The comm link finally went through. All the bridge bunnies were crowded around him now, curious as to what he had to say.

" Is this the Twenty-fifth sector HQ? I'm Captain William Masterson, calling in from the 13th Fleet flagship, Technologica," he said.

The reply back was full of noise, but still a reply.

" Captain Masterson?! We've been trying to re-establish communications for the past twenty-four hours. Where is Commodore General Robert Honda? First Officer Drey Warden?"

A moment.

" Both of them were killed. Our bridge was hit by an enemy ambush, and subsequently forty-five percent of our fleet has been lost. We temporarily retreated, but I'm taking control of operations from this moment on."

A pause. The white noise flickered.

" Captain Masterson, I don't believe such actions could be considered advisable at the moment," whoever was on the other line replied. " Pull the fleet back and rendezvous with us at Ferni-1a."

" That's an unacceptable proposition. The enemy is counting on our retreat in order to trail us to headquarters," he responded.

A silence.

" I'll be using the undamaged portion of the fleet to flip around and engage them with one of Arjun’s formations. Considering their own damages and the dimensions of our current passageway, I believe they'll be thinned out and forced into a two-fold corridor. Give me permission to engage in this operation. Now."

More digital silence.

A different voice spoke in reply.

" What makes you so certain you can force the two-fold corridor?"

" They believe that we're acting according to the Ocean Manual. They believe that they're acting according to Arjun's Record of War. Those trained classically are unable to act when faced with the unknown. So we'll force them into a philosophy they don't know how to follow."

" ... I see. Do what you can."