Raiders From The Sea, Chapter 12

The commander has a meeting. The Barrister sends a letter.

Chapter 12.

SS- 21, (Bluefin)

The commander looked out to sea from the bridge as the boat was running on the surface, charging the batteries. The boat was nearing the time when they would have to return as the bunkers were almost half empty. The commander was pleased with what his boat and what his crew had accomplished. Even without sinking the raiding fleet the patrol had been a unqualified success as they now had good information on the Ravathyra ‘s hidden city and how what most of the traffic in and out looked like. Since they had dealt with the raiders, the Ravathyra had been reluctant to send any more of the raiders outside the harbor for some strange reason. They hadn’t even made an attempt at night, since the moon had been going toward full the last two five days. The boat was passing the harbor entrance, where a coaster was creeping out in the darkness, and the chief said, “Three fires.”

“Where?”

“Over there.”

“Then I think that we should head in that direction.”

The fires had been one thing that the captain had been told to look for. Getting people into the hidden city had been relatively easy for the foreign ministry and naval intelligence. Just put people in place where they could be taken with the rest of the slaves. The problem was getting any communication established. Establishing communication was one reason that Bluefin sent to patrol off the hidden city and the commander had been concerned just a bit that his shot had created problems for that. On the other hand the shot had demonstrated that there was a submarine active in the area rather visibly. The commander turned to the hatch and called down, “Course 245, five knots.”

“Aye, aye!”

The boat headed toward the fires and a fishing boat with three lanterns became visible on the water. The chief flashed the signal lamp three times and one of the lanterns on the boat blinked four times in response. The commander called down, “All stop. Send a party to the deck!”

“All stop, aye! Party on deck!”

The fishing boat came along side and a crew popped out of the hatch in front of the conning tower. A figure boarded the sub and the commander went down to the deck to meet the strange figure. As he walked up, the visitor turned out to be an apparent elven woman, beautiful in the darkness. As the commander approached she said, “Captain I am Maeralya Brownlow. My father sent me.”

“Commander Jacob Pinch. You are a bit of a surprise, Miss Brownlow.”

“My mother latched on to my father after the family purchased him a long time ago. The family objected at first, but they were here and stuck when they had a conflict with the Ravathyra and were brought down, but could not escape. Father saved everybody, managed to start fishing from his boat and provide at least an income. My sisters and I take after mother, which helps in certain circles.”

“How did you know that we were here?’

“It was rather obvious when the Admiral’s brother’s little punishment raid barely made it out of the harbor before blowing up and sinking. You don’t know how many friends you made here in the city.”

“How easy would it be to infiltrate people?”

“Very. The admiral relies on the fact that the city is outside imperial jurisdiction and supposedly hidden for protection. He doesn’t really pay attention to the lowly in the city and doesn’t maintain a force to look into things. The fact is that all the factions have people here and we all share certain things. I have brought a gift for the people in the Republic.”

She handed the commander a pair of pictures. “Some things should be shared and these have been.”

“I think that we can set up a better arrangement in four five days or so. Unfortunately, I am at the end of my fuel supply and must return to base. Put the fires up in twenty one days and we should be back with support people.”

“Very good. At least we here in this hell know that we are not forgotten.”

The woman returned to her boat and the boat turned toward shore receding in the darkness. The commander returned to the bridge and dropped down into the conning tower. He looked at the pictures and smiled. He handed them to his first lieutenant and said, “The lady gave us a present. Apparently our little shot made a bigger splash than we knew.”

“It’s good to have your work appreciated.”

The Island.

Gwaerengwen looked over the lagoon and thought about how quickly her life had changed. Already, she was the defacto ambassador to the countries in the blasted lands. She hadn’t even reached them yet, as Melodic had been needed to transfer first the wounded and then the freed slaves from the Ravathyra’s raids. In the meantime, the lagoon had become rather full with ships from the navy, supporting the navy’s various activities. The sleek and menacing subs moored by their tender had become a common site as they conducted patrols ever closer to the empire, using the charts recovered from the Ravathyra’s ships. For the time being, the subs’ job was watching for Ravathyra activity as everybody was certain that the Ravathyra were planning a reprisal. Gwaerengwen had Captain Shanelis’s jump portal and she was using it to maintain correspondence with her daughter in law and the princess. As she watched the activity a rather strange man walked up to her bungalow. “Madame Yllanan, I am Barrister Ironaxe. I have been given to understand that you have a means of sending messages directly to the empire.”

“Mr. Ironaxe, you seem rather tall for a dwarf. Rather more impressive as well.”

“My grandfather only left his name, pretty much. That and perhaps too much of a liking for beer. I stay away from it for the most part.”

“So why do you need communication to the empire.”

“For my sins, I have been appointed to Great Captain Zylvyre as his defense representative. In order to do my job properly, I will need communication with the empire fairly frequently.”

“You have a very difficult job, I hope you know.”

“I am aware of that. Frankly, I wish that Judge Greenwillow hadn’t given it to me, but I think that he knows that once I had the job, the Great Captain will get the best possible defense.”

“Since I am more or less officially the Empire’s representative, I will provide the assistance that you request simply because I must take a neutral stance as far as the factions in the Empire go. Frankly don’t think that it will make any difference as far as the case against your client. How did your first interview with him go? He has certain prejudices.”

“He called me an orcish sot. I’ve been called worse, by my friends, in my college days when I was a bit of a sot. As far as insults go, it was rather pathetic. As far as what he needs me to do for him, the insult and the rest was idiotic. I am thoroughly professional, I have represented some fairly nasty characters and cleared them of crimes that it turned out the state did not have the evidence to make the case beyond a reasonable doubt. I believe in the presumption of innocence, because the way my rather unusual family looks, if we didn’t have that, we could be in real trouble when people judge by appearances. Yes, my grandmother is an orcish lady who married a drunken dwarvish sot. To this day the rest of us have a hard time understanding what she sees in the man, but they did bring up five kids, including my dad, who sent me to law school when he knew that that was what I really wanted to do. The reason that I did that is because I believe that the law must be neutral and blind to anything other than the truth.”

“I think that we will work well together. Why don’t we get your messages off to Captain Zylvyre’s uncle. The captain’s father recently had a fatal accident.”

“I know. The details have not been released yet by the navy.”

“Would you like some lunch, Barrister. I would introduce you to my daughter, but she is out there in the lagoon with her young man, enjoying a Change in her life.”

‘That does happen. The same thing happened to my sister. With the exception of a greenish skin and being rather large, she was more conventional in appearance, at least until she acquired scales and a tail.”

“You will have to share your stories. Your family sounds as remarkable as mine.

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