" So you've returned."

General Dawson's voice was flat, and displeased.

" Yes. I had an excellent vacation," William said with a smile.

" Don't you think you're going too far, intervening in their politics to this degree, Commodore General Masterson?"

" I haven't intervened. I was merely there to observe something that had been long planned since before even Lyena-Nova knew me."

" You can't deny that you have turned yourself into a key political figure for their war of succession."

" Is it really so bad? Both Lyena-Nova and Lyewa-Prima are in support of merging the empire into DASS. It's not as though I've manipulated anyone intentionally."

Dawson put a hand to his forehead, as though trying to think of a way to explain it.

" We are at peace, Masterson. We have no need for subterfuge. Whether they join us should be the decision of the people."

" Both of them have popular support."

" That's not what I mean."

" What, then?"

... A few moments.

" I understand that you are tremendously talented in battle and strategy, William," he said, as though trying very hard to explain a simple concept. " But these are things you need not apply tactics or strategy to. These are things that come forth organically. You need to try to integrate yourself into civilian society more."

" Will you formally reprimand me for accompanying a friend on vacation, then?"

" Of course not."

" If it's so important to you, then why?"

" As terrible as you are with people, you did end a five hundred year long war. Demoting you to a position where you couldn't command a fleet would be a waste. Even if, at the moment, you are terrible at following orders."

William felt that this was largely contradictory, but said nothing to further the argument. The fact that Dawson did actually have the power to demote him was reason enough.

" First Officer Sivira is ready to see you."

" I'll return to the Theologica, then. It was nice to see you."