Chapter XVIII

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Cenerea, 3rd planet from the star Letria. Regalius, The Homeland, Central Region,

Just Outside Of The Capitol City, The Arcturan Estate,

Forty-One Cenerean Years and Ten Months Ago

Jinah watched the door close behind the general as he left her bedroom and when she felt he was far enough away, buried her face in her pillow and screamed. "Fuck you, mother!!! I swear I am going to kill you! You bitch!" She lifted her face from the tear-stained fluffy object, clutched it in her hand, and flung it across the room knocking several bottles of perfume and makeup from her dresser.

She thought about the things the horrible man made her do for him and to him. She closed her eyes, realizing this was to be her future, unless...she could conjure up some way to use this situation to her advantage.

Jinah sat up. "Slaves, prepare my bath!'

...

"Well, how was everything, general? Did you get any sleep or did Jinah keep you up?" Doltanna asked sincerely, looking up from a report she was reading. She flipped a blue page over, revealing a yellow one underneath that provided her with food ration statistics for Arcturius for the month. It was depressing and she sighed at the numbers.

"Amazing Mother Arcturis. Absolutely amazing."

Doltanna smiled weakly, setting the report down beside her. "Do you feel like discussing our arrangement further?"

"Oh, absolutely, Mother," the general replied.

"Excellent. But, first I have a question. Something to, um, test your loyalty."

"Ask away, Mother."

"What do you know about Wendy Powell's secret project? Why is it so important? I could never get my Gilford to tell me."

"I suppose I should be surprised you know about that place, but really, I'm not. Either way, I am not at liberty to say what is occurring down there.'

"Ah. Well, maybe we won't..."

"Hello Mother. Hello future husband," Jinah said as she shoved past the guard, striding unabatedly into the throne room to peck the general on the cheek as she passed. "Continue Mother, I need to be part of these affairs if I am ever to learn," the girl said smartly, sliding a chair next to the general.

Tan smiled as he watched the young woman sit beside him.

Jinah gave the sweetest smile in response, batting her eyes at Tan. She glanced up at her mother.

Doltanna scowled.

"Yes, Mother Arcturis, I believe that would be a wise idea. Jinah should be involved with these matters of state, don't you?" The man turned his head toward the girl and winked. "Especially if she is to be your successor."

"Very well," Doltanna said waving her hand.

Jinah sat up, a satisfied look of accomplishment on her youthful face. "Okay, let's go."

Doltanna exhaled. "Alright, where were we? Ah, yes, general I understand your loyalties lie with the Confederation, on the other hand, Arcturius is mine and eventually Jinah's primary focus. We need to find a way to balance these two interests."

"Hmmm, I see. What is it you are really getting at, Doltanna? What is it you are attempting to discover?" the general asked. "You know that I did not rise through the ranks by being either naïve or stupid. I recognize a play when I see one."

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