Story: Tenchi Muyo: Conquest (chapter 28)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 28

Title: Chapter 28: One's Own Honor 3

Tenchi Muyo: Conquest! One's Own Honor: Three

Honor Harrington fought back a surge of primal fear, her short brown hair combed down thoroughly, her uniform spotlessly neat. She sat there stiffly in her seat, not noticing the sympathetic glances from the Admirals and various Diplomats sitting around her.

"Bleek," Nimitz chided her, the treecat looking up to give her a perplexed glance, clearly not understanding why his chosen human was so nervous.

"That's easy for you to say," Honor murmured to him softly, but feeling just a bit better somehow. Knowing that the treecat didn't care about the rank of the dignitary they were going to meet was oddly comforting.

The pinnacle bumped as it touched down, and Honor gulped softly. White Haven gave her a smile, "It will be all right, Honor."

"I hope so," she answered as Honor fell into her traditional place, exiting the pinnacle and walking out onto the landing platform. A small crowd stood waiting for them, a few guards in position around them. 'There she is,' Honor thought.

Queen Elizabeth greeted her Admirals and Diplomats with gentle dignity, the dusky skinned beauty smiling warmly. She looked up to see where Honor stood and surprised her by saying, "Commander Harrington, I've heard so much about you."

Honor gave a picture perfect salute as she answered, "I hope it was all good, your Majesty."

"Cousin Michelle speaks of you highly," Elizabeth answered softly, "and often."

Honor gaped in surprise. 'Michelle,' she thought dazedly, a fierce blush coloring her cheeks as the Queen politely looked away.

"I believe we have much to discuss," Elizabeth turned to her staff, "and this is not the place to do it. Follow me."

In a daze Honor followed them. trying to recover her composure a little. She was a bit surprised not to be taken to a meeting room, instead they gathered in a large private office, one used for more informal business. She was even more surprised to see only Langtry, White Haven, Courvosier and herself remaining for the meeting and she turned to go.

"Stay," Courvosier ordered softly, her old tactics teacher smiling as he added, "Elizabeth wanted you here, too."

"Yes sir," Honor squeaked.

Elizabeth sighed softly. "All right," she looked over at the group with a suddenly piercing gaze, "start at the beginning and tell me everything."

White Haven gave Honor a prompting look, and she took a steadying breath. Meeting her queen's eyes Honor said, "Shortly after the Manticore fleet arrived Warlord Ryouko used our holographic systems to make contact...."

It took a few minutes, the Admirals, Honor and Ambassador Langtry taking turns to cover relevant details. Langtry finished with, "We informed Ryouko that we needed to bring her offers to you, and she gave us two days to consider and make any counter offer."

Elizabeth nodded gravely, digesting what had been said. She turned to the two Admirals, "What do you think of this?"

"Jurai has been expanding closer and closer to us for years," White Haven said dryly, "we're going to have to fight against them eventually, anyway."

"I do have some mixed feelings about taking on Kagato," Courvosier added seriously, "he's dangerously powerful." He smiled reluctantly, "Though bringing him to justice for his attacks on our colonies is attractive."

"Fair enough," Elizabeth nodded. She looked at the Ambassador, "And what do we know of planets that have been absorbed by Manticore?"

Langtry checked some papers, "The Office of Naval Intelligence provided some briefing papers, and I've also used diplomatic contacts to confirm it. As far as we can tell, it seems that they've benefited from Manticore's rule."

"You're serious," Honor blurted in surprise.

With a wry smile Langtry continued, "Manticore provides increased safety for it's people, they have a constitution that limits their interference with conquered worlds, and they share their technology with occupied worlds."

"Their drives would cut days of our merchant vessel's schedules," White Haven noted, "and if they re-armed our fleet with their tech, we'd be far nastier all round."

"Fair enough," Elizabeth nodded slightly. She looked over to where Honor stood nervously, "What do you think, Commander?"

Honor puffed out a breath, pushing her short brown hair back. She met Elizabeth's eye and said, "I talked to Ryouko a bit, after the meeting ended." Honor smiled wryly, "She's bold, even rude, but I liked her and I think she was sincere."

Elizabeth gave a ghost of a smile, "Interesting." She took a moment to look over the official documents then said, "We will accept Ryouko's alliance."

"We'll send an escort out with the message," White Haven said as he moved towards the door, "they can escort the Washu's Revenge in."

"There will need to be a public signing ceremony for the alliance," Langtry noted, "I'll begin all the preparations."

"Thank you all for your service," Elizabeth said simply, "let us begin this new task." With that dismissal they moved out, Honor nearly making it to the door when Elizabeth called, "Commander?"

"Yes?" Honor squeaked.

"My cousin Michelle is here at the palace," the Queen said with a smile, "I think she'd be happy to see you."

"And I'd be happy to see her," Honor admitted softly.

"I'll have a servant escort you," Elizabeth summoned a young page, and the two of them left the meeting room together.

The two of them didn't have to go very far, the young man leaving her at the door of a parlor. Honor pushed the door open nervously, taking in the Lieutenant Commander who stood looking up at a portrait that she bore a startling resemblance to.

"Honor," Michelle Henke beamed up at her as she walked across to where Honor stood, hugging a startled Honor close.

Honor froze a second, then wrapped her arms around Michelle. "Good to see you, roomie," she murmured softly.

"I hear you've been getting in trouble without me being around," Michelle said softly into Honor's ear. She eased off on her grip finally, taking in Honor's uniform and remarking, "You look good, Commander."

"So do you, Lieutenant Commander," Honor's cheeks were red as she looked down at the slightly smaller woman.

"I hope cousin Elizabeth didn't scare you too badly," Michelle took Honor's hand, drawing her over to a comfortable couch.

"Oh yes," Honor said softly. She smiled wryly as she settled down beside Michelle, "I understand you've been telling the Queen about me?"

"Nothing too outrageous," Michelle actually smirked, "I didn't tell her about that cute little mole you have on your...."

"Michelle," Honor scolded.

Michelle chuckled wickedly, but desisted in her teasing. Instead she looked over at Honor searchingly, "Do you remember that night you kissed me?"

Honor looked down, blushing. It had happened shortly before graduation, ad Honor had come to the simple realization that she and Michelle might not see one another again. The possibility of war with either Manticore or Jurai lay just over the horizon, and the odds of both of them surviving such a war were slim.

"I... I'm sorry," Honor stuttered.

"I'm not," Michelle said softly, and Honor looked up at her in pure shock. "I always knew I was fond of you," she said to the younger woman gently, "but I don't think I realized how much I cared until that lovely kiss."

"I'm surprised I didn't hurt you, I was so clumsy," Honor managed, her thoughts racing. 'Michelle cares for me?' she thought wonderingly.

"I wanted to tell you back then," Michelle reached out to stroke Honor's flaming cheek as she said, "but with everything that was coming, I didn't dare."

"So why now?" Honor asked, leaning into that touch.

"Well, cousin Elizabeth was tired of my moping about you all the time," Michelle admitted, "and she encouraged me to try."

"The Queen knows about us?" Honor's face went bone pale.

Michelle just looked amused, "Not only that, but she approves."

Honor was still trying to digest that piece of news when the parlor door opened suddenly. Michelle opened her mouth to protest, then saw the man's admiral stars. Honor leapt to her feet nervously, "Admiral White Haven."

"It's time to move out," White Haven said apologetically, "we need to move out to escort the Washu's Revenge in."

"I'll be here to meet you," Michelle promised softly as she watched Honor stride off.

To be continued...

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