Sunday March 16, 2008

Book 10: The Longshoreman of the Apocalypse
Prologue: Drydock


Narrator:Kglastan, guest accommodations, Captain Tagon's temporary quarters aboard the U.N.S. Battleplate Morokweng. . .
Ennesby:Bad news, sir.
Captain Tagon:Hey, we just got paid handsomely, repairs are almost complete. . . How bad can it be?
Ennesby:Pretty bad. You paid the grunts just a little too much this time.
Captain Tagon:What? We didn't run out of money, did we? I was very careful to watch Thurl while he counted very carefully.
Ennesby:No, it's not that. We've still got plenty banked against rainy days, next month's payroll, and petty cash.
Captain Tagon:Then what's wrong?
Ennesby:Most of the non-human grunts are retiring.
Captain Tagon:Retiring? Why? They're making good money!
Ennesby:Too good. That's the problem.
Ennesby:With the combat bonus, the generous scale, and the other multipliers from the last op, a grunt can buy a ticket across the galaxy, settle down someplace nice, and not have to work for a couple of years at least.
Captain Tagon:But. . . I thought these people loved their work!
Ennesby:They do. The ones you're losing are the ones who haven't seen offensive action since the HTRN takedown. I think maybe they feel insufficient 'esprit de corps.'
Captain Tagon:I paid them extra!
Ennesby:Some things are more important than a fat paycheck.
Ennesby:False alarm. I thought he'd had an aneurism and gone catatonic, but just two minutes ago he got up and headed for the bar.