Later that week, Colonel Becker holds a funeral and honors ceremony, during which she recognizes the boarding party with Silver Stars and issues several promotions – including elevating Janks to Command Sergeant Major and Mitch to Major with a commission to command Normandy. Mitch offers the XO and chief helmsman position to Stella, but she refuses, so he recruits the staff from the Coyote – Faro, Spunkmeyer and Chief Wilson. Though not mentioned in the ceremonies, Jeremy Blake receives a spot on Agamemnon’s memorial wall.
A few more weeks and a few more jumps brings the small fleet finally to New Samarkand – where the meticulously-laid plans of Jameson and Sims come to fruition with hundreds of new recruits fleshing out the ranks and millions of tons of supplies and materiel brought onboard. The Cynae-2 and Marathon-2 also arrive and berth in Agamemnon’s freshly-repaired docking rings.
A sizable fleet has gathered at New Samarkand, including the Texas-class battleships Dire Wolf (Natasha Kerensky’s flagship) and Kojiwa (Admiral Ling’s ship). Kerensky and Ling come aboard for a tour and war council. Becker returns Lev Arris’s sword to Ling, who obviously had a deeply personal relationship with the man.
The tactical discussions bring some facts to the table:
- The Ghost Bear fleet is definitely heading for New Samarkand – the destruction or capture of the planet has always been critical to the invasion plans. If New Samarkand is destroyed, its four billion inhabitants would of course be casualties, but also nearly four trillion people – a measurable percentage of the human race – are dependent on New Samarkand sprawling and highly-efficient farms for food.
- Kerensky has a little information about the green men, who she refers to simply as “Warriors”. She doesn’t have any advice for the dozen incubators the team found on Prinis Prime, as the process of awakening these soldiers upon maturity is a highly-guarded secret.
- Kerensky knew nothing of the Consu or any non-human influence – but she qualifies that by stating that the information flow to the Dragoons from the Clans ended over ten years previously.
- Kerensky confirms that there is only one mass driver, and since it took nearly thirty years to build, it’s highly unlikely that another was constructed since her defection. It’s an extremely simple machine, which will make it difficult to destroy through surgical means.