is not violated, they consider themselves morally obliged NOT to be first to offer violence. since this is unreliable without confirmation? I suggest a small diplomatic overture be extended. If it fails, a larger invasion force is still an option, but if it succeeds, then the lives of warriors, and techs and laborers in a fleet flotilla will not be wasted under nuclear fires before they can even find the enemy to fight."

"Too who would you suggest for this...diplomacy?", Lincoln Osis of the Smoke Jaguars asked.

"Well...I would like to go personally. I am sure that Clan Snow Raven and Clan Jade Falcon both might find it in their interest to also go-or send representatives. It offers the chance of a free shot at reconnaissance, and a chance to get a visual measure of what sort of defenses they may have in that system, and it will stall Lyran naval efforts coming out, since they are unlikely to be willing to let us watch their preparations for a counteroffensive before they are ready to launch it."

"And?" Ulric prodded.

"And, she said they remember us, that indicates they may have artifacts, records and recordings from the Golden era of the Star League...some of which we no longer have." Nelson stated, "At the smallest, a trove of such is worth pursuing for the purposes of restoring the proper and correct Star League."


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