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Can you tell me where we can start again (cover art) Chapter Art

Chapter 59[]

Can you tell me where can we start over?[]

In planetary orbit
CJFS Emerald Eagle
Nightlord Class Battleship
Kowloon, Lyran Alliance
March, 3066

"Something bothering you, Star Commodore?"  Star Captain Shelby asked.  The Freeborn 'mechwarrior from the Redtails cluster had enough battle experience to keep her position when Trueborns were being forced to retire, and she was close to Star Colonel Ngo on a personal level as a fellow Blackjack alumni.

"I just realized why they were so eager to shepherd us here so quickly and...safely." Von Jankmon said carefully.

"Probably to keep us from looking at their shipyards." she noted.

It gave him a start.  "Yes. Exactly that."

"That being what you could not put your finger on, quiaff?"

"Aff...sort of."  He sighed, "If this Trial's terms are unchanged? we will have access to them.  Why would they hide them?"

"Those the yards we will have access to, are not the yards they do not want us to see." she suggested.  "The yard where they are building those warships, for example."
"THAT is the other thing I can not put my fingers on!" he declared, "The layout of those heavy corvettes of theirs. It makes no sense to cluster weapons at the fore and aft like that, and there were too many grav rings!"

"Not grav rings." she mused, "are they?"

"Not unless they are for people one meter tall."

"Maybe bearings and tracks then? to move the turrets around,  say...if you wanted to fire all the armaments on this ship. You would have to roll it and do some complex maneuvers. You could not fire it all at once, quiaff?"

"Aff...oh founder!!" he blinked, "The weapons count in the flexible mounts made no sense-but if the designers wanted to superimpose fire from all arcs on a single target simultaneously..." He did some napkin geometry, then stopped himself.  "Naval history." he said.

"Excuse me?" Shelby asked

"One of the directions the Terran Hegemony experimented with early in the Dreadnought era, it is discussed in warship training.  The flexible turret concept. The Hegemony could not get to work until after the 26th century, was abandoned because of heat profile issues and power grid problems inherent in it.  The Clans also experimented with the idea, but abandoned it."


"Heat sinks." he said, "You can not fit sufficient heat sinks, and the standard deformation effects from striking a pressurized hull with that kind of weapons layout would jam the turret in place..."

"So why not run hard vacuum?" she asked, "In battle, I mean? Their Harbor pilot was wearing a skinsuit-those are not easily donned or removed."

He breathed out.  "Yes, that would remove the chief problem. If the ship is not pressurized when it takes the hits, the shockwaves will not disrupt the function...but savashri! Such a ship would be horribly uncomfortable to fight in. The fatigue rates would be astronomical."

Shelby bit her lip again.  "No they would not." she said, "Not if you crew your ship with crew born in space...the harbor pilot. Warrant officer Tran...she almost freaked out at the idea of going planetside...and even our information says there are roughly half a billion born-spacers in the Kowloon system alone.  Such a crew would be accustomed to long periods in a suit, eating recycled...mush from life support and breathing recycled air.  Henry told me once that some Rockjacks spend months like that, working claims or expanding what he called 'burrows'."

The pieces slid into place.  "Not the shipyards." he said, "We were expedited because it is someone's...'front yard'."

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