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The Administator (Chapter Cover Art) Chapter Page - Book 1

Chapter 18 - The Administrator[]

Spider Moon - Coast Guard Naval Station
Kowloon System
Lyran Commonwealth
3142

"...able to recover sufficient material in the salvage effort to account for the Kelli Whyte and the Hulo, your Grace. We found enough differentiated remains in the debris field to account for all but, three personnel."

"So the probabilities of survivors are very small." Her Grace Sharon Ngo said. "They didn't take prisoners in any of these incidents so far?"

"Negative, Ma'am." Commodore Vu Dao studied her sovereign. "Your orders?"

"Clearly they're doing this for a reason. We don't have the reason but, a ship like that comes from somewhere and goes to somewhere. These hits have been almost random, they've also been escalating the amount of violence with every encounter." Sharon looked thoughtful.

"What are you thinking?" Bianh asked.

"I think we're being used as a live-fire testing ground." the Duchess stated. "First, it's a mining skiff and her crew, right? then, it's a fueling station and customs depot. This time, they went after armed vessels directly. This started in the Arluna system, which means they got there somehow, now they're in Winter's space, expanding their 'range of roving', and targeting military assets with short engagements...this looks like it's a training exercise. There are only three fleets-in-being in this quarter of the Inner Sphere, two of those, are Clan fleets that until five years ago, had been effectively in mothballs, one of those, is ours, and we've been active for decades."

"Because we HAVE to be."

"Yeah, we have to be active, not an option to be inactive, but that means what, Commodore? Think like a tinspawn."

"Your grandfather would be offended by that."

"I don't care. Think like a can-bred Clanner. How do they elevate in their culture?"

"Picking fights they can win?"

"Picking fights for Reputation. We've got the Rep now. After what you and Giao Pham pulled off in the late sixties, or during the Blake War, and the Coast Guard is active while most of the rest of the galaxy's navies can be counted on one hand but, only if you go to the mothball yards. Brewer's man wanted me to send a Coast Guard Division of forty eight cutters to backstop his defense efforts-why? Pocket Warships are kilo for kilo more powerful combatants, but their crews and captains don't have what?"

"Experience."

"Bingo. Now, why would someone tie up their experimental stealth ship roaming the Quarantine Zone and picking fights the Coast Guard can't ignore?"

"I...They're trying to tie you down? Prevent you from sending units to fight the Clan advance?"

"Heh, that's good strategic idea but, no..." she folded her arms, "..they're using us as a live-fire training exercise that bleeds."



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