Transcript, SCA 253 Change of Command Ceremony on 23 Jan 3727
Outgoing Commander's Speech: Admiral Hugh Kennings
Thank you, thank you very much, Governor [Alison A.] Garner, Secretaries [Adam G.] Michaels, [Ramin M.] Goskwa, [Hawker Industries] Chief [Calvin] Rossa, and my fellow admirals. Thank you, fine men and women of the Navy, the Enforcement Brigades, the Cluster Defenses, and the Naval Reserve. Thank you all, ladies and gentlemen, for being here this afternoon, this fine day on Pantriss. You honor me with your presence at this special occasion. Thank you.
Governor, thank you for your extraordinary words and for this great honor you have bestowed upon me. Know that, should I take command in the Void again, I will emblazon my steed with the White Wing of Pantriss, as an honor to all the valiant people that made these last two years such a phenomenal success. These same motivated, driven, and dauntless individuals have made this position a distinct pleasure.
Traditions such as this ceremony have existed past recorded history, long before our species crawled its way off of Terra and attained its birthright among the stars. In my many years of service, Like any career military man, I have attended hundreds of these. To me, today is a distinctly special ceremony among them all, though, for it is the last I will attend in uniform.
The great warrior-poets of antiquity talked about the honors in battle and the restoration of the soul through mercy and kindness. Later works of the second millennium dance around the subject of brotherhood and selfless sacrifice. Five thousand years of literature and I still cannot find the right words to describe it. I must say that I gave up on trying. I am a warrior and a strategist, not a wordsmith.
What could I say instead? Most retirement ceremonies are these drawn out autobiographies and I never liked those. I don't want to be one of them. So instead, I'll talk about you, my last command, and my most memorable.
Ladies and gentlemen of the POC, I feel like I owe you an apology and a compliment. When I arrived here, the feeling was that I was sent to clean up a mess. The sector was reeling from a massive and costly defeat, its leader removed and its control divided among the local systems. I came in, an outsider from the Fathoms Fleets, to take command and restore the sector to fighting status. Little did I know that you all need no help in fighting.
Yes, when I came in, there were a myriad of problems. We had severe gaps in sensor coverage, communications, logistics, and cooperation with our local defenses and civilian departments. There were many troubles at the start but our incessant determination turned this armada into one of the top-performing frontier fleets in the Zone. When the enemy finally showed their face, it was you that hit them with ferocity and selfless bravery. It was a spectacle; I never witnessed a battle in this command personally, but I knew from the evidence and the results, that my approach needed to change. If I could feed and fuel your ships, provide accurate intelligence and sufficient support, you could do the rest. Your initiative and drive to victory needed nothing else.
In two years, we saw our numbers swell to three hundred ships, many hundreds of thousands of personnel from all over the Zone. You fought several major engagements in the void and planetside, to fantastic effect, leading to victory in the defense of the sector. In a year and a half, we progressed from a readiness of sixty percent to nearly eighty-five percent. Our all-aspect sensor coverage and scout patrols now cover four times the volume of space that were scanned in 3724. Last month, every warship in our fleet scored in the top category for gunnery, up from a mere thirty percent when I took command. This armada is at its greatest readiness, but now everything is quiet. We have not so much as seen enemy vessels in six months or had significant criminal activity. The war has heated up all around us but our corner appears to have gone cold.
The Navy has recalled ships to other sectors, taking many of our newest hulls and most educated personnel. You few, who were always here, are all that remains to defend the sector when the enemy returns. And they will return! As construction continues in our central systems, this region will become a significant powerhouse in supply and ship construction, one that the enemy will be unable to ignore. When they choose to come back, it will be you who will again be required to stand in their way, to beat them back.
As I hand command over to the capable hands of Admiral [Lindsey] Rous, I fear a renewed attack is all but imminent. I also know that this attack will not be the same as the one that brought about my short command here. The enemy will not be passing over the POC; they will be going for your throat. This will be their undoing, for every time the enemy has stood to fight face-to-face, you have met them with both fists. It will be a spectacular feat of arms, one worthy of note in the history logs on Terra.
My only-- truly, my only regret is that my command has ended before I could see it.
Train hard, fight harder, and above all win, to honor those who have fallen in the battles past. Stoke the fires that make you such effective warriors. This is your sector and it will be your blood that will keep it. Please accept the deepest gratitude, all of you, from the core of this old man's heart, for your discipline, dedication, and steadfast resolve to uphold our great Charter, and the loyalty and faith you placed in me for these last two years.
Thank you very much.