6 - Clan Amir: The Shukra War - Cover

6 - Clan Amir: The Shukra War

Copyright 2007 by Ernest Bywater as Ernest Edwards

Chapter 01

The Shukra War


In May, 2011, nineteen year old Gerry Mannheim nears the end of the first semester of his second year at the Amarayah University. For most of the semester he’s been courting a student, Nancy Kumara of the Shuken Clan in Shukra. She knows he’s already married, she’s even met three of his wives, two of them are fellow students at the university, and some of his children. In recent weeks his wives have proven he’s very rich and he meets the Berant legal requirements to have another wife. Because of this she knows it’s a serious courtship. She loves him and is very receptive to his courtship, as she was before this. However, she’s uncertain about raising the issue of marriage with her father. Although her father always said she should marry for love they belong to a prestigious family in Shukra and most people would expect her to be a first wife, not a junior wife. She’s afraid some people may think she shames her father, regardless of how much she loves him or how rich he is. Mid-year exams start next week, followed by a trip home and she’ll talk to her father then.

It’s 11:15 a.m. on Friday morning when Nancy’s only class for today ends. She’s on her way to have lunch with Gerry. They have many classes together, but not this one. He’s promised to take her out on his boat for the weekend and they’ll spend a lot of time studying for the exams. He’s often invited her, but this is the first time she’s accepted. Some of his wives and children will be with them too. She’s looking forward to spending the time with them all. His family is large and friendly, just like hers is. Being with them is just like being at home with her siblings, an aspect of a future life with Gerry she likes a great deal.

He’s waiting at the front gate with Meara, his first wife. He doesn’t look happy and one of his work assistants is with them. Smiling, she walks up to him. When they hug a greeting she can easily tell he’s got something upsetting on his mind. He’s too tense, and she can feel it in his muscles.

Stepping back Gerry gives her a weak smile as he says, “I’m sorry, Nancy, but some very important business has arisen. I have to go and deal with it. If you don’t mind, Meara will take you to the residence. You can stay in my room. I’ll get back as soon as I can, but I won’t be able to get back until early tomorrow.”

Seeing the concerned looks on their faces Nancy knows they’re not happy with this change to their plans. She smiles as she says, “Go, it’ll give us a chance to talk girl-talk. But you owe me, Mister, you owe me big time.” Smiling at her he nods yes. After turning around he runs to a nearby convertible and he jumps in, closely followed by his assistant. The car speeds off.

Meara smiles, “I’ve booked us into The Landing’s Field for lunch, let’s go.” Nancy is surprised, because The Landing’s Field is the place to eat in Carmel. Most of the staff are war heroes and it’s the best food in the country. Normally you have to book months in advance, so space at short notice is unheard of. She wonders how Meara managed this minor miracle. They walk through Carmel, window shopping while they walk to the restaurant.

The nearly sixty year old town of Carmel is primarily a luxury tourist resort while the university is only a few years old. Having a university at a resort like Carmel is unusual, but it’s proven to be a very brilliant economic move. Some students are from rich families and they spend their spare time using the resort facilities while paying well for their pleasures. The majority of the students are from poorer families and they live in cheap campus housing. They do part-time and casual work at the resort hotels, shops, etc. This helps provide casual staff for the town’s businesses and they get to know the students while giving the students extra income to live on. Very beneficial for all involved, and it often leads to full-time employment for many of the students.

On entering The Landing’s Field at 11:50 a.m. they’re greeted by Harry, the owner. He shows them to a large table while saying, “Meara, my dear, so good to see you again. You don’t visit us often enough. Here’s your regular table.” Nancy is very surprised because a regular table here is almost unheard of too. At the table are several women. Nancy knows a few, members of Gerry’s family, and she guesses the others are too. With a huge grin Harry says, “So many lovely ladies at one table. Naturally you’ll want the Dom Pérignon!” Meara smiles as she nods yes. He hands them all menus and he leaves to organise the glasses and wine.

Nancy says to Meara, “I thought your long standing political problem with France stopped you from being able to import and sell French wines! How come Harry has Dom Pérignon, and why isn’t it on the Wine List?”

A grinning Vicky, another of Gerry’s wives, says, “Because we can’t import it or sell it doesn’t mean we can’t go to France and buy it. A few years ago Gerry went to France on business, and while there he bought enough Dom Pérignon, Bollinger, and other quality wines to fill a medium sized cargo plane. Most of it’s stored at Far View, but a good supply is kept here for our use during meals. It’s ours and we pay Harry to store it in the cool room, so it’s not on the Wine List but it’s available to us; and all without breaching any of the French impositions.”

Nancy simply stares wide-eyed as she says, “Oh.” There’s still a lot to learn about Gerry and his family. She asks, “Where’s Gerry gone? I was really looking forward to this weekend together.”

With a weak smile Vicky says, “He’s was too. But he’s gone to have an urgent meeting with the King of Shukra.” Nancy’s head pops up and she looks concerned. “One of Gerry’s jobs is to analyse information for the Royal Intelligence Service. Late yesterday something urgent came up and he’s gone to explain the analysis to the King of Shukra. Later today is the only time the King has free to talk face to face.”

A voice at Nancy’s shoulder says, “Gerry does some analysis work for RIS, ha! That’s like saying I sometimes use a stove.” Nancy turns to look up at the speaker.

Vicky smiles while saying, “Nancy Kumara, meet Jessica Tandar, the best chef in the world. By the way, it’s a good idea to stay on her good side. Not only can getting her angry affect your food she’s a well-trained soldier and one of the only two people alive to hold the Golden Claymore. Very few have ever been issued to people while they’re still alive. She’s also one of the two people to ever be awarded both the Golden Claymore and the Claymore.”

A grinning Jessica says, “Speaking of such limited distinguished company, I was expecting my running mate to be here. I need to speak to him about something I heard. With him in Shukra who do I speak to about needy kids in trouble?” Nancy is shocked again, because Jessica is saying Gerry holds the Golden Claymore and Claymore. He never said anything about either of them, or any other awards, despite him mentioning serving in the Royal Guards.

Noticing her expression Meara says, “OK, Nancy, I’ll explain in a moment.” Turning to Jessica she says, “I handle the lost kitten reports and rescues. Vicky handles the troubled family issues. Isobelle handles the collection of intelligence issues. Which is it?”

Jessica says, “Well, I best take Isobelle aside to talk to her first, then we’ll need to get you involved, Meara. They’re lost kittens with some interesting intelligence information.” Isobelle stands and they walk off together to talk in the kitchen because it’s a more secure location than the open restaurant due to all of the kitchen staff being retired Guards.

Meara says, “Nancy, amongst everything else Gerry is a serving Guards officer. He’s been downgraded from combat duties due to injuries received while on duty, although that doesn’t stop him from getting involved in combat, if he can. His injuries include artificial bone inserts. I’m sure you’ve seen his left arm surgery.” Nancy nods yes so Meara continues, “He’s been awarded the Golden Claymore, the Claymore, Valour Cross, and Silver Star. He’s the only person to ever receive all four of our top awards for courage, because few manage two while still alive. Our Gerry is a very complex and unusual person.” Nancy nods in agreement.

Meara adds, “You attend Amarayah University and you pass Amarayah’s statue every day. Did you ever stop to read the plaque about her?” Nancy shakes her head no.

Meara says, “You should stop and read it. The university has two sister campuses, Sunara University in Amarant, and Greta University in Dareena. Amarayah was only five years old. Sunara was Amarayah’s cousin and best friend, five years older and simple with a mental level of six years. Greta was her aunt, and a pilot in the Fishers. All three died in the fighting on the Day of Blood. They’re listed on the memorial at Amarant. The list has many members of Gerry’s family, including his father, General Gerald Mannheim, Golden Claymore; Greta Mannheim, Golden Claymore, and Gerald’s daughter; Amarayah Mannheim, Gerald’s granddaughter; and most of Gerald’s other children. Only one son lives, and he still mourns the death of his first born child.”

Nancy catches her breath. With wide-eyes she stares while Meara says, “Yes, the university is named after Gerry’s daughter. He created the company and he built the universities in their honour. Also, we need the universities to train our people properly. He thought to build it here so the students can get casual work at the resort businesses. The exact placement of the other two campuses was decided by economic growth support too. I’m sure you’ve noticed how much time he spends with the special students at Sunny Hall, Sunara’s nickname was Sunny and he cared for her a lot. He took over as her de facto father after her father died when she was four years old.”

Isobelle returns and takes her seat. Harry arrives with the wine and he takes their orders. Nancy has a lot to think about. Gerry is a lot more complex, a lot deeper, a lot more loving, and a lot more lovable than she realised. The talk turns to more general things. Nancy sits and she thinks about these aspects of Gerry she just learned. He’d said nothing about these matters, but, then, he’s not the type to casually talk about them, either. After lunch they go up to Far View to settle Nancy into Gerry’s room and to spend time playing with the young children in the shallow swimming pool. After dinner Nancy studies in the residence library with some other family members who attend the university.

When she goes to bed that night Nancy spends a long time running her hand over his bed cover of mountain lion furs. She luxuriates in the feel as she again wonders how come he has it. The Shukra laws on the lions are the same as Berant’s, and she knows he must have killed them in self-defence, but she’s not heard the story. She hopes to hear it soon, because it should be an interesting one, to say the least.


At 2:30 p.m. of the same day a fast private plane out of the new Carmel Airport in Berant lands at Shukra International Airport just outside of Shumeer, the capital city of Shukra. Five people get off and the plane moves to a servicing area. The passengers head for the customs office to have their passports checked while their bags are inspected. Leaving the customs office they’re met by a small man from a local travel company specialising in holidays and tours for rich people. He leads them to his mini-bus, they climb in, and the bus drives away.

In the bus are a woman and six children. Gerry looks at his contact, and he’s handed a written report. He’s fast to read it, and he’s disturbed by the information. He asks the woman, “You have recordings?” She nods yes. “You want us to take all of the children to sanctuary?” Again, she nods, “OK, but you come as well. Don’t worry, we’ll get you all out alive.” She nods again. Turning to the travel agent he asks, “Did my other party group arrive OK, and have they been shown to their various locations?” The agent smiles as he nods yes. Yesterday, when he saw the need to make this visit, Gerry sent a company of 1st Claymore on ahead to provide security for the visit; whenever it would be made. They arrived by commercial transport and were armed after arrival. An ace in the hole, if needed as they’re covering his travels in Shumeer. Arriving at the tour agent’s offices they depart by a hidden exit to travel to the Berant Embassy. Gerry and the woman change into body armour and special cloaks. The Ambassador is ready to go, so they leave in the official vehicle. The woman’s children stay at the Embassy.

The Shukra Royal Palace

At 3:20 p.m. they arrive at the Royal Palace for a 3:30 p.m. meeting with King Ahdeed of Shukra. They’re shown into his presence at 3:29 p.m.: Ambassador Shambai and two guests wearing hooded cloaks with the guest’s faces invisible within the hoods. The security devices scan them and they pass the visitors as unarmed.

King Ahdeed asks, while he walks to the group, “Well, Ambassador Shambai, what’s so important it needs to disrupt my schedule?”

Ambassador Shambai gives a weak smile while saying, “I don’t know, Your Highness. I was personally instructed by King Harold to arrange this meeting as soon as I could, and to bring the gentleman on my left to you. He has all of the information.” They both turn to look at Gerry.

From deep within the cloak Gerry asks, “Your Highness, are you satisfied we’re unarmed?”

Surprised at the question he nods, “Yes, but to make you happy we’ll check again.” Two technicians approach and rescan the visitors, passing them as unarmed.

A grim Gerry says, “Please warn your guards not to react and to keep the scanners on.” King Ahdeed does as asked. Gerry says, “Friend, extend your hand, please.” The second figure pushes her hand out through the folds of the cloak. In it is a pistol sitting on her open palm. The sensors don’t react. Gerry says, “Your Highness, please accept this small gift as a token of our good intentions toward you. This pistol is made of non-metallic materials, even the bullets, and it’s lethal at close range.”

The source of this story is Finestories

To read the complete story you need to be logged in:
Log In or
Register for a Free account (Why register?)

Get No-Registration Temporary Access*

* Allows you 3 stories to read in 24 hours.