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Chapter 58 - The Administrator[]

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"...sustaining an offense, whether it's a Naval offense, or a ground war, leans on three things for success:
3. Combat Power. This is the lowest priority, but still one of the most important. You can not go on the offensive if you can not kill the enemy.
2. Supply Chain. If you can not keep bullets in the guns, troops fed, spare parts on hand, if you use up your strength it does not matter how superior your combat power is, you will lose. This is sustainment. As my Late Wife reminded me time and again during the war against the Blakists, 'if you can not afford to lose it, you can not afford to use it'.
1. Initiative. Without the initiative, you do not have the offensive."

-Roshak, Nathan, Ducal Consort of Elizabeth Ngo of Kowloon. "Lessons from the front lines: from Warrior to Soldier, to Lord.".
Kowloon Press, 3091

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Tharkard system
Lyran Commonwealth
January 3148

Khan Alaric Ward arrived with his Command Keshik and his flagship on the date of the new year, 3148. AS it was the new year, and some traditions must be upheld, a diplomatic ball was scheduled, and Trillian insisted that Sharon hand off some responsibility to Vice Admiral Falcone, and "Bloody show up in something besides a skin-suit!"

Sharon chose an LCN Formal Dress uniform-the current pattern. Cut wide at the neck for a helmet ring and polished ships-boots. This in spite of her being grounded at Headquarters instead of comfortably in a station or ship.

As the Archon had forbidden the skinsuit, the open-collared formal uniform was loose, and whether by accident, or by some perverted design by the committee who decided such things, emphasized her cleavage more than she was comfortable with under normal circumstances.

She chose to bear the indignity of it fully-by not closing that open-necked design. Instead, she wore a simple pendant as per regulations, along with her LCN issue identity dogtags.

Tharkan Fashion at work. It was, at least, loose enough to be somewhat comfortable to wear without looking absolutely horribly casual.

The Wolves, their officers arrived in Clan Wolf formal uniforms-a pattern unchanged since the initial invasion, save the recoloration from red, to gray, of the actual symbol and the addition of the Wolf Empire's crest.

The other LCN officers present, were in full and proper uniform (by her standards), wearing skinsuits under their formal dress uniforms, helmets clipped to belts, and polished harnesses with emergency gear stowed by regulation-as if they were on a station or ship, rather than on the surface of a world built to sustain life.

An advantage, was that the open neckline highlit something else-her muscle tone, a thing she maintained almost religiously, even while working on planning the next phase of the offensive. Rigorous and constant exercise had begun spreading through the upper ranks of the Lyran Commonwealth Navy, which was a thing she encouraged, because long periods in nullgee without rigorous exercise is horrifically unhealthy.

Sharon stuck to the perimeter of the activity, hugging the wall, or lingering near the band, rather than mingling with glitterati and foreign services. Despite this, the Federated Suns ambassador managed to find his way to her.

"Ambassador Hasek." Sharon nodded to the man.

"Admiral...so, what do you think of your new allies?"

"I think he brought a battlecruiser to be impressive but, forgot to bring the battle group to be effective." she murmured. "I also think they're a major logistical problem I have to solve if they're going to be any use at all."

"Harsh...very harsh." The Fed ambassador observed. "Reputedly, you threatened to resign if the Archon tried to send aid."

"Well, now you know why." Sharon said, "I don't have anything against your people, Ambassador, except that we're in an existential struggle with an enemy right here at home. Sending ships to aid the Suns is an Optional war for us."

"The Jade Falcons..yes...I suppose you might see it that way." he said sagely.

"Ambassador, my Grandfather was a Jade Falcon officer." Sharon said, "If they hadn't turned into the ****** Rim-Worlds Republic in all but name and address, I would be reluctant to kill them. right now, while standing here in this....diplomatic function, I am planning to kill more of them, including relatives I have not yet met."

"How many?" He asked.

"As many as it takes to scrub their 'mongol' movement from existence, Sir." she said, "This will involve exterminating some of my closest relatives-and my family is small." she lifted her tumbler of bourbon, "If necessary, I will kill them all. The Jade mongols are the enemy of the human race. Their crimes are against humanity itself, sir. By way of comparison, the Draconis Combine are simply not a threat to us."

He looked at her with a troubled frown. "You've dehumanized your opponents quite efficiently."

"They dehumanized themselves. I simply intend to remove them as a threat to the rest of us. I have seen their death-camps, mister Ambassador. I've seen the reports, even interviewed their victims. I have absolutely one enemy I am concerned with, and that enemy is not in this room. I'm sorry about your recent losses at Benjamin and I'm sorry about New Syrtis, but those aren't things I have time and resources to control."

She glanced at her glass, "Now if you'll excuse me..." she wiggled it theatrically, "I need to refill my drink at the bar. Good eve to you, sir."



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