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Beyond - Legends Annals of the Noble House of Trieste: Volume 11 (AU, OC)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Trieste, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Indeed, I've been wondering how long until the inevitable assassination attempt on Sierra. With such a controversial move, it has to come eventually.
     
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  2. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Heads will roll and Corbrands will be first
     
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  3. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn

    Redwood Creek, Bakura

    Kerry looked at herself in the mirror. Ordinarily she went with blue as her primary color and yellow accents for Truce Day, but this year she felt like changing things up. Accordingly, she had chosen a dark gold blouse and set it off with a necklace of blue stones. It was still in the patriotic color scheme, but a definite variation.

    Yes, something was different this Truce Day.

    ***

    Gesco City

    Siona paused before her mirror. She’d just put on her earrings and smoothed the braid of hair encircling her head.

    “I wonder if it’s too young a hairstyle,” she remarked.

    “You look good,” her husband Dorian reassured her. He put his hand on her shoulder and she reached behind to place hers on top of his.

    “I’m ready,” she said.

    “You don’t have to do it,” he reminded her.

    “I know, but it’s time.”

    ***

    Cape Suzette

    Truce Day had been odd ever since Fiona had retired from the Defense Fleet. From her first year at the Fleet Academy until her retirement, she had spent every Truce Day in uniform. Today she wore civilian clothes. Fiona was acutely aware that she was just another being in the crowd now. No one would know her as one of the Heroes of Nouvelle Orleans if they passed her on the street.

    And yet she was glad to have her days in the Fleet behind her. Fiona had told herself she was happy doing her duty as Superintendent of the Academy, mentoring the next generation of soldier leaders, but the truth was she had never been fulfilled by it. She had always yearned for field command, even in peacetime when there were no wars to fight.

    Today, however, she could still do her duty.

    ***

    Salis D’aar

    Regan brushed her hair, as was her tradition this day. She liked to work her raven locks up to a lustrous sheen. From her earliest days, her dark hair, so different from that of her sisters, had been a point of pride for her. Others would have said Kerry’s fiery mop was exciting, Siona’s flaxen waves classic, and Fiona’s straight chestnut tresses sensibly beautiful, but Regan had never wanted to trade her midnight hair.

    “Is Nessa coming this year?” Atticus asked.

    “No, she’s doing the Enclave this year,” Regan replied without looking over. “She wanted to show Jax what they do.”

    “That’s too bad. Always nice to have her.”

    “It would be nicer if she would be a full time member of this family,” Regan groused. “You know she looks down on us for being supported by the Noble House. It’s not like Lexine didn’t send her credits too. She just didn’t know about it at the time.”

    “I don’t think it was to quite the same degree,” Atticus pointed out.

    “Glass houses is all I’m saying.”

    “Of course.”

    ***

    Nouvelle Orleans

    “This year will be harder,” Ronan confessed.

    “I know,” Mandy agreed, “but it’ll do you good.”

    Ronan nodded, but said nothing. She was right, but he wondered how much it would hurt before it would help.

    “Declan said they’re going to honor Enoch and the other Marines before the game,” Mandy said, “now that the truth is out.”

    “He always loved Miner games, didn’t he?” Ronan said, his eyes filling with tears.

    “He did,” Mandy said, hugging her husband. “He did.”

    ***

    Prytis

    Thankfully this year required no excuses. With the Miners and Smugglers playing each other, Oisin and Verity could travel to Bakura and be together on Truce Day. He did not have to choose between marital or familial loyalty.

    Oisin had chosen to stay at Kilmainham Brook after arriving. All his years living at Tesserone had spoiled him for any other life but country living. He needed wide open spaces, clean air, dark skies that didn’t drown out the stars, and peaceful quiet to feel comfortable. Nar Shaddaa and Salis D’aar seemed to hem him in more and more these days.

    It also meant he could greet all his siblings as they arrived at the family estate. It was a crisp but pleasant day in the wooded retreat community of Prytis, so they sat on the verandah encircling the house drinking caf and chatting until the last one arrived.

    They left spouses behind as the six made the walk together. Sadly they had come here all too recently to stand in the shadow of this tree’s branches.

    “Hi Dad,” Kerry said for them all.

    The children of Niall Dunross Trieste stood before his final resting place in the earth of Bakura to pay their respects. They did this each year on the day of his death, Truce Day, but this year was especially poignant.

    35 years ago, their father had died.

    ***



    Salis D’aar
    254 ABY


    “We have received word that the casket containing Prime Minister Fionn Trieste will shortly be brought out from the Senate to begin its procession down to the National Cathedral, which is located four blocks from the Senate Building,” Gaeriel Dormingale reported from the BBC studios in Salis D’aar. Her five year old daughter Ayn was at home. The truth was that Gaeriel didn’t pay much attention to her daughter. Becoming the voice of Bakura was much more important to her. “The body will be accompanied by an honor guard of Bakuran Marines and the Marine Band. And indeed, the casket is now coming out of the Senate Building.”

    The eyes of a planet, and a large part of the galaxy, were fixed on the entrance to the Senate Building, out of which came the casket of Fionn Dunross Trieste. It was borne by one person at each of its eight handles. Those eight were Jane Trieste and her children, all dressed in black. Jane was first and on the right side of the casket as was her right as widow. On the left in front was Kerry, the eldest child. Behind them were the twins, Siona then Fiona, left and right. Next were Conn and Regan, followed by Ronan and lastly Oisin. Together they walked the casket down the steps of the Senate to the street. They did not put it on a caisson to follow behind it. No, the Triestes walked their departed Taoiseach down the silent streets of Salis D’aar, preceded by the Marine guard and Band, flanked by Marshalls.

    The Marine Band played the National Hymn of Bakura, which Fionn himself had commissioned for the 220 Inauguration, the first to occur since the Sith occupation and destruction. Then it had been sung in the memory of the martyrs who had died for Bakura and her freedom, including Fionn’s parents, Lennon and Maeve. Now it was played for their son who had restored everything they had fought for.

    The crowds that had gathered at the break of day to see Fionn Trieste pass by were silent. Some cried, some held each other in silence, some just watched as the eight Triestes passed by in lockstep. Regan cried beneath her veil, but kept a firm grip on her handle. Fiona maintained her military bearing, helped no doubt by her uniform and Commander’s insignia to stay at attention. A tear or two trickled down Kerry’s face. For Conn, the weight of the casket seemed to be heaviest of all. But of all of them no one walked more upright than Jane.

    Behind the casket came the other members of the Noble House, those that had married into it and those that had been born to them. Their grief was no less deep. Fionn had been a father in his own way to them as well. Mandy held Galen Westenra’s hand for strength. Verity walked behind them with her father and mother, who headed the queue of dignitaries and elected officials from Bakura and throughout the galaxy. Nessarose Wydra held Falene Trieste.

    “Gentlebeings throughout the galaxy, it is almost a tragedy to try to put into words the scene here before you,” Gaeriel Dormingale said on the BBC, “but I hope it is not too evident a contribution that today, we are all children of Fionn Trieste.”

    ***

    Prytis
    289


    They sat beneath the tree and passed around a bottle. Between the six of them it was hard for anyone to get too drunk. They talked of their lives in the last year: the funny, the tragic, the surprising, the noteworthy. They laughed more than they cried. Sometimes 35 years felt like an eternity; sometimes minutes.

    Kerry talked about her worries for Declan with the investigation into the Tund Operation. Siona talked about being a grandmother to Vienna. Fiona shared that Sierra, her only child, had bluntly told her an assassination attempt was coming, but that she shouldn’t worry. Regan talked about racing to Druckenwell in time to make Quentin’s spur-of-the-moment wedding. Ronan confessed sometimes he couldn’t sleep when he thought about Enoch. Oisin admitted he feared there was a wound inside Eleanor from having her child taken from her that would never heal.

    Before they rose to leave, Siona begged them to wait a moment. “I’ve been thinking about whether to do something and I’ve decided I can’t deny it to all of you,” she said. “Next Truce Day will be different. I promise I will be here, but you’ll have to have a drink for me.

    “Dorian has confirmed it. Cancer. I won’t make it another year. I’ll tell the kids tomorrow. I just want to enjoy one last good Truce Day with them. No tears, no pity. Just a beautiful day.”

    For one of the few times in the history of the tenth generation of the Noble House of Trieste, the Wonder Generation, no one had anything to say.
     
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  4. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    A beautiful post and one that asks the age old question: Did our generation make the galaxy a better place or did we make it worse off?

    I don't know but what I do know is that I am proud to say that I grew up with this generation of Triestes and I know them well. A generation that probably won't be seen again in the major spotlight as this story moves forward. I'll miss the likes of Kerry, Siona, Fiona, Conn, Regan, Ronan, and Oisin.

    Their children, mostly are grown to adulthood, have their own worlds to shape and their own challenges. Challenges that are unique to their generation but like their parents before them I am confident that the new Triestes, and their Vehn relations, shall overcome as they always do.....

    ^:)^
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
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  5. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Excellent writing. To use the word used by @Vehn, this is a beautiful way to reflect on the older generation.

    And Siona's revelation at the end is simple but powerful. It is, in a way, amazing that in a galaxy with medicine far beyond what we have on Earth, with bacta as a miracle drug, the ability to make organ transplants routine instead of life-altering, and other similar accomplishments, there is still no cure for cancer. My grandmother, who will be 91 years old in ten days, is currently undergoing radiation for breast cancer, her second bout with that evil disease after defeating it once nine years ago, so I am familiar with the devastating effects it can have. I feel for Siona here and hope the doctors can find a way for her to beat it.
     
  6. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    They sat beneath the tree and passed around a bottle. Between the six of them it was hard for anyone to get too drunk. They talked of their lives in the last year: the funny, the tragic, the surprising, the noteworthy. They laughed more than they cried. Sometimes 35 years felt like an eternity; sometimes minutes.

    Phew, finally caught up. I was too tired last night when I came back from the mountains by bus & train.

    You never fail to surprise and bedazzle your readers. Each characters is intriguing and one wants to stay put with his or her fate.

    ^:)^=D=[face_love]
     
  7. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn

    Marian Square, Salis D’aar, Bakura

    Everything about the West Office was the same. The amount of sunlight coming through the windows was no less than before, none of the furniture had been substituted out. Declan was even sure the carpet had been vacuumed the same way as his last visit. Even so, it was like an entirely different space. Prime Minister Madsen imbued the space with a somber mood. One didn’t need to know what was going on in the halls of government to know things were going badly.

    “Mr. Prime Minister,” Declan said as he entered.

    “Declan, sit,” Madsen said, gesturing to a chair next to his desk. It was a more intimate setup than having him in front of the desk. It suggested something closer to partnership than a supervisory relationship. “I hope you’ll forgive me, but it raises less questions if you and I speak than if I brought Ayn in. The media would get hold of the visitor logs and after this week’s testimony…” Madsen waved his hand absentmindedly. “Questions would be raised that would only make things worse.”

    “Of course. I am happy to backchannel for the prime ministry,” Declan said.

    “I need to know the mood of the Senate on Tund.” Silas was serious, leaning forward contemplatively.

    “She and I have discussed that already, privately,” Declan reported. “The Unionists would love to give us a bloody nose over Tund. They want to expand the hearings, drag them on as long as possible. Ayn has the whips keeping close tabs on our caucus. They’re antsy. Corband did not perform well. She looked inept in her testimony. The party is getting nervous. If things go on like this for much longer, some Senators may bolt.”

    “Is she a liability?” Madsen asked gravely.

    Declan nodded. “Unfortunately.”

    Madsen sat back and put his fist just below his mouth. “There’s one school of thought that firing her would be a sign of weakness, that we’d be allowing the Senate to run this administration.”

    That would probably be the Chief of Staff talking, Declan figured. “There is standing firm on principles, and then there is refusing to face facts. Kelli did her best, but this was a catastrophic failure. Our prestige throughout the galaxy has taken a hit. The Federation knows what we’ve done for them and is thankful, but that is only in the halls of power. In the public eye, our leadership is tarnished. The longer Corbrand stays, the more harm she does. Removing her would show there’s new leadership and that you have the courage to hold your ministers accountable.”

    “Confirmation of a new Minister of Defense will be contentious,” Madsen observed.

    “We’ll need a solid candidate, one above politics and suspicion. A party hack will draw negative press at a time we can ill afford it.” Declan paused. “If you need someone to lead a vetting committee, put together some names, I can do that for you.”

    Madsen considered for a moment. “I need to know that removing Corbrand will put this matter to rest.”

    “Of course. I will confirm with Ayn, but my read on the situation is that if the Senate gets its sacrificial lamb, this issue will die down. The Unionists will bring it up again in 292 in the election, but it gets us back on track now to resume your agenda,” Declan said.

    “If Ayn guarantees the investigatory committee will be closed, I’ll have Kelli’s resign. After that, begin the search for her replacement.”

    “As you wish,” Declan assented.
     
  8. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    You always glide to smoothly from emotions to political affairs. =D=
     
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  9. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn

    Club 33, Salis D’aar, Bakura

    “It’s a pity, but Kelli had to go. She completely botched the administration’s case in front of the entire planet,” Senator Elsaro remarked. “She allowed Gregson to make operational planning the issue and she was always going to lose that argument. It was only a matter of time before she was forced to resign. I hope for your sake that doesn’t start any trends.” The Senator chuckled. He sat on the Select Committee and was sympathetic to the prime ministry, but he also wasn’t blind to political realities.

    Declan accepted a drink from one of the servers inside the exclusive club of which many members of Fianna Fail were members. It was an establishment that was the site of more deals than the voters knew. “Madsen isn’t getting the broom out, Toby,” Declan assured his former colleague from the Senate. “Even if he wanted to, cleaning out two of his top three ministers would start a story about turmoil in Marian Square and that’s the last kind of press he can afford right now.”

    “Good, because he’s going to need you to get out of this mess,” Elsaro said as he switched an empty tumbler for a half filled one. “The truth is that we’re going to need you at State, Declan. We have a lot of repairing to do in the wake of this. Half the galaxy probably thinks that we’re a bunch of meddling, trigger happy, neo-Imperials.” He scoffed disdainfully.

    “That’s been my priority. I’ve been talking with the D12 ever since the hearings began. Obviously Coruscant and Roon understand, but it’s been a harder sell with the other powers,” Declan explained. “The good news is that with Corbrand out, Gregson will run out of fuel soon enough and we’ll put this mess behind us.”

    “Until the election.”

    “Until then,” Declan agreed. They were both silent a moment.

    “You know, one thing has always bothered me,” Elsaro idly remarked. “Why Madsen did it. He’s never been a foreign adventurer. I mean, that’s half the reason you’re in at State. He needed someone with good interstellar bona fides to make up for his domestic focus. I just have never understood why he agreed to this mission in the first place.”

    Declan shrugged. “Well, you know what they say. There are only two reasons why anyone does anything: love and money.”

    Elsaro considered the sentiment for a moment. “They do say that, don’t they?” He sipped his drink. “So why do you do what you do, Declan?”

    “Hmmm?” Declan asked, momentarily distracted.

    “Is it love or money?”

    “Love,” Declan responded without hesitation.

    Elsaro smirked. “I thought as much. You have plenty of money as it is. That begs the question: love of what?”

    Declan gave a small smile. “Well…that’s mine to know.” He threw back the rest of his drink and stood. “I’ve got to be going Toby. Let me know if there’s anything we can do for you at State.”

    Senator Elsaro squeezed Declan’s hand and remained in his seat. He looked at the bottom of his glass and swirled the liquor around. “Love and money…love and money…” he murmured.
     
  10. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    “Is it love or money?”

    “Love,” Declan responded without hesitation.

    Elsaro smirked. “I thought as much. You have plenty of money as it is. That begs the question: love of what?”

    Declan gave a small smile. “Well…that’s mine to know.” He threw back the rest of his drink and stood. “I’ve got to be going Toby. Let me know if there’s anything we can do for you at State.”

    I knew Declan was going to say that. But he is always good for a surprise.
     
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  11. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn Nothing to see here. Just some boring legislative committee hearings. Move along.

    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    The Select Committee investigation into the Tund Operation was all but over. The resignation of Kelli Corbrand had taken the wind out of the issue’s sails. Punishment had been meted out to the guilty—or at least to the sacrificial lambs. The Unionists had hoped they could go even higher, but Corbrand had been a loyal lieutenant and fallen on her lightsaber for the Prime Minister. He had been insulated from the scandal through her resignation and acceptance of responsibility.

    To further move the political discussion along from Tund, Madsen had announced his nominee for Corbrand’s replacement during the most recent session of Questions to the Prime Minister. “My prime ministry has concluded its initial vetting of candidates and I am pleased to report that later today I will put before the Senate none other than my Chief of Staff, Alec Cordovay, for the post. Alec has been an able administrator of Marian Square and his emphasis on accountability and operational efficiency is what is needed now at Defense.” The Chief of Staff had been one of three final candidates that Declan had presented to his chief. The Minister of State had refrained from making a final recommendation, leaving that decision to Madsen. Given the need to put someone in place at Defense that Madsen trusted implicitly, Cordovay made the most sense.

    With the Senate turning to the question of whether someone with no military experience could effectively lead the Ministry of Defense, the Tund hearings were old news. All that was left was to formally close the committee and release its members to other duties. As such, few reporters attended its final session.

    It fell to Senator Gregson, who had been instrumental in the downfall of Kelli Corbrand, to begin the final stage of the hearings. “This committee comes to order. I would like to summarize, for the record, the findings of the committee,” he began.

    “Mr. Chairman,” a voice interjected, “if I may, I would like to make some remarks before the closure of this committee.”

    “I recognize Senator Elsaro,” Gregson said, yielding the floor.

    “Thank you, Mr. Chairman,” Elsaro said, folding his hands before him. “As you were so rightly going to begin, this committee has made many findings. We have determined how 15 Marines died in the line of service on Tund and the operational decisions that led to those deaths and the outcome of the mission. However, this committee has not discovered why those Marines died. This is a question that has perturbed me since the beginning of these hearings. I believe that the beings of Bakura deserve an answer to this question.

    “Some would say that they died defending their planet. This is false. The Eastern Centrality posed no immediate threat to Bakura before the operation commenced. Some would say they died in pursuit of ideals. Perhaps, but the prime ministry still has not informed the planet what these ideals were. I have wracked my brain for another motivation for the operation we have detailed and I can find only one.

    “Someone stood to gain. That someone was Prime Minister Silas Madsen.”

    The few reporters in the hearing room were already on their comms to their producers. It seemed this closing session was not going to be as uneventful as everyone had thought.

    “Senator, on what basis do you make this allegation?” Gregson asked.

    “Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I would like to call witnesses that my office has discovered over the last few days that will be able to shed light on this question.”

    By the time the first witness was called, news outlets across Bakura were showing the proceedings live. From the distance provided by history, what citizens learned could be summarized in a few key quotes:

    An employee of the Exchequer, Bakura’s treasury: “Prime Minister Madsen has declared no holdings of or dividends from Sienar Technologies or Incom Corporation in his tax returns in the last ten years.”

    A banker from Arcterra: “Over the past five years, Silas Madsen purchased through our trading operation approximately 500,000 credits worth of Sienar Technologies shares and 250,000 credits worth of Incom Corporation stock. These securities were placed in the name of The Durst Trust.”

    A county clerk from Arcterra: “Records filed with Arcterra County show the only trustee of The Durst Trust to be Becca Durst, adopted daughter of Silas Madsen.”

    A professor of political science from the University of Bakura, Salis D’aar: “The biggest item of political debate across the galaxy is the continuation of the Kattan Doctrine. Given that the Tund Operation took place under the auspices of the Republican Fleet, its outcome was inextricably tied to the outcome of this debate. Had the Tund Operation succeeded, we might now be well on our way to repeal of the Kattan Doctrine blessed by the Senate.”

    A professor of economics from Evenvale University: “The Republican Fleet has significant contracts with both Incom Corporation and Sienar Technologies. A repeal of the Kattan Doctrine would almost certainly require a larger fleet. Incom and Sienar would see significantly increased business in a post-Kattan Doctrine economy.”

    To this last questioner, Senator Elsaro questioned, “Professor, in your professional opinion, what is a conservative estimate of the market reaction to greatly increased Republican Fleet contracts for these firms?”

    “I hesitate to make predictions about the markets.”

    “But drawing upon past market activity you could make an educated estimate, correct?” Elsaro pressed.

    “I would estimate share prices, accounting for splits, would double in a conservative scenario,” the professor said.

    “So 750,000 credits would become 1.5 million,” Elsaro said, “and in a liberal scenario?”

    The professor shrugged. “In a bullish market…I would be comfortable with a five-fold increase in value.”

    3.75 million credits. It was a number that Bakurans did not easily forget.

    It seemed the committee had more work to do—much more.
     
  12. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    I'm now getting the feeling that Madsen himself is going to have to find a way to defend himself here or be forced out of office himself. And if the latter happens, who else would take his place but Declan? :D
     
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  13. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Madsen better start packing his bags. The wolves are coming.
     
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  14. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    The work is NEVER really over. NEVER.

    This is what made Sisyphos despair.
     
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  15. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn And now we dive deeper into a besieged fortress...


    Marian Square, Salis D’aar, Bakura

    The executive mansion was in crisis mode. Far from going away, the Tund hearings were now stronger than ever. In fact, the attempt to change the conversation with a new appointment at Defense had backfired. In the wake of the revelations about Madsen’s purchase of Incom and Sienar holdings, the Chief of Staff was now being called “a crony of Madsen whose purpose was to make sure that no one asked deeper questions about Tund at Defense.” The furor was so great that Madsen had been forced to withdraw the nomination, further eroding his position in the capital.

    Declan Trieste had never seen a crisis in government like this since the days of the Civil War, when he’d been living in Marian Square and his mother had been Prime Minister. Then there had been questions about who was going to leave and what files they might make off with. He wasn’t sure he could see much difference between then and now.

    “I’ve seen Hapan coups calmer than this,” Holly Merizan muttered to Declan.

    “Mention that to Sierra next time she swings by,” Declan said. “I’m sure she’ll love that.”

    Holly declined to comment that she didn’t want to give the Chume’doro an excuse to take any potshots at her.

    Declan left Holly behind as he was admitted to the West Office. He was immediately struck by how much Madsen appeared to have aged since he’d last seen him. It was as if the cares of the office had hit him all at once in terrible fashion.

    “Mr. Prime Minister,” Declan said, starting with the usual formalities.

    Madsen turned in his chair from staring out a window. He seemed surprised to see Declan even though the appointment had been at the PM’s request. “Declan, is it that time already? Apologies.” The Prime Minister stood and offered a weak handshake. “Forgive me, but this whole business has me distracted.”

    “Anyone would be,” Declan assured him. “What can I do to help?”

    “If you’ve got any good answers for Questions in a few days, I could use them,” Madsen said, following the comment with a short laugh that lacked any mirth. “I can already hear the Senators sharpening their vibroknives for me.”

    “All I can suggest is the truth.”

    “You saw the press conference,” Madsen grunted. “I told them those shares were purchased by money managers in my name. I haven’t the slightest idea what they’ve been doing with my funds since I put it all into a trust three years ago, preparing for my run. I instructed them to make several purchases for Becca’s benefit to make it easier for her to one day inherit things. Cut down on the taxes.” He shook his head. “But try getting them to believe it.”

    “Then put your own witnesses before the committee,” Declan advised. “Corroborate the truth with facts.”

    “I’ve offered as much to Gregson, but he’s like a Karkarodon who scents blood in the water. He’ll put them in the queue behind a dozen beings who will swear on a stack of Fulcrums that they have personal knowledge that I purposely approved the Tund operation for my financial benefit,” Madsen said.

    “And you and I both know that wasn’t true,” Declan said. “I was in the room. I know you did it because you believed it was the best thing for the galaxy. You have to keep pushing that message at every opportunity, including Prime Minister’s Questions.”

    “I appreciate the advice,” Madsen said, “but there was something else I wanted your opinion on. Minister of Defense. The Senate is screeching that they should pick the next Minister given the current ‘scandal.’” Declan could hear the quotation marks around the final word. “That can’t be allowed. It would be a huge usurpation of executive privilege and I will not have that on my watch.” The resolution lacking in the Prime Minister’s manner returned with the last sentence. His constitutional duty roused him to indignation.

    “Then you have to give them a candidate they will accept. Someone whose reputation is beyond reproach, who won’t be seen as kowtowing to you. A nominee like that might even raise your standing in the Senate,” Declan stated. “With respect, Prime Minister, I think you know who that is.”

    ***

    “And so it is my pleasure to nominate one of Bakura’s greatest heroes for Minister of Defense. She has spent her entire life in selfless service to our homeworld both in the field and on planet, literally influencing a generation of officers. I can think of no one better to lead the Ministry than retired Admiral Fiona Westenra,” Silas Madsen announced.

    Declan’s aunt, one of the Heroes of Nouvelle Orleans in the Civil War, stepped forward with a smile. She shook Madsen’s hand warmly. Years ago, Declan had asked her to speak out, if obliquely, on the Mark V BakurStar project to spike public opinion in service to Ayn’s and his goals in the Senate. He had been frank it would likely end her military career, but he had promised that if all went well he would repay her with a better posting than the Superintendent of the Fleet Academy. Fiona had taken chances on the battlefield and had been willing to gamble here too. Like so many of her command decisions, it had paid off.

    “It is my great honor to accept this nomination,” Fiona told the press, “and let me just say that it is good to be back.”
     
  16. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    And ever so slowly, the political power of the Noble House grows larger.

    I always smile when I see the email notification that you posted in this thread, because I know that excellent writing and storytelling is waiting on me. You never fail to impress. Keep it coming! :D
     
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  17. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    By necessity, things are going to start happening quickly, so I think I can honor that request. ;)
     
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  18. DarthUncle

    DarthUncle Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Finally found time to read up on this epic story again. A lot has happened, with great political and personal drama. Looking forward to the next update already!
     
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  19. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Fiona had taken chances on the battlefield and had been willing to gamble here too. Like so many of her command decisions, it had paid off.

    “It is my great honor to accept this nomination,” Fiona told the press, “and let me just say that it is good to be back.”


    And by night she turns into an ogre, for this is the true face of many politicians. :p
     
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  20. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    It took me a second to realize where you were going with that @AzureAngel2, but once I did I found it hilarious!
     
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  21. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Sorry, could not help myself. But some many German politicians behave like ogres at present.
     
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  22. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn


    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    “The crucial question,” Senator Gregson expounded, “is what did the Prime Minister know when the purchase of Sienar and Incom stock took place?”

    Indeed it was the central question these days. The capital had become obsessed with it. The regular business of government had almost ground to a halt as the city, indeed much of the planet, became captivated with the answer to that question and its ramifications. Not even the confirmation hearings of the Minister of Defense could sway the legislature’s attention from the Tund Operation. Every question in Prime Minister’s Questions was on the topic of Tund and his financial dealings. The sheer volume of the questions caused Madsen to rail at one point, “If the Senate devoted this much attention and time to actually running the planet, why we’d have the finest government this side of the Core!” His witty quips did nothing to turn the harsh spotlight from the matter.

    Declan said nothing on the matter publicly. Despite his public promise to Rurra Eshka’mos, he had not testified before the Select Committee—because he had not been called. One might ask what light the Minister of State could shed on the personal dealings and motivations of the Prime Minister. Nobody thought to do so.

    Ayn maintained, as she had since forming the Select Committee, a healthy distance from its operations. Whenever she was asked about her opinion on the matter, she demurred. “I will have an opinion when all facts have been presented to the committee and not until then,” she replied crisply. The Deputy Prime Minister always made it clear when a topic of conversation was done in her eyes. Then again, she didn’t have a question period during which her fellow Senators could force her to answer.

    Fiona Westenra, awaiting her confirmation hearings, had nothing to say on the matter when asked. “Until I am confirmed by the Senate, my involvement in the affairs of this administration does not extend beyond that of any other Bakuran citizen. If the Senate feels it important to ask my views on specific questions during my hearings, I will answer at that time.”

    In fact, no one seemed to have a lot to say about the matter—until the committee called Eujean Herfitz of the Marian Square Communications Office to testify.

    (Ed. note: for the convenience of the reader, the Senate transcript is included verbatim.—W. Súilleabháin)

    GREGSON: Ms. Herfitz, please describe your primary duty in Marian Square.

    HERFITZ: I am responsible for gathering media clippings for the Prime Minister’s daily media review.

    GREGSON: How long have you held this position?

    HERFITZ: Since the beginning of Prime Minister Madsen’s prime ministry.

    GREGSON: Have you prepared all of the PM’s media reviews?

    HERFITZ: I am responsible for his weekend reviews.

    GREGSON: So then you are not part of the regular weekday staff of Marian Square?

    HERFITZ: No.

    GREGSON: No you are, or no you are not?

    HERFITZ: I am not part of the regular weekday staff.

    GREGSON: But your work is still read by the Prime Minister?

    HERFITZ: That is my understanding.

    GREGSON: Who delivers these briefings?

    HERFITZ: They are delivered electronically to his datapad.

    GREGSON: Who sends them to his datapad?

    HERFITZ: I do.

    GREGSON: Were you responsible for this briefing packet, delivered to the Prime Minister fourteen months ago?

    [A specific set of files is presented to Ms. Herfitz for review.]

    HERFITZ: I was.

    GREGSON: Did you send it to the Prime Minister?

    HERFITZ: I did.

    GREGSON: Would you please read, for the record, the title of the fourth article in the briefing?

    HERFITZ: “Republican Fleet Enters New Contracts with Sienar and Incom.”

    GREGSON: I hereby enter this briefing into the record. How would you summarize the contents of this article, Ms. Herfitz?

    HERFITZ: It states that the Republican Fleet signed new contracts for starship and starfighter production with Sienar and Incom. These contracts established set prices for future purchases over a specified number of years, giving the Fleet cost certainty. The tradeoff was that both Incom and Sienar would likely be the suppliers of choice for the Fleet for the foreseeable future given the rates set.

    GREGSON: And this article was placed before the PM?

    HERFITZ: That is my understanding.

    GREGSON: So Prime Minister Madsen was advised, by way of his daily press briefing, that Incom and Sienar would substantially benefit from an expansion of the Republican Fleet?

    HERFITZ: The information was available to him.

    GREGSON: Are you aware of any instances where the Prime Minister disregarded his media briefing?

    HERFITZ: I am not.

    ***

    Marian Square, Salis D’aar, Bakura

    The West Office was dark when Declan stepped inside it. Night had long ago fallen in Salis D’aar, yet Madsen was still awake. A fire had been lit in the fireplace and Madsen was sitting in front of it in an armchair, gazing into the flames.

    Declan did not announce his presence this time. Silas seemed to have lost himself in the dancing light, but Declan somehow intuited that the Prime Minister was aware of his presence. Instead, he took a seat next to Silas.

    “Whiskey?” Madsen asked. It was the first time that Declan could remember that his boss had offered him a drink in this hallowed political space. The Prime Minister already had one in his hand.

    Declan poured himself one without saying anything. He drank it neat and maintained his silence.

    “Declan, we need to talk,” Madsen said.
     
  23. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    I smell an impeachment coming. :D
     
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  24. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    It is always wonderful to see RL events reflected in your stories.

    Let me say: "Good night and good luck!" ;)
     
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  25. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    I'm waiting for Madsen to say, "I'm not a crook, I didn't do it."
     
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