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Chapter 52 - Important People[]

The Triad - Royal Palace
Tharkad System
Lyran Commonwealth
January, 3098

[Archon's Apartments...]

"...correlation between members who seated, and our list of suspects. None." Daphne Rowe stated.  "About half the absentees are also openly, or at least poorly disguised, partisans for Victor, but at least as many did attend the session you walked out of."

Andrew nodded, grinning.  "Yes, isn't that interesting?"

The General from Military Intelligence frowned.  "Uh...what?"

"No political bloc is a monolith.  It's something my father's predecessor said." Andrew explained.  "The pro-Republic and Pro-Victorist blocs are made of individual factions, and those factions of individual men and women.  This morning, I got a good look at the ones who might be swayed back into the fold, because they showed up, you see?"

"I...don't see that at all, Highness." said Daphne

"We'll see tomorrow." Andrew told her.  "I've called another full meeting of the Estates.  If we are to save the nation, it's a good idea to see if the nation can and should be saved, wouldn't you say?"

[LCN Headquarters, Tharkad Anchorage, January 21, 3098...]

Secretary Elizabeth Ngo's office was on the gravity wheel, sandwiched between sewage reclamation and the greenhouses.

This was on purpose.  The previous Base Commander, the late and unlamented Rear Admiral Karl Westerhaus, had placed his offices at the top of the 'spindle' with panoramic views of the entire station complex.  It had been there that he'd coordinated strikes on the rest of the Home Fleet's battleship squadrons.

His office had been the first solid hits by the LCS Frederick Steiner's guns.

"Your Grace?"  Vice Admiral Kingfisher stuck his head in the open hatch.

"Come in." Elizabeth said, and he climbed down the ladder.

"I'm told some of the junior officers think you chose this office just to make yourself unavailable." he said.

"No, I chose it because I need the exercise climbing up and down to reach the corridor." she noted idly.  "I'm getting older. I do find I need to work harder to maintain healthy blood flow and muscle tone.  Are those the reports I asked for?"

"They are."

"You're being a peach bringing them to me yourself, Admiral." she said.  "You could've used a Chief, or even a junior enlisted."

"I need my exercise too." he confessed.  "Also, it's boring up in CIC."

"Boring is good." she said.  "Boring means we're not trying to put a crisis back to bed... let's see those?"

He handed them over and she began going through the classified reports. "Have you mentioned this to His Highness yet?"' she asked.

"Thought I'd wait for your expert opinion, Ma'am." he said.

"How about the boys down at Mount Asgard?" she asked looking up.  "What does the General of the Armies think?"

"He's fit to be tied.  Nearly a third of our ground forces defecting in the Skye region."

"I imagine so.  What do you think, were the results of the Plebiscite rigged by our side?  Or theirs?"

"I imagine efforts to rig those votes happened from both sides, Your Grace." he told her.  "We can't trust their numbers, they don't trust ours."

"Bingo." she said, and checked off a box on a piece of paper taped to her desk.  "Look at that, my card is filled.  I think you're right...  The fleet from Bolan might be ready.  According to these, our chances of securing those worlds are pretty slim as long as we've got rogue vessels under rogue commanders in the mix."

"It might get worse, your Grace, the longer we delay..." the Admiral leads

"The longer we delay, the more time we have to prepare." Elizabeth told him.  "Always know your backstop, ayeh?  Let's imagine I recommend sending in the Bolan fleet today... Now, imagine what it's going to look like if that fleet has sabotuers in the ranks loyal to the Victor faction, or even Republic sympathizers?  How's that going to work?  Do you suppose the Regulans are going to look at that motion, and say 'let's not attack them while their main force is out of town', or are they going to say 'hey, here's an opportunity to strike at will'?"

"You have a plan?" he asked.

"Yes, we're going to pull individual ships from the Arc Royal, Periphery, and Bolan squadrons. Then we will have them link them up. That way, we have a chance the enemy's people aren't concentrated enough to seriously impact our own operations, while retaining forces to cover our backs.  Their primary mission will be to locate and neutralize the rogue fleet elements.  Once we've secured space superiority, then ground units can move in without as much risk of being destroyed before they make landfall."

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