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

Chapter 24 - The Administrator[]

Spider moon
Kowloon System
Lyran Commonwealth
3142 - Some weeks later...

"Commodore Minh, I'm pleased that you were able to join me." Her Grace, the Duchess of Kowloon, stood looking at a rather well done holographic representation of the space outside the base, the surface of the station in real-time photorealism.

"It's an honor." Nicole said. "Why am I here?"

Sharon turned around. "You've got...carry the one...you've got almost eighty years in active service, Commodore." she said, "Most of that time in a manpower crunch. Your physicals are good but, you're the last one from the Nueva Pueblo..and frankly, you intimidate the hell out of me, so I really hate this meeting."

"You're putting me on the beach?" Nicole asked.

Sharon hesitated, drew in a deep breath, "Yeah. Sort of." she crossed her arms, "You're not going to make this easy, are you?"

"Why?"

"Because you're over a century old, you're a legend in the service, you're as sharp as you were the day you walked in...also because if you can't afford to lose something, you can't afford to use that thing, and I can't afford to lose you. The CNO is half your age, you've refused promotion. You've also trained most of my serving Captains as your XO but,...."

"They'll never reach their potential with me here, is that it?"

"Yeah. not with you in the saddle. I'm making changes to the Service. I need a Secretary of the Coast Guard, a civilian to oversee operations. That person needs to understand the needs of the service, and its potential. I want to accept your resignation in order for you to accept a cabinet-level appointment. It's a lot of bureaucracy, a bit of politicking, shed-loads of aggravation and endless paperwork, and I need someone in that chair who can lead, and delegate, who knows how to play the game at sea, and how to play it in Nha Tranh, can handle budgeting, and can work with the other planets in the Zone...and I hate to say it, but I need that someone more than I need a living legend commanding a cutter division on the Quarantine line."

"That...is very flattering, your grace." Nicole said. "How long do I have to think about it?"

"The Assembly goes into session in September. I need your answer by then, so...two weeks?" Sharon mused, "I can give you two weeks to make up your mind about accepting this assignment. after that, I'll have to decide whether or not to make it a Ducal Order."

"So...not really a choice?"

"I need someone in that chair, you're the only name on my list." Sharon told her bluntly, "Because I can't afford to lose you, the Service needs you. My grandmother had a goal; she wanted to make Nobles obsolete. we've been unable to fully realize that, in part because of how many positions end up being directly controlled by the Ducal seat due to one emergency or another. I'm delegating, you can resign and retire, I won't stop you, or you can resign and accept a new assignment in a civilian role that grants you more control over the Service and lets you influence the other Coast Guard forces in the Zone directly, rather than indirectly. it's your choice, but you're off the ships. The only position you'll have on a Coast Guard vessel is 'passenger' or 'Very Important Passenger'."

"I...see. where do I sign, Your Grace?"

Sharon slid two single-use PADDs across the desk one-handed.

"Thank you." the Duchess said.




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