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The Armada (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 19 - The Armada[]

Star League Palace
Unity City, Terra
Sol Star System
Wolf Empire
Late 3167 CE

" don't need me to run it anymore, sir." Sharon Ngo stated, "The operation's in good hands, The system is in place."

"Trillian warned me about this line of yours, Admiral." Alaric Ward crossed his arms, "I agree, you have done one hell of a job getting the coalition forces to work together. You have designed a system that is working and is organized enough that a drunken chimpanzee can oversee the day-to-day operation without screwing it up. As I knew you would, and I knew what you would do once it stopped being challenging because your Liege Lord warned me about it."

She sniffed, "I'm getting old." she said, "Yeah, getting too old, long in the tooth-"

He scoffed and chuckled, "That might have worked on someone seventy or eighty years ago in the Clans.  Your Resignation is rejected.  You want to go wandering off into the deep black, to play at alien chasing...well, Admiral...the answer is no. Among my reasons are the following: You are too old. If I thought 'retirement' for you meant using up those years of unused leave visiting resorts and dandling your relations' children I would sign off in a second, but you are a commander. 'Retirement' or 'resignation' means you will take a bunch of highly-trained, motivated and intelligent people off to perpetrate your own imitation Viking funeral. To be blunt, I need those spacers because we know roughly what direction the REAL aliens are coming from."

"Do you really think I want to be in this palace?" asks Alaric

Alaric asked, "I am a warrior born, Admiral, my natural environment is the battlefield. Not sitting in a headquarters overseeing the battles of those I will never get the honor of serving on the front lines with."  He poured a glass of something red, and passed it to her, "I know, better than Trillian, why you want to go, because I also want to go."

She accepted the drink as he poured one for himself.  "So why don't you?" she asked.

"Because, like you, I have to be where I am." He told her.  "You have a natural understanding of the logistics, the strategies, and the systems. You turned a service that was an afterthought into the premier military formation in the Inner Sphere, destroyed one Clan and forced another to submit using your systems. Your grasp, your will, and you did it without ever seeking a crown, or throne..." He chuckled, "You even abdicated from the one you had.  lesser warriors would fail to understand that."

"What do you think you understand that they don't?" asked Sharon

"Ambition, Admiral." he said, "Everyone who is great has it, but not every great man or woman seeks the same sort of endgame. The same goes for Legacy.  My flaw is that I strove for this seat, this role, and without thinking about how the striving would change me. What I would be forced to give up."

He slid his glass over a candle and warmed it, "YOURs, Admiral Ngo, is that you can't quit. You are no more able to retire, than I am able to walk on liquid water unassisted. Truly, your real flaw is that you have too much ability to meet your desires.  You're too damned useful here doing what comes to you so naturally;  Strategy, Economics, Logistics, Politics.  I need you here working for me, not out on your own looking for omnicidal maniacs."

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