So I left the game on the main screen with Chloe in the background. I came back to her singing a song. She seemed to be just trying to think of the words and softly singing to herself. I love having her back but that was a sad sight. ;~;
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was getting another headache. Trying to explain the M’cratt
strategy to the Combined Clans Strategy Board was beyond frustrating.
The problem was the same one that T’cass had faced for most of her
young life. The Clans war leaders weren’t stupid at all. They
just weren’t Warriors.
T’cass’ three mothers had
been a trade ambassador to the Emperial Triad in the City of Empire
on M’cratt. They had enrolled their kit in K’lass’ School of
All Conflict, the most respected and absolutely the toughest school
of the Warrior’s Way in all of M’cratt space. To everyone’s
surprise, T’cass, a Clan kit, had done very well. She had done so
well that the “civilizing” influence of the Embassy was set at
naught. She was well on her way to becoming a true M’cratt Warrior
when her mothers were recalled to Clan Space.
Nobody that she had found in Clan
Space had wanted to become friends with the intense, Warrior’s
Knife carrying T’cass. She simply didn’t think like a Clanner.
When Lezon Treh K’lass had
begun to lead the M’cratti advance on Clan Space, nobody took it
seriously until it was far too late. They were waiting for the
Treaty Commission to act against the Empire. It didn’t act.
could have told them why. She had tried to, in fact. What she’d
said fell on deaf ears. The Clans had written that treaty and they
knew what it said. They thought.
knew better. The translation had been bungled by skilled linguists
who had failed to grasp one simple fact. It was impossible to say
peace in M’cratt. The concept didn’t exist in the language. The
Treaty Commission, limited to enforcing the treaties written by
others, did know the correct reading and waited for a
violation. There had been none yet.
The war had
changed part of T’cass’ problem. Her talents in a fighter had
proven to be past extraordinary. Her past let her know how the enemy
thought and would react. Her fighter wing’s amazing record had
brought her to the attention of the Strategy Board. They had
recruited her for her talents.
The deal that she had struck left
her in the pilot’s seat of her fighter when there was action. They
were between engagements at present. It was terribly difficult to
get the admirals of the Clans to listen to her. They were such
straightforward beings. Their skills were nearly useless when facing
an unorthodox and wily Warrior like Lezon Treh K’lass.
grip on herself, T’cass pointed into the holographic chart again.
Exasperated, she tried to show the admirals what was so obvious to
her. Using a light pointer to illustrate what she was saying, she
tried again to say, “Lezon’s fleet is going to hit us here,
Admiral Lusan snorted, laying her ears back into her mane. “They
will have to fight their way past R’iggin and D’far. Those
fortress systems will slow them down for weeks at least! Besides,
they will need time to lick their wounds after the defeat I gave them
the ignorance of war that she was hearing, T’cass asked, “What
defeat, Admiral Lusan? They drew you far out of position for
defending K’stall and lost only a few ships doing it!”
Lusan did not like the implication that her victory, broadcast as
such all over Clan Space, had been less than complete. Eyes slitted
in rage, fangs bared, she snarled, “The M’cratt fled the field in
disarray!” She slapped down a scouting report on the M’cratt
retreat. “There’s your proof!”
“Yes,” said T’cass, picking
up the report. “They all fled on vector 07.334, 45.680, 123.935.
What’s out that way from C’ustance?”
Admiral F’rufan wrinkled her
brow in thought and actually studied the chart. “I see. There’s
a singularity in that direction, right there.” Her light pointer
highlighted the black hole. “Perhaps we can catch them while they
re-group around it. Nasty business, fighting in that sort of gravity
well, but we’ll have the advantage of a position further out, in
“A good start,” said T’cass
encouragingly. “Just feed these scouting reports into the computer
and project them into the chart. Get a scale for the region so that
it just includes K’stall.”
In moments the Strategy Board as
a group were looking in dismay at a disaster unfolding. The
‘disaray’ of the M’cratt fleet had put them into a carefully
planned order based upon the mass and acceleration abilities of each
ship. As the ships whipped about the singularity under power they
would come out at the enormous velocity of 54C. Gravity slingshoting
packed the enemy into a tight formation aimed unmistakably at
K’stall, leapfrogging right past the fortress systems.
Facing reality, Admiral Lusan
asked, “What could be worse than this? We are light years out of
position and can’t even get the main fleet there in time. Once
K’stall falls, R’iggin and D’far will be cut off. The Central
Fleet will be lost along with them.
“They will only need a battle
group coming in from the direction of C’ustance while their main
fleet comes back from K’stall.”
T’cass looked doubtfully at the
chart and said, “Lezon could do that, of course, but why? Just six
months cut off from resupply will weaken both the fortress systems
and the Central Fleet. They could then be safely taken out by a few
Talon carriers. It’s M’onafar that we need to worry about.
“M’onafar is not that far
from K’stall and it has several gas giants in tight orbits for
planets of their type. There are other tactical nightmares, besides.
If it wasn’t such a perfect refueling and slingshoting point for
all of the Combine Worlds, it would be classed as valueless. Nearly
all of the trade to or from the Outer and Frontier worlds passes
through that system. From M’onafar, all of the Combine Worlds of
the Clans will be in striking range. If we lose M’onafar, we have
lost the war.”
F’rufan scratched gently along her right fang as she thought.
Nodding, she said, “I think that I see what T’cass is driving at.
What can we marshal at K’stall? We can strip the defenses
of the fortress systems. They’re not in particular danger now.
What else? K’stall is mainly a supply depot and refit center.
What’s in their repair inventory that can fight?”
meaning to, T’cass once again showed that she was at least several
jumps ahead of the pride and already on the prey’s back. “They
have a system siege unit that is up to full power in all combat
systems. One of it’s four main engines is still at only sixty five
percent output. There are two fighter carriers, one just refitted
but not yet assigned, and the other has hull damage but is fully
battle ready for short range work. There are nineteen moon or orbit
based heavy tachyon batteries of twelve to forty megatons per second
output, and an old interstellar signal laser that is still fully
fortress systems, we can pull thirty seven fighters, a light cruiser
and the Fleet Operations dreadnought C’aliban. This battleship
that we are on can get there in time to be of use as well.”
She laid out a sheaf of papers on
the operations table and began to hand them about. “This is what I
thought that we could do with them. It is a controlled holding
action with a retreat to M’onafar to reinforce the Main and Central
fleets already there.”
Admiral Lusan cocked her head and
asked curiously, “If the Central fleet can’t get to K’stall in
time to help, how can it possibly get to M’onafar? That’s an
even greater distance. Also, how do you plan to get the Main fleet
there? It is going be needed to defend the Combine Worlds.”
Bluntly, T’cass pointed out,
“If M’onafar falls, the Main fleet will be functionally helpless
as a defensive unit. Because of that, it will be best employed as a
battle force at M’onafar.”
Ears lowered almost into her
mane, T’cass said softly, “We must break Lezon’s advance or the
best course for the Combine Worlds, indeed for all of the Clan Space,
T’cass’ ears cocked back up
to a jaunty angle as she said, “As to getting the fleets there, we
steal a page from Lezon. The Central fleet must boost for the
singularity with all power. Each ship can choose its best course for
M’onafar rather than trying to get together as a fleet after the
singularity. Optimum use of the singularity’s gravitational well
should get even the slowpokes up to 60C. Nobody even tries to go to
K’stall. With deceleration time and the enemy’s lead, that
battle will be over before any help can possibly arrive. Both of our
fleets will get to M’onafar first, though. That’s what counts.
“The Main fleet can just
advance from their present positions and get there in plenty of
Guessing the answer already,
Admiral F’rufan observed, “I see that you have a lot of other
papers there. Strategic and tactical analyses?”
“Yes,” said T’cass quietly,
laying out papers. She didn’t understand why she felt somehow
ashamed for being right.