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 A FAmily Affair

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Number of posts : 773
Registration date : 2007-04-26

A FAmily Affair Empty
PostSubject: A FAmily Affair   A FAmily Affair EmptyMon 5 Oct - 8:22:39

A Family Affair
I inspected the guard before we moved off through a curious crowd towards a nearby landing pad where a small hover transport of the royal guard awaited us. Sar D’Tak the inhumer of infants, fatefully decided to remain behind with his medical kit. After all, there was plenty of medical expertise available on the planet and unlikely to be any need to call on it. Right?

I was feeling particularly upbeat to be back on my beloved planet and somewhat rashly decided to pilot the vehicle for the short hop to the palace. Fortunately the co-pilot rescued us from the crazed dive I accidentally managed to put us in to – well gives him something to tell his grandchildren (assuming they manage to avoid our medic.)

At the palace I was greeted by my old Steward Adaglio and conducted to the presence of my dear brothers; Grand Vizier Gelor, and of course, the 29th Archduke Moreau, Blen the 3rd. We exchanged some pleasantries, they remarking on the discourtesy I had shown by missing the Archduke’s funeral and cremation which took place only the day before, I expressing the wish that the assassin responsible met a grisly fate as soon as possible.

On this last point we were all able to agree though I suspect each of us was envisaging the unfortunate execution of a brother at this point. The United Ores corporation appeared to be the currently ascendant local business; their head of security was in charge of the investigation, I wondered if this was a recent development as if Maxicorp, their traditional rival had been displaced after the assassination it would point the finger very clearly at United Ores involvement.

I was introduced to an executive of United Ores, one Erin Campo, a formidable looking woman wearing an apparently armoured business suit. Thud as always was tempted by the prospect of a close encounter with any powerful woman and attempted some freestyle sexual harassment as only he can, the beating to a pulp he suffered the last time attempted this apparently having taught him nothing. Fortunately she was not the type for immediate retribution, obviously the cold calculating type, if I were Thud I be sleeping with one eye open for a bit. Say twenty years.

There was some awkward small talk; there had been the traditional riots after the murder and a few of the noble houses were restless, jockeying for position and looking for opportunities for power at a time of transition. I asked after my son Too, but they claimed to have no news, then my mother, number 37.* This brought the alarming revelation that she was in gaol, apparently amongst the many suspects in my father’s murder. The impression I got was that her name was just below mine on that list.

*As my father used to say; ‘She with the eyes as green as emeralds and hair as black as ebony, and number 37 stamped on her back’

I asked after my brothers’ mothers and they revealed that my father had executed most of them, even number 6, Blen’s mother who had always been his favourite.* I asked for a report on progress of the investigation and a surly heavy wearing tailored extremely heavy duty armour appeared. His insignia was matched by that of United Ores and my confidence sank further as this guard commander, named Sean Campo talked to me in the same manner as a waiter taking the order for a condemned man’s last meal.

*Memorably portrayed by Patrick McGoohan of course

I decided to see if an audience with mother would be of benefit but in an unwelcome development six guards appeared to make sure that I didn’t lose my way. Even worse, Campo insisted on accompanying us over my objections with the connivance of Gelor. We descended away from the marble and glass airy spaces of the great hall to the more dismal badly lit dungeon of the lower levels. We arrived eventually at a cell and peering in anxiously I saw only a skeleton, chained against the wall.

Sean now launched an attack with his monoblade abetted by our escort who took on Scrap, Skarl and Thud. Crying ‘Treachery’* I defended myself with my own monoblade and a desperate struggle took place. I actually struck first blood, wounding Sean badly but Scrap took a couple of shots point blank into the chest and fell, mortally wounded.

*’Twechewy’ actually, and yes I did consider ‘Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it infamy’

Skarl fell next and I cried out offering the traitor guards commissions if they rallied to our side, but to no avail. No result. I switched to more basic needs, and the offer of a thousand crowns a head got me four new recruits who changed sides and took on Sean. This was just in the nick of time or possibly just after, as I fell badly wounded too at this point.

Thud was meanwhile trying to save scrap with some disturbing efforts at mouth to mouth and vigorous fist pumping that mentally scarred all who witnessed it. The four guards managed to despatch their two former comrades quickly and then Sean at the cost of one of their number. Maverick however was beyond salvation. Thud sent guards for medical assistance but too late, the great Captain Maverick was gone.

Thud did however manage to stabilise me and Skarl, but then enemy reinforcements arrived. He hurled grenades at them, one falling short and one killing one and wounding two, then another grenade rolled amongst the enemy and finished off the survivors and the micro murderer appeared. Early on in the battle Thud had got off a message to him and after calling the palace to ask for help, the child killer stole a ship and flew it to the palace, somehow breaching the air defences and teleporting his way to our location. A remarkable and highly improbable achievement you’ll agree but on such incidents turn the fate of empires.

Not one to look a gift murderer in the mouth we allowed ourselves to be healed by him and rallied our forces. Our loyal troops having thrown in their lot with us went to scrape up more recruits to the cause with promises of lavish reward. This brought us 26 guards whose loyalty to say the least was doubtful. We met a few minutes later at an agreed point near the great hall. We planned to divide into three groups, attack the throne room and take out my brothers. Sar the Child Slayer disguised as Sean, I as Scrap with ‘Sean’ carrying my signet ring as proof of my death. We had special dermal gear to effect these disguises but I did not take the lead role as it was felt my voice might give us away.

Sar the Kid (Killer) and I entered the hall with four guards to be met somewhat surprisingly by Sean, whose body we had just left below was not yet cold and my brothers, seated at the table. Something was wrong though, our Sean started his ‘The deed is done’ speech but then we noticed four things: 1. Sean’s twin was holding a bloody sword. 2. and 3. Holes (additional to those required for normal human existence) in my brothers, both suspiciously sword shaped and 4. Twin Sean* clearly wasn’t buying our disguises.

*I would say evil twin, but actually they were both pretty evil.

The infanticider teleported behind him, ready to plunge his twin syringes of death into Sean’s neck, but he hesitated, no doubt adjusting to the larger than normal target, I, naturally upset at the death of my two dear brothers was able to fire a burst from my laser pistol through their murderer’s head, snuffing him out spectacularly. After that it all happened quickly: I ordered the palace to alert status and to attack the United Ores personnel and our air defences shot down a UO shuttle trying to escape with the twins’ mother Erin aboard.

After establishing for sure that my late brothers were completely dead,* I proclaimed myself 30th Archduke Moreau. In honour of my fallen comrade, I proclaimed myself Archduke Maverick the 1st. Mopping up operations continue to rumble on several months later, but the other houses will fall back into line soon. Maxicorp can expect some generous mining concessions from me and a lot of cheap United Ores equipment material and bases that have unexpectedly become available at very cheap rates.

*A couple of head shots, you can’t be too careful

My guard has been well rewarded and promoted, though nearly all of those involved in the coup seem to have managed to pull front line assignments, after all, one can’t surround oneself with bodyguards who are swayed by a casual offer of 1000 credits. My good friends I have offered important posts in my government, including High Vizier, but they seem keen to get away. I have repaired their ship and they have all received generous recompense from a grateful nation.

I even sent compensation to Maverick’s siblings and his hat sits in the museum of the revolution, a relic of an honoured hero who gave his life for the good of Brizeno. The tattier wing of the palace has been renamed the Scrap Maverick Memorial Wing and the treasury has generally been sapped with the cost of securing my position and greasing the necessary palms. Expensive business being Archduke I can tell you.

There’s also the expense of the state funerals of my poor brothers of course. I had to struggle with constitutional matters as well, for example I had to make a ruling on whether Gelor had ever being Archduke, even or a few seconds. I decided not – that’ll annoy his ghost, plus the Grand Vizier funeral package was a hell of a lot cheaper.
There’s a lot of ceremonial too, I try to avoid too much public speaking, it seems to provoke a lot of laughter, for example I am opening the new Scrap Maverick school of Navigation this afternoon and I think I’ll just confine myself to ‘It givth me gwate pleather to declare thith fathitlity open, may the legathy of the gweat Thcwap Maverwick live on through hith disthipleth who gwaduate fwom here.’

One loose end I did manage to tidy up when I saw off my comrades on the SS Company Ship, some radical firebrand, apparently one of father’s many little peccadilloes has signed on with them. From what I hear we are all well rid of him.

Well signing off now, I am interviewing for my number 43 before leaving and I’ll need at least half an hour afterwards for a drink and a shower, then home for Too’s third birthday party at six. Thank goodness Sar is offworld and I don’t have to worry about him executing my son to help him wile away his afternoon, I need to enjoy these brief years with my son before he becomes a threat.

I leave you with the words carved seven metres high inlaid with gold on the massive marble and onyx tomb of the great Captain, Scrap Maverick, hero of Brizeno and posthumous member of the Grand Order of Sand Serpents (2nd class).*

*Only the Archduke is eligible for the order’s 1st class award

[i]Here lies great Captain Maverick
His hat was white and floppy
His Navigation skills were sick
And dropped us in the ploppy.[

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