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The Silent Black Ocean (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 5 - The Silent Black Ocean[]


"It's not the Star League..."

"...we're not trying to run a super-state because That failed." Sixty year old Admiral Sharon E. Ngo tapped the display.  "These guys? they knew it, when they kicked your ancestors out of 'Club Kerensky'.  I don't suppose anyone's tried making contact with them to find out what in the ****** they think they're doing coming this way."

"Yet we do, in fact, have a de-facto superstate forming." Khan McKenna noted, "Your Lyran Commonwealth wields power and influence over the other Inner Sphere states. You managed to put Devlin Stone out to pasture and plant Alaric Ward, a Steiner-Davion scion, on Terra as ilKhan of the ilClan."

"Yeah, look how well that's worked out for him." Sharon said, "It wouldn't have worked any better for your bunch, only you'd have an even longer supply line.  A Trillion people he can barely keep fed isn't what any of your dreams expected, is it?"

", nobody has attempted to directly contact this massive fleet."

"Well, we've got six more months before they hit the frontier of inhabited space." Sharon said, "I assume your Clan wants first or second try before us dirty spheroids step in."

McKenna snorted, "We do not want 'first or second try'." he said, "The Homeworlders made the...separation quite clear-with violence."

"Hmnh.  So what are we actually talking about?"

"Military options." he told her.

"Diplomatic options are usually less costly in the short run and the long run-and I speak as someone who made an entire Clan Realm get to their proverbial knees and beg for mercy using military options."  she examined the trac-plot carefully.

"They lack that experience-these have not been defeated by Inner Sphere forces, I am not sure they know how to react to it, except that it will likely be to react badly."

"They are hauling a station.  The Gravity shear from using Ryan methods isn't good for anything at the center of it, including people. Unless they've somehow found a way to get around it."

"Our scientists have some speculations about that-mostly from work begun by the Blakists and Taussen."  McKenna said.

"Yeah, our eggheads do too-but testing those hypotheticals hasn't gone exactly well on our end." she noted.

"Ours either-but they are doing it."

"If it has been done, it can be done, if it can be done, someone will do it." Sharon agreed.  "Okay, so what are we looking at with this incoming fleet?"

"Lots of mothball ships. Lots of ships in poor repair, possibly pressed into service in a hurry, but not so hurried that they could not do it in an organized manner."

"Disaster maybe?" she asked, "Are we looking at a Second or Third exodus?"

He froze, and looked thoughtful.  "I just realized...that is not a stupid idea."

"It's an obvious thing, McKenna." Sharon said, "Look at this imagery-those fighters are running minimum fuel burns. That means they aren't stopping for gas, haven't been or don't intend to.  Those hulks being group-jumped don't have weapons ports or emplacements. Look at those Potemkins aren't carrying assault droppers in nearly what would be an efficient configuration for military invasion forces-those dropships are mostly old models, and patchy-looking."

"They will want to land." he said.

She nodded, "Let me speculate a sec here, these guys are on the run.  They shot the sats instead of trying to slice them or use them to contact the owners. Which means they think they need to fight...which they might, if they want to be in charge of wherever they end up. I know Kerenskyists back home, their dogma and doctrine-and so do you, being one.  You're anticipating military action because no matter how up shit creek these guys are, they're going to want to fight for dominance once they get here."

"Aff.  That is the most likely to be correct assessment."

"We don't have a formal 'Star League' and being Kerenskyists, they're going to want to impose theirs if we don't have one of our own-or even if we do."


"I'll take your proposal up with the Archon when I get back." Sharon said, "I assume you're already discussing things with Alaric and Tseng, and being where you are, I speculate you've been in talks with Kurita and Davion?"

"We have.  They have been...reluctant.  A unified front will be necessary regardless of whether the solution is military or diplomatic-a diplomatic outcome can not happen if they believe the Inner Sphere to be...out of order."

"I hear that."

"How is your Alien Hunting going?" he asked.

"We found a couple of dead civilizations anti-spinward so far." she said, "Nobody alive yet, nobody to tell us what happened to them, only some pretty ****** worlds and leftover hardware and debris...I really wanted to go this time."

"When I heard about your fool's mission I wanted to go." he said, "Grand adventures, new conquests..."

"Not so grand an adventure, mostly it's finding new ways to be horrified." She countered, "Trillian won't let me go out again, she insists on me being here in civilized society."

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