Entertaining the troops(?)

(Written by Rob Kelk; posted April 19, 2007)

June 6, 2012
7:28 GMT
Space Station Stellvia

"The Boskonians were waiting in ambush again, damn them. That's the third action this week that's gone sour."

"'Gone sour'? Is that what you call the loss of a dozen ships?"

"No, I call the loss of a dozen ships 'a damned shame'. But if we don't do something to plug our information leak, there's going to be a hell of a lot more damned shames."

"... You're right. But how do we find the leak?"

"Simple, my dear. I've discussed this with Haruhi, and she's all for it. We take our radio show on the road."

A few hours later, the Epsilon Blade was on its way to the Belt.

June 6, 2012
17:11 GMT
Between Mars and the Asteroid Belt

Two men, not strangers but not quite friends, stood in their ships' airlocks.

"Do you think this is going to work, Scott?"

"It's the best idea we could come up with back at headquarters, Katz." Noah handed Schrodinger a thick sheaf of papers. "That's the entire plan. We're counting on you to make it work, once I finish my part. Good luck."

"We're going to need it, with this plan. Don't get blown out of the sky."

"You, either. Oh, Sora said to say 'hi'."

June 7, 2012
10:27 GMT
Somewhere in the Belt

Noah closed the briefcase that was cuffed to his wrist and handed a thin sheaf of papers to the only other person in the room. "I'm sure you understand why Haruhi wanted someone to deliver these battle plans in person, Captain."

"Of course, Mr. Scott," replied the Pirate as both men stood up. "We can't take the risk of somebody discovering this before we implement it. But why the delay after assembling?"

For a moment, Noah looked like he'd bitten a lemon. "Haruhi said so."

"And there's no arguing with her, is there?"

"I'm afraid not. Is my people's show over yet?"

"If your time estimate was right, the actors still have seven minutes to perform before the end of the script. You and they should be returning to your ship within a minute of each other."

"Wonderful; we'll be able to make our next stop with plenty of time to spare. Oh, one more thing... I've always wondered: is the name supposed to be 'Harlock' or 'Herlock'?"

The Pirate glared at Noah. "We don't think about that, and neither should you."

June 7, 2012
13:18 GMT

"Now let me introduce you to the main cast of Red Lad: Kohran Li, who plays Red Lad; Lucie Cormier, who plays Miss Maire; and Earl O'Shaughnessy, who plays Dirk Boscome!"

The Dean of the Vesta Institute of Biochemistry closed his office door, giving him and Noah some privacy. "Okay, what's the deal this time?"

Noah opened his briefcase and withdrew a thin sheaf of papers from it. "There's another offensive planned for the day after tomorrow. I doubt that you'll need to worry any more than usual, but if anything goes wrong, I suspect the Professor will bring the casualties here for long-term treatment."

"Damn it, Scott, we're a university, not a hospital!"

"The VIB is the closest thing to a hospital anywhere near the front lines. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but you can't just let people die for lack of prompt treatment, can you?" Noah handed the papers to the Dean.

"I guess not. Say, you're the one who took Swansen and the others to Grover's Corners earlier this year, aren't you?"

"That's right."

"How is she?"

"Leda's doing fine, sir. I'm surprised you remember her."

"She's the best student we've ever had here."

June 7, 2012
22:07 GMT
Somewhere in the Belt

"I never thought I'd ever visit this place," muttered Noah as the airlock cycled.

"We're just lucky they like the show," muttered Yoriko in return. "Otherwise they'd never have let us land."

The airlock opened to reveal a reception area, with three teenagers dressed in their culture's formal outfits. "Welcome to the Village Hidden in the Asteroids, Mr. Scott," said the only female in the team.

"Thank you, miss," replied Noah as evenly as he could. "I don't mean to be rude..."

"Yeah, right," whispered one of the teenaged males to the other.

"...but we're on a tight schedule. If you'd take Ms. Cormier, Ms. Li, and Mr. O'Shaughnessy to the assigned auditorium, they'll be happy to put on a live Red Lad show for your brave fighters. While they're doing that, Ms. Nikaido would like to buy some provisions, and I need to meet with whoever your operational liaison is for Operation Great Justice." Noah held up the briefcase. "In private."

June 8, 2012
3:03 GMT
Somewhere in the Belt

"Yoriko, we're having some trouble deploying this sensor bouy. Should I wake Noah?"

"No, Yayoi, I'm sure that Kohran can handle it."

"I sure can! Give me ten minutes..."

June 8, 2012
10:46 GMT
Somewhere in the Belt

"Thank you for your cooperation in this, Headmaster." Noah closed his briefcase.

"Hogwarts has suffered as much from Reaver attacks as anyone else in the Belt has, Mr. Scott," commented the headmaster as he looked through the papers Noah had given him. "Your people's performance should be finished by now. Are you sure you won't stay for luncheon?"

"I wish we could, but we have a few more stops to make today. We can't keep everyone else waiting, can we?"

"Of course you're correct. But before you go, could I possibly get Ms. Li's autograph?"

June 8, 2012
19:14 GMT
Foundry Hephaestus

"... I hope we won't need your services, but if things go wrong, we'll need some wreckers out there to recover our ships before the Boskonians can rip the weapons out of them."

"I understand, Mr. Scott," replied Hermes. "Please leave the orders from Ms. Suzumiya on the desk; I'll read them later."

Noah did so. "I'm surprised that you even have a desk, let alone an office."

"It's actually Mr. Wiregeek's desk. Please say hello to Ms. Fujisawa for me."

"I will."

June 8, 2012
19:27 GMT
Just off Foundry Hephaestus

"Yayoi, Hermes says 'hello'."

"I wish I could have said hello to her in person."

"I'm sorry, but I need you at the helm at all times when we're this close to the action. But that was out last stop in the Belt; let's go."

June 8, 2012
23:39 GMT
Between Mars and the Asteroid Belt

"We're picking up unscheduled activity near bouy seventeen."

Noah consulted his notes. "That's where we told the Potterites that the task force was gathering. Let Katz know, then call everyone else and tell them the plan's changed."

June 10, 2012
09:26 GMT
Space Station Stellvia

"...and Hephaestus reports that they were able to salvage enough parts and weapons from the Boskonian hulks to build three fighter-class ships. Also, morale is up across the Star Patrol because of the USO tour; we should consider more tours with other acts. The only loose end we have is the exact identity of the Wizarding World double-agent."

Yoriko walked in on the meeting. "Not any more. Katz just called in from Hogwarts; they're going to need a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher."

"What, again?"