The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in sequence.
The first battlefield was The Battle for the Mind. Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue, Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family Business, Jewel’s Place, Shanghaied, First Mark, The Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash Down, The Lake House, Dancing with Egopods, Lunch with Aliens and Kilkian Alignment.
The second battlefield is The Battle of the Hands, Here are the previous episodes in this battlefield Learning to See, Maintaining Common Sense, Meeting Compagno, Unseating Dibolocos, The Journey Homeward, and Ambush on Platinum 9. Today we get Episode 27
Refit, Retrain, and Rethink
Chambers took the ship back to home port outside the capital. After checking orders and finding nothing pressing she dismissed the crew for two weeks shore leave. But she herself stayed on in order to both oversee the repairs and to go through the crew. She planned to have a crew she could trust when she was done, and it was the privilege of a captain to take such an action.
The CDF engineers put a new main drive into the ship and also upgraded most of the weapons. They were hoping that these new weapons would allow them to have more success against pirates. Chambers knew their main problem was not weaponry, but that the nature of the Dibolocos gave them advantages which could only be counteracted by the assistance of the Kilkians.
But she kept this knowledge to herself, at least for now, because the people here looked at the two alien races as much the same. Even the very few who were genuinely aligned with the Kilkian king were not as aware of the true nature of their warfare as she and Jamison. Although every person aligned with the king had a helper assigned to them, most were totally unaware of them.
In fact, the official status of the CDF was that they were not at war. They simply had a large number of pirates to deal with which had successfully disrupted trade at a critical time in the history of the colonies. Because of the inability to trade, society had further dilapidated and the military had taken full control of the government. Furthermore the CDF believed the pirates were random groups which could be Dibolocos led, human led or even led by Kilkians. Chambers understood that the piracy was actually an organized continuation of a secret war by the Dibolocos, but Colofen had advised her against voicing this truth. The people were not ready to believe it.
When the two weeks was nearing completion, Chambers was summoned by the CDF Strategic Command. When she prepared to meet with them Colofen warned her she should expect the meeting to be difficult.
Upon arrival, she discovered that she was the guest of honor at a banquet. She was aware that her victories had been the only success achieved by the CDF. This banquet which was being recorded, would be used as propaganda to help quell the fears of the populace. The CDF was in danger of being overthrown by the anarchy which had overtaken the general population. They hoped to be able to use her story as a success story, which would buy them time in restoring order.
But at the event she was alarmed to discover that a full third of the Central Strategic Commanders, the CSC, were actively aligned with Dibolocos. None were actively aligned with the Kilkians, only her. She was relieved that they did not seem to have any idea what was really going one. But she didn’t understand how she could bring about a unified defense or central government when so much of it was controlled by the enemy.
During the ceremony, she was made aware of several things. One was that she was being given a promotion in rank in addition to being commissioned as captain. The other was that they were moving her from her current command to a heavy cruiser. The CSC had handpicked a crew for her. She would be obligated to use the new crew, a fact which immediately worried her. Her efforts in getting her current crew and ship squared away had been a total waste.
One last fact that surprised her was, that her ship would be equipped with a full communication center. Not for military communications but with equipment used for civilian communication and entertainment. She was made to understand that they expected to continue using her as the primary source for their propaganda. In order to be prepared for this role, they had a couple of days of specific training for her to go through before departure.
During this training time, Chambers began to notice the problems of working in a world that was predominantly controlled by Dibolocos. While the training materials did mention that Dibolocos or humans could be the captain of a pirate vessel, the majority of their energy was in convincing her the Kilkians were the primary culprits. They even put in some suggestions that the Kilkian king might be orchestrating all of the piracy. The training reminded Chamber’s of brainwashing as much as a training event, but she kept quiet and didn’t correct any of the lies at the request of Colofen. Once she and her ship had departed then she would be freer to speak about the truth.
She also learned that her orders would be convoy escort. Along with her heavy cruiser, four light cruisers including the one she had brought home would be in the group. She would have command of all of all of them. On the last day of the training she met the other captains. Captain Bittlesworth was a man actively aligned with the Dibolocos. She was dismayed to make this discovery. Captain Avery was actively aligned with the Kilkian king. She was glad for this and hoped for a chance to speak with him privately in the near future. Captain Dremmer was passively aligned with the Dibolocos, but not particularly loyal to them. In a similar mindset was Captain Corel. He was the first officer who had unselfishly given her the credit for the victories over the pirates they had experienced.
Captain Bittlesworth had expected to be made the group commander and to have the helm of the heavy cruiser. He was a tough looking, handsome and self-composed man. He also gave every indication of wanting to get to know her better. She supposed he planned to charm her based upon his demonstrative attention and overly gentlemanly behavior. She also supposed this meant she would have to watch him the closest.