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Strategos (A Great Captain Roberts Tale!!)

Chapter 7 - Internalized

The "Johnson" system…

Was settled sometime before the Periphery Uprising by a Religious group whose opposition to advanced technology can only be aligned with by their utter dependence on it. This is what spelled the end for the Colony, really.

They'd located on a near-Terralike moon orbiting a gas giant, which in turn orbited a swollen orange star riding the down-slope to red giant in a few million years.

If you wanted to be left alone, this was the kind of system that would enable it. "It's a two-week transit to the colony site…or we can risk an L1 insertion between Johnson Moon III, a gas giant."

Larry Nichols (The Great Captain Roberts Character)

Larry Nichols

Amanda studied the plot. "That's a week from now anyway, isn't it?"

"We can wait a week and plot an L1 insertion at higher than average risk or we can spend three weeks burning at one gee, Yeah." Larry stated.

She frowned.

"What's wrong?"

"This would be great defensive territory." she said, "But neither the Star League, nor the Outworlds, had a base here, does that make sense to you?" she twirled some hair between her fingers, "Because it doesn't make sense to me."

"Slow burn then?" he asked.

"Yeah. Slow burn, tell the tinbenders and the shuttle jocks they're up. I want a screening patrol ahead of us and on each flank, Bedwyr, and hot-deck the fighters on CAP, eight hour rotations until we reach orbit, eyes open and scanning. This is too good a hide for someone not to be using it."

"You're thinking someone's home."

"I'm thinking if I were staging anything important like a Pirate base? I'd want Johnson as a bolt-hole." she stated. "The long approach and dangerous nonstandard point architecture almost screams 'this is where you put something valuable'."

Then she turned to Larry Nichols, "Gunner's mates are to conduct constant drills. Coordinate with our CAP and screeners call it a yellow alert condition for now, Mister Samuel?"

"Aye?" Samuel answered.

"Task two of our four generators in main power to recharging the drive core, and keep the sail out, tuned to the local wavelengths, but have the sail-monkeys standing by for an emergency retraction until we're in the gas giant's shadow. Do we have fuel state for that in your opinion?"

"We do…you're thinking we'll bump into something more than a remnant full of farmers?"

"I am." she nodded. "I don't know what nasty surprises are hiding locally, but I'm thinking there will be surprises of some kind."

"It's not…

…just staging at the Jump Point and charging." Caswell Loane was adamant. "That ship is burning into the system."

"It can't be, we're current dammit!" Mayor Hopkins insisted, "They can't need another tithe this soon!"

"Who else would it be?" Sierra asked, "It's early, we haven't restocked the granaries, but do you think it matters to them? This time they'll take the children!!"

The existential horror wasn't new. It's only been two months since the last collection, and Sissonville was emptied out when they couldn't meet the demands from the Sons-so they lost bodies instead.

It's what happens, when you don't have any means of self-defense.

"Oh god. We don't have anything to give them."

There wasn't even anywhere to really run.

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