The Color of Authority
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|The Color of Authority|
|Author||Craig A. Reed|
|First published||1 September 2010|
|Timeline||2-20 March 3069|
|“||The Word of Blake has its fingers in pies all across the Inner Sphere, from grand schemes and battles on Successor State throne worlds to petty schemes in back alleys... all of them have effects.||”|
Demeter has changed its allegiance from the Federated Suns to the Word of Blake Protectorate after the last frontline AFFS troops (the 12th Vegan Rangers) were pulled out; the ruling Duke elected not to resist a Word of Blake takeover with a basically defenseless world.
In early March 3069 New Demeter City Police Department lieutenant Carl Briet is unhappy with Word of Blake interference in NDCPD operations and openly protests when, following a raid and arrests, his unit is pulled off the case and replaced by the new Word of Blake Planetary Security Administrator, Precentor Maximilian Vorst. Briet is called to order by his superior, Captain Yau.
Briet finds that Vorst's methods appear questionable, as a slew of people are arrested by the Word of Blake and seemingly vanish. Amy Chou, his reporter girlfriend, uncovers disturbing evidence of illegal prison camps. Before long, Briet is contacted by his estranged father, retired colonel Nathan Briet, who went to the ground following the Word of Blake's takeover, feeling that the takeover was in fact an invasion; different opinions on whom they owed their loyalty created a rift between him and his police officer son. From his father Briet learns that Vorst was the Word's counterintelligence administrator for the Duchy of Orloff in the Free Worlds League ten years ago. His wife started an affair with one MIIO agent during a deep cover MIIO operation there. Vorst found them out and hunted them down on Wasat, where he witnessed Nathan Briet—part of a rescue team for the MIIO agents—kill his wife following a car accident that maimed and trapped her. What Vorst doesn't know or want to believe is that she begged to be put to death, being more afraid of her fanatic husband than death. The "Black April" terrorist cell Vorst is now aggressively hunting was in fact the elder Briet's rescue team. Nathan Briet thinks that Vorst is not seeking revenge out of love, but because he was denied his chance to personally punish his wife.
When Vorst confronts Briet about his father soon thereafter, Briet openly admits to meeting his father and tells Vorst most of what his father told him, rebuffs Vorst's legal claims, and even confronts Vorst with the fact that illegal arrests of AFFS veterans are taking place. Vorst eventually leaves, threatening that they will have this conversation again, on his terms.
Through reporter Amy Chou, the accusations about missing people—seventy percent of them AFFS veterans—are publicly leveled against Vorst complete with evidence, upping the ante. The matter comes to a head on 17 March when Vorst arranges for a militia Firestarter to be "stolen" and used against protesters on the streets in an attempt to blame it on the Black April terrorists. Vorst openly tells police captain Yau that he has hired a mercenary for the dirty work and will use the incident as a pretext to declare martial law, though Vorst doesn't realize the conversation is broadcast live by Amy Chou via Carl Briet. As Yau attempts to arrest Vorst, a shootout ensues between the police and Word of Blake troopers. In the end, a Brunel dump truck rams and totals the Firestarter while Vorst and most of his troopers are killed.
In the aftermath of the "Vorst Incident" the secret prisoners are freed, and all arrest warrants are suspended pending further review. The Black April bombing of the Franton Jazz Festival is blamed on him, too. The Protectorate government has to make some concessions they would not otherwise have made to stay in power. Nathan Briet is revealed as the dump truck driver, and he reconciles with his son, demanding Carl should finally marry Amy Chou.