S. M. Stirling - Draka 05 by S. M. Stirling

S. M. Stirling - Draka 05 by S. M. Stirling

Author:S. M. Stirling
Language: eng
Format: epub

Verwoerd stood at attention for a long time before the Archon finally closed the manila folder marked MOST SECRET.

"An interesting proposal, Admiral. Totally unfeasible, of course, but interesting."

She slid it back across the desktop.

Verwoerd studiously let it lay. He was in his late fifties, of an age old enough for the years to turn his hair steel grey, line his craggy face; young enough he could still keep trim and fit if he kept to the strenuous Draka military regimen. Even so, the length of time he'd stood in front of the Draka ruler would have challenged even a younger man.

He continued to fix his gaze at a point centered on the window behind the Archon's desk. The window looked down the length of the Avenue of Armies. The view was distorted by the thick armorglass. Over six million serfs were in the Janissaries now. Far too many serfs had access to weapons for comfort these days. The war, of course.

Noor leed bid, as Verwoerd's old Afrikaaner grandfather used to say.

The Archon reopened the folder, then let it fall closed again. "I take it the Army's already turned you down. And Security."

The Army had told Verwoerd no; Security had told him Freya, no.

"So why bring it to me?" she asked him, half-rhetorically. "You used up a lot of favors getting here. The Navy doesn't have many favors to spare." Nor, she left unspoken, did the Rationalist Party.

Verwoerd knew fears of offending the Navy hardly kept the Archon awake nights. After all, Security Directorate's operating budget for their coastal patrol and brownwater flotillas was bigger than that for the entire bluewater Navy. But the Navy and the Rationalist Party did have close ties; most Rationalist politicians were former naval officers. Most naval cadets came from Rationalist families.

After four years of ever-increasing casualties, war-weariness was setting in. The Rationalist minority was gaining support—worrisome for the Draka League and the Archonship; they'd held an electoral lock for the last sixty, seventy years.

The Archon steepled her fingers.

Abruptly, she flipped a button on her intercom. "Please tell Dominarch Heusinger I'd like to see him at his convenience. East map room." She released the button.

She glared sharply at Verwoerd. "If you have something to say, Admiral, say it. I don't like having people cock their eyebrows at me." She paused. "Ah. My not inviting Security along?"

A chuckle. "Admiral, anytime I send for the Dominarch, somebody from Skull House invariably comes trotting along behind."


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