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I know that I’m not going to rise to the mountaintop to rule with a sceptre. The mantle will not become mine. People won’t be looking to me for safety and hope, that’s fine. I’m marred and scarred, wounded and maimed beyond the body. I’m a figure of defiance and retribution. Not even those of my planet, who have looked to me to bring their justice to bear, would really see me as the organizing principle for the time of peace and prosperity. That was my father, back then, and I know the differences that life has made between us. It’ll have to be someone else, after this.

Nothing will be the same. All will grow far beyond me, yes, even the number one public enemy. So much for that, and I bid good riddance to all that I have fought. I can find somewhere to put myself besides stillfrozen stasis; not that that was anything like I expected, but I’m like no one they’ve ever known, guaranteed. I access a different dimension set than the kind of human I was when I was born, with my physiotechnological and neuromental adjustments – not something people should recommend to the ambitious, always a matter of facility in necessity. The benefits of existing as a freak occurrence were impressed on me by the random fortune of young catastrophic survival. I ran with it, and I can continue to do so when there is no use for me. I’m working toward that.

Table of Contents update

The table of contents for Book 3: Greater Beyond has just been updated to the current closure of this sequence. Links to all the book serializations are always on the dropdown menu bar at the very top of the site page.

Remember that Bones of Starlight 1: Fire Within and 2: Abyss Surrounding are available in print via your favorite new book retailer, online or otherwise. I recommend University Bookstore or Powell’s Books!

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They discussed job positioning and locale proximity. There were occasional breakout sessions to shift issue focus, during which a General might visit another’s ship for handshaking on matters that called for a personal touch. The Aquari General-In-Consult, Dancing Shimmer, had some info to relate on available intergalactic transport power, particularly the reservation allowance for at-will strategy. When General Claymore visited her ship as they settled details regarding burst focus, she looked in better health than recently, flush though distracted.

The King Proxem joined them at the last stage, to take in the summary and engage in wrap-up. After the ships had detached but were still in present space, King Vario came aboard the Alisandre vessel. It was then that he demanded higher levels of civic control than they had collectively strategized. This included detention without process, questioning, and increased punitive measures for a particular list of minor infractions. A chill passed over General Alisandre, who supported the plan as it already stood.

After a cursory listen to Claymore’s peer-supported reasoning, Vario insisted on his adjustments without explanation. The King Proxem also requested that they re-staff an extreme measures facility near the Capital, and to place him in direct command. That place hadn’t been used since the time of Claymore’s grandfather; this created a slew of alarming questions in the General’s mind. He would have to relay these as commands to the others, and he didn’t think he could grit his teeth any harder. This kind of confidential demand was the right of the monarch, and Vario’s insistence indicated reasons – but Claymore was unsure that there were any reasons he could accept for the implied possibilities of these actions.

The semi-randomized exit procedure gave Draig time to decompress. He’d been only mildly dissatisfied at the end of wrap-up, which in a job like his spelled appropriate restraint. However after the long session with King Vario, he was wondering in detail – for the first time – what life would be like without his position, and what his position would be like without him, particularly now. He could feel himself pulling back from his commanded duty like a horse that wouldn’t jump. He responded to occasional rollout broadcasts from his command post alone, while those incomprehensible, irresistible thoughts grew stronger.

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They continued to consider personnel budgets as they spoke with an area control relay, team leader management, and armed squad officers. Private-affiliation journalist representatives were on hold for authorized releases. They were paid by companies who paid their company; they were the safest, and most reliable.

The ship had a social area with seats, where good sustenance was being provided. Draig was able to make it there, where nobody was really talking to each other because they had so much in focus. At times, it was possible to share a similarly burdened pep smile.

Independent news had also undergone surprising blooms of activity. A wave of leaflets was storming the neighborhoods like trading cards among kids. There were successive generations of speculation on the images playing through the signal windows. Average bored citizens could transform into amazing information diggers. Some of the conclusions seemed to Claymore clearly misleading and reactionary while familiar in tone; as if one hidden source had actually been around a long time, possibly in an official capacity. That wasn’t General Alisandre’s department or current concern. He’d been going through this stuff for a while, though, when someone approached with a communication to ask if he’d slept outside his command center recently. The General made exaggerated shifty eyes, and addressed the communication without answering the question.