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The Armada (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 20 - The Armada[]

Idrmach Naval Base
Idrmach Star System
Lyran Commonwealth
March 2nd, 3167 CE

Christine Vanh looked at the morning's arrival schedule while she sipped coffee from a bulb, while making notes.  "Chris?"  Gary rolled over and sat up in their bed, "Christine, it's three in the morning."

"It's three in the morning somewhere, and it's noon somewhere else." she said idly, "The work doesn't do itself."

"You have a staff." he told her and got to his feet.  Two meters ten centimeters tall, still solid muscle where his skin wasn't marked with the EI tats, "You have Flag Rank, you have progressed so far above the junior NCO that took me prisoner that you can afford to let others do the scut work."
"I can afford it, which is why I don't." she said, "Gary, husband..." she felt his huge hands on her shoulders, rubbing.

"Yes, Commodore?"

"If you don't stop that, I'm going to have to make you keep going." she said.

"If you insist on working long hours, I will have to keep doing this." He teased, "With other distractions."  His huge arm crossed her vision and his fingers plucked the reports from her hands.  "Come to bed."

"Mmmmmm...but I have work-" muddered Christine.

"As do I." he whispered in her ear. With gentle inevitability, lifted her from her seat in half gravity, cradling her against his chest.  She let him carry her to bed.

Outside the massive space complex, the thousandth arriving Dropship detached from a battered Star Lord class vessel, as fuelers linked to the Jumpship and the focusing arrays of the recharge stations helped quickly charge the drive.  On the receiving docks, recruiters from a dozen guilds and polities assisted relief workers from non-governmental entities, charities, churches and corporations to process the masses from the Clan zones. The refugees from the Clan worlds likely had no way to know how good they had it. How utterly unlike the tides of refugees driven by centuries of war and catastrophe in the Inner Sphere their welcome was.

What they knew was that their bellies were full. Even if they were old or infirm, that their hurts and sicknesses were getting treatment. That for the first time in most of their lives, people were asking what they wanted to do. What they wanted to learn or wanted to be. What they wanted to become.

The sign that greets these refugees is in English, because that is the language of the Clans.

It says, "Where do you want to be tomorrow?"

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