Last Measure of Devotion (TCOTU, Book 5) (This Corner of the Universe)
enough,
although understandably surprised at the news that the fleet commander would
not only be directing the actions of the fleet but also the fleet’s flagship. 
Heskan had reviewed Cottineau’s naval record thoroughly before coming aboard
and was satisfied with what he found.  The Seshafian had seen action in two
battles involving IaCom.  Starting with the more distant one, nearly a decade
ago, IaCom and AmyraCorp had allied together to fight against Unadex.  It was
that battle that cemented Admiral Cooke’s place in history by outmaneuvering
the opposing Unadex line ships and “crossing the spacial-T” with predictably catastrophic
results for the enemy.  Until that momentous day on 0921.987, no fleet had
successfully accomplished the decisive maneuver in over a generation of war. 
Even Unadex ship captains had blinked their running lights in salute to Cooke’s
incredible display of spacemanship.  Back then, Cottineau had been a mere
sub-lieutenant witnessing history from behind a weapons panel.  More recently,
Cottineau commanded the snow, Tigre , in Seshafi’s defensive action
against IaCom two years ago.
    In
that skirmish, Cooke specifically cited Cottineau’s bravery in fighting his
ship to a second pass despite “fierce and most distressing damage received in
the first tilt.”  Heskan had casually discussed Cottineau’s capabilities with
Captain Nguyen, who himself captained the brig, Hawk , during that
engagement.  Everything pointed to a sailor with the capacity to step in and
command Dioscuri if Heskan needed to focus on the fleet.
    “The
latest delivery gives us a full complement of Javelin Nines, exactly what Sade
will have,” Cottineau added.  “Those missiles have a speed of point four-four-C
with close to forty-five light-seconds worth of endurance.”
    “Slow,”
Heskan muttered, “and with very short legs.”
    “We
don’t want the Javelins flying too far and accidentally locking on to a
civilian ship and any missiles that can move faster would take up too much
space in our magazine,” Cottineau explained.  “Besides, they’ll be going
roughly three times faster than their target and even if they don’t hit, they’ll
draw fire away from us.”
    Heskan
grunted an acknowledgment as he stepped onto Dioscuri’s bridge.  Like
all space-vessel compartments, it was “just big enough.”  No one called the
bridge to attention—that had been Heskan’s first standing order after assuming
command.  Instead, Dioscuri’s second officer, Peyton Gentry, greeted the
duo with a friendly, “Sirs.”
    Heskan
acknowledged with a nod while waiting for Dioscuri’s weapons section
commander to vacate the captain’s chair.
    “Ship
status, WEPS?”
    Gentry
smiled at the moniker as she moved toward her station.  “Green across the
board, Captain.  She’s ready for full operations.”
    Although
a Seshafian native might have disagreed, the rush to Dioscuri’s operational readiness had proceeded with measured order.  The line ship’s newly
installed captain had seen far greater, and more frenetic, pushes to achieve
combat readiness in freshly launched naval ships.
    CDS
Dioscuri was now
the pride of Seshafi.  A full, “triple-decker” second-rate line ship massing 8,430
tonnes, she boasted excellent defenses and state-of-the-art weapons.  Like all
modern line ships, her armament was concentrated solely on her starboard beam
or “battle face.”  The proud ship’s four missile emplacements could salvo a
quartet of missiles every forty-five seconds starting at a range of 45 ls . 
These weapons alone ensured that nothing massing less than another line ship
would dare sail against her.  Two enormous dorsal turrets resided atop her
third deck to comprise the heft of her directed-energy punch.  Each massive
turret housed twin Federation Maclex heavy lasers.  For the inevitable knife
fights common to corporate warfare, the line ship supplemented her four heavy
lasers with three

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