15. Space Climber

June 13, 2007

Faithful Book One Chapter 15
Parliamentary Templar escorted delegates back into the assembly celia.

When Paul Christian iotaToa welcomed the return of Aideena’s governing body, Consul Edmund etaSade was not among the matriarchs and their fraternal counterparts.

EtaSade availed himself of the interval between escort rounds to escape.

The Consul, his House eta liaison, and two of his most trusted senior pages stole to the underground security corridor that connected the main Parliamentary building to
neighboring government offices, where each House and Guild held their embassies. They bypassed the media and omegaMarat Sisters with their plebeian throngs massed in the Acropolis’ colonnade above.

The Templar Crime Unit distracted the corridor’s Faithful sentries, who busied tending for transport the corpse of a murdered eta teen. The Consul slipped aboard the Parliamentary’s private rail and crossed beneath the river to Port Authority and its space climber. The traversal offered the promise he desired, to convey his party to the geosynchronous Orbita Planetia station and Free Townships beyond.

EtaSade boarded the space climber, taking care to avoid being recognized by other passengers. As its plasma tether powered for another routine ascent, Edmund mused on his good fortune. His luck in evading Templar security only proved that his Guardian Ancestors still favored him. The climber rose and he thought of his matron-wife; how his exile might afford her plausible deniability and protect her from scandal, and how he might still remain First among his matriarch’s husbands.

Then, the traversal rocked violently.

The seat beneath the Consul jolted several times. His bones rattled and the hairs on his body stood on-end as the cabin filled with static electricity. Warning alarms suddenly bellowed, emergency lighting toggled to life and the space climber stalled.

“What kind of storm is this?” unhinged one of the pages. He sat closest to the small
view-port in the party’s seating area. “Clear skies there just a moment ago, clear skies, I tell you!”

“Someone’s out there–outside,” announced the other page.

Consul etaSade strained against the traversal’s fierce shaking to turn his head to see. The view-port revealed the vicious tempest outside. The space climber dropped, the storm forcing it to retreat back to Port Authority, but not before Edmund surveyed a winged apparition suspended in mid-air amid whiplashing lightening and angry ensnaring clouds.

———

Someone stirred Edmund awake.

The Consul had rested his eyes just for moment, just to summon a breath of peace. A hand or object roused him urgently and he opened his eyes, knowing he’d regret it.

Bearing down on the Consul, “Edmund etaSade, you are remanded into the custody of Faith,” informed Matthew Valentine alphaCervantes, Reverend Prefect Apostolic, commandant of the Garrison-at-Court-at-Columbia. Templar soldier-priests closed on other side of the Prefect, squaring their pulsons menacingly at the former Guild Boss.

“You dare not,” protested etaSade, scarcely believing his own audaciousness. “I am Guild Brotherhood Consul for House eta and First Husband to the Matriarch herself. I will not be subjected to your authority or anyone else.”

“Consul,” leveled Cervantes diplomatically. “What you are is implicated in a conspiracy to traffic in human labor and profiting from the forced conscription of impovished clans from your own lands to work illegally and surreptitiously elsewhere.”

“Where’s your evidence, sir? I categorically deny these slanderous allegations. Everyone knows I’ve devoted my career to bettering our labor brethren.”

“Within the Gaia-hour, my office and every media outlet on the planet received evidence detailing racketeering, forced abductions, torture, murder, and bribery consigned by you, senior member of House eta and more than a dozen Guild Bosses. Until this alleged evidence is sorted, you may consider yourself a guest of Faith and consigned to the protection of the Order of Knights Templar. May the Goddess and your Ancestors have mercy on
your soul.”

Consul etaSade felt a pain shoot from his chest and down his arm. In his weakness, he managed to issue a single word, a word Cervantes shuttered at the utterance.

As though brandishing an accusation, Edmund called out, “Medusa!”

TO BE CONTINUED

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