" Ah, so that's how it is..."

" How what is?"

Nova sat up and looked into his papers.

William waved one in front of him.

" General Dawson and Admiral Chzgurit have filed a joint request to requisition almost three-fourths of the fleet at the 70th spoke intercept... Honestly! Couldn't they have sent this in sooner? I feel like I'm being punished, still..."

Nova took the paper from him and read it.

" Quelling organized piracy between the 70th and 71st sections... Pft. That just reads as a pretext to take your numerical strength away from you."

William slumped across the desk.

" It can't be helped... I'm still on thin ice for taking my well-deserved vacation... I suppose it's Dawson's right to be suspicious of me for interfering in foreign politics, but it's annoying anyways."

" You are a fairly loose cannon. I would've given more warning in advance, though. This seems too sudden."

William thought about it for another moment.

" It's possible Dawson intended to let me off only with a warning, but other members of the General council disagreed with his leniency. And there's the concern of docking at Larananda-3 soon, too..."

" The DASS is so ragtag and inefficient," Nova complained. " When things are to be done, just do them. This seems far too roundabout."

" Ha, says the one caught up in a never-ending war of succession with one of the most dysfunctional families in the ten star systems."

Ear flick.

" What would you even know about dysfunctional families, anyway?"

William took a moment to think.

" Oh, that's right... Commodore General Honda was always quite understanding and never really fought with Kirie much."

Nova observed him silently, as though thinking something he didn't want to speak.

... But that was fine. William had been accustomed to that look when he was younger and spoke without knowledge of worldly things. It was alright, since it was Nova.

" Anyways, neither system works for me," Nova said, waving him off. " I'm not going to have to worry about any of it for about another century or so."

" Don't be so irresponsible, Nova!"