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   Chapter 35 No.35

Dead Beckoning By Christina Engela Characters: 5113

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

The odd vehicle moved here and there along the unpaved streets. The whole thing seemed to cry out 'barracks' rather than 'town'. It was, he reflected on their brief hour-long tour, a far cry from the bustling metropolis of Meradinis' capital, Tortuga – even if that was mostly just a run-down, concrete jungle. In fact, the whole thing seemed to be more of a parody of the black city on Meradinis. A small cluster of black ships was parked on the patch of vacant space on the western side of the dome, not an endless expanse of flat concrete, but what looked like a field of ordinary grass. Smoke rose lazily from open fires and stove pipes in wooden barracks all over the place. At the center of town, Blachart pulled up on the side of the roadway – closely followed by a nervous Brenton – and dismounted outside what looked like a tavern. Across the road, overshadowing all of the surrounding wooden structures, stood a ship which most likely acted as the command center or HQ of the whole thing. He could tell, because at the foot of the lowered ramp, stood two fully armored professional guards, glinting in the daylight.

Above them, drooping in the still air, two inappropriately large Corsair banners hung vertically from the side of the ship. One was red, the other black – the flags, not the guards – the black symbolizing the darkness and protection of space, the red representing the price to be paid for survival, wealth and the intended fate of all foes of Meradinis.

The role of the ship was pretty plain to Blachar

"Brothers?" The other asked, over his plastic mug of foamy golden yellow brew. "Really?"

"Oh yes." He nodded. "One big unhappy fucked up family."

Martel Kilroy was the elder, Adam explained. The Kilroy brothers had risen through the ranks together, like in the Corsair legends of old, through violence, cunning and brutality – their rise fueled by increasing popularity with the Corsair military machine – and public opinion. Working as a team, Sona and Martel reached the pinnacle of Corsair power, and rather than the usual rivalry between Corsair leaders, amiably shared it. This made a strong, seemingly unbreakable powerbase in Corsair politics. Both men received the admiration of their people, and being family – blood family – their bond was strong, unbreakable by the petty ambitions of other contenders. This knowledge wasn't new to him, but the realization that both brothers had escaped the turmoil of Meradinis' last days – and that both were now working to rebuild their murderous culture here, was.

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