From Shore To Shining Shore

Posted on 26 Nov 2021 @ 2:14pm by Game Master Stephen & Game Master Andrew

Episode: Our World
Location: USA, Des Moines, Earth Broadcast Company
Timeline: Date 2079-07-11 at 2030


Or at least a little LED pip illuminating the underside of one of the camera drones flickering back and forth in front of the stage. Two cam techs stood well back, eyes hidden behind wraparound VR goggles as they deftly move their drones with calm hand gestures. A producer and sound guy were also present, their eyes downcast to their tablet screens.

This meant that Sundry Charms only had eyes for the camera drones, and his guest. He stood from his high backed media throne, the showmen flourish of his arm-waving out to the million-plus audience tuning in from around the globe and beyond. Their cheers and applause streamed to his earbud from the audiences watching at home, their screens streaming their adoration directly into his ear. And along with that heady rush, a steady ticker-tape chant of viewer figures from EBC Central two floors up.

"Good evening, and welcome to 'From Shore To Shining Shore', with me your host Sundry Charms. Tonight we have an extravagant assortment of entertainments for you all at home and above us to enjoy. Live from her last show at the Chicago Arena, we'll be joined later by Kylie X performing her latest sphere smashing album. And we'll be interviewing screen sensation Mathew Bronston about his next role in the upcoming historical sensory overlay 'Mars Fall'."

If Kylie X wasn't knee-deep in tetrameth and Bronston wasn't trying to convert anyone to Saganisim. But that's why EBC had insurance and lawyers.

"But first, we have a special guest joining us tonight. Fresh from his deployment to the 16th Watch, mere hours after riding the beanstalk down to Montana and then taking the maglev to us here in Des Moines, we have the team leader of the United States Coast Guard's Boarding Action crew!"

The applause exploded from his earpiece, which was an odd juxtaposition with the near deathly quiet of the studio.

A man appeared from the side of the stage almost as if he were shoved out of it. The man was tall, graying, and his fitness evident despite the dress blue uniform he wore. He had his hat tucked under his arm, someone had tried to take it but he refused, deciding he'd hold it just like had his entire career.

He approached the host and held his hand out to shake, "that's former team leader," he said, in a quiet but firm voice.

"Former winning team captain. Two back to back season wins, facing off first against the Secret Service Special Detail two years ago, and then last year against old rivals MARSOC-16. Not to mention your illustrious career in the United States Coast Gaurd before rising to orbit," Sundry Charms stated bombastically, gesturing to a chair next to his own. "I'm not going to bore you or the folks at home by getting into the bio-pic stuff. What I want to get into, this why you're not leading this year Boarding Action Coastie Team?"

"Well, no military career is a good career with stagnation. I've spent enough time with the TACLET and leading our competition boarding team. I am heading back to Earth going to catch up with family, friends, and I'll be responsible for leading the teams training our new Botswain's Mates heading both to space and out onto the waters of Earth."

"Commendable personal and professional goals. And, just between you and me, it's not like it's getting any safer out there," Sundry made a gesture and the backdrop behind their chairs shifted. On it was the gun camera footage from a small boat, the black star specked backdrop of space wheeling about. Into the image came the cruciform shape of a civilian inter-orbit transport. A twelve-pack judging from the size.

The image froze as panels on the ventral hull of the twelve-pack blew away and the tri barrel of an autocannon pushed its snout out.

"Last month's shock ending to a quarantine runner breaking for the Chinese Special Economic Zone surrounding their tether station. USCG orbital assets nearly sparked an armed response from the Chinese in pursuit. Some are even likening it to the warmongering seen prior to the Sea of Sorrow's incident," Sundry leaned back in his chair. "Would you say there's any truth to that rumour? That China is again rattling its sabre. And if so, is the Coast Guard really the force suitable to answer that call?"

"I don't think there will be a time that China stops rattling their saber," the BOSN2 shrugged. "But I'm by no means any expert on politics or even China.. and my opinion is my own not the Coast Guard. As for the Coast Guard being the primary agency for law in space I stand behind it. We are armed, we have the same capabilities that anyone else in space has, and we have been the primary line of defense for the United States Homeland for decades. What more do you need?"

"True, but you have to admit the Navy does have better toys. Not to mention the Strategic Defence System, OCULUS. Do you think it's morally right to put our sailors' lives at risk when we have an automated defence system able to disable or destroy a hostile space craft?" Sundry goaded.

"OCULUS is for the direct defense of the Earth and it would be incapable of dealing with threats that were as far away as the Moon to say nothing if it were blocked by a friendly ship, the moon itself, and certainly not as far off as Mars or the transit to and from it," the BOSN2 countered. "If we were to move to an all out shooting war I have no doubt in my mind that each branch of the service would not have its place, after all that is why we have different branches, but our goal is not war. Our goal is peaceful existence and fair and just enforcement of the law. There is not a branch of the service who does law enforcement and peaceful operation better than the United States Coast Guard in existence to say nothing of the fact that by law the Navy, Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps. cannot conduct civilian law enforcement."

"But wasn't it the Navy who only last month captured a trio of armed merchantmen operating as an independent pirate flotilla? In all truth, the Navy has the weight of hulls on its side, and is able to project that force out beyond the Earth/Moon system. Whereas the Coast Guard, and correct me if I'm wrong, is relegated to near-Earth operations and convoy escort out to Mars," Sundry Charms said, leaning forward. "Surely if the powers in Washington want space policed, they'd direct more funding to you. But instead, the Navy's Space Operations budget keeps increasing by zeroes each year."

"And so you've hit the problem nail on the head with the hammer," the BOSN2 stated flatly. "The Coast Guard has always been underfunded and has always been second fiddle to the navy since the Navy was created. For the record the US Coast Guard has been around longer than the United States Navy and has been protecting the US since the country was created. In fact we are the only branch of the service that has existed the entire time the country has existed unless you consider the US Army being a continuation of the former Continental Army... either way the Navy is not the oldest seagoing service in this nation," he said, passionately.

"If the funds were going to the appropriate places we would be in a much better position but we also know how to work with what we have. And what you say is relegated I would say is us doing our mission with the resources given. We can't be everywhere at once, nobody can, but until the resources are driven to where they belong instead of where the political heads would like because of back-scratching then we'll be short. And just a reminder... these opinions are that of my own and not the United States Coast Guard, although, I feel like I might have just talked myself out of job."

"Maybe, but if like you say the Power's That Be aren't taking the Coast Gaurd seriously maybe it's time for someone who has that background to become the PoB? Rumours are Admiral Samuel Perry, the retired commandant, is planning on making a run at the Oval Office in next year's primaries. That change in your favour might be closer than you think,": Sundry said with a clap of his hands demarking the end of the interview. "We'll be right back after a few messages from around the Sphere, with Kylie X playing her hit new single that is taking the global charts by storm."

And with that, the cam drone's recording lights flickered off, and they settled back onto their charging mats like flying kittens.

"That wasn't too bad," Sundry said to himself.

“You don’t have to answer to public affairs later today,” the BOSN2 said, standing up from his seat and brushing off his uniform.

"Not my problem, not my scene," Sundry sighed. "Now if you don't mind, I have to talk to the producer. Make sure that Kylie X is fit for public display. When you leave make sure to swing by the Green Room for a gift bag."