The Legacies of Lyrei, Chapter 81-82

Admiral Tollings gets some intelligence. Onia receives a letter.

Chapter 81.

House Aravaris.

Gantar jumped a bit when with a strange noise, the more or less egg shaped thing appeared above the courtyard and then landed. Then he spotted Tim Wavechaser getting out and grinned. Tim walked over to the House and Gantar said from his roses, “Welcome sergeant. You had a strange way of arriving.”

“We acquired two of them when we were leaving a place, milord. I needed to bring something to the Representative in a hurry, so we used it.”

“He’s here, so go ahead, sergeant. I thought that you had resigned.”

“I am attending the naval academy and we managed to persuade Admiral Harper that playing in the jungle was more productive than spending time in camp.”

Gantar laughed. “Apparently that includes some piracy.”

“Yes it did. I need to get this to Admiral Tollings, Milord.”

Tim walked to the Representative’s office, where Derry was delivering a report and Harald grinned when he saw Tim walk in. “Sergeant, I saw how you arrived. How did you manage to pirate a Jumper?”

“We had Teonag and Brilbrun as pilots, the manuals and needed to get the squad and some others out of the enemy’s base, so taking the Jumpers made sense. I have some things for you.”

“Why me and not through the regular navy.”

“Admiral Harper has resigned, the President has resigned, Captain Flamespitter has resigned and Mrs. Steelmaker has resigned. We have evidence of high level collusion with the Project and other similar things and the major didn’t know where to send it while continuing to keep things secure.”

“Derry, stay here. I’m going to want your insight on this, and I may need you as courier to the Republic.”

“Why me?”

“Because no one on the mound will take you seriously.”

“Was that one reason that you let me come?”

“It was. I’ve been around a long time and this is hardly the first time that I have run into something like this. The other side had become better at hiding the fact that they had infiltrated people, but we were sure that they had. There were too many convenient exiles and between the turmoils and the second mage wars, just too many that came to the Republic as refugees and other things. Sarya could keep an eye on some of it, but not all of it. So, what do you have, sergeant?”

Tim started to pull things out of the satchel he had over his shoulder. “The first is a crystal taken from a microportal that we planted in the dining hall. Blackfire and some others were discussing people they had in the Republic and how to establish communications by discreetly using the telegraph from stations in the Mortal Kingdoms so that they wouldn’t have to shut the suppressors down. They were also leery about using small portals after Mórsairon told them how easily they could be intercepted.”

“Did they say what telegraph offices they were planning to use?”

“No, they didn’t. Some messages were going to be sent from Semmont, but they figured that the line would be cut when somebody noticed traffic from there.”

“Taking out the central station in the Lower City wasn’t just to cut communications here,” Derry said. “They wanted the operators pulled and inexperienced operators who wouldn’t see the unusual traffic and know that it was unusual. Did they mention any names?”

“They used code names. Móreliante was obviously Mrs. Chambers, but it we didn’t have the background to figure out who the others might be. The list is there with the rest.”

“I’ll work on it. I know the players on the mound and there may be hints.”

“Was there more?” Harald asked.

“Quite a bit. Somebody dropped a lot of things in front of us. Herdir doesn’t like the rest for some reason. I think it has to do with the fact that his uncle sent that vial to his father and instead of sending a vial, they extracted Dúhael. That probably caused more than a bit of resentment and he’s been at the edges of things, sabotaging what he could.”

“Did you speak with him?”

“No. But he was dumping clues all over the place and as I said, dropping things in front of us when he knew that we were there. That was one reason we made the exit so obvious.”

“Was there another reason?”

“Seriellia and the other kids. Their parents wanted them out and we did that.”

“Where are they now?”

“We dropped them off with their aunt in Neuw Athlin.”

“That was a good thing to do. Did you speak with them?”

“A little. We didn’t really have time to talk that much. I think that Seriellia likes Jimmy.”

“Would they be willing to speak with me?”

“I think so. They were pretty shook up by the fact that they were pushed out of the Base.”

“Ok, I can speak with them later. Now go over what you saw and how things operate inside the Base.”

“First of all, there is a lot of tension between the Base staff, the Darkmage’s families and the sleepers, especially Haciathra. Ornthalus and Tannator seem to be more realistic than the others and go along with the staff and the others. The other sleepers have been tied up getting the mana and the devise ready. I think that Haciathra thinks that the others blame her for the things that happened and to some extent, that is true. So she is very touchy. She is also a bully when she can get away with it. She backed off from Seriellia when her father said that they would leave if Haciathra bugged Seriellia again.”

“Did the devise look complete?”

“The big devise did. There were still support devises that weren’t ready and from what Arafiel and Amaris were saying, mana was the big issue. They really want access to the mana produced on Jorge’s estate. They have also figured out that they don’t have the keys to some of the bigger mana sources.”

“The Sanctum.”

“The Sanctum, the Zylvyre source and one under Neuw Athlin in Vestia. Haciathra hasn’t told them about Jomney. She may not even know.”

“Why is Jomney important?”

“He built the city over the mana source. If he isn’t the key, he probably knows who is.”

“Did they seem to have a timeline?”

“I think so. There was a debate on how to go forward. Ornthalus and Tannator want to wake up some soldiers they have to support their efforts here in the Empire and the others think that will consume too much mana unless they get more sources.”

“Did they mention how they expected to control the people that the suppressors compelled?”

“They only said that there is a Prophet who is running the effort.”

“I think I can guess who he is. Tim, how many Jumps can the Jumper use?”

“Five. You get about six from a single battery. Then you have to replace or recharge. We started with a full charge.”

“Ok. Derry, I want you to Jump with Tim to outside Ishendell and then go discreetly with the material to Mrs. Steelmaker. While she doesn’t have an official job in the government, she knows everybody. Tim, after you drop Derry off, come back here, pick me up and we go to Bubil Kil. Presumably Dumag and Jorge have copies of the material.”
“Yes. The Umevan have a full capability duplication shop in Bubil Kil. We did that while Teonag and Brilbrun were getting the batteries.”

“By discreetly, you don’t want me to fly,” Derry said. “You know that I will attract attention if I go back.”

“Grab a liner. Even better, take the train from Ishendell to Kugrim and go from there. The enemy will figure out what was removed and be looking for it. They will be looking for a military officer flying. A lower level civil servant on his way home is a different story. You can make the attention work for you and if necessary, act the young wastrel incompetent sent back in disgrace. You’ve been through the Program. Make Vesstan proud of you.”

“That means that you have to survive and complete the mission,” Tim said. “Of course impressing the two old elves isn’t easy.”

“You’re telling me?” Derry said. “Let me pack and we will get going.”

Chapter 82.

Chatsrey

Onia looked at the letter and grinned. The navy had sent the letter home rather than to the barracks at the academy. So she had had a chance to read it before Swifty did. On the one hand, it was very bad news indeed. On the other, for the Secretary of The Navy to personally remove the grandson of the chairman of the navy committee in Congress was beyond idiocy, especially since said Secretary had not been approved by the Senate. Now the only problem was how to get her father’s attention. Unfortunately she didn’t have much time, as she had agreed when Lythienne had asked her to go on the yacht to Ishendell with her and some others in the old Families. She had responsibilities in the Empire and needed to return in any case, especially with the things going on. Folding the letter, she placed it in her purse, left the house and waved for a cab. A half twentieth later, she was at the door to her father’s local office. She charged in and said to the shocked faces, “I want to see my Father NOW!”

Her father came out and said, “What is it, Onia?”

“I can tolerate you not supporting us when I didn’t marry the right man! What I can’t tolerate is you spiking your grandson’s naval career before it even starts!”

“What are you talking about?”

Onia pressed the letter in her father’s hands. “HERE! Read this! Swifty had already been admitted to the Academy and then I get this in the mail. I don’t know what sort of string pulling you used, but this is as low as it goes!”

“Onia, I don’t know anything about this. Admiral Harper told me that Swifty had been appointed and I could not have been more pleased that he had chosen navy over army. I was hoping that I could meet the boy at last. I was hoping that I could meet all your children. Look, I don’t know what is going on, but that will change, very fast. Please calm down and let’s talk.”

“I need to go. I have some things to do before I return to the Empire. If this wasn’t you, I hope that you can fix it. Gertag is in the Empire, but Sthisse and Swifty are here if you want to meet them. Swifty is at the Academy as an adjunct again this year. He has wonderful stories and I think that you will like him.”

Onia stormed out, the Congressman turned to his secretary, handed her the letter and said, “Call the admiralty and find out what happened, Margi. I will want answers.”

“It looks as if you and your daughter have a common cause here, Congressman.” She looked at the letter and said, “Apparently the new Secretary of the Navy was reviewing the appointments and rejected your grandson personally.”

She handed the letter to the Congressman and said, “Apparently, he didn’t know what he was doing.”

“Ok, call the admiralty and find out if it was just Swifty or if the Secretary did it to some others as well. Apparently he didn’t know about the vetting process or how the system works. Is the daily brief here yet?”

“It arrived by courier. I have it here.”

The congressman took the brief into his office and then came back out. “Peble was his usual efficient self. The rejections were listed in the daily brief. Four of them were Dragonkin and the others were all Old Family. Of course, two of the Dragonkin are sons of naval officers and all four have gone to the aerie in the Empire. Four of the six Old Family rejections also came from navy families. If you would, find out where they come from and who their Congressman is, if it isn’t me or Caldin.”

“I will get right on it after I check in with Elista. She has all the addresses anyway.”

“Also find out what Swifty is doing with the Adjuncts. If nothing else it will make for a good item for the newsletter.”

“Should I start a press release about your actions concerning the government?”

“Do that. This affects our constituents and if the government takes this beyond the military academies and into what will be available as Service roles, that could be very bad.”

“I will ask Elista if the navy has been forced to change their policies.”

“Do that.”

Special Agent Fishcutter turned to Special Agent Stonecracker and said, “What did you do to get yourself on stake out duty?”

“Made some waves with my last case. The Director was annoyed that certain people were suspects.”

“What happened?”

“This was a pattern killer case that started in Ironton. The strange part was that the victims had all been wrapped in webbing and had their guts sucked out, as if they were eaten by giant spider. I started to investigate and using some contacts, was able to contact the Justiciars in the Empire, who had quite a bit on spiders. Then the murders started here in the city, and we had two spiders, suddenly. The interesting thing was that the second spider was apparently Marian Ironforge.”

“You would have to essentially catch somebody like that in the act if you wanted to avoid the heat.”

“You see the problem. After trying, while Marian provided distractions for the first spider, we were left one step behind. Marian returned to Ironton and fed on Alog Ironaxe, which broke the pattern and got the Ironaxes more involved. I was already working with Ironaxe Asset protection because the spiders had been using the old cotton warehouses as a hide. In any case we chased Marian until she was spotted on the plateau and we baited a trap, which caught the monster.”

“What about the first spider?”

“She has been dealt with, discreetly. I can’t say how or why for national security reasons.”

“She was a spy and Mrs. Steelmaker was involved.”

“I can’t say anything one way or another.”

“That story sounds like it would make a great book. Have you talked to public affairs?”

“No, I have not. The Director is already annoyed at me. Asking public affairs for a ghost writer and pushing a book contract isn’t going to happen.”

Fishcutter looked through his binoculars at the townhouse. “It looks as if something is going on. I see four cars pulling out together.”

“I’ll call this in. I wish we had radio.”

“I know.”

Stonecracker called the departure in and then a fifth car drove past. Fishcutter called out, “Mrs. Harper was in that car. Let’s follow it and see where they are all going.”

The calls had come in from all the stakeouts that the FSA had set. Apparently most of the senior members of the Old Families were moving at the same time. Henri looked at the map and frowned. They weren’t meeting in one of their usual places. Without radio, there was no good way to track where they were going and get ahead of them. Then he looked at the daily report and grinned. The Harper’s yacht had been preparing for a voyage for some time. The Old Families were going on a trip. Henri turned to his marine coordinator and said, “Get me the Coast Service.”

Big Mike turned to Denny and said, “I’m glad that you came down. I need all hands on deck for what’s happening.”

“Richard wanted me to talk to the Qinvaris people down here, so I flew down.”

“Now that your kids all have relationships, mother is going to want them all down. She is annoyed that she missed Nalaea’s wedding.”

“I’m sure that Eletha sent invitations. After all, we had most of the heads of state for the entire world there.”

Mike laughed. “You know how mother is. Eletha was supposed to schedule around mother and not the Empress.”

“It looks as if your guests have arrived. It was good thing that Service was available.”

“I switched with Uncle Dan. The high performers are getting Forward and a cruise to the Hidden City and we are all going to Ishendell.”

“I wish that we didn’t have to do this crap.”

“I know. But that is the way things are.”

Sarya’s driver had had no problem finding the warehouse where Greldug had people working on Ehlark’s files and some other things for his books, supposedly. The car parked, Sarya went inside and a young dragonkin girl was waiting. “Mrs. Steelmaker, I am Sthisse Cutflame. Let me take you to the captain.”

“There is a lot going on here. More than Greldug’s little project.”

“Most of this is House Qinvaris moving things to the Fellowship for first harvest. The ship is due tomorrow and things have to be ready.”

“Where is your mother? I was hoping to meet her at last.”

“She is departing today with some others for Ishendell. They wanted her advice on how to handle the FSA and to coordinate better.”

“The Old Families. My husband is on that trip. I’m staying here for the time.”

“I am not going to say. One thing we learned when dad was set up was not to talk to people about things. You can’t unsay what you say and you never know where what you say will end up.”

“That is a sound policy.”

“We learned, the hard way. People that we thought were our friends spilled things and that helped the FSA make a better case against dad. Here is my brother’s little project.”

“He isn’t here, is he?”

“He is on base, serving at navy intelligence right now.”

“Shrewd. I see that Greldug has spotted us, so we can talk some more later.”

Greldug had walked over and said, “Recruiting, Sarya?”

“Not really.”

“I will leave you two to have your chat and get back to my real job,” Sthisse said.

She disappeared and Sarya said, “The Cutflame’s little incident must have been very bad because it made a big impression. She would make an excellent recruit now that I’ve met her.”

“I’ve been getting hints from Onia and Sthisse that it was. Onia is very nasty to any FSA types and she scares them. She has Jon Tollings starting a Citizen’s action suit against the FSA and it will probably be rather ugly.”

“I just had a message from Harald. The boys left the Base with a haul of intelligence and some clues as to who is committing treason right now.”

“Who is bringing the material down?”

“Young Mr. Gilders, by slow boat. Harald wanted the material here as discreetly as possible as he wasn’t sure who in the current Administration is not suborned.”

“The Secretary of the Navy is probably just incompetent.”

“What do you mean?”

“Onia Cutflame hadn’t spoken to her father for at least ten years and the last time was not pretty, according to Elista. That changed yesterday when Onia received Swifty’s rejection from the Naval Academy yesterday and went charging into the Congressman’s office. She blamed her father for that, which was not the case, as the Congressman had been looking forward to Swifty being in the navy and after Onia left, his office called Elista to verify things, which is how I heard about it.”

Sarya laughed. “So the new Secretary made it personal with the man who holds the navy’s purse strings. That was not the smartest thing he could have done.”

“Considering the things that Elista has been seeing from his office, no, it was not. The new secretary has big ideas about how the navy should be run, no actual experience and his qualification for the job is that he is a huge Democracy Party activist.”

“Was that the only enemy he’s made?”

“No, it was not. Why don’t I take you to lunch and we can discuss it. There is a little Goblin place that is a bit of a secret.”

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