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Chapter 3 - Important People[]

Headquarters - LCAF Naval Branch
New Triad, Tharkad
Tharkad System
Lyran Commonwealth
September 3097

September on Tharkad was like September in City of Nha Tranh, which is to say, cold, wet, and generally unpleasant.

The difference being that in Nha Tranh, September was early spring, and here, it's early fall.  Amanda stepped out of the taxi, turned, and tipped the driver before hefting her go-bag and approaching the guarded entry.

"Identicard?"

She presented her identicard.

"Orders?"

She presented her orders.

"Stand here..."

She let them scan her, while her bag was passed through a scanner, emptied, and the contents examined.

An enlisted, bored looking, carefully repacked most of her belongings, finding it somewhat difficult to fit everything back in.

"I've got that, Kaporal." she said, emptied it again, and then repacked it in front of them, taking a moment without words to show them how to fold and set each item before closing it.

The enlisted didn't look away the entire time.

"Understand now?" she asked.

"Ja, Herr Lieutenant."

"Good." she shouldered her bag, and proceeded into the office building.  training standards obviously slipped. she mused, probably shouldn't have tried to show him-if his NCO didn't beat it into his head...

The reception desk was manned by a pair young females.  They were wearing a lot of makeup, and Amanda's first instinct was to wonder how they'd get that complex hairstyle into a helmet in a blow-out.

"I have been told to report to Admiral Kingfisher?"

"Oh! you must be Lieutenant Ngo! Floor twelve, use the north elevator."

"Right."

No skinsuits...dirtyfeet navy...

The elevator ride, she was surrounded by officers in shirtsleeves.  It was a little uncomfortable, they clearly didn't understand about intrusions like excessive cologne.  for a fleeting moment, she considered putting her helmet on and sealing up to get away from the stink of bodies covered in chemical perfume.  It was a little...sickening.

The wiser part of her, suggested she should absolutely NOT offer such an insult to the headquarters staff of the Lyran Commonwealth's navy.

Ding! the elevator reached the correct floor, and she walked out onto a floor done out with carpeting and beige walls.  A farm of cubicles to her left and to her right, and glass-fronted offices on the far side.

Her out-of-place sensations were screaming now.  Amanda was wearing an overgarment on a skinsuit, with shipboots, carrying a duffel bag, helmet clipped smartly to a buff-white harness, surrounded by shirtsleeves clad LCN staffers.  Her hair was regulation helmet-cut with her earring on display, while everyone (Female) here had some ornate hairstyle that was impractical use of long hair.

Settle..settle.  This is rear echelon, not where you're from...  She took a deep breath, and navigated her way through the cubicle farm.

Ignoring, to the best of her ability, the stares she was drawing with every step.

"..and I said, He's not going anywhere so drive!"  an older man's voice caught her attention from one of the doors she was approaching.

"Kleiner, that's always the way it is with your stories!" another man's voice was laughingly responding, as a pair of men in LCAF class B uniforms came out.

Amanda snapped to attention as soon as she saw their ranks.

"Hans, five o'clock." the shorter of the two men said.

The taller man, whose name was Kingfisher, turned, and looked her over.  "Ah...can I help you, Lieutenant?"
"Sir." Amanda held up her orders like a child's report card.

He took them, and looked at them.  "Well now...you're early." he said, "Kleiner, I've got to deal with this.  Some other time?"

"Of course."

"Well, this way."  he said with a gesture.  "I expected someone older."

"Sir?" she inquired, keeping it respectfully brief.

"Your file suggested someone older." he told her, leading her past a desk.

"I was born in 3067, sir." she said.

"Have a seat." He gestured, and took a seat himself.  "Hence why I expected someone older."

"I missed a few years, sir." she said.

"Obviously." he noted.  "Do you know what we mainly do in the First Squadron?"

"No sir." she said, "I wasn't expecting to be transferred here. There were very few notes in the briefing packet."

"We handle the Archon's travel arrangements, Lieutenant." he told her, "I was looking for a qualified secondary navigator."

"I've got my guild certification, sir." she said.

"I'm aware of that.  You also have combat notations on your file not suitable for your apparent age...or even your chronological age, if this wasn't from an official source I would find it very difficult to believe."

"Sir." she didn't try to defend herself or her file.

"Not very chatty?" He asked, "I was inviting you to expand on that."

"Oh, apologies sir.  My last vessel had a..navigation accident that landed us in hostile territory, sir. I was..." she could almost hear the choir in her mind.  "...I was stranded in hyperspace for six years after that, when we tried to jump out, sir."

"How did you get back?"

"With someone else's high risk and great difficulty...and a huge amount of luck, sir." she said firmly.

"You have seen combat?"

"Yes sir."

He reached into his desk, and brought out a keyboard, then began typing.  "You do understand that you will be in the presence of VIP personnel?"

"Yes sir."

"Good...report to the Tharkad Anchorage, slip sixteen, your ship is the LCS Frederick Steiner...and consider doing some shopping while you're in port. A bit of hair work, makeup, and getting something besides that spacer's bag to wear."

"Sir?"

"This organization exists in part to provide a certain dignity to official events. Shipboots and a skinsuit might be fine in the outies but, there are appearance standards to maintain here closer to the core."

He finished what he was doing, and a printout slid from a slot in his desk.  He looked it over, signed it, and handed it to her, "Get something to wear, and do something about that hair."  he held up a business card, "Use this place, tell them Kingfisher sent you."

"Ummm yes, Sir."



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