Sharoma Frontierverse Why Did The Groigan Dance? Chapter 7

Why Did The Groigan Dance?

Chapter 7

The Hall of Alexander

"So, Baron, are you saying you disapprove of our little announcement?"

After being summoned, Bush was brought to the small, cramped chamber which he currently sat in along with the Emperor, the Prince of Intelligence, the Prince of War, and Duke Lorenzo Charon, Chief of Public Relations for the Imperial Navy. "The Hall of Alexander," as the war room was called, was located deep in the core of the planet so that the Heads of State would survive if a rogue madman somehow managed to slip through the 2nd fleet's defenses and land a nuclear warhead in Achenar, and the sickly green walls were lined with various holoscreens, supercomputers, and hyperspace transmitters in order to keep the people in the room in constant communication with virtually anyone in the universe at all times.

Bush now turned his attention towards the Emperor. "No, my lord, I do not think that the message was necessarily in the best interests of the Empire. Because we went public like that, we now have almost no chance to negotiate with the Feds, and almost certainly we will go to war over this."

"We do not negotiate with treacherous dogs!" the Prince of War shouted, slamming his hammy fist on the table. "The Federation will learn to feel the wrath of the Emperor!"

Bush shook his head. This was probably the same Prince that planned the original Biggs Colony doctrine. "War is good for no one, my lord Prince. If we are lucky, we might be able to claim a Federal system or two for ourselves, but in the end, the loss of life for both sides would be horrific. The last war with the Federation cost both the Feds and ourselves over two billion deaths from accidents alone. Is that really worth it?"

The Prince of War narrowed his eyes. "That was before," he said. "Now, do you have anything of importance to add, or are you just-" He stopped in midsentence as Duval raised a finger.

"There is no need to get rude, Prince Brunswick. Baron Bush and yourself both have valid points. If only we could convince the Thargoids and the Federal President that we have no desire for war." He turned a speculative eye to Bush. "Do you believe there is a way that we can achieve this peace?"

Bush squirmed in his chair, still not used to addressing the Emperor. "I haven't formulated a plan yet, my lord Emperor, but I think that we could all agree that a good start would be to cut down on the public announcements, yes?" He pointed to a large holoscreen that was laid against the wall. "Already the Galactic Information Network and the Intergalactic News Network, the two most-watched stations in all the galaxy, buzz with rumors. IGNN already has a correspondent on the way to Fortress Strauss!"

"They will not be permitted to enter the system. A portion of the 4th fleet already patrols the area, ensuring that no one gets in." Bush's face lit up at the mention of his old unit, but the Emperor continued. "I do agree with you about the announcement, however,. I do not recall what ever convinced me to let Duke Charon talk me into the idea." Duke Charon started, but settled down when the Emperor flash him a light smile. "No, no, do not take offense, my friend. It was my folly as much as yours. Now, good Baron, do you propose that we let the Federal Government go unpunished for its transgressions against the innocent people of Fortress Strauss?"

"Never!" Prince Brunswick roared, rising out of his seat.

"Please sit, Prince Brunswick. I've had about as much of your temper as I plan to tolerate for today. Now I believe I asked you a question, Baron."

"I'm just a grunt, my lord Emperor," Bush said, nervously relapsing out of the formal speak he had been working to hard at. "I follow orders, not make them." Not that he usually agreed with the orders, but it was his job and he did it.

"I see," the Emperor said. He pulled a datacard out of his sleeve and laid it on the oak table. "This is your military file, Baron. Not very many officers get to see theirs. In fact, the fine Prince Brunswick here has never seen his. But I want you to take a look at this." The Emperor handed it to a servant (The splendid Eileene, Bush noticed), who inserted it into a slot at the end of the table. The air above the center of the table shimmered instantly, and Bush's face faded into being above a long line of text.

"Very impressive, my good Baron," the Emperor intoned. "Damned impressive, even. As a cadet at Jameson, you received the highest scores ever on the simulations, and your records have yet to be surpassed. You graduated head of your class, destined to become a hero for the Navy." He turned to the Baron and raised an eyebrow. "But upon your return to civilization, you ignored repeated requests to stations on Lynx Carriers and Couriers, and instead put all your considerable talents into assassination. Why is that?"

Bush shrugged. "I grew up in Riedquat before moving to Anacketh when I was fifteen. I guess you could say I was raised to be good at killing."

"I see. Is that why you requested assignment for the 4th fleet?"

Bush nodded.

"Very well. Anyways," the Emperor said, "You went officially to spend the next twenty years battling pirates and busting smugglers in the frontier systems. In reality you spent those years being used as an assassin for the Empire, silently swooping in and dispatching high profile enemies of the state and leading a life in the Sol system under a false name, although you were one of the members of the VI Ferrata Fidelis Constans wing who got ambushed by Thargoids one that unfortunate day. Ah! You were the one who dispatched Admiral Wilson in Delta Pavonis for us!"

"Yes, my lord," Bush said, starting to become uncomfortable with all the attention he was getting.

"You were also the commander of the Titan the day I decided it would be best to bombard the rebels in Biggs Colony," the Emperor said, and shot Prince Brunswick a dark look. "I should have done that from the start of the mess, of course, but I had, ah, less than competent advice. Overall, it was a very distinguishing career, Baron."

"Thank you, my lord Emperor."

"The pleasure was mine, Baron. Even I have heard of the infamous 'Wolfsheart.'" He motioned again, and Eileene came over and took the datacard. "Now do you still think that you shouldn't be making any important decisions, Baron? You have a better record than most of the officers in here today."

"I... I suppose not, my lord."

"Good, because I have made my decision on the matter; you were correct, of course, in the statement that a war would be unthinkable for both sides involved. And there will be no more broadcasts over the holoscreens either." Prince Brunswick leaped up, red-faced; the Emperor fixed him with a steely stare. "What did I say before? Sit down, NOW." He then turned his head slowly to gaze in the eyes of each man in the room. "I do agree with Prince Brunswick in one matter, however; we can not allow the Federation to attack one of our border systems unprovoked and believe that they can go unpunished. That is why you are here, my good Baron."

Bush didn't like the sound of this.

Continue the story with Chapter 8