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Beyond - Legends Annals of the Noble House of Trieste: Volume 12 (AU, OC)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Trieste, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

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

    Nouvelle Orleans, Bakura

    Antrose Trieste was not used to being stopped in his speeder outside his own home. This was part of the reason he lived in the most upscale neighborhood the humid, muggy city had to offer. Such inconveniences were not for the likes of him. Unfortunately, he knew exactly what was going on when he was politely halted at the foot of his drive by a professionally dressed being with dark lenses shielding her eyes.

    “Identification please.” Antrose complied. “Thank you, sir. Would you please step out of the speeder to submit to a weapons scan?” Antrose did so. And a floating remote droid gave him a once over.

    “I’d like to declare the blaster I’m wearing on my left hip,” Antrose said before the droid made its report.

    “Thank you, sir. Would you please surrender the sidearm?” Antrose knew it wasn’t really a request and did so without comment. “You’ll receive this back at the end of the visit. You may proceed.”

    “Along with the other blasters I keep in the house, I have no doubt,” Antrose grumbled as he got back into his speeder and finished the drive. He took a deep breath before walking through the front door.

    “Darling--” his wife Henrietta called when she heard the front door slid open.

    “Let me guess, we have visitors,” Antrose finished as he headed for the living room from whence Henrietta’s voice came.

    “Unfortunately, I don’t travel inconspicuously these days,” Ayn admitted, rising from the couch. Half-drunk teacups were on the low table in front of her and Henrietta. “Apologies for not providing notice, Antrose, but we were only able to fit this visit in at the last second among meetings with local officials.” Antrose highly doubted that. He was convinced his cousin did very little on the spur of the moment. “I’m glad I was able to catch you.”

    “It’s lovely to see you, Ayn,” Antrose said, giving the Prime Minister a light hug. “Stay for dinner?”

    “Unfortunately, I’m booked with the mayor,” Ayn apologized. “However, I’ve talked Henrietta’s ear off. Perhaps we can spare her and speak in your study?”

    “Don’t bother, it’s been delightful to talk!” Henrietta protested.

    “Actually, I suspect that was Ayn’s way of saying she has some Noble House business for me,” Antrose explained. He took pleasure in stripping away the niceties of Ayn’s speech. “I’m sure we won’t be more than a tick.” With that he led Ayn to his home office, leaving behind a disappointed Henrietta.

    Antrose shut the door behind Ayn. “Why don’t we skip the small chat and you just tell me what’s so important that you care to ambush me in my own home?” he asked icily, taking a seat behind his desk without offering Ayn a chair.

    The Prime Minister pursed her lips for a second. “As you wish. I am aware of your criminal activities, specifically the illegal import and export of goods and the avoidance of paying the appropriate duties on such products.”

    “You should check with the Exchequer before you come all this way to throw around baseless accusations. ELT Shipping is in good stead in all our legal obligations. Any tax we haven’t paid has been in keeping with the breaks offered by the federal government, or should I say your government,” Antrose said. “Our independent auditors have confirmed this all.”

    “I’m sure that’s what the books say, but we both know that they say what you want them to,” Ayn replied without malice. It was a statement of fact. “This conversation doesn’t leave this room. That’s part of why we’re having it here and not somewhere more public. I am here as a kindness to you, Antrose.”

    “I’ve yet to hear a nice word come out of your mouth, cousin,” Antrose sneered.

    “You have two months to completely divest yourself of all illegal activities. I don’t care if ELT goes on. I care if you go with them. Shut it down, hand it off, do whatever you want, but you are out,” Ayn ordered.

    “And why would I do that?”

    “Because I am your Taoiseach and your behavior has already cost this family.”

    “Cost us what? It’s only benefited my family, as far as I can see,” Antrose pointed out.

    Ayn stepped forward to position herself squarely before Antrose’s desk. “Declan lost Nouvelle Orleans in the primary because we couldn’t campaign here. We couldn’t take the chance that your dealings were going to be used against us. Enough beings know exactly what you are for you to be a danger to the Noble House. That is why this has to end.”

    “That’s why? Not going to bring up the other things I’ve done to secure my...market dominance, let’s call it? That says a lot about you, cousin.” Antrose stood slowly. “But you want to talk about cost? You want to talk about the Noble House? What did the Noble House ever do for my family?”

    “It gave you an education. Every advantage.”

    “It has weighed on my father for over 30 years. He has selflessly managed finances so Kerry, Falene, Declan, and you could go off and do whatever you wanted. Be masters of the galaxy or whatever your fancy pleased.”

    “He was paid for his services.”

    “An infinitesimal fraction of the credits he made for all of you!” Antrose shouted. “He gave you the best years of his life and now what does he have? A third-rate bank! You didn’t even stand by him when Kattan died and they moved against him on the Eden board! It was the least you could have done!”

    “Your father would be ashamed of your business if he knew what it really was. Don’t use him as a justification of your path in life,” Ayn warned him.

    “No, he was the great tragic lesson of my life: never build anything the Noble House can take away from you. And you’ll never take ELT from me. I built them from a fourth-rate operation into Bakura’s biggest syndicate! It is mine and I will never surrender it.”

    “If you are connected in any fashion to criminal enterprise two months and one day from today, you are out of the Noble House,” Ayn informed him.

    “I’ll welcome the day,” Antrose snorted.

    “Think it over carefully, Antrose. I assure you: you do not want me as your enemy,” Ayn warned.

    “Oh? Why’s that? Because you stole Marian Square? Don’t think I can’t see a thief when I see one,” Antrose laughed. “You have no moral authority. And before you move to the part where you threaten me, know this: everything you feared when Declan was campaigning? Worse than that will rain down on you if you so much as glance in my direction. You don’t want me as your enemy. I got where I was by beating down anyone who so much as dreamed of taking what is mine. Consider yourself on notice, Ayn.”

    “Two months, Antrose. Two months,” Ayn repeated as she walked to the door.

    “See yourself out,” Antrose dismissed her. She did.

    “I hope you’re not leaving already?” Henrietta asked as Ayn returned to the living room.

    “Hardly,” Ayn said with a broad smile. “In fact, I was hoping you had a moment…”
     
  2. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    A Trieste Uncivil war? How fascinating
     
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  3. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Uncivil war? What a word! What an idea! Wow!
     
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  4. DarthUncle

    DarthUncle Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Well, it was clear from the start that Artrose and Ayn/Declan were going to clash,just a matter of time really. I'd be inclined to give it to the latter but it will be an interesting if uncivil, struggle no doubt.

    I do wonder about Henrietta's role too, as she seems to be a good person. I hope she's coming out of this with a bit of that left.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  5. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    I had a name for this...but the Uncivil War might be such a good name that I can't not use it now. :p
     
  6. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

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

    Tinta, Hapes Consortium


    (Note one no-no word in the lyrics)

    Mr. Trier got off one more shot before the chume’doro burst into the room. Normally when someone says they burst into a room, they mean “entered suddenly”. That is not what happened. The chume’doro actually crashed through the sliding wooden door, breaking a jagged hole through its middle, sending bits of wood flying into the room. The first two guards threw themselves on top of Sierra, who grunted as the air left her lungs, in protection of the Queen Mother. The chume’doro recruited beings who were athletically built, not waifs, and the weight of two was a substantial mass.

    The next two through the door hole came in blasters firing. Sierra didn’t see what happened, because after a shout of “Clear!” she was hauled to her feet--except she wasn’t. Her feet were dangling in the air as the chume’doro that had formerly been smushing her against the carpet were now hauling her between them as compatriots, blasters at the ready, formed a wedge to fight their way out of the estate.

    As she was carried, the Queen Mother had the presence of mind to shout, “Stun mode! Stun mode!” It was more likely that they would encounter servants than armed attackers. She wanted to minimize the loss of innocent life. If there were any threats, it wouldn’t hurt to take them alive to learn what they knew. However, their progress out to the royal shuttle met with no beings that hadn’t already submitted to the orders and drawn blasters of other members of the chume’doro. The word must have gone out fast over the comms.

    Sierra was barely on the boarding ramp when one of the chume’doro holding her shouted, “Clear!” and the shuttle began its rapid ascent, the ramp closing automatically as the ground grew distant behind them. Finally Sierra was put back on her feet, only to be immediately tilted into a seat by a doctor running a diagnostic scan on her to search for injuries.

    “I’m fine,” Sierra said.

    “Standard procedure, your majesty,” the doctor replied, not even bothering to stop her work.

    Sierra’s senses began returning to her. She realized her heart was beating fast, her nostrils flaring with short shallow breaths. She reminded herself to slow her breathing. Strategic thinking was beginning to come back to the front of her mind as her survival instincts calmed themselves and adrenaline stopped spiking.

    “I need to speak to the consort,” the Queen Mother commanded. “Now.” Time was of the essence.

    A holoprojector was set up and her husband’s image soon flickered to life wearing his naval uniform. Sierra knew that Trellam was out patrol with the fleet right now, defending the Consortium’s borders. Being with the fleet was one of the few things that Trellam truly enjoyed about life in Hapes and Sierra made sure he got enough of that as he needed to be happy. The life of a consort was not easy. It was the least she could do.

    “It was Serene Trier,” Sierra said, not wasting time.

    Trellam immediately knew what his wife meant. “The children?”

    Sierra looked at one of the chume’doro, who gave a slight nod. The moment there was an attempt on the Queen Mother’s life, the chume’da and other siblings would immediately go into lockdown in a secure location. “They’re safe,” she confirmed. “Act now.”

    “Understood.” Trellam’s image cut out.

    “Make for Hapes with all haste,” Sierra ordered.

    ***

    A velvet revolution was a well-oiled and -practiced series of events in the Consortium. Almost every Queen Mother faced one (if not several) in her rule. You either survied or you fell and lost the throne. Sierra and Trellam knew that one was coming against her due to her support of gender equality. They just didn’t know where it would come from.

    After she enacted the law, the Queen Mother ordered the chume’doro to open files on every Hapan noble. It was a large population to monitor, but they had to be prepared for anything. The Hapan royal guards investigated who associated with whom, what cliques and coteries gathered regularly, financial transactions, any link or connection that might speak to a conspiracy. They made threat level assessments for them all, even those that Sierra knew where stalwart supporters. Allegiances could shift quickly. The beings of the Consortium had rights that had probably been violated in these investigations, but in Hapes no one’s rights were inviolable when placed against the will of the Queen Mother.

    It had all been in preparation for the counterrevolution. They only needed one player to start unraveling the entire conspiracy, one that would surely try to wrest control of the state apparatus on Hapes itself. Serene Trier’s file was immediately opened and her network of associates and friends were arrested within hours by chume’doro bureaus across the Consortium. Where there were multiple points of commonality between those arrested, further arrests were made. The charge was treason. The order of the hour was arrests now, evidence later. Anything for the safety of the Queen Mother. Better that nine innocent should suffer for a time rather than let a threat to the throne go free for an hour. Surely their reputations would be vindicated later if unfairly tarnished, surely no grudges would develop as a result of such treatment, the reasoning went.

    The response was swift and terrifying. Husbands in the fleet were thrown in the brig. Children were taken into “protective custody.” Assets were seized.

    And within hours, Sierra Chume appeared on the HoloNet at the palace balcony, smiling and waving with her children as if nothing was wrong. And nothing was wrong. This was Hapes. This was the Queen Mother.

    May she live forever and ever.
     
  7. DarthUncle

    DarthUncle Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Brutal, and not very efficient, in my opinion, but, when in Rome etc., so well done Sierra/Trellam.
     
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  8. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    This was definitely following the Hapan model. Whether that is effective is the question!
     
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  9. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I read this:

    Mr. Trier got off one more shot before the chume’doro burst into the room. Normally when someone says they burst into a room, they mean “entered suddenly”. That is not what happened. The chume’doro actually crashed through the sliding wooden door, breaking a jagged hole through its middle, sending bits of wood flying into the room.

    And had immediately Pet Shop Boys songs playing in my head. :D
     
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  10. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

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

    Nouvelle Orleans, Bakura

    “Is it true?” Henrietta asked quietly.

    It had taken Antrose a couple of hours before he had emerged from his home office. He had been waiting for the Prime Minister to leave, but the extended solitude had also presented a good opportunity to consider the threats she’d made against him and his organization. He was not prepared for this question from his wife, nor for what followed when he asked her to explain what she was asking about. He didn’t expect his wife to ask him if he was a criminal, if he’d been smuggling goods on and off world for their entire marriage, if he’d had beings killed to protect his considerable slice of illegal activity.

    Antrose looked at his wife hard, in disbelief that he even had to face this question, all the while his enmity for Ayn finding new levels.

    “Is it true?” Henrietta repeated.

    Her husband bit his tongue to keep from giving voice to his first thought: don’t ask me about my business. Instead he went to the liquor cabinet and poured himself a drink from one of the good bottles--a Corellian whiskey he imported through ELT. “Want one?” he offered his wife. She shook her head. “All right.” He indicated for her to take a seat at the dining room table and took a position caddy corner to her so they could look at each other over the corner of the table.

    “Hen, my overriding goal in life is been to provide for this family, for our children. I have done whatever it takes to do that. And I mean that: whatever it takes. I don’t and won’t apologize for that. I have earned everything we have, every last bit,” Antrose averred. “Ayn told you about all this because she wanted to make sure you knew what our life was based on, didn’t she?”

    “She said she thought I already did,” Henrietta admitted.

    A clever ploy. That way Ayn didn’t seem to intentionally be breaking news to her, but only accidentally. “What you need to understand is that whatever protestations she makes to the contrary, Ayn is no great family benefactor. She doesn’t care about this family: just hers. Not even the Noble House. Remember, she wasn’t even born into it. Declan should never have made her Taoiseach. You have a greater claim to be Taoiseach than her.”

    “I don’t want to be Taoiseach,” Henrietta protested.

    “And Ayn always did,” Antrose rebutted quickly. “That’s the difference between you two. You would never hurt our family--or hers, for that matter--while she doesn’t give a whit what happens to our children. This isn’t about right or wrong. This is about control and whether Ayn is going to control us. She would have us give up everything we have, everything we’ve built, and be dependent on her generosity. She wants to play the magnanimous matriarch, but we will bow to no one. We will stand tall.”

    “Ayn said she’s asked you to get out of the business for our safety, that it’s a risk to us. Rival crime lords, arrests...she makes a good point, Antrose.”

    Antrose laughed. “We have so much political protection in the city and county that we couldn’t be safer. As for rivals...they learned a long time ago it’s not profitable to move into our markets. It’s all scare tactics.” His face fell and he became serious. “But there is one thing that can threaten us and that’s disunity. We have to be completely together on everything from this period forward. If there’s any daylight between us, Ayn will exploit that. I need to know you can hold firm. Can you do that?”

    Henrietta nodded quickly, but the way she bit her lip betrayed her lack of confidence.

    “It’s okay,” Antrose said, taking his wife’s hands in his. “I’ll take care of everything.”

    ***

    West Office, Marian Square, Salis D’aar, Bakura

    “Contrary to popular opinion, I have always believed the Attorney Generalship to be one of the most important Cabinet posts on Bakura,” Ayn told Fefkik, the incumbent of that office. “After all, decades of precedent have established it as both an arm of executive power, enforcing the laws of the planet, and a bulwark against executive abuse. That’s a tough line to walk and part of why I wanted you in the post.”

    “Because nothing says ‘tough law enforcement’ like a Chadra-Fan,” the diminutive Attorney-General joked.

    “Our initial steps to bring equal justice to Bakura have been encouraging. The financial crimes division has already initiated more prosecutions than during all of Madsen’s prime ministry,” Ayn said. Central to that effort was Federal Attorney Trixie Penn’s highly public crusade against the Eden Banking Group, but other Bakuran-based financial firms and funds were now under investigation and several financiers were under indictment awaiting trial. There was a lot of criticism from the financial community, but Ayn had told Fefkik to stand firm, that Marian Square had her back.

    “We will see them through to the end,” Fefkik promised.

    “I’d like to open a new front,” Ayn said. “As you know, non-humans are more likely to be arrested and imprisoned than humans, partially due to the structure of the criminal code and its emphasis on low-level offenders. To remedy that, the Senate has begun a bipartisan effort to overhaul the criminal justice system. However, I want to take more immediate action. I want to show that this prime ministry enforces all the laws, not just the ones that hit minor offenders.”

    “I take it you have a direction you’d like to suggest?”

    “This planet has tolerated organized crime to exist for far too long under the assumption that they perpetrate victimless crimes. I want their stain removed from this planet,” Ayn ordered.

    “Our racketeering division is a little dormant at the moment, but we can get it up and running again,” Fefkik suggested.

    “Do, with all haste,” Ayn suggested. After that meeting with Antrose, she wasn’t going to sit around and let his position get stronger for two months. “Whatever you need, just ask.” Ayn smiled.
     
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  11. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    “I don’t want to be Taoiseach,” Henrietta protested.

    “And Ayn always did,” Antrose rebutted quickly. “That’s the difference between you two. You would never hurt our family--or hers, for that matter--while she doesn’t give a whit what happens to our children. This isn’t about right or wrong. This is about control and whether Ayn is going to control us. She would have us give up everything we have, everything we’ve built, and be dependent on her generosity. She wants to play the magnanimous matriarch, but we will bow to no one. We will stand tall.”


    A good summery of character differences! =D=
     
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  12. DarthUncle

    DarthUncle Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2005
    **** is going down! Yeah, I am also not completely convinced about Ayn's ethics, but I do think she's too clever to ever turn to crime - if she can twist the world in her favour she will, but she'd be far away from being caught in a crime, I think. So, I expect Antrose to lose in the end, even though it might get quite ugly (or does the Ayn+Declan unity have a Holly plan to fix the game for them?
     
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  13. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn Things are indeed going down!


    Nouvelle Orleans, Bakura

    The day Federal Marshals raided a warehouse in Nouvelle Orleans registered to Cequa Manufacturing was the day the Uncivil War (as it later came to be known) began. Ayn said that she would give Antrose two months to get out of ELT Shipping. She hadn’t said what would happen when those two months were up.

    It turned out what she had in mind was a full crackdown on organized crime in Nouvelle Orleans. The Cequa warehouse was one of the primary storage points for smuggled goods, all of which were now seized by federal authorities. Beings found on the premises were arrested and placed in custody to be arraigned in federal courts. The Federal Attorney for Nouvelle Orleans had argued to hold off on any search and seizure operations until they had more evidence against the ringleaders. Attorney General Fefkik made her views on the subject clear: score some early wins or she’d find a new federal attorney who was willing to follow orders. The raids were so ordered.

    Ayn received news of the successful operation with pleasure. It did exactly what she wanted: sent a warning shot across Antrose’s bow that she was not messing around. He might have thought that he could damage her, but this demonstrated that she wielded the might of the federal government. He might have a crime syndicate at his back, but he was still bringing a vibroknife to a turbolaser fight.

    Or so she thought. What happened next surprised the Prime Minister.

    A holomessage went out to every member of the Noble House, just like when she and Declan became Prime Minister--but this time it was not the Taoiseach addressing the family.

    “My fellow members of the Noble House,” Antrose’s image said to Triestes throughout the galaxy, “Today’s federal raid in Nouvelle Orleans was no normal act of law enforcement. It was directed at my business, nothing less than government-sanctioned theft. With it, our so-called Taoiseach declared war on my family. She seeks to seize all that I have built through force of will and dedication. Ayn Dormingale, who already controls vast sums of the Noble House’s fortune, has shown her true self. She will not be content until she controls everything we have. She thought I could be intimidated and threatened into abandoning my life’s work. When I could not be, she sought to destroy what I have built. She does not know what it means to be a true member of the Noble House.

    “When Niall Trieste devised the transfer of the Noble House’s assets in whole between taoiseachs, he never thought that they would fall into the hands of a being who would use those resources to subjugate her relatives instead of uplifting them, a being who who subvert this House and planet for her own purposes. I swear, on the memory of our ancestors, to uphold Niall’s dream to keep the Noble House the first house of Bakura--in word, deed, and spirit.

    “It is time for each of us to decide whether we stand for plunder or our family. I do not ask this choice of you: Ayn has forced it upon each of us.”

    ***

    Marian Square, Salis D’aar, Bakura

    Ayn clicked off the recording. She and Declan had watched it together and both were silent for a few seconds.

    “If Antrose had allied with us, gone into politics...he would be in the Cabinet today,” Ayn observed.

    Declan gave a small, silent gesture of agreement, admitting there was truth in Ayn’s analysis. Antrose’s rhetorical powers were impressive. “He lays out an excellent argument. We need a counternarrative.”

    “Of course we do. Call a family meeting at Kilmainham. Everyone will be here for Truce Day as it is. Those who aren’t can attend by holoconference. It’s time they understood what they’re dealing with,” Ayn said darkly. “Invite Henrietta and her daughter, but exclude Antrose. He has placed himself beyond the protection of the Noble House: now and forever.” Ayn stood, the discussion at an end. She had a planet to get back to running.

    ***

    Kilmainham Brook, Bakura

    “It is true this is a choice between theft and the Noble House,” Ayn told the Triestes. “But the criminal here is Antrose.” She motioned towards the center of the great room where the family had assembled.

    At Ayn’s gesture, Cillian and Swann Lynd stepped forward, with Rickard Harlow at their side. “A few years ago Cillian and I carried cargo for Antrose and his company,” Swann said.

    “Personally carried it,” Cillian stressed.

    “In our ship,” Swann continued. “It turned out to be a bomb. One that exploded after delivery to Hypori.”

    There was a sharp intake of breath from a corner of the room. Declan’s eyes flitter over to Corrie Ypres-Trieste. She must remember the incident in question. It seemed that Federation intelligence sources had never gotten to the bottom of that one-unlike Holly Merizan, who had presented the whole affair to Declan months after he’d become Taoiseach. For everyone but Ayn, the revelations of this meeting were a total surprise.

    “And when we confronted Antrose about it, he brought an armed goon,” Cillian sneered.

    “Nouvelle Orleans has some tough neighborhoods. Prominent figures like him have private protection of a lot of the time,” Sevan Hull observed. He’d done some investigative reporting there and knew what he was talking about.

    “Does that protection pull blasters on family members of the beings they’re assigned to protect? I shot him for pulling on Cillian and Swann,” Rickard said, before clarifying, “from behind.”

    Sevan ceded the point.

    “That was when we realized that Antrose was involved in criminal activity,” Cillian said.

    “And why are we only hearing about this now?” Vesper grilled her younger brother.

    “Because staying silent was our leverage to make sure that Antrose didn’t kill us,” Swann said.

    “Leverage that is now gone,” Dr. Dorian Lynd said, standing up. “Ayn, I need guarantees of safety for my children.” It was clear he thought of Swann and Rickard as family as much as if they’d been born to him. “I don’t trust Antrose not to make a move on them now that you’ve exposed him to the Noble House.”

    Ayn put up a hand to calm him. “Holly already arranged discreet protection before I went to Antrose about what I knew. That protection will now be more visible until this situation is dealt with.”

    “Which raises the question of how, if they kept their word, you knew about Antrose in the first place,” May asked. There was an accusatory edge in her voice.

    “When I became Taoiseach, I decided it was prudent to make inquiries,” Declan explained.

    “You mean you investigated us?” Elfie cried indignantly. She stirred, as if she would have jumped to her feet, had her pregnant midsection allowed her to move that quickly on her own.

    “To protect the Noble House,” Declan explained.

    “Or to dig up dirt on us?” Elfie shot back. “Antrose may be a criminal, but he didn’t go around investigating us.”

    “To our knowledge,” Vesper cut in, her voice hard. “For all we know he did.”

    “That doesn’t excuse Declan and Ayn’s behavior,” Elfie insisted.

    “Now is not the time for a debate on civil liberties.”

    The room went silent, for even though it had been almost a decade and a half, the voice of Kerry Trieste still carried a lot of weight in this family. Every head, even Declan and Ayn’s, turned to the oldest member of the Noble House.

    “Whatever decisions were made by the Taoiseachs of the Noble House do not change the fact that Antrose Trieste engages in criminal activities against the laws of this planet, laws that all of us are expected to uphold. By his actions he blatantly disrespects his heritage. Ayn is not only the Taoiseach, but she is the Prime Minister. It is her job to see that the laws of Bakura are enforced fairly and equally. If she stood in the way of an investigation into Antrose’s criminal activities, that sin would outweigh protecting the Noble House.”

    “Antrose was given warning and the opportunity to get out before the hammer came down,” Ayn told the family. “It was the best I could do.”

    “He declined to take advantage of that consideration,” Declan followed up.

    “Then everything that follows is on his head, not the Taoiseachs,” Kerry said grimly. “I stand with the Taoiseach.”

    “As do I,” Fiona said. It was unsurprising given that she served in Ayn’s Cabinet. To not support the government would be grounds for dismissal, but as a former Defense Fleet officer, Fiona was deeply committed to the rule of law.

    “Before you all pile on, a word?”

    Now they all looked to Ronan, Antrose’s father. He stood and it seemed to Ayn that he rose slowly. “I lost a son in service to Bakura. It pains me to think that what you say Antrose has done is true..but he is my only remaining son. Please allow me to take my leave now, before things go further. I cannot answer the Noble House’s call on this matter.”

    “Ronan, this will go better for Antrose if you are with us,” Kerry warned him.

    A sudden light flashed in the banker’s eyes. “Don’t ask me to take sides against my family, Kerry,” he growled.

    “What happens here will be remembered,” Kerry cautioned her brother.

    “Yes, it will,” Ronan promised. He walked out of Kilmainham Brook accompanied by his wife, followed by Jane Serena.

    Elyse Carlowe brought up the rear. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, casting her lot with Enoch’s father and immediate family.

    When they had gone, Ayn looked slowly across the room. “I will provide evidence of Antrose’s illegal business to anyone who wishes to see for themselves. Until then, think on what you have heard. I will expect an answer before the week is out. Know that this is a moment to decide who you are. You are with the Noble House or you are with Antrose.”

    “I don’t need a week,” Falene said as she stood. “This isn’t my fight.”

    “As a former Taoiseach, it is,” Declan told his sister.

    “The day I gave up being Taoiseach is the day that I gave up worrying about stupid things like this,” Falene said. “I’m going to go lose myself in the Unknown Regions while you play at king of the mole hill.”

    “Falene, there is no third side here,” Declan said sternly.

    “Maybe not for you, but there is for the rest of us,” Falene said before she walked out.

    The room was silent. “As I said,” Ayn repeated quietly, “think very carefully about your choice.”
     
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  14. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    The line has been drawn in the sand, and some people have already crossed it. If I know anything about Ayn and Declan, it's that you do not want to get on their bad side. Those who walked out are making a huge mistake.

    However, now that you mention it, I am interested in hearing more about Falene's exploits in the Unknown Regions. ;)
     
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  15. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    That's just it--other than Kitokaime, they're unknown!!! For all I know she's hanging out with the next Grand Admiral Thrawn. :p
     
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  16. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    This is going to be dirty and vile. [face_nail_biting]I like it already. :D
     
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  17. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

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


    The week that followed the Truce Day meeting of the Noble House at Kilmainham Brook was a busy one as everyone decided their stance on the Uncivil War. It was clear that Ronan, Mandy, Henrietta (who, despite her invitation, had not come), Jane Serena, and Elyse were on Antrose’s side. It was just as clear that Kerry, Fiona, Dorian, Cillian, and Swann were with Ayn and Declan.

    Those were the easy decisions. For some it was hard. For others, excruciating.

    It would affect them all in ways they could not imagine.

    ***

    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    May Hull stood before her holoprojector. “We need to have a talk about the Taoiseach’s authority and what is and isn’t okay,” May Hull said, “but I cannot side with Antrose here.”

    “And for what it’s worth, I’m with you too,” her husband Sevan pledged.

    Ayn’s image nodded with a smile. It just might be useful to have a friend in the media like Sevan.

    ***

    Hapes, Hapes Consortium

    “Do what you will,” Sierra Chume told her cousin and fellow head-of-state. “We can have no part of what happens on Bakura.”

    “The situation in the Consortium is still in flux,” Trellam stated. “We have to see to it that the pockets of resistance to the crown are quashed.”

    Ayn nodded. Hapan involvement might have backfired anyways.

    ***

    Il Avili, Druckenwell

    Corrie and Quentin sat at their dining room table. It was a smaller table than they’d had previously. They’d decided to sell some of their most valuable furniture to raise money to keep paying the bribes to get the slaves out of the Corporate Sector. They didn’t regret it one bit.

    “Antrose might be a criminal, but by the law of the Corporate Sector, so are we,” Quentin pointed out.

    “We’re nothing like Antrose though,” Corrie protested. “We’re saving people. He’s making credits off of what he does.”

    “But we’re still breaking laws and one day we’re going to have to atone for that. All we have are Ayn’s facts. Corrie...I can live with what we’re doing, but I don’t think I can judge another. I can’t take the hypocrisy.”

    Corrie nodded. They were out.

    ***

    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    Jax Ralter looked at his reflection. “I took an oath to uphold the law,” he said.

    “The law of Salis D’aar. Not the law of Nouvelle Orleans,” Elfie said. “This is not your battle to fight.”

    “And I cannot stand by when there is an opportunity to protect our society from those who would do it harm and subvert its laws,” he said. Jax bent to kiss his wife on the forehead. He left her behind and was off on his crusade.

    ***

    Gesco City, Bakura

    “He threatened us,” Rickard said firmly.

    “Antrose wouldn’t do that, not now,” Ginnifer protested. “He’d lose all moral authority.”

    “He threatened us,” Rickard repeated, “and I will not let a being who threatens my family live.”

    “You don’t have to do this,” Ginnifer told him. “Don’t do this.” That last part was a warning.

    Rickard did not tell her what he’d already done for her, what he’d do a million times for her, and what he would do now to keep her safe.

    ***

    Carratos, Euceron, and Bakura

    “I thought we were done with wars,” Gaius complained wearily.

    “Whenever someone has something, there’s going to be a power dynamic,” Elza said. The three Kitokaime Kids were on different planets thanks to limmie and connecting via holoconference. “They might not be fighting to survive like we were, but in their minds they are.”

    “I’m staying out of it. I don’t know what way this is going to go, but it’s their fight. No one’s going to look to us to take sides. They only think of us as half family anyways,” Gaius said.

    “You’re forgetting the opportunity here,” Elza jumped in. “Ronan used to manage the money. Ayn’s going to take that away from him. If we get involved in that, keep their lifeblood flowing, we can make ourselves part of this family. They won’t be able to do deal with that.”

    “You’re the only one with those skills,” Gaius said. “I understand the strategy, but I can’t contribute to it. This isn’t going to touch me on Carratos. And even if it did come here…” Gaius didn’t share that there were gangs on Carratos that would protect him from anything Antrose or Ayn might throw at him because he was a member of the Pirates.

    “Maybe you two can opt out of it on Euceron and Carratos, but I can’t. This is going to touch me. Ayn was clear about that and Falene, the only being who might protect us, made it very clear she’s out,” Avie said.

    “Avie--” Elza began.

    “No, this fight is coming and I can’t avoid it. At least we know how to fight and frankly I’d rather fight against someone who’s telling us what to do. I’m joining Antrose,” Avie stated.

    “Avie, you’re too close to Ayn and Declan. Don’t do this,” Gaius warned.

    “No…” Elza said, “she should go with Antrose.”

    “What?” Gaius asked in disbelief.

    “It covers our bases, in case Antrose wins.”

    “And what if he loses?” Gaius challenged.

    “I’ll know where all the money is,” Elza pointed out.

    ***

    Salis D’aar, Bakura

    “Antrose was always a jerk. He took the last piece of razzleberry pie at the last family limmie game. Let’s take him down,” Trixie Penn said told Ayn over scones and tea--the latter spiked with whiskey.

    Ayn smiled. “Good, because I’m going to need your running point on something--”

    “Yes! Level 17!” Horst shouted holding up his datapad from the couch. “By the way, what are we talking about again?”

    “Just go back to your game, dear,” Trixie told her husband. “We’ve got things from here.”

    ***

    Tesserone, Roon

    “Years ago, I did what had to be done when my family was hurt,” Oisin said, “and I haven’t picked up a weapon since then. I don’t intend to start now.”

    “As you wish,” Ayn said, “but do me one favor.”

    “And what is that?”

    “Have Eleanor come see me on Bakura. She and I need to have a conversation.”

    ***

    Kilmainham Brook, Bakura

    Ayn looked around the dining room at the council of war assembled. These were her loyalists, her army. They were the true Noble House.

    Declan. Kerry. Cillian. Swann. Rickard. Dorian. Fiona. Jax. Regan. May. Sevan. Trixie. Elza.

    She opened her mouth to speak, but the door slid open to admit one more.

    “I’m here to make sure you do this right,” Vesper Lynd said. She took a seat next to May. “No civilians hurt. No children. The moment you cross that line, I’m out.”

    Ayn nodded. “Then let us begin.”

    ***

    Nouvelle Orleans, Bakura

    Antrose took stock of his inner circle. The lieutenants of ELT Shipping were all here because the federal government was threatening their lives and fortunes too. There was no question about their loyalty. None of them would turn state’s evidence--mainly because it was understood anyone who did would not have long to live even under the protection of the Marshals.

    There were allies outside this room as well. His parents, sibling, and spouse were on his side, even if all they provided was moral support. As far as Antrose was concerned, he could count every neutral party as his ally. Anything that reduced Ayn’s strength increased his.

    “Make no mistake: we are fighting for our lives. This is not hyperbole. This is reality,” Antrose said calmly. Everyone at the table knew that his quiet exterior was not a sign of a lack of concern, but of iron will.

    “Doesn’t look like it to me.”

    A Rodian was tossed onto the table, to the surprise of all assembled, even Antrose. The guard skidded to a halt and rolled off the Every eye turned to the foot of the table where Avie Trieste stood. “At least based on how flimsy your security is,” she clarified.

    Five blasters were now pointed at her chest, but Antrose put up a hand to calm his associates and prevent them from squeezing the trigger. “I’d say allowing my cousin’s spy inside this meeting would be a bit of a problem,” Antrose agreed.

    Avie snorted. “I don’t spy. I fight. If I wanted harm any of you, you’d already be bleeding.”

    “You understand why I wouldn’t trust you,” Antrose pursued.

    “She’s a Sith,” one of the gang leaders closest to Avie said. “Of course you shouldn’t--”

    Avie grabbed the speaker by his hair and slammed his face into the table, breaking his nose. The criminal slid to the floor in shock and pain.

    “Call me that again,” Avie dared the prostrate being. She at Antrose. “You want to talk about fighting for your life? At the age you were in middle school I was running from beings that wanted to kill me. I didn’t have blasters. I didn’t have vibroknives. I didn’t even have being-to-being communications over distance. I had my wits and whatever I could make from the environment around me. Nobody at this table knows how to fight like that. That’s what I bring to you.”

    Antrose leaned forward. “But the question, dear Avie, is why a limmie standout on scholarship would throw in with me?”

    “Because you got one thing right. Ayn is trying to take what’s yours and when you’ve fought for everything you’ve ever gotten like me, you don’t let anyone take what you’ve earned,” Avie stated.

    Antrose nodded. “Have a seat. It’s time to talk about hitting my cousin where it hurts.”
     
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  18. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Awesome. This is going to be a ride.

    Question: Since you have involved Elza, one of my players, I need to inquire when this is taking place relative to the Elite League Limmie season currently in progress, given that the Officers are about to participate in a playoff game over in that thread. I intend to try to write a post tomorrow, and Elza's involvement in this mess deserves at least a mention in that post if it is taking place now. Since you have her on Bakura for the war council meeting, is it safe to assume this is taking place after the Galactic Cup Final? Or is Elza attending via holoconference from Euceron?
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
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  19. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Actually, Elza would have attended the meeting via holoconference, like she did in the most recent post. It's entirely possible that this post took place during the ELL postseason. Elza definitely wouldn't be off Euceron with the playoffs on. She has her priorities straight. :D
     
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  20. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Avie snorted. “I don’t spy. I fight. If I wanted harm any of you, you’d already be bleeding.”

    “You understand why I wouldn’t trust you,” Antrose pursued.

    “She’s a Sith,” one of the gang leaders closest to Avie said. “Of course you shouldn’t--”

    Avie grabbed the speaker by his hair and slammed his face into the table, breaking his nose. The criminal slid to the floor in shock and pain.

    “Call me that again,” Avie dared the prostrate being. She at Antrose. “You want to talk about fighting for your life? At the age you were in middle school I was running from beings that wanted to kill me. I didn’t have blasters. I didn’t have vibroknives. I didn’t even have being-to-being communications over distance. I had my wits and whatever I could make from the environment around me. Nobody at this table knows how to fight like that. That’s what I bring to you.”

    Bits like this keep me glued to this story. [face_nail_biting]:D

    And the amazing characters!
     
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  21. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    In a family of polite beings, Avie breaks the mold. :D
     
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  22. DarthUncle

    DarthUncle Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2005
    [face_worried] suspense. :cool: Looking forward to this conflict flaring up in full, now that it's got wood to burn, and has received a good dose of oxygen to burn hot!
     
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  23. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    @AzureAngel2 @DarthUncle @jcgoble3 @Vehn It was either this or Material Girl for my song choice today. ;)


    Gesco City, Bakura

    “What do you mean the shipment was lost?” Rickard Harlow asked the supply chain manager, his eyebrows pulled together in confusion.

    The Rivers department store senior staffer twisted his hands in distress over not just the lost cargo but at having to be the bearer of the news to a superior. “I just found out from our shippers. The entire stock of J5 datapads was lost in transit.”

    “Have they said why?” Rickard asked.

    “No, not yet, sir,” the supply chain manager apologised. “They suspect it might have been pirates. The Druckenwell route into the Republic has a reputation for it, you know.”

    The Chief of Staff pressed his lips together in a thin line. “The J5s are one of the hottest items of the season. We made guarantees of first day delivery or in-store pickup to our customers--150% money back guarantees. That’s 330 credits cost to us for every unit we don’t deliver.” Rickard didn’t state the obvious: that there was no way to get more from the manufacturer by the galactic release date. The Rivers was going to take a major hit on this failed promotion. “At least we’ll be somewhat covered by the insurance. I’ll tell Mr. Rivers right away.”

    The supply manager didn’t move from his chair, as Rickard expected he would. Instead his head fell, his eyes resting on the carpet. A bad feeling, the kind he got during the Ssi-Ruuk War when a situation felt wrong, snaked into his gut.

    “The shipment wasn’t insured,” the manager said quietly.

    Rickard felt his face turn red. “You’re telling me that you didn’t insure the shipment of the largest sale that we’re holding this entire fiscal year?” he asked, his voice low, full of growing anger. This was the height of stupidity. Someone was going to get fired for this.

    “Thanks to the Republican tariffs on Federation goods, Mr. Rivers decided that the insurance cost would push our margin so low that it would hardly be worth selling them, but since consumers would want them he knew we had to sell or the market would think we were crazy…”

    Rickard blinked slowly, calming himself. “Thank you for the news. I will take things from here,” his voice now devoid of rage. His anger was not for the being before him, but for his boss. The supply chain manager took the exit without asking questions.

    Alone in his office, Rickard considered what to do next. In truth, he knew what he had to do; he just didn’t want to do it. He picked up his comm and connected with his cousin.

    “Ves, it’s Rickard,” he said. With the death of her mother, Vesper now sat on The Rivers’ board of directors, representing the Noble House’s significant position in the retailer. “Sit down. The Rivers is going to miss its projected earnings. Badly.”

    ***

    Nouvelle Orleans, Bakura
    Last week


    “Ayn and Declan care about one thing: power,” Antrose explained to his allies, “and their power comes through money.”

    They were gathered not in a dark room, but a modern, gleaming boardroom in one of the new high rises of Nouvelle Orleans. It was a monument to the economic rebirth of the city since the Bakuran Civil War had gutted it, before Antrose had even been born. It was also a testament to Antrose’s reach, for a subsidiary organization of his syndicate had performed the construction, laundering dirty credits through the operation all the while.

    “It’s no coincidence that their careers truly took off when they got access to the Noble House assets. It’s why Ayn is Prime Minister today,” Antrose lectured. “It is why she seeks to neuter me by taking away my livelihood. It is why the Noble House offers financial support to its members. The moment you take the Taoiseach’s credit chip, you are in their debt. You are their prisoner.

    “That is where we will hit Ayn. If we wage this solely as a street war, like Ayn wants to with her marshals and police forces, we will lose. She wins any conflict framed as law and order versus organized crime. But if we make this painful, if we truly hurt Ayn’s strength, we will win.”

    “So what are you going to do? Stack your credit chips like a castle and play Angry Mynocks with her?” Avie asked sarcastically, referring to a popular datapad game where balled up space creatures were slingshotted towards teetering edifices that crumbled easily under pressure.

    “In her eagerness to seize what is mine, Ayn has forgotten that she has a massive open flank.” Antrose threw a display from his datapad on the projector so all could see. “Until recently, my father managed the Noble House’s assets. With his cooperation, I know exactly where her money is--and where to hurt her most.”

    ***

    Salis D’aar, Bakura
    Today


    “How much are you telling me we’re going to lose?” Ayn asked in disbelief.

    “If Rickard’s projection is right, it will be a quarterly loss of 4 credits per share,” Vesper reported from the holoprojector.

    Ayn pinched the bridge of her nose, a sudden sharp pain beginning in her forehead. “Last I heard The Rivers was projecting a profit this quarter. To go from that to a loss…” Ayn couldn’t believe it.

    “The board will obviously have to consider Octave’s business decisions...and whether we can still trust him,” Vesper said. The namesake of the department store no longer had a controlling share in his business as he’d been forced to sell it off over time to raise capital for his firm to finance new ventures.

    “As it damn well should,” Ayn said curtly. “No matter what he’s done in the past, an accounting must be made for these decisions. I expect a full accounting for what happened here. Not insuring the most important shipment of goods in the entire fiscal year…unbelievable.” She returned her eyes to Vesper. “Tell Corrie and Elza what you know so they can update the portfolio’s projections.” With Ronan’s decision to side with his son, Ayn had transferred all financial control to her cousin in-law. Of everyone left in the Noble House, Corrie had the best brain for business of anyone. Elza would be a good replacement given time, but in the short-term Ayn needed a firmer hand on the controls. Thankfully, an apprenticeship under a titan of industry like Corrie would accelerate her learning.

    “Of course,” Vesper said before her image faded away.

    “There is another possibility to consider.”

    Ayn turned to Holly, who sat on one of the couches with a drink. She had been out of range for Vesper to see in the holoprojection, which was as Holly no doubt wanted it. “That being?”

    “This was an act of war, not an accident,” Holly said as she stood. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that one of the Noble House’s major holdings suffered an unexpected and painful loss. Pirates hitting an uninsured shipment with significant economic ramifications for The Rivers? Too convenient.”

    The Prime Minister tapped her chin absentmindedly, picking up the pieces of the puzzle Holly had laid out and fitting them together in different patterns and orders. It didn’t take long before things clicked and she saw Holly’s theory clearly. “You’re suggesting that Ronan has laid bare the family holdings to Antrose.”

    “Anyone could pull the information about your holdings from the Holonet,” Holly admitted, “This was more than that. Ronan told Antrose where to hurt us where it will do the most damage.”

    “Do you have any proof?”

    Holly shook her head in the negative. “Not yet, but Antrose isn’t going to care enough to cover his tracks. He’ll want you to know he’s behind it. He’ll want you paranoid. The truth is you should be. You’ve got too many flanks in your finances to protect. You can’t lock them all down.”

    “And he doesn’t, I take it.” It was less a question and more a statement.

    “He’s got interior lines of defense. His organization is more nimble and easier to reinforce.”

    Ayn’s eyes flickered from left to right as she took this information in. “Confirm what you can. See if Antrose wants to take credit for his handiwork. If he does…”

    “If he does?” Holly prompted.

    “We’ll deal with it then,” Ayn said, closing the conversation. She had an idea. It was a painful idea, but if she had to do it, she would. Force help her if she did.
     
  24. DarthUncle

    DarthUncle Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Well, that was a bit of a brilliant first attack by Artrose; but I fear it might have uncovered one of his strongest assets (his father's knowledge), for what isn't in the end a war-winning move; so strategically, with Ayn now aware, and apparently having a strategy to counter it, I have to say, I think Artrose might just have poked a hornet's nest.

    We'll see. Well written en again, suspenseful. Ayn's strategic mind reminds me a bit of Thrawn's, though she has Holly to help her see things he picked up from art (what art does Artrose collect? And Ronan? Maybe Holly needs to recall her study of them :p)
     
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  25. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Having just reread that Heir to the Empire trilogy, I so appreciate that comment. :D
     
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