“They’re cruisers!” Despite his position as Lord Prime Minister of the Third Gleise Monarchy, 3Vonday Ginal sounded as delighted as a child.
At his side, as always, was Captain 4Charl Itawa. Ostensibly the Naval Chief of Staff, S/he was now widely considered the official babysitter of the Prime.
“Well, they used to be cruisers, sir…”
Vonday frowned. “This is the part where you tell me to stop being optimistic again, isn’t it?”
The pair had arrived back in Elsinore Monday morning, Vonday’s cruiser, Varangian, was not only the de facto Parliament building, it was the only combat capable cruiser in the fleet. Increasingly, the business of government was taking over the ship - so much so that Vonday had abandoned his suite and dining room for one of the guestrooms aboard. And that doubled as his office, with a small desk and chairs replacing the typical sofa and entertainment system.
“Don’t ever stop being optimistic sir,” Itawa chidded, “We’ve plenty of pessimists on staff already.”
“Fine, but why are these ‘used to be’ cruisers?” Vonday asked.
“They’re old enough that structural fatigue has set in. Pulse propulsion is hard on a space frame. You can boost the things hard enough to be useful as cargo ships, but not hard enough to keep up with fleet movements. And the cost of refurbishment in time and resources would be enough to buy a new one.”
“Which no one will sell us. Yet.”
Charl observed that hir boss was fond of the word “yet”. It was a symptom of his optimism. But so far, Vonday’s yets were justified. Between 7Hatawe’s convoy escorts and second division’s win against a pair of cruisers, the reputation of 3Gleise’s military was gaining ground among unaligned systems. So much so that they had entered into a lend/lease program with the Trans-Libran Compact, exchanging Marauders and Cerberus fighters for a constellation of stripped and decommissioned cruisers.
“Eyes on the prize, sir. These hulks can be converted to dromedaries in less than a month.”
“I they’re too slow to keep up with the fleet, how much can they help us?”
4Charl took a moment. “They’re massive enough to carry cargo and fighters, sir. They don’t need to be escorted, so it doesn’t matter if they take their tme. Besides,” Charl shrugged with hir hands, “We mainly need them to transport war materiel from Jourdain to Elsinore.”
When Vonday did not respond right away, Charl began to suspect he had asked the question rhetorically.
“Wait a moment,” Vonday said at last, “Neuman once joked that Varangian could hold a destroyer with room to spare, remember?”
Charl blinked, “I remember everything.”
“Yes, yes, you’re a genius. But my point is: Can we turn some of these old cruisers into mobile space docks?”
Vonday smirked, “I’ve surprised you again, haven’t I?”
“Talk to Hilna and Hatawe about Destroyer Tenders, one per DesCon. In the meantime, where are we on negotiating passage through Almani territory?”And just like that, Vonday was off on the next topic, forcing Charl to catch up.