“I have the sense that our new hires are all hard at work? No problems yet?” Chelan helped himself to another butter cookie.
“So far, so good,” Bell said. She inhaled, taking in the scent of her mint tea. “There was a suggestion made that we should not be using Space Guard rank titles, because someone who was a Captain in the Space Guard may be uncomfortable serving on a ship under someone with a much lower previous rank.”
“There’s a long-ago historical solution,” Chelan said, ‘from a country that no longer exists. Create functional titles and use them, for example ‘Ship Commander’ rather than ‘Captain’. Ask hires for their suggestions.” Bell nodded in agreement.
“There was another issue, though,” Bell said. “You gave me a week to think about our situation. I am supposed to give me my impressions, and you get to tell me what you are actually doing.”
“Proceed,” Chelan said.
“The standard map of the hyperspace grid, the map that slowly fluctuates as stars move with respect to each other, is incomplete,” she began. “There are other gates, not on the map, linking places that appear to be inaccessible, and, since they are inaccessible, have mostly been forgotten. If you look hard, you can find references to stars, some with planets, that have no known warp points. You can’t get there except through normal space, albeit at some small multiple of c, so the places are commercially and practically impossible to exploit. People do not go there.
“Once upon a time, astronomers studied the planets of distant stars. Under modern conditions, if you want to study a star’s planets, you go there and look. If you can’t go there, well, who cares? You do, sir, but the Republic is bloody-minded practical, and the two prior empires were interested in their own domains and perhaps the Pale. The earlier empire was regularly attacked by barbarians from beyond the Pale, each attack leading to an imperial expansion. However, connections change with time, very slowly, so a First Empire Astrographic survey might have interesting information in it, if you can find one.