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Tech Infantry - Season 10

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MJ, the Original Gangsta
Site Owner
Posts: 143

I was inspired by Lorpy's story, so here's my own...

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                It was the kind of party you would gnaw your own leg off to escape from. House Halen was throwing their semi-formal, semi-annual soiree and everyone who wasanyone in the system had to attend. Unfortunately, the Halenites were uptight prudes, as well as having the reputation of squeezing a credit tighter than any other noble house. So the party was expected to be dull and predictable.

                Until the doorman announced, “The Most Reverend Gabrielle Lajvard and escort!”

                All eyes turned towards the door as the two unexpected visitors stepped through the door. At first glance, they were nothing very special to look at. The middle-aged woman was tan, trim, anddressed in a fashionable—but demure—evening gown; the wizened old man next toher looked like he had shoved into an ill-fitting suit and strategically shaved. But there was something about that smile over hers. She lit up the room with her charm; it was something about her that no one she met ever forgot.

                Luckily, someone hadn’t. “Gabby!” a well-dressed man of the Imperial Army called to her and strode across the ballroom floor.

                Now what’s his name, she wondered, trying to activate her memory. It was the feather in his hat that reminded her. There he is all strutting like a peacock / oh, what a happy…  “Hildebrandt! It’s been too long.”

                 “With your smile, I’d steal a ship from the corsairs just to be with you, Your Excellency,” the officer bowed with a flourish.

                 “And yet you haven’t,” she teased, “and it’s not nice to keep a woman waiting. I’m most upset with you, Hildy.” She added awag of the finger just for effect.

                The officer played up his role beautifully. Grasping his hands to his heart, he begged, “Bishop Lajvard, forgive me. Tell me, I beg you, how can I make it up to you?”

                With a coy look, she stepped closer, bent seductively over to his left ear, and whispered, “You promised me Roquefort’s head on a plate, colonel. Where is it?”

                Colonel Hildebrandt gave an exaggerated laugh and took her hand in his. “Come, let me introduce you to the buffet. I’m sure you’ll find it more than makes up for the atmosphere.”

                With the performance finished,the two of them walked comfortably towards the drinks, her bodyguard in tow. As the initial buzz at her entrance dissipated, the crowd bemoaned the lack ofexcitement, and looked back at their chronometers.  It was only when they reached the rather low quality alcohol selection that the colonel admitted quietly, “There’s been a slight problem...”

                She batted her brown eyes at him and said, “Oh, Hildy. You just don’t know how to talk to girls at all.”

                “Nothing insurmountable, Gabby. I’ve learned where the corsairs are getting their support.”

                “I like where you’re going with this,” she flirted for the benefit of anyone listening. “You must tell me all.”

                “Baron Sarlok,” the colonel finished mixing his rather complicated drink, “his asteroid mining facility is a front to launder the corsairs’ profits into hard currency. Taking a good percentage off the top, of course.”

                “Why wouldn’t you?” She quicklyadded that to her memory, making up a rhyme to lock it in place. Sarlok, certainly, what would you do? Taking cold flowers from the asteroid dew. “Sarlok is the lord of the outer orbitals?”

                “First cousin to the count,”Hildebrandt waved his drink in the direction of the dour Count Halen sitting on his reasonably-priced wooden throne.

                “Any connections to the Imperial Fleet?”

                “None that I’m aware,” he shrugged as he took a sip. The colonel immediately made a grimace. “God, how does anyone drink this stuff?”

                “God is all-knowing, I am not,”Gabby gracefully took the drink from his hands. “And I’m not happy about that. I need answers before I deal with Sarlok. Confederates?”

                “His wife, First Minister Jareir, the county court…”

                “Your first instinct is usually the best,” she mimed a sip. “Point her out to me.”

                “I’ll introduce you to her, shall I?” Hildebrandt said louder, and once again, guided her across theballroom.

                With a minimum of direction changes, they made their way across the crowded ballroom to a space closer to the county throne. There was a gaggle of older women standing around in a semi-circle, taking the event in, and making disparaging remarks about everything that came into their view. None of them, though, were sure what to make of the newcomer.

                “Baroness Sarlok,” the colonel bowed, “I would like to introduce you to Her Excellency…”

                “Gabby,” the bishop interrupted him, extending out her hand to him. “Please call me Gabby. I find titles so cumbersome, don’t you?”

                 As the baroness took her hand, Gabrielle could see in her eyes that she disagreed. Titles were everything to her.  “Charmed to meet you, Gabby. Did I hear you introduced correctly? You’re a priest?”

                “Professionally speaking, yes. I spread the good news of His Majesty, praise…”

                “Praise be upon Him,” they all droned on cue. After ten years of his reign, that part of the litany was standard.

                “But mostly, I find myself preaching to the converted. The truth of his godhood is obvious… even if it makes my life a trifle dull.” The bishop gave her one of her patented warm smiles to let her in on the joke.

                Unfortunately, the woman had no sense of humor. “So what brings you to our sleepy system, Gabby?”

                “You’ve met Archbishop Yolo? Gentle old man, salt of the earth, but he’s too nice. You’ve heard of the Malachites?”

                “Of course—they’re one of the mining clans my husband works with,” the baroness answered, sounding slightly more interested.

                “Well, they’re as loyal to the Emperor as can be, but this is the embarrassing part,” Gabrielle rolled her eyes, “when they pray, they paint themselves greenand do the oddest grinding motions.” The bishop bobbed her head up and down tosimulate it.

                “What’s wrong…?”

                Gabby didn’t even let the baroness finish. “Our dear Yolo has been trying to curbtheir enthusiasm, have them return to a more… acceptable form of worship. But instead of fixing the problem, it’s gotten worse. Months have gone by, calling each other names, threatening to break off from the Faith—disaster all around. So the good archbishop called my office and I’ve been trying to solve this impasse. But the silly ol’ Malachites won’t even pick up my com!“ The bishop gave an exasperated sigh and threw her hands in the air.

                Which dumped her drink right on the baroness’ expensive dress; gasps came all around.Gabrielle looked horrified. “Oh, a thousand pardons, Your Excellency! I am so sorry…”

                “I’ll need a new gown,” the baroness flung the cheap booze from her soaked hands.Then she smiled; the noble suddenly realized she had an escape plan. “I’llhave to return to my house.”

                “Please—let me make it up to you. I have a fabulous recipe for removing stains, and if that doesn’t work, the Faith will be more than happy to buy you a new dress. We can’t have one of our faithful turned away by the foolishness of one of His servants.”

                “Well, I…“

                “Let me offer you a ride in my shuttle. It’s just right outside. Stumbles may lookout of place here,” Gabby pointed to her bodyguard, “but he’s an excellent pilot. He’ll get us there in no time.”

                “I…um… how could I refuse?” the baroness admitted.

                “Then don’t.”

               

                The baroness guided them past hersecurity into the orbiting space station that was their baronial palace in the sky. There were few people home, since anyone who was anyone was down at the party they had just left. As a result, the house staff was at a minimum. Gabrielle kept one eye on these details, and the other on filling the baroness’ head with as much trivia as she could spout off. Little by little, the local noble was accepting the bishop as one of her brainless little flunkies.

                 They reached her spacious bedroom and Gabrielle closed the door. “Is there a servant we can call to help us?  My formula takes a few ingredients.”

                 “Not without making a call.”

                 “Oh good. Stumbles?”

                The bodyguard moved fluidly, quickly grabbing the baroness into a sleeper hold, until the poor woman passed out. Gabrielle didn’t wait until her party guest was unconscious—she quickly found the comp access and started dialing in.

                Once the baroness collapsed to the floor, the bishop said, “Did you get access to the security comp yet?”

                “I placed some eyes in the hallway as we came up.”

                She snorted a laugh. “In otherwords, no.”

                “I’m just here to protect you,Your Excellency.”

                “Oh, we both know you do more than that, Friar. That little toy Falstaff gave you didn’t work?”

                There was silence on the bodyguard’s end. The bishop looked up from the holoproj monitor. “Did you even turn it on?”

                Stumbles reached into his pocket and pulled out a gold cylinder. He clicked a button. “Sorry.”

                Gabrielle shook her head in disgust and went back to the holoproj. “Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. A list of ships docked at the mining facility. A curiously long list for a mine.” She tookout a datachip and downloaded the information.

                “Ready?” Stumbles asked.

                “In a rush?”

                “No, but they are,” the friar looked at the cylinder’s readout. “Two… three shuttles approaching the station.”

                “The baron and his family?”

                Stumbles shrugged.

                Gabrielle sighed in reply. “Well, I got the data. Should be able to figure out the corsairs’ schedule from it.”

                 “If we can get off the station,” the friar added. “Move.”

                The two of them quickly got out of the bedroom and walked down the hall. They approached the shuttle bay whenthe whoosh of displaced air was clearly heard. Three shuttles had just arrived.

                “So much for an easy exit,” thebishop moaned.

                “Wait,” Stumbles muttered and pulled out a plasma grenade.

 

--

I call myself Albigensia - the once and future Storyteller.

December 2, 2012 at 10:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Lorpius Prime
Administrator
Posts: 184

Excellent story!  Sounds like Rocky's in trouble.  I also can't help but love a minion called "Stumbles".


I was trying to figure out what system this was in by looking at the house maps.  But I realized there's some discrepancy between the map that Chris sent out and I put up at the TIwiki: http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20121114221540/techinfantry/images/5/51/TI2275factionsstarchart.jpg

and the season 9 epilogue map from Ed's site: http://techinfantry.stasheff.com/ti9/images/map-epilogue.gif


So from the second one, I'm guessing Bishop Gabby is in Deseret?

December 3, 2012 at 1:32 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Xinjao
Moderator
Posts: 164

@MJ: Okay, Lorpy's story was theoretically at a good stopping place, but yours... okay, you have to continue it now!

Want me to do a podcast of this one, too?  Two women's voices in a conversation will be a challenge, but the sort of thing I need to practice.


@Lorpy: Yeah, I noticed that, too.  I think Chis gave Van Dieman back to House Mallorean, but forgot about House Halen's other planet, Deseret, which I think is Unassigned (hard to tell with the map colors).  So we could just declare House Halen to be on Deseret and add it to the map.  Or MJ could chose a different House, of course...

And since it'd be rather rude to discuss maps on MJ's story thread, I'll move this discussion over to the "Maps" section.

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=^_^=

December 3, 2012 at 9:17 AM Flag Quote & Reply

MJ, the Original Gangsta
Site Owner
Posts: 143

I honestly couldn't find the most recent map Chris sent out, so I picked a house name I remembered and ran with it. Of course, I didn't know the planet, so I deliberately didn't mention it. I just needed a particularly minor house for the story.


Yeah, Xinjao - if you wanna podcast it, be my guest!


Glad you all liked the story!

--

I call myself Albigensia - the once and future Storyteller.

December 3, 2012 at 9:53 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Xinjao
Moderator
Posts: 164

Cool, no problem.  I'll probably get to it tomorrow evening.  If you want to do any last-minute tweaks (like changing House Halen to a different name), just email me a revised copy before then.  Oh, and how do you pronouce "Lajvard" and  "Jareir"?

--

=^_^=

December 3, 2012 at 10:04 AM Flag Quote & Reply

MJ, the Original Gangsta
Site Owner
Posts: 143

Jareir = "Jah-ear"

Lajvard = "Laz-woo-ad" (Arabic for "lapis lazuli.")

--

I call myself Albigensia - the once and future Storyteller.

December 4, 2012 at 12:11 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Xinjao
Moderator
Posts: 164

... and here's the podcast.


(tactful) Feedback appreciated.

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=^_^=

December 6, 2012 at 12:43 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Lorpius Prime
Administrator
Posts: 184

I'm impressed by the sound effects, Xinjao, especially where you were able to have the whole crowd praising Vin Dane.  I presume that was your voice just cloned several times over?

December 7, 2012 at 4:55 PM Flag Quote & Reply

MJ, the Original Gangsta
Site Owner
Posts: 143

Finally heard the whole thing - Stumbles came off differently than I imagined, but since he doesn't have lines until the end, I'll be curious how you imagine him in Part 2.


The Windows sounds for downloading the file made me laugh out loud! Awesome!


The Baroness' voice was interesting - very British upper crust - of course, there were a lot of Brit voices in here. (shrug)


Good work!

--

I call myself Albigensia - the once and future Storyteller.

December 11, 2012 at 5:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Xinjao
Moderator
Posts: 164

Yeah, sorry about that.  Based on Stumbles' dialouge, I was kinda going for "big dumb thug".  How do you imagine Stumbles sounding?  Grizzled old verteran?  Sloppy drunk?  Mafioso?

And yes, I did a lot of British voices without really meaning to.  When I think of nobility at a ball, I guess I automatically think Brits.  Next time I'll try a Southern Aristocracy accent or something.

--

=^_^=

December 12, 2012 at 9:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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