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The Bull and the Genie
- Chapter 26 - Meeting with Archon

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Briefing the Archon[]

Throne Room - Triad - Tharkad, Lyran Commonwealth

House Steiner (Insignia)

Insignia of House Steiner

The planning room wasn't the main one, Mary knew. Those were on different levels, so this was a secondary room, designed for more… intimate meetings.

It was still bigger, with better equipment than anything on Taurus. After all, Tharkad could afford the kind of people you'd need to baby Star League era equipment, and it didn't tend to get shot at here.

She still felt a little jealous.

Archon Katrina was there with Yarlows and several other officers. More were behind them, and Mary had caught a glimpse in one of the observer gallery windows of a smaller figure. She had a feeling that Melissa Steiner was observing. It made sense. If her mother passed away, she'd have to be prepared to step into her shoes. Mary didn't envy her.

"So, we've read the plans, and some of our officers are uncertain. So could you give us a synopsis for the group?"

"Yes, Archon," Mary nodded. "We've had some experience with pirates and our recent improvements in equipment have allowed us to take a more proactive stance. The problem with standing on the defensive is that pirates are not Kuritans. If they see an objective is heavily defended, they'll go somewhere else that isn't, and take their anger out on the residents. I could have fifty regiments and we couldn't effectively cover every target. So… We started focusing on their weak points. Commodore Perez?"

"Yes General. Pirates may have jump points named for them, but they don't tend to use them for the same reason nobody else does—it dramatically increases the chance of a serious jump malfunction. They bank on the safety of distance. They will use them against a high priority target, but about 70 percent of attacks are conducted by ships boosting in from the normal jump limit. It also immunizes their JumpShips from attacks from the planet. Which brings us to flypaper." Perez gestured and another image appeared, a large satellite floating by a fighter. "We've brought enough of these to seed the major systems in our AO. They can detect emergence signatures and tight beam the information to the world, which can then relay it via HPG to a system with one of our jumpships."

Mary nodded. "That gives us a thirty light year sphere, and assuming regular transmission times, especially if we're tying two class a stations together, our JumpShip and its boarding team will be able to jump close enough to the enemy to take or disable their jumpships before they can recharge." The Lyrans had the tech and industry to do it, but for some reason, they, and many of the other successor houses, didn't focus on invaders until they were much closer to the world. Maybe it's because they didn't have it used against them. The system Mary was describing had been used by SLDF to eliminate the last few Taurian raiders during the Reunification War.

"Unless they go for a fast charge." Fleet Admiral Sharon Farragut said. She'd remained silent, watching Mary and Perez give the presentation.

"Yes, Admiral," Mary said. "but then we win anyway. Commodore?"

"When we were coming up with this, we ran the numbers—if you fast charge a jumpship, you increase the risk of a misjump. You would create the certainty of the kind of cumulative damage that is going to eventually need a full overhaul—and even pirates with the capability to repair some of their jumpships can't do it for all of them. If they run away from us, in terms of their ability to strike at us, well, their own fear is doing our job for us."

"Our regiments will be spread out to assist local garrisons, while my regiment will be kept as a reserve." Mary said. "Pirates are pretty terrible at OPSpec and so if we're lucky, I can go hunting them."

"Redjack Ryan?" Yarrows asked. "He has quite the bounty on his head."

"No." Mary shook her head. "Kill him, someone else will pop up. We learned that lesson the hard way. I want to find his bases, his DropShips, and whoever it is he's connected with that. Let's him turn his wealth into supplies—Archon about that…"

"We've already assigned investigators from the Judge Advocate, and they'll be working with you."

Mary nodded. She carefully didn't mention the other thing she'd been told by intelligence. People, wealthy people, were almost certainly implicated in trading with pirates, but worlds could be prickly about investigations. How nice it was that some uncultured Periphery sorts were there who might not understand it. If they found dirt, Katrina won. If they didn't, or accidentally grabbed someone innocent, much of dirt would miss Katrina.

And it also gives you the ability to run an unofficial audit of worlds you might be suspicious of. Archon Katrina Steiner, Mary had to admit, it definitely was getting all possible use out of her force.

"I'm still concerned with pirates boosting in from pirate points." Farragut said. "There's been some concern that your planned force deployments are light for that risk."

"We have enough air cover and ground combat capabilities that they won't risk landing their Dropships right on top of the target." Mary said. "I know our units are light compared to equivalent Lyran units, but they're also long-ranged. Very few pirate bands have the kind of discipline needed to break a flexible defense, especially if its anchored on militia units." And we'll just see what units we can trust to anchor us. "If we can take their jumpships—well, it's true that many pirates have a noose waiting for them, but there's always the hope that if they surrender, that noose may be a while in coming."

"It's an unusual plan, not like our usual operations." Katrina said. "I look forward to seeing the results."

"Thank you, Your Majesty." Mary said. I look forward to giving you results. If there was one thing in this universe you could do guilt free, after all, it was hunt pirates.

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