Chapter 22: Of Rebels and Rogues

The smoldering ruin of the PRC base, far below on Belize Prime, could barely be seen through the clear nose of the Che Guevara, a new model yacht that had come into rebel possession and been converted to a command and control vessel.  Flashy and impressive in its own way, with a full G of internal gravity and this splendid dome, its utility as a military vessel remained suspect.

            Deacon stood patiently watching the battle rage below, his hands clasped behind him.  Captain General Pedro Maas of the People’s Democratic Front stood beside him, enjoying the view now that things were firmly in hand.

            “Quite the light show, eh?”  Maas brimmed with pride.  He stank of it.

            “A shame about the infrastructure loss,” Deacon said, noticing a tiny flash doubtless more impressive from the surface.

            “What matters is that the political structure of the Expanse is at last intact,” the captain general said with a sniff, his chest so puffed-up Deacon wondered how the man didn’t rupture his spleen.

            “Of course,” the corsair agreed with utter insincerity.  “The remaining fringe groups will be flocking to your banner or skulking away in the shadows.  There is only the outstanding matter of the carriers.”

            “Which, as I have promised, will be turned over to you at the appointed time,” Maas assured him.  He turned to Deacon and took a step closer, adding, “And they will, as agreed, follow your instructions for the allotted period.  But be assured they will take part in no action contrary to the interests of the PDF.”

The captain general regarded the pirate with what he assumed to be well-concealed disgust.  Let them have their petty victory, he thought.   By the time the Federation comes to crush them we’ll be poised to expand into the core worlds.

The two men exchanged their polite good-byes and Deacon made his way to the Guevara’s hanger deck.  What an asshole, the pirate thought.  He’s perfect.


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