My patreons have voted once again for some Ozymandias, and it’s time to give them what they ask for. In this chapter, we get deeper literally and figuratively into what happened to the Baheil, Harper continues to struggle with some newfound parental issues while (occasionally) dragging some truth out of Adrianna.
However, Barry’s not the only one that’s taken notice of what our two ladies have been up to. Baheil may be considered a dead world, but there’s a question that goes back to the very first arc of The Last Angel:
What’s the difference between something that’s dead, something that’s sleeping and something that’s waiting?
What happens to you.
Below is a snippet containing a little bit of back and forth as Harper calls Adrianna out for keeping a particular secret from her, and Adrianna’s own response. For the full exchange, and the rest of the chapter, check out the link above!
Harper pursed her lips. She wanted to ask more, but Adrianna’s tone made it clear that would be a dead end. She didn’t waste the breath. It would have to be someone connected to the research, or highly placed enough to have access to it, though… Instead, she tried a different tactic. “What did you know?”
“Not much more than what I let on. A little of the planet’s background, some copies of research data and their translations. I certainly didn’t know about this facility or anything like it, but Baheila Osz was on my list of places to investigate. When I heard about the unrest here, I moved up my timetable and made it a point to support the rebels.” She smiled as if sharing a private joke. “You did catch me fairly, in case you were wondering.”
“You started a civil war just for an excuse to nose around?”
“Trust me, agent – that war would have happened regardless. I just helped balance things out – and reduce the civilian casualties. Before receiving our assistance, the rebels were desperate and willing to go to extremes to make their point.”
“Do you want a fucking cookie for that? You armed them and inflamed the situation to-” Harper bit off, then stopped herself from saying more. “You’re changing the subject.”
“A little, but there’s not much left to say. I received some information on Baheila Osz that drew my attention. Between that and the rebels’ data hacks, I got a passable grip on the Baheil language.”
“Did you know about the feeders?”
“I knew that something wiped out the first colony that landed here and it wasn’t what the official reports said. The Compact tried to cover up eight thousand deaths with storm activity.” Adrianna paused. “The higher-ups on this planet are arrogant and greedy, but they’re not stupid. They have to know about the feeders. There have to have been survivors or records of their attacks, and yet the population don’t know about them. If you want to get mad at me for hiding what I knew about this planet, I’d suggest that the people letting innocent men and women be dragged off and butchered for decades should get some of that ire, too.”
“You don’t get to play righteous indignation, Majesty. You keep plenty of secrets yourself.”
“I do. But I don’t feed civilians to the wildlife to keep them. The Compact’s so enamoured with Baheil technology, that’s what they’ve been doing. I even heard rumours that they’re trying to locate the source of the feeders.”
That brought Harper up short. She remembered the recordings from the main chamber. One End of Dawn vessel had cut through thousands of starships and its crew, drones or whatever the fuck the angler hounds were, were still operational to this day. That kind of endurance surpassed even Baheil technology.
…and the Baheil couldn’t stop them. Triachs’ bones. If those get loose, if there’s more than just isolated hunting packs… the civil war here will seem like a street brawl.