A Rake by Starlight

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 18

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN Our Hero Must Wrestle With Offers, Refusals, and the Inherent Tensions Between Them

“So,” Grif said, leaving the noisy din of Dyorbid’s behind him as he stepped out onto the walkway, “I think that went rather well.”

Amys fell into step beside him, saying nothing. Cyrus, Ktk, and Morgan followed, Morgan trailing behind as he watched Ktk and Cyrus argue over the merits of the latest Tachyon Induction Drive from Tylaris Drive Mechanics, the ATID 515. Ktk was saying it didn’t see the point in releasing a newer drive that was larger than the previous three models when the primary selling point for the 500 and 510 was size and weight reduction.

Grif glanced at Amys and raised an eyebrow. “You’re quiet.”

Amys shrugged.

“Right…” Grif shook his head and sighed. “Well, I still think it went rather well.”

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 17

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN Loyalties are Questioned, and Deception is Practiced with Depressing Regularity

Baron Minerva Tyrelos fumed beneath her respirator mask as she began the long trek back to her palace. It was ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous. If Vindh was telling the truth, then somehow he’d managed to stumble onto one of the most explosive secrets in Trade Baron space… by accident. A small-time smuggler had just managed to find one of the most powerful gamepieces that could end—or escalate—one of the most dangerous conflicts to visit the region in a century or more. If it was true, it would be trouble. The people who murdered Mogra Tylaris wouldn’t be willing to sit back and let Mogra’s brain be dumped into a clone. They would take steps to see that it didn’t happen… and while she believed the Alliance wouldn’t do anything overt, she was absolutely certain that something covert would be coming in due time.

But the risk was far overshadowed by the potential reward. If Vindh actually had what he claimed he had, then it could change everything—and if she controlled it… she hated politics, but she knew how to play the game, and she knew the game was important. If a cloned Mogra Tylaris could make a credible claim for the Tylaris Barony, and she was able to make that happen… well, Mogra would owe her a great deal. She would be able to leverage that for all it was worth, and it would be worth quite a lot.

And Mogra would expect it, she thought to herself. Hell, he would be disappointed in me if I didn’t make him pay through the nose.

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 16

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN the Business Partner Evaluates the Merits of the Pitch

Baron Minerva Tyrelos was young for a Trade Baron. She wasn’t a girl by any means—in most professions, she would be considered someone with an extensive resume. But politics, as a profession, skewed old by default; with technology capable of extending human life by decades even without the use of age-slowing anagathics, the “default setting” was beginning to be viewed more as a minimum requirement. Most of the other Trade Barons had been around for a long time, and most remembered when she’d been a girl.

So when her father died, and she assumed his place, she found the transition difficult to manage.

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 15

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN Our Hero, Safely Returned to Friendly Lands, Contacts a Business Partner of a Surprising Pedigree

The Tyrelos Barony was the poorest of all the Trade Baronies, by a fair margin. It specialized in mining and processing high-grade alloys and in ruggedizing equipment to survive in exotic and hostile environments. Tyrelos Metallurgics was a premier manufacturer of artificially enhanced starship hull alloys, and Tyrelos Environmentals had no competitors when it came to top-of-the line closed environment systems. Tyrelos Mining Endeavors was one of the top-tier mining endeavors in known space, and along with the high-quality equipment they sold to the industry at large, their mining expertise was sought after by worlds who had precious materials but lacked the resources to mine them.

All these industries were in high demand and very successful. At the same time, their profits were needed by the Barony to sustain itself. The Tyrelos Barony was unique among the Trade Baronies in that every planet in the Tyrelos System was uninhabitable, some of them aggressively so. All the technology and know-how from the various Tyrelos corporations was needed to create enclosed cities, protected environments, and artificially habitable zones for its citizens. This was an expensive process, and after expenses, the Barony enjoyed only a modest profit.

Of course, modest is a relative term: what the Tyrelos Barony considered modest was considered staggering to pretty much every other corporation that wasn’t a Trade Baron. But if total accumulated wealth could be translated into power and influence, the Tyrelos Barony had significantly less than its neighbors.

What it lacked in comparative wealth, however, it more than made up for in sheer ambition. And nothing captured this ambition better than Tyrelos Station, its capitol city.

A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 14

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN Familiarity Breeds Aggravation, and Strong Desire to Drink

Garinon Station was the primary port of call in the Garinon System. Before the Tylaris Barony had joined the Alliance, it served as a major hub for goods coming out of Trade Baron space. Its fortunes dimmed a little when Rolis Tylaris brought his barony into the Alliance, but it had done its best to adapt by diversifying its interests. Politics had become its latest product—specifically, services catering to political think tanks. Garinon Station had created an entire industry around hosting conferences, debates, conventions, lectures, and forums around the most important issues of the day. It appeared to be working: almost overnight the Garinon System was the place to go if you were a think tank or political group.

It was the perfect place, Velis thought, for a bunch of spies masquerading as diplomats to meet.

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