I drew the Administration sub-branch but to be truthful I was happy to be working. The fact is in the Bureaucracy if there are deemed to be too many Bureaucrats you get Detached Duty. It is kind of like being on call all the time but you spend a lot of time doing nothing until they call you for something super dangerous. At least I was going to work every day and doing a job. Although Administration was not exciting, I had a job to do every day. I spent three months training time learning administration procedures and then I was assigned to the X-Boat side of the scout base as a controller.
This first year of this term was spent making sure the main arteries of communication were kept open, particularly the routes in and out of Aurora. The X-Boats are long cylindrical starships that are mostly drives and fuel so they can jump six parsecs in a single jump. My job was to make sure the two X-Boats in my two bays were maintenanced and ready to go as quickly as possible. I learned communication procedures and technology so I was thrilled to be one step closer to my goal as a complete starship operator. There was also the upside of having a lust life again. I say lust because love is something I avoided since Joshua. Oddly enough I was promoted to Group Administrator (RS-13). This was something else I have to get used to and that is as a member of the Bureaucracy I could only get one promotion a term. The nice part though is the pay increases were significant.
I must have done something right as I was given charge of a group of scouts on an undercover operation along the border between the Republic and the Empire my second year of the term. We were secreted into the edge of Empire space trying to find out whether the Empire was engaged in a build up for military action. My job was to coordinate and assign people to different tasks and it really stretched my mind’s ability to reason and think differently. It paid off as we did find out the Empire was engaged in military preparations. The downside was that the Empire discovered us and we barely escaped. My ship was hit by gunfire and lost its maneuver drives but we got out by doing an emergency hyperspace jump.
This lead to my third term which was not so much an assignment as a situation. When we came out of jump we found ourselves in an uncharted section of space – not too far off course once I did the navigation calculations but we couldn’t call for help and expect it to arrive before five years. The system we were in only had one planet where we could set down. It was one of those planets that was quite frankly paradise but with no people or sentient life. Long island chains with beaches and tropical plant and animal life. My engineer managed to get me enough power to the grav modules to land on the planet on a large island along a gorgeous beach.
We spent the next months on repairing systems and pretty much succeeded except critical parts were missing from the purification plant and it could only purify fuel very slowly. We dropped the fueling hose in the nearby ocean and once we were full of fuel the computer informed us that it would be six months for the fuel to be completely purified. We couldn’t afford another misjump so I made the call to let the thing finish completely before jumping. That meant six months of laying on the beach and practicing survival skills. The only real survival issue was a food but nature provided pretty well with a little work and a little knowhow. Thankfully all of us were comfortable in just our skin and could swim in the sea for entertainment. We headed home after six months and that meant a hero’s welcome. We were listed as a special assignment and probably would have been given more calm duties except war broken out between the Empire and Republic.
Not that the war mattered much to me, I found myself very safe basically processing intelligence reports on Aurora. That was until they actually sent me out to secret base on the border to verify some reports. While I was asking for those reports the Empire attacked us and an explosion nearly ripped the base in half. Luckily for me my ship was still powered up and I used it as a lifeboat for ten other scout service personnel. We got out and escaped only because of some other quick thinking on my part to avoid being detected. Then I returned home and went back to the grind. I decided to work on more education at the university for he remainder of that term. The war ended and the Empire had lost two more worlds to the Republic. My term ended just a little after that and I filed for transfer and re-enlistment.
My time in the Administration sub-branch of the Bureaucracy had one major gain from it. I began to understand the big picture of the Scout Service. The Republic’s muscles were its Marines and Army Mercenaries, The skeleton on which they hinged was Republic Navy. The Merchants, Belters and other civilian institutions were its flesh, lifeblood and skin but none of this would function smoothly without the scouts. The Scouts are all the senses and all the neurons that transfer information from place to place. The Scout Bureaucracy is the spinal cord. The Senate is the brains of the operation but absolutely nothing could function at all without the Scouts.
It was this thought that allowed me to see my time in Administration not as something boring. I may still at the time have looked like a late teen, yearly twenty something year of girl, but inside I was maturing. I was seeing things for their whole instead of the individual parts. I guess this was spilling over into a lot of areas of my life but one perhaps. That of course was sex. My mind may have been 38 years old when I finished this term but my libido was still 19. This was one thing it would take me a long time to get a handle on. I was aging in experience and wisdom of the mind, but my body was still a horny teen and twenty something for quite some time. It would both serve me and get me into trouble more times than I can count.