“Cruiser Rembach has just been destroyed.”
Operator reports often left Commander Eisendorff feeling unpleasant. Whether the report was delivered with robotic calm or with a hysterical sense of emergency, both styles had a way of scrambling his nerves. So what? he wanted to shout back at them. The solitude of command—that inability to delegate judgments and decisions to anyone else—was making him want to lash out at these people who had no such responsibilities.
“Stop reporting every needless detail!” he said, rewarding the operator with not only a shout, but a blow to the back of the head as well. Perhaps the operator too could now be numbered among Julian’s victims.
Over on the Alliance Armed Forces’ side, however, Rear Admiral Attenborough was feeling a similar sort of irritation. Although possessed of outstanding qualities as a commander, someone else might indeed be better suited to the challenge of leading this “troop of boy scouts” into battle.
For Attenborough, Rear Admiral Eisendorff’s excessively circumspect attitude came as an unexpected salvation, and yet at the same time, it was slowly but surely increasing his fear that their fatal weakness might be discovered at any moment. It was then that Attenborough, who had been shouldering the nigh-unbearable weight of command, saw an allied vessel flit calmly across his main screen as though it hadn’t a care in the world. Doing a double take, he asked his aide, “That was Ulysses just now, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, sir. Battleship Ulysses.” More…