Excerpt from the Utan Migration Wars, a novel I’m currently writing.

Part 2 Chapter 3

High Admiral Gil Colin Graham was stuck in the past. It was only briefly, though. He didn’t dwell in the past, normally. But this was a momentous occasion. He needed his memories, everything he learned at the academy, on the field and in the air. The reflexes he honed over the years needed to come back to him. He willed himself not to fidget. Too many powerful people were around him. He ignored them as best he could. They were watching his every move. Was he fit to command again? Every fiber of his being told him yes, but they weren’t him.

To his right was his wife, she was giving the silent support, and was an excuse to occupy one arm with one of hers. His other held a Xaio Sphere, feeding him readings about the new capital ship. He concentrated on it, occasionally looking up. His daughters were no where to be seen, having their own tasks. Behind him, his two body guards stood at attention. There would be no attempt on his life today, but appearances! Appearances!

“My Lord Graham.” Official titles, but not full name, a low-level functionary representing¬† a war bureau-advocate of some repute. “We would like to know, how do like her?” He meant the ship. The party stood in front of a giant glass window. Outside was the ship itself, being fitted with new pieces of armor. The skeleton was done, and the weapons ready. The hangers were full of fighters and riders, specially designed for combat in the tumultuous Fifth Swell. Finishing touches to be had.

“I find her very good, War-Bureau-advocat. An excellent example of the new innovations brought on by the War with the Estellion Sky Empire. She will be our greatest ship.” He heard some grunts of approval. He hoped. “Likely, we’ll not see action right away. This will be best used in large fleet battles and in occupations.” Some polite chattering.

“When can you expect action then, High Admiral?” This one was a noble, House Teradoc? The inflection was familiar. No small fry. “Supposedly, there’s going to be action around the sky island of Cocoon, not to mention the strange things our spies are reporting. Maybe a punch up for the throne they say?”

Graham wasn’t a master of political controversy. He was an Admiral, let the Bureau-advocats worry about the politics. “Yes, I’ve heard that too. I don’t particularly care for it. One thing that you should remember, is that things too perfect are. I’ve never fallen into an obvious trap like that before. I will, however, show up if the Pillar Alliance demands it.”

The Teradoc muttered. “Ordered around by those children… GIRLS” No one said anything. It wasn’t the sexism of the comment. They all agreed, the Pillars were being uppity, forgetting why they could even invade the expanse of Estellion. Why in the world were barely out of adolescent females ordering experienced admirals like Gil or Witha the Handsome of Jaedinar about? The Teradoc snorted again.

Major Alexia Graham, wife of the Admiral, chimed in. “We’ve got plenty of supplies with us. Our troops will be able to start up humanitarian missions and propaganda campaigns. Several sky islands (‘least amount of all nations,’ spat the Teradoc) under our control have begun to open up to us. I believe that Mistress Marcia Delphine will be coming with us to assist Admiral Neon Grendel in the treaty with Mechanburg. Also, several members of house Teradoc will be joining us to govern the various conquered Sky Islands.”

The Teradoc shifted, reminded of his duty, and became respectful. “My apologies for my outburst, Lady Major Graham.” Typical Teradoc style, flash bang then remorse. That was the Valkyrie blood talking, really. ‘Lady Major Graham’ turned and smiled at him with her eyes closed. Graham’s one vice turned her attention back to the ship, and by proxy, her husband.

Another official shouldered through. He came from the War-bureau of Intelligence and Logistics. He bore with him a Solid Storage Stick bearing the route that Graham would take to Estellion. He plugged it into his Xaio Sphere. “Are you sure, War-Bureau Advocat.”

“Yes, Lord High Admiral Gil Colin Graham. There is some politics that we should not discuss here. My superior sends regards, and requests, for reasons you will find in a folder on the SSS, that you follow it to the letter.” The official bowed and left. Admiral Graham saw no reason to doubt the veracity of the SSS. He grunted and turned back to his brooding. The murmur behind him settled. The Teradoc was arguing about whether or not he could indeed take a Mobile Armor suit in a fair fight. He said he could. Graham smiled, that guy was likely to go far in Teradoc circles.

A few more questions floated towards him, but he deflected them. It was not his job to take questions. It was his job was to be the admiral and look the part. He did it well. After another half-hour of the banalities and the Teradoc making a fool of himself, he slapped his cap on his head. The sound echoed.

“Lords and Ladies. War-Bureau Advocats and sundry officials. Thank you for coming and asking your questions. I hope that this has been informative.” He removed his limb from his wife’s and turned to them, holding it out in a symbolic, but worthless gesture. “Please watch as I bring glory to the country of Arcadia.” The underlings politely clapped and wished him well. Graham smiled, the sooner he was away from those fools, the better.