2948-05-19 – Tales from the Service: The View from Headquarters Part 3
It has been several months since this media company has checked in with members of Admiral Zahariev’s staff in a “View from Headquarters” interview. The inclusion of Bozsi Kirke-Moore in this interview was a last minute decision on the part of the Navy, not a request by Cosmic Background.
This interview was conducted remotely via full-capture transmission, and its participants are listed below.
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.
C.S.D. - Colonel Carolina Durand is the Naval Intelligence attaché to Admiral Zahariev.
B.K.M. - Captain Bozsi Kirke-Moore is a former pirate who has experience with asymmetric warfare in the Coreward Frontier, serving as an adviser to Admiral Zahariev. His rank is provisional, as he has never held it in Navy service prior to his recent appearance on the Fifth Fleet staff.
[D.L.C.] Once again, thank you for taking time to talk to us, Colonel Durand.
[C.S.D.] Mr. Chaudhri, It really is no trouble. Your company has been a very positive player in the media front of this conflict; Admiral Zahariev and the rest of the fleet staff appreciate what you are doing to put human faces and voices on the cost of this war, and how you do it in a positive way. Too many outfits either make light of the losses we face, or use these losses to advocate defeatism.
[N.T.B.] There are a lot of dirt-huggers in media, and they don’t have anything like the right perspective to cover the Frontier. That includes Duncan here, sometimes. But Colonel, we aren’t going to pretend things out here are all starshine and haloes just to get interviews.
[C.S.D.] Don’t get the wrong idea, Mr. Brand. The Navy is not in doubt about the final outcome of this conflict, but we share the concerns about the short term outlook you expressed in a vidcast episode last week. Speak your mind, whatever it is, and I’ll still sit down to chat once in a while – we only take issue with people exaggerating our challenges to push crisis narratives.
[D.L.C.] And Captain Kirke-Moore. You haven’t spoken with us before, because until a few weeks ago you were lounging in the sun of a tropical coastline. I know this isn’t the first interview you’ve done since coming out of retirement, but hopefully this will be something different.
[B.K.M.] I suspect it will be, Mr. Chaudhri. I am told your text feed piece on my coming out of retirement focused entirely on the experience of the mercenaries sent to retrieve me.
[D.L.C.] It did, yes.
[B.K.M.] Good. If excessive publicity was good for a pirate’s health, I wouldn’t have retired.
[N.T.B.] I’ve seen five different interviews where you were asked how Admiral Zahariev was able to bring you out of retirement. The drama-hounds never stopped to ask why Fifth Fleet wants your advice in the first place.
[B.K.M.] It is a fair question. Reneer knows I spent almost twenty-five years fighting the Navy here on the Frontier, back when these stars were wild. Now, these Incarnation chip-heads have the same sort of stretched supply lines the Fleet did in those anti-pirate expeditions. He thinks I can help him exploit that, and if I didn’t agree, I would be back in my retirement bungalow by now.
[D.L.C.] So you’re on as a sort of asymmetric-warfare expert.
[B.K.M.] That is a bit of an antiquated term, but if you like.
[C.S.D.] Mr. Kirke-Moore managed to elude and even defeat large Navy squadrons for decades with a single old cruiser and a bunch of up-gunned civilian hulls. Mainly, we need an effective outsider to challenge the standard Navy approach on the tactical level.
[N.T.B.] After Bodrogi, you’ve got that right. But why him, specifically? Surely there are a few young, adaptable Navy captains who have proved they know how to beat Nate in a stand-up fight.
[B.K.M.] Ah, so you want to know why Reneer pulled this old brigand out of retirement?
[N.T.B.] Damned right. You were the monster in a lot of bedtime stories.
[B.K.M.] Perhaps including your own, Mr. Brand?
[N.T.B.] Er... yes, that's correct.
[B.K.M.] While I have not been told directly, I think the answer is two-fold: convenience, and morale. Convenience, in that I was already in Reneer’s theatre of operations and incapable of political ambitions, and morale, in that the troops will be encouraged by the appearance of a tamed monster doing the bidding of their commander.
[D.L.C.] Tamed monster, Captain Kirke-Moore? Is that how you would really describe your role?
[B.K.M.] I only describe how many will see it. The HyperCast media networks have largely settled on that interpretation already. As for what Reneer will have me do beyond question assumptions, I do not know - he probably knows my capabilities and limitations better than anyone else I never got around to killing.
[C.S.D.] Admiral Zahariev is keeping his plans to himself, but he seems confident that Captain Kirke-Moore is a key part in upcoming operations.
[B.K.M.] He hasn’t yet told me what he has planning either, but I know the man well enough. He’s got a plan, and he thinks it’s a good one.
[D.L.C.] Given that there are at least a hundred thousand Confederated citizens on Adimari Valis and at least that number between a few smaller outposts Nate has captured, the audience will be heartened to hear that the Navy intends to take the initiative.
[N.T.B.] What’s in it for you?
[B.K.M.] Now that is a question the drama-hounds have definitely asked me before, many times. The Admiralty has granted me clemency on all my past crimes, and it is a fitting way to give back to the institution that gave me so much.
[N.T.B.] That’s sure as all hells not it. You were wanted for the past forty years, with one of the biggest bounties in the Reach on your head, and it wasn’t exactly a secret where you were.
[D.L.C.] Nojus, please. We agreed-
[B.K.M.] Mr. Brand, supposing you were right, what else is there for me to want? I have more wealth than I could spend in ten lifetimes, and probably only another decade or so to spend it. Fame and the thrill of the hunt grew dull for me when you were a small child. You are no young man yourself. Perhaps you already feel it? Perhaps by the end of this war you will see what I mean.
[N.T.B.] Perhaps I won’t.
[D.L.C.] Unfortunately, it looks like we don’t have much time left before Nojus and I are called away to record a spot for Ashton’s program.
[C.S.D.] Out of time already?
[N.T.B.] We are?
[D.L.C.] Sadly, yes. Let’s do this another time after you’ve settled into your new role, and you can tell us some things about how you’re shaking up Admiral Zahariev’s tactical doctrine.
[B.K.M.] That does sound like a good idea, Mr. Chaudhri. I’ll contact you after the first time my ideas are tried in combat, and we can discuss how well they worked or didn’t.
[D.L.C.] I think the audience would like that very much.