Author Topic: Wings of Dawn Lore  (Read 24291 times)

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Offline Enioch

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Oooooh, boy.

How much of a prick is French? Would he let Dyatlov destroy all the infrastructure then leave the system, and leave Dyatlov to be likely crucified by the rest of the Delest?

Yes. If he thought he could get away with it. Which he can't because he has a fleet of witnesses under his command. And also because he's been specifically ordered to bring back loot, not hurt the Delest.

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Would losing the system & all its infrastructure hurt the Delest or the CRF the most? Seems that it'd hurt the Delest far more, their loss vs lack of CRF gain.

Define "hurt". The Delest are facing many problems as a nation, true, but one thing they're not is in debt.

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Dyatlov seems to be offering French nothing in the surrender, so why would he accept it?

Based on what has been said so far? He shouldn't. Which is why I wanted to write a bigger chapter, with more of the negotiating in one place. I will say that Dyatlov will be offering things in the next update.

Then again, this way we can have more speculation :drevil:

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edit: also congrats on your excavation finds!

Thanks! :D
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline niffiwan

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Cool - more speculation is good! So I'm guessing there's got to be some sort of loot handover, and that makes sense as something that Dyatlov can still offer. I was recalling that French was ordered to secure the system intact (to bring in recurring loot), and if Dyatlov took any possibility of that away from French then French has little to lose (ignoring that code of honour thing).

Also - really appreciating the writing, I'd tend not to get so fired up (:nervous:) about a story of lesser quality  :yes:
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Offline Lorric

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It seems to me that the deal will be the CRF takes possession of all the military assets in system. Which while of considerable value isn't enough. But there are other options, the Delest could pay a tribute to the CRF, or the CRF could get a cut of the profits from the infrastructure they want to seize, or even (though I don't think it will happen since it sounded like losing the installations in the belts could cost Dyatlov his career or worse) the CRF become the new owners of all or perhaps some of the infrastructure in the system. So the Delest would still get to keep those installations doing what they're there to do for Terconia and they'd take in tax money from them, but the profits would go to the CRF.

 

Offline Lorric

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(sadly unedited, so mistakes may have slipped through)
I found one on a second reading, but it's a really good one. Your missiles underwent an attitude adjustment instead of an altitude adjustment. But it's fun imagining that meaning that your missiles went into MURDER DEATH KILL mode. :D

Oh, and there's no u in forty.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 02:36:11 pm by Lorric »

 

Offline Enioch

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The former is actually correct; the missiles did adjust their attitude, not their altitude.

Forty, indeed, has no 'u'. Fixed and thanks.
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Lorric

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Never knew such a definition of the word attitude existed. Thanks. So we corrected each other. :)

 

Offline Lorric

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I know there's still a bit of Sunday left, but if we're not going to get another installment this week, I wonder if it would be possible to tell us what Dyatlov's terms are. I understand if you're too busy or want to reveal it when the words come out of Dyatlov's mouth.

 

Offline Enioch

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I know there's still a bit of Sunday left, but if we're not going to get another installment this week, I wonder if it would be possible to tell us what Dyatlov's terms are.



That was a bit harsh (sorry), but it kinda reflects my origina reaction.

In all seriousness, though, I'd be happy to PM you what will be going on, if Spoon is OK with it too; but I will not post spoilers of that extent on the public thread.

Meanwhile, on a relevant but tangential topic, I've just arrived home, after a full week of excavating this here lady's last resting place. Which means that I can start writing again. Rejoice ye faithful, repent ye sinners etc.
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Spoon

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If you want spoilers by PM that is fine, as long as they stay out of this thread.

Meanwhile, on a relevant but tangential topic, I've just arrived home, after a full week of excavating this here lady's last resting place. Which means that I can start writing again. Rejoice ye faithful, repent ye sinners etc.
Did she drop any good loot?
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline Enioch

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Did she drop any good loot?

Heathen. 'Loot' is a parochial concept in modern archaeology (it all belongs in a museum, anyway). :P

She did drop a magnificent miniature black-glazed plate of the early 4th century BC, with her initial (A) engraved on the bottom, though. Right under her skull, it had been placed.

She was also quite short. The grave was merely 140cm long (4 feet 7 inches for those non-metric plebes amongst you). She also had some cavities (poor thing) and (apparently) very delicate feminine features. She seems to have died around her late 30s.
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Lorric

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A PM will not be necessary as I was hoping to spark a discussion here about it. I will wait to find out when everyone else does.

 

Offline Enioch

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Chapter 6, Part 3: Agreement


The Nelson's bridge was a malestrom of confused, chaotic reports and screaming; and French himself felt ill as the reports began to trickle in. R06 and R10 had already been occupied by Royal Marines and them dropping off the comms net nearly simultaneously was a clear sign that they had come under overwhelming attack. It was still possible, if unlikely, that the two facilities had been scuttled by well-hidden charges, but French did not believe it for a second - not after they had had the time to do a proper search. A strikecraft attack, then?

And then the desperate call for help from the Arrow had come in, containing the last piece of the puzzle - and French's blood had run cold.

Subspace-Strike Weaponry was not a novel idea. All major nations had experimented with the concept, some more recently than others; but the end-result prototypes had been deemed too expensive, cost-innefective and inaccurate to be employable in the actual battlefield. They were, after all, comparable in size and cost to a large bomber; and a bomber could offer similar functionality with pin-point precision and not blow itself up in its first engagement. However, if the Delest had solved these problems - if they could reliably employ FTL missile strikes, then that could very well upset the very foundations of modern warfare. And if they could launch a strike like that against his own fleet...

No, his steel-trap of a mind whispered to him, and he grabbed the fear inside and squashed it like a bug. He was the Champion of Arc Victoria, a direct representative of the will of Their Majesties. He would not allow surprise or fear to dictate his actions, especially when that fear was clearly unfounded. If Dyatlov had the option of effectively employing this new weapon against CRF ships, then he wouldn't have bothered with offering surrender.

He would just have blown French and his ships out of the sky.

"Order!" he snarled, and was pleased to see his bridge crew snap to something approaching the discipline he expected of his officers. "Ms. Newark," he told his XO, not taking his eyes off Dyatlov's tired (was that a note of triumph?) face, "you will handle the incoming reports in a disciplined and controlled fashion and you will allow Praetor Dyatlov and me to continue our discussion."

"Aye, Sir," came the response; and French, with an effort of will, tuned everything else out. He brought Dyatlov's signal up into his own private screen and put on his personal headset. At this point, with his bridge crew otherwise occupied, he could handle these oh-so-sensitive negotiations without them looking over his shoulder.

"You have my full attention, Praetor Dyatlov," he said.

Dyatlov's tight, nervous bearing seemed to relax, just a bit - French could see the signs of a man running on fumes. He could, perhaps, make use of that, by drawing the negotiations out, if no agreement could be reached.

"Good," Dyatlov said, meeting French's gaze. "That is good to know. To save both of us time, allow me to lay down my proposed terms and we can settle on things in principle - or not. Details can be hammered out afterwards."

"This seems like a reasonable suggestion," French agreed. "Please, go ahead."

"I propose an immediate end of hostilities in Terconia, with the Dynasty forces admitting total defeat. As we have both acknowledged, there is little I can do to counter your now-crushing military superiority. The system itself and all surviving Delest military assets will remain under Delest control. In exchange, annual war reparations will be paid to New Brittania equal to the total net profit from all remaining orbital and asteroid industrial facilities in the system, for a period of six years. I propose bringing in independent Guild arbitrators to provide us with accurate assessments."

Dyatlov spoke in a well-rehearsed way and part of French's mind ticked his opinion of the man upwards a couple of notches - this was clearly something that the Delest officer had thought about and planned out and not something he had been driven to out of desperation. Most of his conscious thoughts, however, were doing cartwheels around the Praetor's proposal. French took note of his own greed, pushing him to ACCEPT ALREADY, because raking in what amounted to the profits from an entire system's worth of infrastructure without the usual overhead of maintenance, population support and administration costs (not to mention the delays necessary to occupy and refit the facilities for Britannian use) was a spectacular opportunity. And then he sat on that greed and ignored it, for there were considerable problems here as well.

"I see," he said. "In principle, that is an agreement that Arc Victoria could agree with, if only to avoid further bloodshed. However, it is still unclear to me why I should not just attack your forces here and then seize the system in its entirety. Despite your demonstrated capability to perform what I can only assume are targeted subspace strikes, that capability must be quite limited, or you would have employed it against my forces."

French was lying. He knew quite well why he could not afford to press Dyatlov; but he needed to ask the question, simply so he could respond to criticism of his actions back home.

"You are both correct and mistaken," Dyatlov responded with a tired nod. "I still have over fifty subspace missiles on standby, ready to be employed against designated targets. However, they are very expensive munitions, and even with the advanced targeting capabilities at my disposal, they are still highly inaccurate. I cannot justify expending them against mobile targets, or defended installations. And targeting your fleet here would certainly result in the destruction of my own forces from friendly fire incidents."

The Praetor allowed a thin smile to appear on his face for a fleeting moment.

"But, at this point in time, Sir Champion, neither the asteroid facilities in this system, nor the supply station you have established on the Starlance are defended to any meaningful degree. I have refrained from ordering my second strike, in the hopes that an agreement can be reached here and so as to preserve our equipment and the lives of our people. If we fail to reach an agreement, however, my next strike will target your modular shipyards near the starlance. I imagine five warheads will be quite sufficient. And after that, I will drop antimatter warheads onto every civilian orbital installation in the asteroid fields - most have been evacuated beforehand."

"After that I will target the Hōseki orbitals - take out the System Administration Starbases. And after that..."

A tired shrug.

"After that, I'll drop every warhead I have left on this location and blow us both up, along with the Sodesuka shipyards. Clear the board, as it were. I guarantee that Delest reinforcements will arrive in-theatre before CRF forces do, Sir Champion."

"You're mad," French said; and he realised it was true as he said it. Even allowing for a degree of...creative overestimation of the capabilities of the Delest weapon systems, that was a hellish scenario. "They would-" crucify you, he was about to say, and then he remembered that the Praetor had just threatened to commit suicide by antimatter warhead. "You are bluffing," he finally said, rather more weakly than he had wanted.

"My orders from His Imperial Majesty were to retain control of this system for the Dynasty," Dyatlov replied, in a resigned tone that made French's hair stand on end. "Not to preserve my forces, or the civilian infrastructure. Naturally, that would be ideal, but such concerns are secondary. This is a crèche world, Sir Champion, and it cannot be allowed to fall to you. The only way you're getting this system is, very literally, over my dead body and over those of the sailors under my command. And, if, by the end, you're still alive to claim it, it'll be a scorched wasteland, I guarantee you that."

"I understand," French said, and he did. The Delest concept of honour was diametrically opposed to that of the Britannians in many ways, but it existed and he knew better than to challenge a line drawn in the sand by a Delest officer. And, after all, he told himself, the finality in Dyatlov's statements was there for everyone to hear and impossible to deny. This was pure gold from French's perspective - because it limited his options to the very same negotiation route he was so eager to pursue himself.

"You must understand," he said, "that I am not, in principle, against your proposal. However, I have serious concerns regarding its viability. For one, you are a military commander, with minimal political authority; and yet, here you are, making promises on behalf of your government. Are you authorised to do that?"

"No," Dyatlov admitted, bluntly. "But I do not propose that the reparations should be paid by the Delest government. Instead, they will be paid by the local system authorities and, by extension, the Delest family Branches that hold the most sway over Terconia. As I have been repeatedly reminded since my arrival on the system, that would be the Hokke and Dragunov Branches. Such an arrangement would only require the approval of the system Governor, who is an appointed representative of said Branches; and most of my surviving light forces are currently in orbit over Hōseki...explaining to the kind Governor Bao Zhai the wisdom of signing such an arrangement."

"Under duress?" French scoffed. "The Branches in question would repudiate the agreement as soon as we pulled our forces back, out of Delest space - and your little coup here will certainly send you to the execution block. How can you guarantee that the agreement will be respected?"

"The Branches in question will not be allowed to repudiate the agreement," Dyatlov answered, and his voice held iron-clad certainty. "Not if the Governor signs. Not if this is presented as an official surrender. They will not be permitted to back out."

"By Vladimir Delest?" French asked, some contempt colouring his voice. It was no secret that the Delest Emperor could exert only minimal control over his strong satraps.

"By the other Branches," Dyatlov said, coldly, some steel creeping back into his tired stance. "This will be a windfall for them. The Dynasty is not as united as it once was, Sir Champion and there's little sense in pretending otherwise. Dragunov and Hokke are powerful players on the Dynasty stage, but they are...overambitious. They have made enemies and they are certainly not powerful enough to defy the other Branches, the Yonsakuren and the Imperial Guard. A chance to whittle down their power by draining their vaults, while simultaneously securing peace in the Terconia front for the upcoming years? The other Branches will jump at the opportunity and they'll make damn sure you'll get your money, Sir Champion. At gunpoint, if necessary."

"And nobody will dare question the surrender," Dyatlov continued. "As long as I am here and in command, I am the representative of my Emperor by direct appointment, and my word regarding military matters is final. What happens afterwards is inconsequential. They may strip me of my rank, put me up before a military court, even execute me and they most probably will; but if the agreement goes through, then it will be respected. The person of the commander may be punished for their perceived failings; but the orders they have given must be respected, or a very dangerous precedent is set. Especially since I have carried out my orders to the letter, and the Dynasty will still lay claim over this system."

His mouth quirked into a crooked smile. "Until the next scrap between our nations, at least," he said, "whenever that may be. But I suspect that will not be my concern."

French leaned back in his commander's chair, his mind awhirl with the possibilities. Pieces came together and click-click-clicked, as he considered the response such an agreement would receive back home.

Not a bad one, he decided.

True, there was little glory in beating your opponent's face in until they agreed to pay you Danegeld; but it was simply impossible to execute his orders and perform a full annexation of the system with the threat of subspace-strike weaponry and Dyatlov's scorched-earth policy looming over his forces. Instead, Dyatlov was giving him the resources New Britannia was sorely lacking, without the expected burden of fully annexing the system and displacing its population. Furthermore, the potential for internal destabilisation of the Dynasty in the aftermath was highly interesting. Divide and conquer: if the Delest descended into a small-scale civil war, that would weaken them considerably and buy Britannia precious time to focus on rebuilding her foundering wreck of an economy.

Slowly, thoughtfully, he nodded.

"Praetor Dyatlov, I can agree to your terms, in principle," he said. "I will accept your surrender and grant you and your forces parole, provided you do not leave this area; and we will wait here, for the arrival of the system Governor, to finalise our agreement. If that goes smoothly, then we can both consider this war ended."

The relief in the Delest officer's expression; the way his shoulders deflated into acceptance was palpable. "Thank you, Arc Champion French," he said, his voice almost cracking. "Thank you for not forcing my hand. I will stand down my forces and authorise no more subspace strikes, provided you keep your own forces here. I am sure we can arrange for medical assistance and emergency repairs in the shipyards, while we discuss the particulars."

French nodded graciously, "Of course."

He hesitated for a few heartbeats, not quite sure on how to proceeed; and then with a mental shrug he continued. "On a personal note, Praetor, may I say that you have given us a damn good fight. I still think you're a bloody madman, but you and your sailors, Sir, have my respect. May I ask - is Exarch Aretha among your prisoners?"

"Exarch-?" Dyatlov paled and French realised that he had not known. And, immediately after that, that Exarch Aretha Pegasus was dead and French was glad he was seated, because the implications of that... "Ah- no. No, Sir Champion, I regret to say that this is not the case. Her flagship - was lost with all hands."

It was the Delest Admiral's turn to hesitate. "I- I regret that we did not know. We have not had the time to debrief prisoners. Her presence here certainly explains why her forces fought with such determination and fervor. And why - why they, well, fell apart like they did after she was gone. But-"

A slight shrug. "-but even if we had known, Sir Champion, it would not have really mattered. She had to be dealt with. Beyond everything else, she was our target."

French was startled out of his feeling of looming dread and felt somewhat...insulted, "Truly? How so?"

Dyatlov's smile was rueful. "It's...difficult to explain. I never thought that I could win against you, Sir Champion. Not with the forces I had available. But I could delay, draw this out; and, if the situation turned desperate, I expected the two of us would be able to reach an honourable arrangement, like we did just now. You are unstoppable, methodical, careful, reasonable - and known to be so. But she..."

French could swear the Delest officer was almost apologetic. "As a...friend of mine said, when we had our first look at the intel from her forces, she had come 'to brawl and to destroy'; and her fleet was devoted to her, heart and soul. I could not afford that, Sir Champion. I could not permit a glory-seeker in this theatre. You knew her better than I: would she have agreed to our deal here, today?"

"No," French agreed, almost reluctantly. "Probably not. She would have sought a total victory, scorched earth be damned."

"I expected as much. And so, she had to be broken," Dyatlov said, matter-of-factly. "Brought down to insignificance, to being a non-factor, so I could speak to someone who would listen. All these ships and people and friends, gone, sacrificed, so we two could find ourselves here and now, and so I could earn the privilege of surrendering to you."

His smile was bitter. "Did you know? 'Fight-making', the Yonsakuren call it."


« Last Edit: August 19, 2017, 02:34:47 pm by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Enioch

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My ISP is having some problems and my home line won't be serviced before Tuesday, so have the chapter now, while I still have an internet connection worth a damn.

Some point-of-view epilogue chapterettes still left, probably for next week.
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Gray113

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Bravo good sir  :yes:

 

Offline Lorric

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Well now I know why you didn't want to reveal Dyatlov's terms.

Brilliant work. And I love this concept, another new one to me, of realising you cannot win, and yet sacrificing all this just to change who's sitting across from you at the negotiating table. It makes me think of the Germans who ran West in order to surrender to the allies rather than the Soviets. And so both parties achieved victory in their own way, and Dyatlov's actions make so much more sense.

I also thought that last line was brilliant. I'm looking forward to the epilogue, and am now intrigued what Aretha's death will mean for the CRF. French's reaction and even Dyatlov's suggest it's a massive deal.

Anyway, I want you to know I'm truly impressed with your work. I could read it all day.

 

Offline niffiwan

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I must have missed this somewhere previously; what sort of rank is Exarch? It must be something much more senior that I was previously thinking.

Well done on the story; I loved it. Hopefully it can go into WoD as some sort of (nu)techroom room entry, maybe even form the basis of a player campaign. Thank you
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Offline Lorric

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I must have missed this somewhere previously; what sort of rank is Exarch? It must be something much more senior that I was previously thinking.
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For the woman who had just stepped out of the shuttle with a gentle smile and immaculate Whites was Her Grace Aretha; High Lady of the Realm; Eighth Exarch of Renkin and current High Mistress under God and King of the House of Pegasus.
She was the leader of the entire Pegasus faction.

 

Offline niffiwan

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thanks! And yeah... that's going to be just as interesting for the CRF as Dylatovs deal will be for the DD...
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Offline Enioch

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Ohai, look at that, I haz internet.

Thank you all for the kind words!  :D

I also thought that last line was brilliant. I'm looking forward to the epilogue, and am now intrigued what Aretha's death will mean for the CRF. French's reaction and even Dyatlov's suggest it's a massive deal.

I must have missed this somewhere previously; what sort of rank is Exarch? It must be something much more senior that I was previously thinking.

New Britannia works in a sort of neo-feudalism, with elements of the Republic of Venice thrown in. Essentially, there are four major factions, always vying for power within the nation:



The four Houses / factions are theoretically equals, with the King / Queen of Arc Victoria being primi inter pares (but very emphatically primi): they ascended to that position by uniting the NewBrits against Sol, some time in the past. The loyalty chain, theoretically goes King/Queen -> Your own House.

Pegasus is tricky, because they are the richest House, and the only House to have produced a NewBrit monarch in the past. There are...tensions with Arc Victoria, and loyalty with them is never as clear as it should be (there have been cases of Pegasus officers putting their House above their monarch).

And now the Exarch of Pegasus dies taking part in a Campaign led by the Champion of Arc Victoria. Under...not the best circumstances.

To put this into perspective for those less historically inclined, imagine what would happen today if the Queen of England had died leading part of an EU military force from the front, under the overall command of a German field marshal.

Disclaimer: the above are based on discussions I've had with Spoon and earlier material he had written and published on the forums. If anything needs to be retconned, his word goes.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 10:12:48 am by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

  

Offline Gray113

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  • There comes a time when the odds are against you,
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed these weekly chapters, I have looked forwards to the weekly updates as much as my daughter waits for Twirlywoos episodes (which is a lot believe me  :rolleyes:)

As much as Dylatov is pessimistic about his future I would at least hope that his victory over Pegasus and his ability to keep the system in  Dynasty hands would be recognised for the great feats they were. Sure he has made bitter enemies of the Dragunov and Hokke but he will have the (perhaps grudging) gratitude of the emperor as well as powerful allies in the Yonsakuren. Maybe being pensioned off or exiled to the Yonsakuren (with all those cat ladies interested in some fight making genes) would not be unrealistic?

I would worry about his subordinates though, if Dylatov is indeed served up as a sacrifice to the aggrieved branches would his immediate subordinates follow? Not to mention the effect on the officers of the fleet dealing with the stigma of disgrace.
   
For French I can imagine Athena's death is going to make the political situation back home extremely interesting, he may be cursing her name for the rest of his career if Pegasus make a big deal of him refusing to rush to the rescue, regardless of the facts of the matter.