2947-02-03 - Editor’s Loudspeaker: Interview with Captain Samuel Bosch

I was able to arrange a brief interview with Captain Samuel Bosch, current commander of CL187 Arrowhawk and recently famous for his role in the New Rheims Investigation. By the time this feed item is released to the datasphere, this audience should already know about the opportunity I have been given to travel to Håkøya aboard Arrowhawk - before we left, the two of us sat down to record this interchange for the Cosmic Background audience. Topics covered include his perspective on the New Rheims incident, his experiences in the Brushfire War, and his thoughts about the Navy's changing role in the societal fabric of the Confederated Worlds. Subjects of conversation, but not questions, were arranged beforehand.

The audio recording of this interaction will be available on our datasphere hub.

BEGIN_RECORDING; TIMESTAMP 29470131:1:02:03:31

Chaudhri: Captain Samuel Bosch, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to answer a few questions for our little media outlet. I know preparing a just-refitted Navy ship for departure has left you with a busy schedule.

Bosch: Duncan, thanks for having me.

Chaudhri: You certainly could have chosen to talk to much larger media outlets than Cosmic Background, but you turned down all interview requests, even from the other media personnel traveling aboard your ship. Why is that?

Bosch: I'll admit, the first I heard of your organization was during the New Rheims mess, when one of my officers showed me your text feed analysis of my recorded testimony. We were still out at New Rheims at the time, and low bandwidth media content was the only thing we could reliably get while on station. For an outlet that does not focus on news programming, Cosmic Background did a good job with New Rheims. Almost every other outlet lost accuracy in favor of sensationalism, and sadly, many of them seem to have profited from this decision.

Chaudhri: Why don't we start there. The public knows much of what happened there from committee testimony, but surely there are details that you think didn't get reported widely enough.

Bosch: Sure. People forget that we didn't know what we were dealing with. Block A50 was secret from us, too, and that cruiser was so heavily modified that it didn't match any class profile in our database. Its control system had even disabled its identity transponder. The situation was so confused that at one point I sent an alert which classified the ongoing crisis as a hostile first contact. We only verified the ship's human origin a few hours before it fired on the planet.

Chaudhri: Why did it fire on the planet? I don't think any good explanation for that was ever provided.

Bosch: I can only guess. The digital forensics experts are still picking through the wreckage.

Chaudhri: Your best guess carries a lot of weight, Captain. You were there.

Bosch: Well... To be honest, I suspect that may be partially my fault. Orders came in to capture the ship intact if practical, so I tried to encircle it. Its control AI turned its guns on the planet to force us to decide whether to pursue it or rescue the population.

Chaudhri: Your fault? I don't follow.

Bosch: We could have destroyed that ship before it got within weapons range of New Rheims, Duncan. I should have unloaded every launcher rail on my ships as soon as we had the range, but I didn't.

Chaudhri: The Navy cleared you of all wrongdoing.

Bosch: Correct.

Chaudhri: When I researched Block A50, your name came up, you know. There are some who say you knew what the hostile cruiser was doing the whole time. What do you say to that?

Bosch: I didn't know about Block A50. The Navy has been improving onboard automation for as long as I've served, so most of its work wasn't even unusual. Ever since the battle of Cold Refuge, there have been rumors of the Navy experimenting with automation technology bought from that system's Wardens, but we always assumed it would be used to free up personnel from logistics and supply roles. It's easy to forget, but the Navy operates almost twice as many haulers as cruisers, and it has more mobile repair platforms than battleships. Every one of those ships could be automated without violating the Treaty of Scherer.

Chaudhri: True, but that's not what Block A50 was meant to do.

Bosch: The idea of replacing combat-ship commanders with AIs was more unpopular among the captaincy than in the civilian public, you know. Most of the people who lost their roles in the Great Purge were chased out by the captains, colonels, and lieutenants on their own staffs. By the time the political trophy-hunting started, they were already on their way out. The Navy spends a great deal of time and effort training its officers to exercise snap judgement on rapidly changing situations; a computer can make those decisions much faster, but we all know it can't make them correctly. Even if it could, Navy personnel would never stand for letting an algorithm take responsibility for the management of something as serious as warfighting.

Chaudhri: After the Brushfire War, you were one of the voices observing the effectiveness of Cold Refuge's automated flotilla and discussing the possibility of learning something from them. Do you think you were wrong five years ago?

Bosch: I certainly think we have things to learn from the way the Wardens of Cold Refuge defend their system, but the intent of that report was to suggest examination of their tools, not of their ideas. I had no intention for it to be taken as a request to re-examine the way we've protected human space ever since the Corona Wars. The Navy's methods work, and they are morally defensible.

Chaudhri: After New Rheims, are they? Morally defensible, I mean.

Bosch: A50 and New Rheims were betrayal of the Navy's moral core, not an expressions of it. Inside the service, Naval culture is seen as the moral backbone of the Confederated Worlds, the backstop against another slide into Ladeonite madness or some other innovative degeneracy. I don't think we've lost that role, but we will have to work hard to regain some lost trust, and rightfully so.

Chaudhri: And do you think this new focus on the success of the Survey Auxiliary is part of that?

Bosch: That was planned long before New Rheims, but it can only help. My crew and I are fortunate; we'll be there when the new Sagittarius Frontier is opened. There's no grumbling on Arrowhawk about a backwater assignment, you know. Everyone knows that there is a lot of public attention on our mission across the Gap. I've been reading reports provided by independent explorers who've been to the new territory, and they suggest that we will have more than enough to do there in support of Survey and the first few colonial projects.

Chaudhri: Do you think the assignment is related to your actions in Yaxkin City a few months ago?

Bosch: I don't know, and won't speculate about that matter.

Chaudhri: I understand entirely. Thank you for your time, Captain Bosch.

Bosch: Thanks for having me, Duncan. I'm interested to see what you and Cosmic Background can do in Håkøya. I'd be happy to sit down with your organization again once you've gotten your footing there.

Chaudhri: I'm sure the audience would appreciate that.