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The Armada (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 34 - The Armada[]

Space Port
Kowloon, Kowloon Star System
Lyran Commonwealth
3069?



[Memorial service, Kowloon...]

The families of the crew of the Tranh Truk Ngo were here, the ones who could come.  Duchess Marjorie Ngo met each of the coffins as they were unloaded onto the tarmac at Vin Drin Lap.

She apologized personally to each family member brought here to meet their dead, before going up on the stage to address the press.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the press, fellow Lyrans, fellow Kowloonese.  Behind me, you see the transport, which has brought our sons and daughters home..." She hesitated, her iron demeanor slipping a little, "The crew and officers of the Coast Guard Ship Tranh Truk Ngo have been returned to us by the compact made by my ancestors when we joined the Lyran Commonwealth.  Our dead have come home."

She hesitated again, voice a bit shaky.  "Captain Michael Nguyen is hereby posthumously promoted to Rear Admiral of the Coast Guard. In recognition of his courage for his service, his devotion to our people's values.  In his final log entry...dammit, I..." she looked across the stage to the Archon, Trillian Steiner-Davion, then back into the cameras.

"I'm going to play it for you." she said, "Screw tradition, you don't need or want to hear a speech from me. Let the man speak his own words!" she exclaimed.


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"...today's the day.  either it works, or it doesn't.  Science isn't always about succeeding. The best test of a scientific hypothesis is testing it to failure. The same can be said of discovery in general.  If we fail? Well, maybe that failure will teach someone else how not to fail.  I have confidence in my crew, I have confidence in my people.  That said, we're all taking the day to record last words and last wishes, just in case this doesn't work.

Mom, I love you. I'm sorry I didn't say that more often, I wish I'd said it to dad when he was alive.  You made me the man I am, and I'm trying to do right by what you taught me to be the man I should be.  Tell Monica I'm proud of her, and that I only mess with her husband because it's what you do with in-laws.  Hug Dinh and Mai for me, and don't let them see your tears if you have to speak about me in the past-tense.  If you're going to talk about me, talk about the fun stuff, the embarrassments and the pranks and the trouble I got into.  I love you all..."

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The Duchess of Kowloon played each of the log entries in turn for each member of the crew.

Then, after nearly two hours...silence.

"O lord,
Guide our lost to your heavenly gates.
For they were the best of us, and we miss them.
Protect them on their final journey to your heavenly kingdom, O Lord.

Amen."

Marjorie stopped, choking a little, "I'm so sorry."



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