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

Chapter 84 - The Administrator[]

Tharkad Naval Shipyard - Guest Complex Tharkad system
Lyran Commonwealth

Meeting Hall A, Tharkad Naval Shipyard Guest Complex...

"'s really a city of its own." Trillian Steiner said casually. "I've toyed with the idea of adding each of the Yards as a represented district to the Estates General from time to time, given how large the populations have grown."

"Where did all the people come from?" the First Prince asked, in spite of the briefings, he was a little shocked at the sheer scale.

"We mostly already had them." Admiral Ngo commented, "Highness, Majesty." she offered them drink bulbs. "Funniest thing, when you start offering underemployed people meaningful work at good wages, they come out of nowhere at you. Lots of Ship-families, Folk who want a stable dock, unemployed civilians... the biggest expenses were paid out of savings from dead projects."

"I caught that, 'Folk', you're talking about The Folk, right?" Julian asked.

"Yeah. Stateless Spacers, tramp captains, funniest thing happens when you pull them over for a health-and-welfare and offer to fix their breakage." Sharon noted, "Instead of offering to shoot them if they don't cooperate. they come back and ask for work."

"Most of the Shipyard's idle space is used for civilian maintenance and safety inspections." Trillian said, "Buff the infrastructure and you get production slack, the savings in terms of cargoes not lost to accidents, reduced piracy and other illegal activity are significant when you look at the hard numbers. Safe trade routes stimulate the economy, which improves processes and makes spaces for people to fill."

"Bottlenecks are training enough bodies to fill those spaces." Sharon added. "Which falls into the readiness cycle."

"readiness cycle..?" Julian asked.

"Huge area to maintain and cover, First Prince." Admiral Ngo explained, "We're still bottlenecked on manpower, we can turn out ships like nobody's business, but crewing them requires serious training-I've had a lot of push-back from the Academies over some of the reforms to the training program."

"Such as?"

"Every candidate learns Damage control because every man on a ship, from the cooks and cleaners to the Captain is expected to participate." she stated. "It's not a popular position for guys who grew up with McKenna's fantasies as their textbook. You can't helm an LCN warship as Captain without being a competent Navigator. When I took over, I had to relieve around Two Thousand O-6 and above because they weren't trained in DC or Navigation. it cut our administrative overhead by around ninety five percent and represented more than three quarters of the budget that could be saved. Every officer, including administration officers, has to have Time in the Black and qualify as a ship's officer."

Julian scoffed, "That's like asking every officer in the army to be a 'mechwarrior!"

"Not quite." Ngo said, "I can't teach someone to have the right neural conductivity to interface with a neurohelmet, I can teach someone advanced calculus and how to read a manual. Natural talent doesn't have anything to do with what I do-it's all learned. Aside from the truly too stupid to live, anyone can learn to be a Spacer, it's whether they're willing to be committed to the service."

"Yet, all the traffic on the channels was in English, with funny, non-germanic accents." a woman Sharon only knew from images, said.

Julian bristled slightly, "Coordinator."

"First Prince." Yori greeted him. "Your counter-offensive in the Benjamin district was a thing of brilliance. Young officers will be studying your moves there at Sun Zhang for generations to come, as an example of how to overcome previous defeats."

Sharon briefly wondered if she would have to remind them they were here under flag-of-truce.

"You ain't seen nothing yet." Julian managed to get his anger under control and sound clear and confident.

"Oh, I look forward to seeing it." Yori told him, "You are a much superior opponent to your fool of a predecessor."

Julian frowned. "Caleb, you'll bring up Caleb? Here?"

"Of course." She said, "I am the Coordinator of Worlds, the Dragon, leader of the Draconis Combine, your predecessor attempted to pre-emptively attack the Combine, using what can only be described as the stupidest plan ever conceived of by man. You for your part, have proven far more able an opponent. I sort of regret that Caleb Davion died when he could have lost the war years earlier by living."

She tapped her drink, "If Caleb had lived, and escaped us? He could have compounded his series of hilarious errors, the Combine would have wound up sharing a border with the Capellans. We would own Galax-but he died, and you took over and so, your nation continues to exist. Unbeknownst to us, we did your side a favor killing him and destroying his followers."

"I doubt you'll get another chance to do such...favors." Julian said.

"Count on it. it is most unwise to interfere when your enemies are intent on self-destruction." Yori said airily, "Though by allying with Stone, you might as well be lining to to fill dear, departed Caleb's shoes right to the end."

Julian scoffed and Sharon wondered again if she was going to have to break up a physical fight.

"You don't believe me? Caleb believed that by bedding the Snow Raven Khan. He could count on a powerful ally with a powerful navy, she left him...unsatisfied and took what she desired from him at his most vulnerable moment. There is a lesson there, dear adversary. Now, if you'll excuse me, I see Danai Centrella-Liao is here." She raised a glass, "To the Archon, may your realm remain in prosperous neutrality." and hurried off.

"Wow...she's bitchier than my Mom." Sharon said.

"I think that was her version of 'being nice'." Julian stated. "I could be wrong, but that's what I think."

"I thought you were going to deck her a couple of times." Sharon added, "I was really kind of expecting it."

He shook his head, "I've got more self control than most people realize-Trill knows."

"Sharon, give us a moment?" Trillian said.

"Aye mum." Sharon walked away from them.

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