Timeframe: 1883 PD
Roger III, King of Manticore, and his wife, Queen Angelique, are out grav skiing in the Indigo Salt Flats on Manticore, when all of a sudden, the king loses control of his ski and dies in a horrible crash to the ground.
Some hours later, Roger's daughter Elizabeth has risen to the throne as Queen Elizabeth III, and suspects that the death of her father may not have been an accident at all. As she, her family, and her entire star nation, mourn the death of a beloved monarch, Elizabeth asks her fiancée, the scientist Justin Zyrr, to begin a secret investigation. The crown council then tries to decide on who to appoint as a temporary Regent for young Elizabeth.
At the same time, Lord Willis Kemeny, 9th Earl of Howell, meets with the other members of the cabal he formed to kill the king: Paula Gwinner, Baroness Gwinner of Stallman, Marvin Seltman, Jean Marrou, and Padraic Dover. All have their very own agenda, but agree that an attempt to influence Elizabeth III's regency further must be made: Dover, who is a Major in the Queen's Own Regiment, is to kill Justin Zyrr and then gain the young queen's hand in marriage.
On the following day, after the official coronation, Zyrr makes his way to the Indigo Salt Flats, where he meets Daniel Chou, special investigator of the Security Ministry. Chou too is convinced that the king was murdered, especially after the grav ski he used is revealed to having been tampered with, and the two men decide to continue their investigation together.
After deciding to appoint Lord Jacob Wundt as her Regent (a ploy so that she can appoint someone else of her chosing if he is rejected by the House of Lords), Elizabeth returns to her quarters in Mount Royal Palace. She fears for the life of her father's treecat, Monroe, as 'cats often commit suicide after their atopted humans die. Her cousins, Michelle and Calvin Henke, arrive to cheer her up.
Lord Wundt is, as expected, not approved as the queen's Regent. Elizabeth decides to appoint her aunt, Lady Caitrin Winton-Henke, as her next choice. Meanwhile, Justin Zyrr and Daniel Chou check possible suspects who had the means to manipulate the late king's grav ski. Dover's name comes up, and Justin decides to have a talk him.
Zyrr and Dover meet in a private chamber, where an apathetic Monroe is also present. As Zyrr reveals his findings, Dover decides to kill him on the spot, but as soon as he has made the decision, Monroe reads his mind and attacks him. Chou arrives and they want to arrest him, but Monroe, having realized that Dover is reponsible for his person's death, attacks the Major again and kills him by ripping his throat open with his claws.
Some time later, Jean Marrou overhears Seltman and Lady Gwinner of Stallman, and realizes that the two are actually working for the People's Republic of Haven. She rushes to Mount Royal Palace to confess her actions to the queen.
Next, the other members of the cabal are summoned to the Royal Court, where Elizabeth informs them that she knows of their acts of treason, that Major Dover is dead, and that she will allow them to live if they withdraw from public life never to return. Elizabeth was advised that she could not publicly expose the plot and put the conspirators on trial, due to the political consequences involved. Such an action would throw the Manticoran government into chaos, create witch hunts against traitors real or imagined (and in turn allow the People's Republic of Haven to sneak in political candidates under the guise of anti-Haven positions), and provoke a war with Haven which Manticore was not yet ready for. Neither could she challenge the offenders to duels; Seltman would refuse unless the reasons were publicized, and Elizabeth's enemies would have an opportunity to kill her by offering Marrou a skilled specialist for a champion.
Howell agrees to retire in favour of his daughter Maralise Kemeny. Seltman is given a Crown-granted concession on Medusa. Gwinner will also be sent as a liaison to the Medusans, under the watchful eyes of Daniel Chou. Marrou relocates to Sphinx to study the treecats. At first, she is afraid of Monroe returning to the planet as well, but learns from the queen that he has chosen Justin Zyrr as his new bonding partner. The conspirators accepted the bargain (though in Seltman's case, only after threats of the loss of his seat and destruction of his business interests through a rumour campaign). Elizabeth orders the records of the meeting to be sealed till 100 years after her death.
Lord Howell, Lady Gwinner and Seltman are later summoned by Lord Dimitri Young, Earl of North Hollow, who informs them that he knows of their cabal, and that records of their actions have been stored among the North Hollow files. Young states that any attempt by the conspirators to revive their careers will result in the release of the information, for the time being he is supporting the anti-Haven military buildup.
Finally, the queen has dinner with her family, including her aunt, whose appointment as her Regent has been finalized. They drink to new beginnings, as the reign of Her Majesty Elizabeth III, Queen of Manticore, is now truly beginning.
Adderson | Ariel | Daniel Chou | Padraic Dover | Dugatkin | Paula Gwinner | Calvin Henke | Michelle Henke | Maralise Kemeny | Willis Kemeny | LeBrun | Jean Marrou | Monroe | Eliska Paderweski | Marvin Seltman | Allen Summervale | Taki | Sheridan Wallace | Rosanna Wilson | Adrienne Winton | Angelique Winton | Caitrin Winton-Henke | Elizabeth III Winton | Roger III Winton | William I Winton | Jacob Wundt | Dimitri Young | Pavel Young | Justin Zyrr
Artemesian measles | Assassination of Roger III Winton | Ayre | Code Duello | Duchy of Basilisk | Bonding | Centrists | Conservative Association | Crown Loyalists | Earldom of Gold Peak | Grav skiing | Barony of High Ridge | House of Commons | House of Lords | Ice Gia Settlement | Indigo Salt Flats | King Michael's Tower | Liberals | Medusans | Monarch of Manticore | Mount Royal Palace | Earldom of North Hollow | North Hollow files | Palace Guard Service | Progressives | Pulser | Royal Manticoran Army | Royal Manticoran Marine Corps | Royal Manticoran Navy | Security Ministry