The Trials of Slaves, Chapter 27-28

Sal talks to Alinis about plagiarism. Jorge talks about a family property.

Chapter 27.


After his lecture was over, Sal said, “Miss Harper, I need to speak with you about something. See me in my office after classes.”

Several twentieths later, Alinis and Fire appeared in Sal’s office and he said, ‘How well do you know Mr. Umevan?”
“Which one?”

“The young man from the Empire attending Ironton.”

“Jorge? Really well, why?”

“Is Mr. Umevan in the habit of sending papers to scholarly journals?”

“Jorge did that because grandmother insisted when she saw the things that Jorge did for extra work after his professor asked for the papers on the first day after Jorge spouted off.”
Sal held up a copy of Imperial Studies. “Is this one of them?”

Alinis looked at it and said, “That is a Jorge paper, but the extra work papers were Scourging Ishendell, the Darkmage’s fortress and the Blight. This is Paeris and his raids. What did Jorge do now?”

“Could you send a message and quietly tell him to make sure that he has his materials collected.”
“What did Jorge do?”

“The same sort of thing that you did with your Ishendell paper, upsetting the narrative.  There is a budding plagiarism scandal arising as well. Actually it isn’t what he did as much as what some others didn’t do before accepting a paper.”

“What is plagiarism?”
“That is when someone steals somebody’s work and claims it as their own.”

“What Orinth was worried about?”

“This is worse. Orinth was worried about scholars reading your material and then using what you found and not giving you credit for your work. That is a bad thing, but tolerated. Plagiarism is the outright theft of a work and claiming it as your own. If you are caught, your academic career is over. This moon, Urtug published your friend’s Paeris Zylvyre timeline. At the same time, History Studies published a Paeris Zylvyre timeline very similar to your friend’s work and is claiming that your friend stole the timeline.”

“That’s bad.”


“Jorge doesn’t like bullies. Chatsrey beat Navy at bladderball the last game.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Jorge helped that happen because the captain of the Navy bladderball team was bullying a friend of Jorge. If somebody is bullying Jorge over a paper, they could be in real trouble.” 

Sarya looked at Jorge and said, “What can I do for you, major?”
“I want to borrow the Richflights.”


Jorge laughed. “Durlan Fox and his cousin.”
“I see that you have been informed. Why do you want them?”
“Jorge Umevan discovered some booms at a gas station the day before yesterday because his grandmother hauled him off to a tea he wasn’t planning to go to.”

“She does that.”
“How does she get away with it?”
“First of all she does that to family for the most part and second, when you get there, she does such a good job of charming you that you forget little details like the fact that you were driven to her house by her boys.”

“It’s happened to you.”
“I’m not going to say. There was a wedding involved.”

“I saw the boys and they were a good thing for Jorge when he needed them. They were actually smart enough to stop when Jorge found the devises and started calling people in. That actually helped because Jorge had muscle if he needed it and he did. A pair of Federal Service clowns showed up and if Jorge hadn’t had muscle, he may not have been able to stay in charge.”
“Why was he in charge in the first place?”
“Because he has, like the rest of some Portal Service people, been trained to deal with a Primary at need, just in case they run into one. Tim Wavechaser and Gordal Billings have had the same training as well as all of the rest of my people. Rob and Chompers insisted and Adiun and I agreed. The international agreement for Scourge devises states that a Scourge devise trained person is in charge of a Scourge event until such time as senior Scourge trained personnel arrive. Jorge had the authority and used it, so I wasn’t forced to intervene.”

“What do you want Durlan for?”

“Eyes and a voice where I would be obvious. People are going to ask questions if my wife keeps appearing at places with her bodyguards.”

“You and your people. I see. I see your point and a nosy reporter or two might be useful to you.”

“How did that happen?”
“Durlan and his cousin used being reporters as a cover and a certain copper pincher liked what he got, and is using them freelance, since my office pays the bills.”

“Lissia does attract cameras.”

“As well as ladies’ magazines. I do hope that Lyari is not considered a prop or status symbol.”

“He isn’t. Lissia isn’t taking very many photo shoots and when she does, Lyari goes along, which is one reason he keeps being in the pictures. We can deal with some nosy reporters. After all, the navy is looking into me and I am in hot water with a court martial possible.”
“That keeps me visibly in the country for a good reason and means that I am talking to my family about the case and using my brother since my Navy Jag officer doesn’t like me.”

“Have you kept up with Tim at the academy? I haven’t let myself poke in there because I didn’t want to be obviously involved.”
‘”I think that the midshipman captain saw the light after the game before last and hasn’t been going after Tim anymore. Actually Tim has been helping with the game for Jorge reasons.”

“He doesn’t like being a loser and he knows Jorge.”

“Whatever the reason, things seem to be working themselves out. I’m going to recruit the bladderball team anyway.”

“What for?”

“Eyes where the Stewards live, which is another reason I want Durlan and the others. They can still be college students if they have to and infiltrate. The Stewards recruit from college students and I need a closer look inside. Otherwise, I will just be flailing around. I need to have a least a clue as to how the Steward picks his targets.”

“He doesn’t have very many Primaries left.”
“I know, but every one of them is a potential for more deaths. In any case, the President has given me my orders and I will obey them.”

“I almost feel sorry for the Stewards.”

Chapter 28.


Jorge walked into the smiling Jhaan’s office and Jhaan said, “I hear that you were hauled off to a tea.”

“Why didn’t you warn me about the rest of my family?”

“You must have guessed that there was some crazy someplace.”

“I thought that you all fit the bill.”

“I resemble that. So why did you want to see me?”

“Bubil Kil.”

“What about the dump?”

“Who owns the shut down steelworks there?”

“You do, if you want it.”
“I do?”

“If you can get some return out of it, doing that will make a very nice present for grandfather.”

“What’s going on?”

“You know that the family builds electrical plants. Sometimes, for places that are more or less starting from scratch, we provide what we call a turnkey operation. We do everything right up to starting things up. Then the owner takes over and pays us back, while making whatever it is. We contract out the parts that we don’t do ourselves and handle financing.”

“Bubil Kil was a turnkey plant.”

“Yes. On the eve that the spillways on the dam were going to be closed, the chairman of the contracting company was murdered, the company went bankrupt and Clan Ironhead would not allow us to start up or find a new owner to take over. So there are four new blast furnaces that have never been hot, a new electric arc furnace, a dam ready to go and a debt that the family carries.”

“I have good friends in Clan Ironhead. Perhaps we can negotiate.”

“If you can do anything there, my brother would really appreciate it. He’s carrying the debt, even cutting things up for scrap would be more trouble than it was worth and clearing that one way or another would make grandfather happy. If you can get the dam running and electric power to the region, grandfather will be very happy. What triggered this?”
“Somebody stole something and took it to Bubil Kil. I knew about the closed steelworks and thought that I could move the furnace to Astaire and run it for my needs.”

“When we go up for Winterfaire we can put it all together. I’m looking forward to learning how to ski.”

“I don’t even know how. Ok, I need to get back to class.”

Bubil Kil

Using the excuse that his clan may have had some residual property in the region, Llag was able to poke into things in the Ironhead property office. The bankruptcy of the local iron company had done some interesting things with property as until the debts carried by Umevan Electric were paid, Umevan Electric was the title holder to the furnaces, the dam and the land set aside for the reservoir. Somebody at Clan Ironhead must have thought that the property would revert due to tax leans, but somebody at Umevan just kept paying the tax bill as it arrived, so Umevan had all of the property. If some unknown had wanted to stop the dam from ever operating, that was a mistake. Once he was done, he told the clerk in the office. “That is that. My clan may have had the property at one time, but not at present. That’s the way my wife and her schemes typically work. Oh, well off to send the letter back. One more thing she can’t steal.”

The clerk laughed. As Llag left, he pulled out his camera. His wife could let the Umevan know what they had, if they didn’t already. Since Jorge had done that rather large favor for the clan, the Umevan stood a very good chance of taking over, running things any way they liked and a single simple murder was likely to have bigger consequences for anyone that tried it.

  University of Ironton, Ironton.

 Professor Xilynore looked across the room at Jorge and said, “I see that you turned in your paper, Mr. Umevan. That has actually become important to the topic of today’s lecture.”

The professor lay two journals on the easel beside the podium. “I do not think that this has ever happened before, but two academic journals published the same paper in the same moon, by different authors, one of which was Mr. Umevan. That means that one of the papers was plagiarized. Mr. Umevan have you ever had any contact with Deriald Gilders?”

Jorge looked at him and said, “Who?”

“Mr. Gilders is a Scholar student at Beltain University. Beltain holds itself to the highest standards of scholarship as it is considered to be the elite university of the Republic, where the future leaders are created. History Studies is considered to be the most reliable journal for the papers on the study of history. That is not the kind of place where the plagiarism of another’s work would be tolerated. Imperial Studies is an independent Journal and is generally held in low regard by the Academic establishment. Just the sort to publish a plagiarized paper. If you look on the surface, they were caught out when they published Mr. Umevan’s paper with the timeline of the Great Captain’s raids. There are some problems with that assumption. Mr. Umevan, what is in the paper you just handed in.”
“A photostat copy of the paper in the Congressional Record as well as a copy of the paper from Imperial Studies.

“Are you identified as the author in both papers?”


“Are the papers distinguishable from each other?”

“Do you have the supporting material available?”
“Not immediately. Shael mailed the material from all my papers so far to my librarian at the estate in the Empire and it will take two or three five days to get there.”

“You have a librarian in the Empire?”
“I inherited her with the estate. She was the Lady’s librarian and record keeper and has the library at the school now as well. She insisted that when I produce something, that it gets sent to her for filing. It would probably be faster for me to contact the navy, the barrister and the Great Captain and get the material. The rest was books in the library here.”

“Ok, then. To the point of this lecture. Plagiarism is the greatest crime that a scholar can commit. Copying someone else’s work is theft and theft of the worst sort. Any student that does so in one of my classes is failed immediately and I will make the effort to ensure that his time at Ironton is at an end. In this case, a brief look at the papers would tend to show that Mr. Umevan copied Mr. Gilder’s paper and submitted it to Imperial Studies with the thinking that he would not be caught. Students have certainly done that in the past. It would be unusual for a first year student to produce work of this quality and in most cases that would, in itself be a giveaway that the paper was plagiarized. The problem in this case is that Mr. Umevan is from outside the country, I do not believe has ever been to Beltain and Mr. Gilder’s paper appeared after Mr. Umevan’s paper, so it is very unlikely that Mr. Umevan could see Mr. Gilder’s work on the subject that I assigned to Mr. Umevan. On the other hand, the paper was used in testimony before Congress and is in the record. Mr. Umevan, you have my support on this going forward. Even though I have not had the chance to read your paper as yet, I believe that you did the work at the same level that you have heretofore demonstrated that you are capable of. It is unfortunate that Mr. Gilders saw the work as the Congressional record was being prepared and thought that he could get an easy paper for publication from your work.”

After class, Thomas walked into Conrad’s office, dropped the two journals and Jorge’s paper and said, “We are in an academic war.”

“What happened?”
“Imperial Studies and History Studies both published the same paper this moon.”

“Oops. That does happen.”

“By different authors.”
“That’s bad. How does that concern us?”
“The paper in Imperial Studies was written by a student in my class. Do you remember how I told you about the student’s paper had been taken for the Congressional Record? I told him that handing me the paper from the record would be fine, but he went ahead and rebuilt the paper from his draft and handed the paper to Imperial Studies, who published it. History Studies published an almost identical paper from a Scholar student named Gilders this moon. Gilders is attending Beltain University. The Academic Committee has sent me a demand to censure Mr. Umevan and ask him to hand over his supporting work.”

“They are trying to make Umevan the guilty party.”

“Yes. Unfortunately Mr. Umevan sent his work on the paper home to his librarian.”

“Mr. Umevan has a librarian?”

“You hadn’t even seen the paper. You just saw the receipt for the Congressional Record.”

“Mr. Umevan handed me a Photostat from the Congressional Record as well as the paper that had been published in Imperial Studies today. Jorge is clearly the author of both and there are differences in the two, but they are clearly written by the same author. The History Studies paper was clearly transcribed directly from the Congressional record.”

“I’ll talk to the dean, but you know what he thinks about Jorge and I think that we will fight this. Beltain is clearly in the wrong here. Do you want to write the nasty letter do you want me to?”

“I’ll do it. I think that I will ask Jorge if he knows Dragon Flamefire.”

“The dragon has written about the Great Captain frequently and perhaps we could persuade him to give a talk about his life.”

“The dragon or the Great Captain?”

Thomas smiled. “Both of them?”

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