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Chapter 1 - You swore to carry on[]

[News Reports....]

"The danger posed by the Lyran refusal to disarm can't be understated.  For three centuries, the Inner Sphere's leaders have been in a continuous war of domination, and while Peter, and then Adam, both swore the Commonwealth had no expansionist objectives, that has ever been the subtext of threat to the rest of the Inner Sphere.  Their bloodless conquest of the Jade Falcons, and the recent withdrawal of the Jade Falcon clan from the Grand Council underscores this threat.

For the safety of your realms and nations, I have been moved to act in offering my support to replace an unstable regime that has repeatedly denied common sense restrictions on Naval forces and threatened the stability and recovery of Inner Sphere nations.

We have the local support, we have the legitimacy.  The Lyran Commonwealth needs to be brought back in line with the rest of Humanity before they can become a threat to each of your nations.  Right now, the largest industrialized military force in the Inner Sphere is wracked with civil war, and we can not in good conscience stand by knowing the weapons they have available...  I trusted Peter, and I trusted Adam, but Andrew is young, and he's getting bad advice from Elizabeth Ngo and her militarist factions.

It is with reluctance that I find I must step forward, and with the help of your nations bring my homeland back to the community of mankind."

-Former Archon-Prince Victor Steiner-Davion, addressing a multinational summit in New York, Terra, January 13, 3098 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Bachelor Officers Quarters
Tharkad Anchorage Station
Tharkad Star System
Lyran Commonwealth
February 22nd, 3098


Amanda found the off switch on the morning alarm with a flailing arm.  Then she realized it wasn't a heater at her side.  Someone's here?  "Lights."

There was a man in her bed... no, that's not right, because this isn't my bed.  She rubbed her eyes, as the shape next to her shifted.  "Hey, wake up." she shook him.

"Hello Lovely."  His eyes opened.

"It's zero four, I've got duty." she said to him.  "Where are we?"

"BOQ section for transfer officers." he told her.

"Right... did we have a good time?" she asked.

He licked his lips, "I... think so?  Don't you remember?"

"I was pretty drunk." she told him.  "I think, anyway."

He paled, "CHRIST!!" and she suddenly realized what she'd said, as he began stammering apologies.

"No... no!  Look, let's get dressed and we can figure this out over breakfast, all right?"  She crawled out of the sleeping sack.  "I've got the showers first, this is outer ring, ayeh?"

"Yes, and yes, it's got showers." he said.  "I'm truly sorry.  I didn't know you'd been drinking-"

She planted a finger on his lips, "SHH!  It's all right, I'm sure you were lovely."  She appraised his physique.  "Yes, I'm sure of it." she added.

She made her way to the officer's shower unit, and programmed a five minute cycle before stepping in.

The cycler would pull the sprayed water in a flow of hot air in the low gravity, straining soap and pollutants.  It was a complex piece of engineering, she knew from experience, an innovation that made life civilized to a degree in space.  But she didn't have time for a long one. 

After five minutes, the water stopped but the hot air continued, drying her off enough to don her skinsuit.

She came out and found him waiting, still looking somewhere between embarrassed and humiliated.  She considered his face, tilted her head a bit and said, "Oh, I remember now. You were lovely."  She toe-jumped up, and kissed his chin playfully.  "Shower's yours now!"

The stunned-ox look didn't leave his face, but he went into the cube and closed the door.

He was lovely, I should have invited him to join... she shrugged, and dug around the tiny apartment for her discarded overgarment, helmet, and personal effects.

Her pager was flashing when she reconnected it to her arm.

Damn, I wanted to get breakfast and get to know Tommy better!  "I've got to be going, love." she said loudly enough to be picked up by the intercom in the shower cube.  "Be Seeing you."

She stopped at the door, went back, and stole his comm-code from his pager before leaving.

There are certain nice things about being station-bound.  For example, the microgravity in the corridors close to the core of the station meant nobody could see the bow-legged walk.

"Amanda!!"  Irena came streaking downspin from her, not using the safety line.  "How was it last night!?"

"I could ask you the same, you seemed to really that girl you left with last night." Amanda teased.

"She was... all right.  Too eager." Irena Van Oosten deadpanned.  "I swear I've not seen so many toys since I was a teenager, and she fumbled like a virgin on her first kiss."

"I did NOT need to know that much." Amanda's lips turned mock-sour.  "So good enough?"

"Enough, not like you and that side of man-beef, how was he?"

"Lovely. Gentle," Amanda told her, amending "..maybe not as experienced as he should have been or maybe just too much of a gentleman.  I think I'll have to break him in some."

Irena gawped a little, "What's your standahd of comparison again?"

"Oh, Hue-Falcons... yeah, I guess a Heinie boy's going to be a little inexperienced comparatively," she shrugged.  "He was delightful and I might keep him..if duty allows."

"Dish! You haven't hit 'too much information' yet!" Irena urged.

"Stars, Irena, you're a fleeping voyeur!" Amanda shook her head with a laugh.  "Did you get the same alert?"

"Ayeh," Irena nodded.  "It interrupted a delightful breakfast..."

Amanda scowled.  "I overslept. No Brekky for me..."

"It's for a good cause." Irena told her as they reached the central transit hub.  "You got Laaaaiiid!"

Amanda rolled her eyes.  "Was I ever this immature?" she muttered.

"YES." Irena told her.  "But that was before you turned all dour, and serious!"  They floated into the capsule, and braced for acceleration.

"I'm NOT dour!"

"Yes you are." Irena played innocent.

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