Admiral’s Fall – Sneak Peek Chapter 5
I’m going to be too busy for most of the rest of the week to post the sneak peek chapter so here you go. Let the cursing begin!
Chapter: Isaak Plots and Schemes
First Isaak crumpled the plastic flimsy in his hand and then he tore it to shreds.
“He won. He actually won,” Isaak yelled with rage as he threw the flimsy into the trash receptacle beside his desk with a thump. “Worse he is squatting on the largest collection of hulls since 4th Easy Haven or even bigger as I sit here twiddling my thumbs!”
Jason Montagne was supposed to lose. He was supposed to die. He was supposed to die losing and do everyone the credit of getting on with their lives.
How was he supposed to negotiate a peace settlement now? Jason Montagne had just ruined and in the process put himself in an unassailable position. As long as the young Montagne had those hulls…
Unfortunately there was no way to get the New Confederation’s hands on them, meaning his Isaak Newton’s hands. It was a shame and a travesty that at this point in the course of things even the Speaker for the Grand Assembly of the New Confederation itself didn’t dare take direct action against the Grand Admiral of the Grand Fleet of the Spineward Sectors.
If he, Isaak, dare not move against him then no lesser personage could be goaded into taking action against the Grand Admiral either.
In short the Governor of Sector 25 and Speaker for the Grand Assembly of the Spineward Sectors was fit to be tied.
That’s when there was a chime at the door.
“I’m busy,” he barked.
The door chimed again.
“Not interested whatever it is!” he shouted mashing down the intercom button and holding it.
“It’s me,” said his Policy Advisor, “you’re going to want to hear this.”
For a several seconds Speaker Isaak considered strangling the top political wheeler and dealer among his direct subordinates before re-mastering his temper.
“Come in,” he said sullenly.
His balding and grey haired counterpart from their time together and in the early days of the provisional sector assembly or rump government as it had been known to some walked unhurriedly into the room.
“This had better be good because right now I’m considering assigning you to monitor sewage processing numbers for the next quarter.
“My how we have grown testy as our political star has waxed high,” smirked Policy.
“I have the form right here,” Isaak said activating his computer, “and what good is all that power if I am completely constrained from doing one of the very few things I need in order to survive this office?”
“Send me to process reports at a sewage processor and you’ll never hear the most interesting new I have to tell you. I promise it will lift your spirits,” said Policy.
“I highly doubt that but please do tell,” Isaak said rolling his eyes.
Policy promptly pulled out a portable jammer and placed it on his desk after activating it.
“It’s like this. I was standing near Norman Watts,” started his grey haired advisor.
“Who?” Isaak asked sharply.
“The daily speaker from Sector 22 the computer selected to go out and roll over for the ‘Grand’ Admiral during his last visit. He’s an ineffective idiot, no one of any important,” said his Advisor with a sharp smile.
“Go on if he’s not important than why-?” Isaak prompted.
“It’s not him but his fellow assemblyman from sector 22 I overheard speaking to that you’re going to want to meet,” advised Policy with an intent expression, “they were talking about warships. Whole fleets of them… back home.”
Isaak sucked in a breath.
Twenty minutes later an Assemblyman from Sector 22 the Speaker had never seen nor heard of before stepped into the room.
“Your man of affairs indicated the Esteemed Speaker of the Assembly wished to engage in discourse with me?” asked a man in robes and a head wrap that must have been traditional garb back on his homeworld.
“Discourse… yes, I suppose I do,” Isaak said smoothly moving past the odd word choice without missing a beat. He assessed the man in front of him through narrowed eyes before finally feeling like he’d got a bead on him.
A professional diplomat or low level politician of some kind thrust into power as so many of his ilk, the assemblyman appeared reserved yet interested and slightly impressed at being granted an audience with the top politician in the Spineward Region.
“Speaker?” the average sized brown skinned Assemblyman from Sector 22 asked. Deciding the man was just a little too average to be the bland politician he portrayed himself to be the Speaker silently pegged him as a mid-to-high level fixer back on his home planet.
Feeling like he had a basic measure of the man Isaak nodded finally decisively.
“Let me be blunt. Right now I’m interested in a mutually beneficial arrangement between my Sector and your world, Grand Assemblyman,” said Isaak.
The other man looked at him with consternation.
“I’m afraid I’m already a member of my sector’s main faction and I cannot pledge to join or support you block if that’s what this is about, Speaker,” the Grand Assemblyman said with regret.
“While I’m always stumping for votes that’s not the issue today,” Isaak smiled still wanting a better feel for the man before proceeding.
“I have a number of legislative initiatives that my government would be more than willing to work with you on-” the other man started.
“Do you know what’s the biggest threat to the Spineward Sectors, Grand Assemblyman?” asked Isaak.
The other man’s eyes narrowed.
“The Empire and Grand Admiral Montagne,” Isaak said cuttingly.
The other man opened his mouth and then closed it looking down. When he looked back up at the Speaker it was almost as if Isaak was looking at a completely different man.
“What do you need, Mr. Speaker?” the other Politician asked looking at him directly, the barest hint of a smile on his face.
“The empire I can deal with one way or the other but Montagne is insane. He’s a rabid idealist who would rather go down fighting than reach a reasonable accommodation. If things continue like they have he’ll die and we’ll all be strung up by the neck,” said Isaak.
“All of us or just you, Speaker Newton?” asked the other man.
“Considering he’s taken to using biological weapons of mass destruction, Bugs, I think it’s safe to say I won’t go alone” Isaak said pulling out a new flimsy and tossing it onto the table, “go head. Take a look. The latest reports from the Black Purgatory.”
“We could all be implicated,” Isaak added as the other man continued read.
The Sector 22 Representative’s lips made a thin line after he finished reading and looked up.
“Why not simply dismiss the man, assign him to another part of the sector or promote someone over him? Grand Admiral Manning appears to have the loyalty of a sizable contingent inside our Grand Fleet,” observed the Grand Assemblyman, “it sounds as if the battle was won. Would it not be possible to simply arrest Grand Admiral Mongne?”
“Forgetting the fact we sent him out to win against impossible odds and he actually pulled it off? The Grand Assembly of the Spine would never go for it,” snorted Isaak, “there’s also the little fact he’s constantly surrounded by his own loyalists and his own Patrol Fleet would rebel if other units in the grand fleet tried to move against him.”
“Then of course there is my own history with the man. He trusts me… not at all,” said Isaak.
“It seems you have yourself a problem then,” advised the Assemblyman.
“We have a problem,” Isaak insisted, “right now the Empire’s on the run in the spine but fortunes change as quickly as this,” he snapped his fingers, “and they will make no distinctions if they put us in front of a tribunal and we failed to immediately disavow the man.”
“I’m not hearing any good solutions here,” the 22nd Sector Assemblyman said after a moment, “since technically he’s an allied officer and not in any way a part of this government we could always argue we had no power over him.”
“Do you honestly expect the Empire to accept that?” asked Isaak.
“No. But how sure are we that our defeat is inevitable,” said the Assemblyman.
Isaak Newton bestowed a withering look.
“If the empire wasn’t engaged in a war we’d already be singing the imperial anthem. But Wars end and with the old Confederation looking the other way all they have to do is send fleet after fleet. Even if we had five years to prepare and a fully functional government we couldn’t stop them,” said Isaak.
“So a peaceful settlement of some sort is a must,” said the other man.
“Which brings us back to Montagne,” said Isaak.
“So send him home with an official protest and disavow him as quickly and as thoroughly as possible,” said the Grand Assemblyman.
“In the middle of a campaign? You read the same report I did,” Isaak said closing shut the trap he’d been laying.
“We may have won the battle but sizable chunks of the old confederation fleet escaped,” agreed the Assemblyman.
He took a deep breath.
“Dismiss him from the Fleet and order him back to Tracto immediately,” said the man from Sector 22.
“The Grand Assembly would never go for it unless…,” Isaak trailed off suggestively.
“Would the calculation change if you knew my people had been gathering a sizable relief fleet?” asked the Grand Assemblyman.
Isaak silently scoffed. His sources indicated his world had assembled a sizable fleet for the defense of their Sector and they originally intended to only send a small portion of it to reinforce the Grand Fleet of the Spine.
“You have enough ships to replace the Tyrant and the Multi-Sector Patrol Fleet,” Isaak asked eagerly.
“Why you insist using that derogatory name both here and in the media to denigrate the Grand Admiral is one of the things I find hardest to understand about you people,” the Grand Assemblyman said crossly.
Isaak immediately backed off.
“I may not be the most impartial when it comes to the Montagnes but look it up. His people have a history of leaving nothing but carnage and destruction in their wake,” he said.
There was a pregnant silence.
“So,” Isaak put out there, “just how many warships are you able to commit to replacing Jason Montagne and saving all of our necks.”
The Grand Assemblyman rubbed his chin.
“My homeworld is a leading member of a block of, concerned, star systems and half of that fleet was intended for our sector guard,” said the other man.
“This is no time get stingy,” advised Isaak.
The Grand Assemblyman nodded sharply.
“Alright I’ll advise my world to send that fleet on my authority. The first contingent of our ships should arrive at Black Purgatory within two weeks,” he said.
“That fast!” Isaak’s eyes widened with surprise and growing alarm. Then he leaned forward, “how many?”
The Assemblyman smiled.
“If can commit to one hundred warships fifteen of them battleships to start, more than enough to replace the battle damaged survivors of the MSP with fresh warships from Sector 22. A month after that, if they agree with my recommendation, we could see as many as another fifty warships joining the Grand Fleet in this Sector,” said the Assemblyman.
Isaak’s brows went up. That would be a godsend on so many levels. It was good. Really good but was it too good to be true?
“But you have to understand something,” warned the Assemblyman, “these ships would be from a divided command. My world is merely the first among equals. They listen to us generally speaking but each contingent would have its own chain of command and homeworld to answer to and I don’t have the authority for a long term commitment. That would have to be ratified back home.”
“It’s agreed then. You’ll send your ships and I’ll replace the Tyrant as soon as they arrive,” he said.
“Replace him immediately,” the Assemblyman said sharply, “if what you said is true there’s no room for hesitation here. The empire gets so much as a whiff we tolerated the use of Bugs in space warfare you and I are dead. Admiral Manning will just have to muddle through until Sector 22 reinforcements arrive.”
“After all your reports did say they broke the back of the Confederation Fleet and sent them running like dogs,” he continued.
Isaak looked at the other man uneasily but he couldn’t very well back out and say things really weren’t as dire as he’d originally proposed. This was a risk.
“Alright,” he said with a hard look, “but I’m counting on you. Don’t mess this up.”
The Grand Assemblyman shook his head.
“What? You disagree,” he demanded.
“Not so fast. If my people are going to stick our necks out for the New Government we want a seat at the table. For starters there are certain legislative initiatives that have been held up in committee by members of your caucus,” the other man said with a smile.
“We can start with that legislation,” Isaak said easing back in his chair, “you’ll get your seat as soon as you’re ships arrive.”
“This is a significant commitment of time, resources and warships. I want an immediate seat on the War and Steering Committees,” said the other man.
“Armed Forces is fine but the Steering Committee is out of the question,” he said.
“How about a non-voting seat for now to be upgraded to a full member once our fleet is integrated into the Grand Fleet,” said the Assemblyman.
“Under Grand Admiral Manning’s command,” Isaak said pointedly.
The two men shook hands.
“I never did catch your name,” said Isaak.
“My people call me Raipur Rajputan. Monsignor Raipur Rajputan,” the Grand Assemblyman said with a smile.
This was a risk and a big one at that but it might also be the one last chance he had to eliminate Jason Montagne. Confederation politics was already swinging the other way and the MDL and Border Alliance Factions were growing entirely too chummy of late. This victory at Black Purgatory was only going to embolden them.
He had to move before he lost his own head, politically and possibly even literally. If Montagne managed to leverage this stunning victory into public and political capital Isaak could kiss his speakership goodbye.
No this was it. The only solution. Jason Montagne had to go, now, and Sector 22 would fill the gap. Better a cross sector alliance with 22 than a position as minority leader and eventual prosecution when they found out just how badly he’d abused his office.
The Deposed King