Noycannir strode proudly into the great hall of the fortress place
that Koscuisko's people kept in the mountains, her sharp eye missing
nothing of the power and the wealth that this place displayed with
such offensive opulence.
had been a Kospodar thula in the ship-yards where she had landed.
The Arakcheyek shipyards had built them on Bench contract. How could
there be Kospodar thulas in private hands? In Koscuisko's hands?
Such wealth could not have been gained legally. She would have to
call for an investigation. Later. Once she had become Queen of the
great hall was the size of a maintenance hangar in stone whose floors
were carpeted with knotted wool, lighted by great windows and large
fixtures in the ceiling; and it was full of people - a small crowd
at the far end, people in chairs, more people standing. One person
stood up as her escort neared, a tall man, broad-shouldered, with
a great black beard well streaked with iron-gray.
senior house security man in her escort bowed. "Special envoy from
Chilleau Judiciary," he said. He didn't sound very respectful, to
Mergau; he sounded in fact as though he didn't exactly believe her.
He should know better, Mergau told herself. He would in time, she
would see to it, but for now she was so close to her prize that
she could almost taste the fear and despair that she would have
from Koscuisko. Soon. Very soon.
man who had risen to his feet was looking at her with an amused
expression on his face. The chair beside him had emptied. "I'm not
expecting any such honor," he said. "Who is this person?" TOP
was time to take control of this. Mergau stepped forward. "I am
Clerk of Court at Chilleau Judiciary." Who was he to ask? "I hold
the Writ in whose support the writ of the Koscuisko prince is to
be annexed, on direction."
tall man shook his head. "I am the Koscuisko prince," he said; there
was a note of mild amusement in his voice that Mergau found hateful.
"I hold no such Writ. You seek my son, I think, Noycannir." Gesturing
with his hand he waited; and Andrej Koscuisko stepped forward from
Koscuisko. In his shirtsleeves, and looking at her with wary confusion.
How she hated him. How she had waited for this moment.
man." She pointed. "You. Andrej Koscuisko. You are required to come
to Chilleau Judiciary to pursue the investigation into the death
of your Captain and the subsequent discovery of mutinous conspiracy,
on board of the Jurisdiction Fleet Ship Ragnarok. Under the provisions
of Bench disciplinary codes your Writ is annexed for the duration
of the investigation. I should like to leave immediately, if you
please, there is not a moment to waste."TOP
looked confused. But he was alone; he had no choice. "I don't know
that the Captain is dead," he said, but it was a weak attempt. He
might think that he was challenging her, standing there in the middle
of a target-range with his arms folded. But he could not deny her
evidence. "Still less that there is any such mutiny, Dame. If Chilleau
Judiciary truly means to annex my Writ I am very much surprised."
he were surprised or not was not material. He would learn soon enough
not to take such a tone with her if he did not wish to suffer the
advanced on Koscuisko where he stood, past Koscuisko's father, to
confront him face-to-face. There were security troops at this house,
but she had brought Fleet resources with her, and Koscuisko would
have no choice but to go with her once she had made her case.
were Koscuisko's own Security, the Security he would have brought
with him from the Ragnarok, his Security slaves? She wanted those
people. She wanted to make Koscuisko kill them one by one, in fearful
agony; and that would be the start of Koscuisko's punishment. But
just the start. They were bond-involuntary; they could not disobey
a direct legal order. Koscuisko would be forced to give the order.
They would even subdue Koscuisko himself if she said the word.
force me to a disagreeable display." She had the Record. She meant
there to be no chance of misunderstanding. They would all see. Koscuisko
would be left entirely without recourse. "Since you insist. Here
is the Record. You of all people understand the implications of
DEVIL AND DEEP SPACE
ROC Science Fiction