2951-03-22 – Tales from the Service: A View from Headquarters, Part 10 

Nojus here. I’m back at Sagittarius Gate this week. There’s a lot more material from my trip to Quickley, but some of it – the best bits really – will have to go through the Naval Intelligence wringer before we can use it. 

Duncan will be taking a few weeks off his usual duties; his parents and sister arrived at The Sprawl the night before last and he’s spending time with them. Things are pretty quiet out here, and he’s left me plenty of material from the backlog to work with just in case nothing really interesting shows up. 

Before he left on leave, though, Duncan and I shuttled over to Philadelphia for another conversation with Admiral Abarca. The commander of Seventh Fleet seemed in good spirits, and our conversation mainly focused on the operation in the Lee-Hosha system. 

This interview was conducted in-person aboard the battleship Philadelphia in the Sagittarius Gate system on 29 Octobert. 

D.L.C. - Duncan Chaudhri is a junior editor and wartime head field reporter for Cosmic Background.     

N.T.B. - Nojus Brand is a long-time explorer, datasphere personality, and wartime field reporter for Cosmic Background.    

K.T.K. - Captain Kenneth Kempf is the Naval Intelligence attaché to Seventh Fleet commander Admiral Shun Abarca.  

S.R.A. - Admiral Shun R. Abarca is the commander of Seventh Fleet. 

[S.R.A.] - Gentlemen, it is good to see you in person again. Mr. Brand, how was your trip out to Lee-Hosha? 

[N.T.B.] - They didn’t let me get too close to any of the real fighting, Admiral, but it was good to have dirt under my feet for a few weeks. Quickley is pleasant, and whichever colonists end up getting it will be quite happy there. 

[S.R.A.] - Coming from you, that is not an endorsement. Too safe for one of your famous rambles? 

[N.T.B.] - Damned right it is. You can break a sweat hacking through the woods, but there’s nothing there to present a challenge. 

[K.T.K.] - Didn’t the last time you encountered some of this challenge put you in a geltank for more than a month? 

[N.T.B.] - At least it wasn’t boring. If there weren’t a war on, what would a man do down there? 

[S.R.A.] - I suppose he’d build a house and plant a garden. 

[N.T.B.] - Eh, I was never much of a gardener, Admiral. 

[D.L.C.] - You should see what happened to the terrarium Captain Mendoza gave him. Everything inside died within two weeks. 

[K.T.K.] - I will make a note in the Admiral’s records that this sort of gift is to be avoided. 

[D.L.C.] - To turn our attention to more important matters, gentlemen, I thought we’d use this time to discuss the war situation. At least as it pertains to the Sagittarius front. 

[S.R.A.] - Yes, that would be far more interesting to your audience than Mr. Brand’s black thumb. 

[N.T.B.] - Black thumb? 

[K.T.K.] - It is an archaic term for someone who cannot care for plants, from an era when such things were far more important. 

[N.T.B.] - Ah. If that is the case, I may have several black fingers. 

[K.T.K.] - That’s not really how it- 

[S.R.A.] - I suppose your audience knows very well by now how successful our operation in the Lee-Hosha system has been. The opposition there was light, and the Marines and Navy contingent were able to secure the spaceport site and surrounding area with few casualties. A few enemy soldiers remain in the hills far south of the operational area, but they are irrelevant to effective control of the planet. 

[D.L.C.] - And this wasn’t just a raid. Confederated troops are staying there. 

[K.T.K.] - That is correct, and we make no secret of it. Lee-Hosha is close enough to Sagittarius Gate that any attack there can be countered by the main body of Seventh Fleet.  

[S.R.A.] - I do not expect an attack on Lee-Hosha. If they have the forces here to overwhelm Seventh Fleet, they will attack us here directly. If they do not, they will limit themselves to fast raids, or leave the place entirely alone. 

[N.T.B.] - That makes sense. You could take out most of the listening posts and supply bases encircling Sagittarius Gate without risking a major battle. 

[S.R.A.] - Indeed. The Incarnation would have to sortie a major fleet element to stop such an attack, and I have seen no evidence that they would risk their cruiser squadrons to save a listening post or a depot world. If I were in their place, neither would I. Very little was invested in any of these places, certainly not enough to devote major fleet elements to save it. 

[D.L.C.] - They’ve been trying to take Sagittarius Gate for years. Why not build one of these depot worlds up into a forward base?  

[S.R.A.] - I prefer not to speculate. 

[K.T.K.] - Fifth Fleet command thinks their engineering elements are mainly focused on reinforcing systens on the other side of the Gap. 

[N.T.B.] - That sounds like as good an explanation as any. They took all those systems over there at great cost and don’t want to just give them away. 

[D.L.C.] - Concentrating them over there leaves Sagittarius exposed. Their home systems -  

[S.R.A.] - Their home systems were doubtless fortified against attack by the Grand Journey or the Kyaroh. The Incarnation is not well liked among its neighbors on this side of the Gap. 

[K.T.K.] - We think this is why they have been invading Kyaroh space recently; they were only content to leave this lesser hostile power alone until it was a hostile power in their rear as they attacked us. 

[N.T.B.] - Those poor Cutters. I had a chat with one before I left for Quickley, and it said they’re getting crushed. 

[S.R.A.] - There’s truth in that, though I don’t doubt the one you talked to exaggerates. They are putting up a real fight, and the more we can make the Incarnation look in this direction, the less forces will be sent to the Kyaroh front. 

[D.L.C.] - We can hope, anyway. 

[K.T.K.] - That is not the primary goal of our operations, but it is at least a positive side-effect. 

[S.R.A.] - The Kyaroh are not a very populous species; they have long lives and reproduce only very slowly. They have been spacefaring for longer than the Incarnation’s presence, but they only ever settled about a dozen worlds. It would not take long for the Incarnation to wipe them out, if that were its only focus. 

[N.T.B.] - Fortunately for our friends the Cutters, we’re the bigger threat right now. 

[S.R.A.] - And I intend to be a very noisy threat at that, but I think I am out of town today. Gentlemen, I must go, I am being summoned on priority channels. 

[D.L.C.] - Thank you for your time, Admiral Abarca. Captain Kempf. 

[S.R.A.] - Always a pleasure, gentlemen.