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

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Chapter 90 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]

"There IS a motive...

...for our meeting." Nelson Elam stated, "This meeting in particular. If I may?"

Patrick nodded, "Make your presentation."

The projector went live, and Giao Pham's words echoed in the chamber for twenty minutes before Nelson terminated the playback.

"So...where is she?" Patrick asked.

"Unfortunately, there was a jump accident with some unusual circumstances and the vessel she was being transported on was destroyed in a misjump." Nelson stated, "The Snow Ravens have evidence that this was a freak occurrence. So..."

"So, you're here to apologize?" Patrick asked.

"In a sense." Nelson stated.

"In a sense...okay. Not the worst action I know of. You're sure the ship was destroyed?"

"Aff. There was debris..."

"Ah. okay. so you're saying it was an accident."

"Aff. The matter is her testimony." Nelson stated.

"You mean, the references to the SLDF's lapsed agreements. You might consider that Kowloon isn't the only creditor there, Khan Elam. If you're going to make good on those obligations it will have to start with making restitution to the nations you abandoned."


"Restitution. The Star League Defense Forces under Aleksandr Kerensky deserted their place of duty, and abandoned their core role of acting as a stabilizing and peacekeeping force in the middle of a national emergency. While the politics are complex, and I won't speculate on the motives, the fact is, it was the largest act of treason by a standing military in history, My legal department can probably calculate the damages caused by this act, My little sister can probably give you a Star-League-Dollar equivalency in Kroner for the material damages that will still be low-balling it, the price in human misery and suffering is higher." he folded his hands, " this about negotiating restitution for your ancestor's crimes?"

"Crimes??" Conal Ward could hardly contain himself now, "The Great Father's act was to SAVE you!!"

"From who?" Patrick was still calm. "Here's what we see: One, if you're going to talk legacies, then you have to accept the debts incurred by your ancestors-not just to us, but to the state they abandoned-the Terran Hegemony, which I do not represent." he held up a finger, "Kerensky as Commanding General and Protector of the Star League was obligated to protect the member states. While the council may have disbanded, and the legal question of whether any of the current successor states has a valid claim? There was one state that WAS STILL a Star League Member State...and your ancestors abandoned it in the middle of a constitutional crisis." he held up two fingers. "Khan Elam, ladies and have given me back the testimony of one of my people in your hands. IN return, I give you the last communication between Colonel Tranh Truk Ngo, and Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky, dated seven days before the Exodus Fleet jumped out of New Samarkand. Khan Elam, if you want I can supply you with contemporary recordings from which this copy was copied, you can verify the age and untampered nature of Star League Comm Logs?"


Patrick turned to an aide, "Play it for them."

Twenty minutes later, Conal Ward's aide looked ill. The Wolf Loremaster looked horrified. They weren't alone.


"Yah, the ending is not exactly fun, is it? My ancestor died trying to warn them." Patrick elucidated, "He argued until the syndrome took him. It did no good, your General left anyway, and every, single prediction my ancestor warned the general of, came to pass. I've come into possession of some blow-by-blow recordings of the First and Second succession Wars, the civil war that the SLDF's desertion guaranteed would happen. The contrast of what MY people had to do to make it through? That pales, folks. We ended up choosing a side because we didn't get any other viable option."

"It would have been worse." Conal finally said. "the destructive power was such that it would have been WORSE."

"I will revert to my ancestor's words here, Loremaster Ward." Patrick said, "The oath those soldiers took, yeah, it might have been worse, but they were obligated to try anyway." his eyes burned. "There is a higher obligation than to succeed, Conal Ward, that obligation is to do your duty even when you will likely fail."

The Wolf Clan Loremaster was briefly taken aback, and sat down.

"Speaking of 'trying when you will likely fail'..." Patrick added, "General Samantha Clees of the 171st's 1st Brigade has a request that must only make sense to Clanners...and while I have my doubts. The Archon has directed that I permit this against my better judgment, on the advice of the Royal Heir..."


"General Clees used to be Galaxy Commander Samantha Clees, Delta Galaxy, Clan Jade Falcon." Patrick said smartly, "She has requested permission to challenge you for possession of certain...assets and I'm willing to play along with it."

"What does she want?"

"Medical information and expertise." Patrick said, "Specialists in Genetic Medicine and processes, experts in exotic syndromes, the tools to try the impossible. You know, crazy clanner things. I agree with the sentiment, I just don't think any of you will pay up if you lose."

"You are questioning our HONOR??"

"Your threats are solid gold, I have no proof your promises are equally weighted." Patrick stated, looking at the assembled Clan delegates, "that goes for all of you. I doubt the worth of your word....but the Archon has directed that I allow this as a test of whether you Clanners can be trusted to honor your promises as strongly as you back your threats."

"Cholmann's Syndrome, one of the six incurables." saKhan Nelson Elam said, "General Clees believes our medicine, once applied, can find a cure...On behalf of my own Clan, I will accept this test. My Colleagues will need to communicate with their Clan leadership...but I think you will find our word is good...assuming 'General' Clees can win the trial."

"Recess for seventy two hours?" Patrick suggested, "To give your leadership time to decide if they want to do this?"

"Aff...and to establish what penalties you will have to pay, when we win."

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