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

Chapter 65 - The Administrator[]

Tharkad Naval Shipyard
Tharkad System
Lyran Commonwealth

Sharon floated in a lotus position and waited while the General of the Armies went through Suit-fitting four tiers negative-z axis. This meeting was important enough to have the Wolf Khan, looking slightly ill, attending.

"Finished reading your manual yet?" Sharon asked.

"Yeah." Archon Trillian Steiner nodded carefully, "That fitter was screwing with me."

"It's an institutional trait, I'm encouraging." Sharon said. "It keeps the hazing lower out in the deployed fleet, especially for Dirtyfeet. The best teacher is discomfort followed by discovery."

"Making new personnel uncomfortable until they either figure it out, or ask for help?" Sharon immediately liked Josephine Fetladral. For a Clanner, she was almost a Spacer herself.

"Precisely." Sharon said, "If you just try to tell people most of them will stop listening after the first sentence or two, but people Remember things they had to find out themselves. There are a lot of fun and entertaining ways to kill yourself out here. Stupid people need not apply. Khan Ward, would you like a fresh puke bag?"

" fine, thank you for asking." Alaric said in a tone that was obviously not fine.

"I saw a grav-ring on approach, why are we holding this meeting near the core instead of out on the ring?" Josephine asked.

"Those are for facilities that require gravity to function, I do not think anyone here wants to discuss the next phase of the war while smelling what is cooking in sewage reclamation." Sharon said smoothly, "Though the gardens are soothing and the transition barracks for Marines are relatively nice."

Roderick arrived through the hatch, and reoriented himself to the meeting, anchoring against one of the walls.

"Okay, everyone is here. For the last few months, the Second and Fourth Coast Guard Cutter divisions have been conducting deep survey into the Falcon occupation zones." Sharon announced, "In the process, they've contacted pockets of The Folk and a few indies in the off-route systems. Upshot is, we know two targets the Falcons are intent on taking in the next six months."

Screens lit on every wall, creating a spherical display that had Alaric reaching for the puke bag.

"They're going after Arc Royal in the next three months." Sharon said. "Those are your Exile cousins, quiaff?"

"Ack..Aff..." Alaric said.

"Their other major target is Coventry. Based on what my people have observed and found out, probably for the stockpiled munitions and industrial spares. If they follow their patterns, they'll destroy whatever they can't use immediately or carry away."

Screens changed format, and certain stars in the field were highlighted. "These are the industrial centers that Malvina's madmen aren't dismantling-because they're key to keeping her army armed and equipped, and we've confirmed they're still getting supplies through trade with the Diamond sharks."

"Who's holding the Quarantine if you have two cutter divisions playing snoop-and-poop inside the Falcon OZ?" Roderick asked.

"Reserve forces and 1st cutter division." Sharon said, "We've been building a dozen cutters a year since the sixties. Hood IV uses a slightly different armament and layout, but most of the others are running Mark Twos and Threes, usually a squadron or two, except Mandaoaaru has a full Division and so does Winter-they need 'em too, they're both covering adjacent systems that don't have the taxbase to support local units."

The displays vanished and were replaced by graphs and graphical representations of star systems. Alaric's discomfort visibly eased.

"Clan Wolf and two squadrons from the LCN Cutter Division Alpha should move to backstop Arc Royal's defenses. Diplomatic coordination and planning the actual defense should go to the Clan commanding officer or officers-just a mission and support resources from us. I'll put those squadrons under Star Commodore Josephine Fetladral's command, she will be their naval commander if nobody has objections." Sharon made a gesture, and the information centered on the two Clan Wolf officers.

"LCS Hermann Steiner and her destroyer group, along with assigned cutter squadrons is to proceed to Coventry at best speed, along with whatever units you think are appropriate from LCAF ground forces." Sharon continued, "The Naval Command will be handled by Vice Admiral Emily Falcone, and she will be under orders to coordinate with your designated Ground forces commander. I expect them to be at least a week behind the Falcon forces."

"A week?"

"I said best speed." Sharon said, "If you have ground units ready to go, it'll only be a try and buy time. I've contacted Kowloon's Secretary of the Coast Guard and authorized Operation: Jolie Rouge."

"Commerce raiding in Falcon territory." Trillian said.

"Commerce raiding?"

"Deep strikes on their supply lines, lines of communication, and spaced-based assets." Josephine filled in, "Commerce Raiding is an uncertain technique, it can backfire and harden the population's will to resist. Given how civilians under Mongol rule are faring, i doubt it will, but it remains a possibility."

"The main objective is to disrupt their transportation and buy time, so that LCAF forces heading to aid Coventry don't arrive a week late." Sharon noted, "Downside being that some of that raiding will probably hit official 'neutrals' like the Diamond Sharks, however, the benefits presently outweigh the risks. The long-term strategy is to discredit the Mongols and liberate as many Lyran worlds as we possibly can."

"Dealing with the Diamond Sharks is a Diplomatic function." Trillian said, "I've got this, unless..."

"The political problems can be solved." Alaric said firmly. "Have you considered the long-term consequences of this sudden naval success?"

"One of the reasons we need to move fast." Sharon said with an assertive nod, "Before the Jade Falcons start buying or building a navy of their own."

"I was referring to the other States." he said. "The Wolf Empire will also require...naval upgrades."

"You guys have the advantage there, Khan Alaric. You don't have to rediscover how to do the things we've had to rediscover and you already have proven warship designs." Sharon said it calmly, "We're having to figure out things as they come. I'll be worrying about you guys long before i worry about Stone's Mothball Fleet coming out of their armadillo status to re-impose the RUNT."

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