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Chapter 23 - The Advisor[]

Saveraux Prison Complex, New Syrtis
New Syrtis Star System
Federated Suns

"Prisoner 73219, stand in the circle and place your hands on the bar."

Tera Lukassi did as she was instructed.  The guards took her hands, and brought them around her back.

"What's going on?" she asks.

"Quiet you."

She was led out of the cell, and down a hall to the administrative office of the ward, and from there, to an interrogation room, where her ankle was secured to the floor and her wrists to the table with a short chain.

Is it time already? I thought I had another appeal...

After a few minutes alone, the far door opened, and an AFFC officer with O-2 Lieutenant's rank, walked in, with a file under his arm.

"Tera Lukassi, age...twenty three.  Convicted of aiding and abetting piracy, engaging in smuggling of controlled substances, and illegal arms trafficking.  Interesting." the Lieutenant's nameplate said 'Boothe'.

He looked up, "Death sentence, huh.  Appeal rejected three times, with a fourth finally citing something actionable regarding mitigating circumstances."  he closed the file.  "They're going to commute to a life sentence.  How do you feel about that?"

"I didn't know they were going to commute my sentence-"

"Well, good news. Not the best news, and I think I can offer you a better deal." he said, reaching into his briefcase.

"A...better deal? Who do I need to suck off for that?"

"Um...Wow. that got weird fast." he said, "No, see, this..."

He laid the document on the table.  "This is a Pardon. For all your many sins including, that incident with your father. Which, if you hadn't run, would've been thrown out anyway on the first review.  This First Prince's Pardon, Ms Lukassi, has some strings."

"I can't tell you any more about the organization-"

"Not those strings. It comes with a commission, if you can earn it." He explained, "A fresh start, Miss, a new name, a new role, a new life, and all your sins forgiven...provided you can navigate a six minute jump window. Which is five minutes thirty seconds longer than the one you navigated in the incident that landed you in here."

"How many times?"

"As many as are necessary." he told her, "You'll be doing it regularly, and teaching others to do it...while wearing a uniform a lot like mine."

"Daw! You're joking right?  What about my..'former associates'? don't you think Trevalaine is going to want something to say about that-or about me?"

"You turned states evidence on your former associates to try and avoid the hangman-so I doubt they're going to look on you kindly." he said, "If you bump into them again, you get the pleasure of putting them into a place a lot like this one. Or in the ground, with official sanction and the might of the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns at your see, we're going to be hunting them."

She looked at the paperwork. and she looked at Lt. Boothe.  "That could be a bad idea, they've got fighters, and 'mechs, and no rules-"

He smiled at her.  "Good. Listen, I've got three other people to interview here if you don't want the job.  If you do..." he produced a document, and a stylus, "Sign here and we'll get those cuffs off you.  I've gotta warn you, if you DO sign on, you're not leaving the service until retirement-there's no early out, and we space deserters."

She read the enlistment contract carefully, noting the conditions, and she actually read the pardon.  Ech and every item, clause, and sentence.  then, she signed her name.

The guards unlocked her restraints, a Priest came in, with two official witnesses and a notary.

"Raise your right hand and repeat after me-"

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