Deception and War: Power Struggles in the March

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Deception and War: Power Struggles in the March

Post by Pryde » Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:11 pm

23 May, 3058
Sirius, Chaos March
Nadir Jump Point



It’s funny how on any given day at any given moment things could happen that would forever alter a person’s life. Even more ironic is the fact that sometimes all it takes is being in the right place at the wrong time. A fact Serenity Ward could have appreciated more had she been aware of it. However, on this particular day of all days something was going to happen that would turn her world upside down.

It started out as any other day. She woke up in her cabin, showered in her bathroom and put on her uniform, the uniform of a Fed Com officer. Her long mahogany hair was tied back in a pony tail and she applied just a dash of red lipstick to her lips. At last she was ready to face the day, or so she thought.

Her assignment was simple; go to the Chaos March and determine what, if any, aid the Federated Commonwealth can offer to maintain the peace. Though she wasn’t entirely familiar with the political structure of the Chaos March she did know that ever since the secession of the Lyran Alliance from the Federated Commonwealth a sort of vacuum of power developed in what had previously been the Terran Hegemony. This vacuum led several powerful warlords to take the opportunity to seize power in the March. Some of them had been so successful that their influence spanned multiple worlds. One such warlord was a man who called himself Lord Sinclair. Though, however successful his campaign had been it was cut brutally short by an assassin’s blade, leaving his young daughter to take over the reigns of his empire.

It was this young noble she was sent to talk with. Of all the self-proclaimed nobles in the Chaos March she was the most outspoken about stability and peaceful relations for the benefit of everyone who lived in the March. And in light of this Serenity was sent as a representative of the Federated Commonwealth to offer any assistance that she could. However, once the dropship had landed and she was escorted to the Sinclair Manor she would get a surprise that she wasn’t expecting.

She was led inside a small conference room where a group of finely dressed men were having a heated debated. From what she could hear, the short pudgy man was an ambassador for one of the rival Lords who had managed to seize power in the March and he seemed quite intent on speaking with Lady Sinclair. The taller man, probably in his late thirties to mid forties, was apologizing for something and kept assuring him that Lady Sinclair would speak with him later once she was feeling well. The whole scene altogether should have seemed odd to her. Hell, the sweat visibly beading off the forehead of the older gentleman should have set off all kinds of red flags, but unfortunately for Serenity she wasn’t paying much attention and walked right into a trap.

“Excuse me,” she said quietly, interrupting the three men, “but I have orders to—“ Unfortunately she never got to finish her sentence.

“Lady Sinclair!” The older gentleman exclaimed, “What are you doing here? And why are you wearing that uniform?”

“What?” Was all Serenity could say and just at that moment the pudgy man spun around and fixed her with a steely gaze.

“She looks well enough to me,” he said, a bit of disdain in his voice, “A bit oddly dressed, but certainly not sick. Tell me, milady, have you lost all sense of responsibility? My Lord Klein has been requesting an audience with you for a week now.”

Her mind was racing to catch up with her. “Hold on a minute,” she said, holding her hands up to fend him off, “I think there’s been a mistake. I’m not—“ But again she was interrupted.

“I think what my Lady means to say is that she’s not available for an audience, what with the renovations to the city and all. But she’ll gladly meet with your Lord Klein when she has the time.”

Serenity shot a puzzled glance at the older gentleman. “What are you—“ she began but the short pudgy man cut her off.

“What’s wrong with now?” The man asked, hands on his hips and a frustrated look on his face. The older man just shook his head and said, “I would very much like to grant your wish, Ambassador Devillar, but my Lady is not dressed appropriately for an audience. She will call you when she is ready.”

“Now wait just a minute,” Serenity tried to say, but try as she might she couldn’t get a single word in between these two.

“When, Hamilton? When will Lady Sinclair be ready for an audience? These matters cannot wait much longer.”

“Tomorrow,” Hamilton replied, “She will meet with him tomorrow. Now if you’ll excuse us the Lady and I have some important matters to discuss.” Hamilton bowed to the short pudgy ambassador then, grabbing a hold of Serenity’s arm, led her away to a secluded room. “Please sit,” he said, gesturing towards a nearby chair.

“I’d rather stand,” Serenity replied. Hamilton just looked at her then shrugged. “Suit yourself,” he said, then he crossed to the other side of the room and poured himself a drink. “Look, I know what you heard out there seemed a bit odd—“

“You’re frakkin’ right that was a bit odd,” Serenity exclaimed, interrupting him, “Just what the hell was that all about, anyway?”

“Mister Devillar was an ambassador for Lord Albert Klein of the Klein Hegemony, our closest neighbor. He’s a rather persistent fellow, pushy and rude and had you not shown up I might never have gotten rid of him.”

“Me? Why me?” Now she was really confused.

“Because, my dear, however strange it might sound, you bear a striking resemblance to our Lady Sinclair, who Mister Devillar was just asking about in the corridor.”

“I got that much,” Serenity replied, “But why didn’t she just come down and speak to him herself?”

“Because she’s not here,” Hamilton said, taking a long swig from his drink, “A week ago she disappeared. There was no evidence of a kidnapping, no trace of where she might have gone, she just simply vanished. We had hoped, that is to say a few trustworthy individuals and myself, to conceal her disappearance at least until we had been able to discover her whereabouts. Unfortunately, the days passed us by and we were beginning to run out of excuses.”

Serenity crossed over to the chair then and sat down. “Okay,” she said, “but that still doesn’t explain why you brought me in here.”

Hamilton turned back to the bar and poured himself another drink. Making a gesture towards Serenity he offered to pour her one, but she politely declined. “I had hoped,” he began, “that the two of us could come to some sort of agreement. I mistook you for her out in the corridor and might have actually believed you were Lady Sinclair if not for a few differences I noticed almost immediately. However, Mister Devillar did not question your identity, which I’m sorry to say has given me an idea.”

Serenity arched an eyebrow at him. “Something tells me I’m not going to like where this is going.”

Hamilton took another sip then shook his head, “I suppose not, but I believe we can come to some sort of an arrangement that would be mutually beneficial to both of us. If you would allow me I’d like to invite you to stay at our manor as our honored guest for as long as you like provided you do me one favor.”

“And that is?”

“If you can fool Devillar into believing you are Lady Josylin Sinclair then you might be able to fool the entire Chaos March. We can use that, so long as they believe that you are her we’ll be free to conduct an investigation to find our missing princess. In return we’ll pay you whatever you need for your services.”

Serenity just stared at him unbelievingly. “You’re joking, right?”
Hamilton shook his head. “I’m afraid not.”

“Okay,” she said, shooting out of her chair and pacing about the room, “for one thing I’m a warrior, not a politician. I don’t know the first thing about running a planet. Secondly, I’ve never met this girl you’re talking about and you’re asking me to become her? Just how do you propose I pretend to be someone I’ve never met? And thirdly, what about my orders? I was sent here as a representative of the Federated Commonwealth to determine what aid we could offer to help maintain the peace. I was not sent here to play pretty-princess-dress-me-up.”

“Those are all valid questions indeed,” Hamilton replied, “And you are right about your ability to run a planet, but as your Chamberlain I’ll be able to help you out as much as I can. As for your orders the Federated Commonwealth would be doing us a great service by lending us your aid in this time of need.”

“I don’t know about this,” Serenity said quietly, dropping back down in her chair.

“Think about it before you make any rash decisions,” Hamilton quickly interjected, “If the other rival Lords of the March get wind of Lady Sinclair’s disappearance then we’ll have an army of Battlemechs landing on our fair planet within a matter of days. The race to capture Sirius would spark another brutal war between the warlords and throw the entire Chaos March into turmoil. However, with you posing as Lady Sinclair you’ll be able to head off any hostilities and possibly maintain the peace in this area of space.”

“That’s a lot of ifs,” Serenity replied, still not sure whether to take him up on his offer.

Hamilton nodded apathetically, “I know the situation seems uncertain, but with your help we’ll have a better chance of bringing stability to the Chaos March. Otherwise many people may very likely lose their lives in another pointless struggle for power.”

Serenity thought about this for a long moment then sighed. “Alright, I’ll do it, but this better be temporary. I’m not entirely sure how long my superiors intend for me to stay here.”

“I’ll contact your unit and apprise them of the situation,” Hamilton replied, “I need not tell them everything, of course, but I will let them know that you are doing everything in your power to control the situation in the March.” Crossing over to her then he offered his hand to her, “My name is Charles Hamilton and it will be my pleasure to serve as your Chamberlain.”

“Serenity Ward,” she replied, accepting his hand and shaking it.

“Not anymore, miss Ward. From this moment forward you are now Lady Josylin Sinclair,” Hamilton corrected her with a respectful bow of his head, “Now if you would please follow me, we have a lot of work to do…”
"Ol' Doc doesn't hide, he hibernates." -- Doc, Star Wars: The Old Republic

"What do you call it when you kill someone and take all their stuff?"
"Adventuring!" -- Tallis and Hawke, Dragon Age 2.

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Post by Balsa » Fri Mar 23, 2007 7:14 am

Captain Ithael Oktar frowned as he sat at his desk, one hand holding a sheet of hardcopy, the other mashing the Page Down key of the computer. His eyes flicked back and forth between the two sources of information, trying to find the reason why the totals did not match. After scrolling back up, he finally discovered the discrepency. Muttering a curse, Ithael jotted down a note to speak with the Quartermaster.

At a fairly young age of 26, Ithael Oktar was the son of a veteran of the Clan War. After graduating from the New Avalon Military Academy, Ithael had served for several years in the AFFC, and later returned to his homeworld of Sirius to captain the First Sirius Militia's 'Mech company, a command that placed him in charge of the planet's BattleMech force.

Serving as the leader for the 'Mech company was certainly a different experience than fighting off Clan raiding parties, but it was definitely safer and more stable. However, instead of fighting his battles on the field, Ithael now found himself fighting more amongst his own troops, especially since Sirius had seceded from the Commonwealth.

With a dejected sigh, Ithael shoved the munitions reports away, knowing that he'd have to confront his Quartermaster regarding the discrepencies in the reported and actual numbers of spare parts. Someone was stealing equipment, and that would certainly affect the efficiency of his unit. But, now wasn't the time.

Ithael stood, smoothed his uniform jacket, and placed a quick call to Lady Sinclair's office, letting her know that he was free for lunch. The two had been friends for a few years, and Ithael had made it a note to meet with her every couple of days for a meal.

Thankful that he could delay paperwork and other administrative matters for a couple more hours, Ithael left his office and headed towards his meeting.

OOC:
Bleh post, strapped for time, but I posted! :P
"Mr. T once defeated Chuck Norris in a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. In retaliation, Chuck Norris invented racism." -- my brother

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Post by Pryde » Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:43 pm

Serenity frowned as Hamilton tried to explain it to her again. "You must have more grace when you move," he was telling her, "Your posture is so rigid and straight, just relax and let your body flow like a gentle stream."

A mechwarrior reduced to a ballet dancer? This is embarrassing, Serenity thought to herself, a bit of red appearing in her cheeks. "Alright, I'll try this again," she said between gritted teeth, assuming her position once more.

"There you go," Hamilton commended her, "Now relax your hips, let them sway as you walk." He watched her for a moment then shook his head. "No, no, no, there needs to be more motion. Stop thinking like a soldier, let your feminine charm surface."

Serenity spun on him. "Look, mister, I haven't had feminine charm since I was nine," she said, leveling a finger at him in frustration. "This isn't as easy as it looks, okay?"

Hamilton looked at her then sighed. "I understand you are having a difficult time, Miss Ward, and I do appreciate everything you're doing for us, but you must understand that we are pressed for time. We have until tomorrow afternoon to prepare you for your meeting with Lord Klein and your appearance must be authentic. Now please, start from the top."

And I thought my drill sergeant at the academy was bad, Serenity thought, fumbling with her gown before attempting the exercise again. Just then an aide entered the room and waited politely until Hamilton acknowledged him.

"My Lady Josylin," the man began, "there is a phone call for you from Captain Oktar, he wishes to know what time you would like him to meet you for lunch."

Serenity looked at him then back at Hamilton, her expression silently asking the question, who?

"Captain Ithael Oktar, Lady Josylin's closest friend," he whispered into her ear. Serenity's shoulders slumped, that's just great...

"Tell him I'm not hungry," she told the aide, but before he could respond Hamilton interjected.

"That's quite alright," he said, "Let the good captain know that she will be meeting him within the hour."

The aide bowed then spun on his heels and left. Serenity watched him go for a moment then turned on Hamilton with a glare. "Why'd you do that for? I don't want to meet with him, I don't even know who he is!"

"But Lady Josylin does," Hamilton replied then held up a hand to forestall any more protests from Serenity, "I told you already, it's imperative that we keep up appearances. Lady Sinclair would never miss a lunch date with her friend Captain Oktar, regardless of the circumstance. You must meet with him to avoid any suspicion."

"This is insane," Serenity replied, angrily fumbling with the straps on her heels in an attempt to pull them off, "I never should have agreed to this. You guys can handle this on your own, I'm done."

"But Miss Ward, remember our bargain!" Hamilton said quickly, attempting to forestall her, "Without your help this area of space will erupt in civil war in a matter of days! What will you tell your superiors when you get back to New Avalon?"

Serenity was halfway to the door when she heard that. She stopped dead in her tracks, her hands balling up into fists at her sides. "Alright, I'll do it," she said, turning back to face him, "but if I screw up this lunch date it's your fault!"

Hamilton smiled at her. "I wouldn't worry too much about that, we have at least one hour before he arrives so why don't we use that time to get you ready, hmm? Now please, return to your lessons."

Serenity sighed heavily then crossed the room over to Hamilton's side to begin the exercise anew. I hope all this nonsense is worth it, she thought quietly to herself...
"Ol' Doc doesn't hide, he hibernates." -- Doc, Star Wars: The Old Republic

"What do you call it when you kill someone and take all their stuff?"
"Adventuring!" -- Tallis and Hawke, Dragon Age 2.

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Post by Pryde » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:47 am

Lady Josylin Sinclair eagerly awaited her guest with great anticipation... Or so it seemed. The truth of it was Serenity awaited Oktar's arrival with growing anxiety. She only hoped this Oktar wouldn't ask too many questions she was incapable of answering, and once again she silently cursed Hamilton for setting up this dinner date.

There was a knock at the door and one of the aides answered it. Soon after a tall handsome man was led into the room. Serenity was surprised for a moment, this Captain Oktar was nothing like she expected. "Ithael!" she exclaimed, running over to him and giving him a hug, "It's been too long!"

It was a bit unorthodox for a noble lady to hug her guest, but Oktar had come to expect that from her. After all, Josylin was a bit unpredictable, she was quite different from all the other Lords and Ladies of the March.

After the two greeted each other warmly they were escorted into the dining hall where steaming plates of food were brought to them. Serenity just stared at her plate, not entirely sure what exactly it was that she was given to eat. What the hell is this, she asked herself quietly, is this even edible?

"So," she said finally, breaking the awkward silence between them, "What have you been up to lately?"
"Ol' Doc doesn't hide, he hibernates." -- Doc, Star Wars: The Old Republic

"What do you call it when you kill someone and take all their stuff?"
"Adventuring!" -- Tallis and Hawke, Dragon Age 2.

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Post by Balsa » Sat Apr 07, 2007 6:41 pm

"Oh, not too much," Ithael said around a bite of local fish. "Just the usual paper work and such, but this time I think I've found someone who's siphoning supplies off. Should be fun to talk to him." The Mechwarrior eyed Sinclair carefully as she picked at her food. Something just didn't feel right. "How about you? Anything new in the life of nobles?"

As Josylin formed her answer, Ithael realized that this Josylin wasn't the same Josylin that he had known for so long. The person sitting in front of him looked almost the same as the Josylin he knew, except for some very minor and obscure differences. Most people would have missed these irregularities, such as the lack of a very slight scar Josylin had obtained during an outing years ago, but Ithael was an observant man. Plus, she seemed utterly uncomfortable sitting across from him, which was at odds with her usual behavior. Something's not right here.

Ithael took a sip from his glass and set his fork down. "Is there something wrong, Lady Sinclair?"
"Mr. T once defeated Chuck Norris in a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. In retaliation, Chuck Norris invented racism." -- my brother

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