Measure twice…

deWulf Naval High Command, 43rd Floor
Office of Strategic Planning
City of Lowell, Fenris
deWulf Corporate Democracy

“It’s one thing for us to go and make these pronouncements, but it’s another thing to actually have to organize this.. this…”

Senior Lancer Hayes groaned as he looked at the current list of active units. Strategic Planning was still being spun up into a full department, which meant that the assigned staff was best described as “catastrophically insufficient”. Given how grudgingly Strategic Planning had been approved, more established departments were proving loathe to give up any staff, nevermind qualified staff. It was eventually planned to fill out the department with transfers from the fleet as it headed into mothballs, but that would be then. And this was now. Which was why something as critical as fleet reorganization had been left to someone with as lowly a rank as Senior Lancer (ed. Senior Lieutenant). And why the only two fenren in the entire office were himself and his commander, PackMaster Janeth Heinrichs.

“This mishmash of corporate sponsorship and panic construction?” opined Heinrichs.

“One way of putting it, yes.”

“So what do we have, then?”

Senior Lancer Hayes leaned back in his chair, joints squeaking as he reclined. “Our navy is top-heavy. Very top-heavy. We have virtually no escort or screening forces. Nothing to handle standard customs patrol, and only a few units for convoy escort or orbital security. There are a few cruisers that can function as the core of a local nodal force, but that’s it. Our carrier numbers are better… We can put together a few complete nodal task forces for carriers, maybe even have some spares.”

He leaned back a bit further, the chair protesting as he looked up at the ceiling. “Our battle line is very solid. Twenty battleships, four fleet carriers, and a good backstop with the seven Sieg-class siege dreadnoughts. An excellent hammer for cracking eggs, if you don’t mind pieces of shell in the scramble.”

The chair groaned as Hayes moved back into something resembling proper posture at a desk, cycling through worksheets before settling onto a breakdown of everything he’d had to dig through. “Fortunately the organizational system for most of those units are pretty straightforward. The Sintillans had a pretty good organization plan for their light carriers, so there’s no reason we can’t just steal it wholesale. Most of our other units are straightforward; build up a single datagroup and bam. Squadron.”

PackMaster Heinrichs pulled over an empty chair over, taking a seat near the frustrated Lancer. Everything that he had said was correct; years of war and two failed assaults on the Elysian capital had naturally shifted the balance of the fleet to ever larger, more durable platforms. Even battleships weren’t quite proof against the kind of fire a well defended planet was capable of. And Elysium had been very well defended.

“So what’s next?” Heinrichs’ question was soft, but her words sliced to the crux of the matter.

“Well…” pondered Hayes “Next thing would be to work out a refit schedule for the ships that we’re keeping. Which is most of them. But for that we’ll need our Ship Design Bureau liaison. I’m sorry Janeth, but I’ve been in enough meetings with Kobetsky. If we start suggesting rebuild programs ourselves, she’s liable to reject them on sheer principle. So until our liaison arrives…”

A voice called out across the cubicle farm from the lift bank “Hello? Is anyone there?”

Janeth couldn’t help but smile. “Speak and they shall answer.” The PackMaster leaned back in her own chair before calling out in reply “Far side, near the windows!”

The sound of rapidly approaching steps echoed through the cubicle farm, the two deWulf officers tracking the sound as it wound its way through the maze of desks to the side where they were. Both of their eyes opened fractionally as they watched a Sintillan in deWulf Corporate Navy uniform round the final corner, halting with machined precision in front of them both.

“Master Lancer Razina Denisov, Ship Design Bureau. Reporting as ordered.”

The Sintillan held a salute with her right hand, the left offering a single page to the PackMaster. On it were the terse words that every transfer was made of. PackMaster Heinrichs looked over at Hayes with a wry smile “You’ve only been in one meeting with Kobetsky” as she took the letter.

“With all respect, one meeting is two too many.” Razina’s words were unexpected, but they brought a sharp laugh from Hayes.

That comment brought a thin, but warm smile from Heinrich’s muzzle. “So what brings you to this new and barely-wanted department?”

Razina settled into a spare seat, relaxing as she saw her commanding officer was as informal as she had expected. “Promotion prospects, naturally.” Heinreich motioned for her to continue. “I signed on as contract worker initially. Back when the yards were being expanded with… recovered components.” It was hard not to make a reference to the fact that half of Mittelspannung had come from Sintilla’s former shipyard. “Kobetsky offered me a commission when she saw I knew what I was doing. Moved through a few different teams, but it was mostly lateral movement. More responsibilities but-” she tapped her shoulder board “no more stripes. So a new department, especially one forming from scratch? Plenty of chances to move up the ladder. I’ll at least make Hunter, maybe even PackHunter if I’m lucky.”

Heinrich saw the gleam in Master Lancer Razina Denisov’s eye. It was one she’d seen often enough in her own. Yes, she had that drive to get where she wanted to go. Definitely a Pack’s stripes in her future if she kept going with this much energy.

“Well, the reward for competence is more work, I’m afraid. Senior Lancer Hayes here has more or less worked out what the organizational structure should be, but for us to work out the refit schedule, we need to have an idea as to what the refits will be like. You wouldn’t happen to have any friends over in Ship Design, would you?”

Razina showed that she wasn’t the only one who could have a lean and hungry grin. “I just might…”

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