Black Iron's Glory - Chapter 581
Myjack Joins the Household
After sending Borkal off, Claude no longer felt like sleeping. He sat alone in his study in deep thought. He didn't really mind his promise to Bloweyk, since the region wouldn't be undertaking any huge moves at the western coast in the coming year. Instead, they were going to shrink the scope of their battle to reinforce the defensive capabilities of the pamigar republic and solve the various civilian issues, mainly the distribution of land, caused by the war.
Additionally, the region had to deal with the internal affairs of the losman tribal union. Wiping out any internal strife was the main priority before they could be made into a vassal native nation of the region that wouldn't be a burden to them. Other than that, the region also had to deal with the troublesome racial conflict between the two groups of natives in Wasilisk's colony, the skro and jisdor.
That left the region little effort to spare on the western coast. Any plans or ideas would have to be delayed. The region wouldn't act another war started and the colonial nations invade the pamigar republic, in which case they would have to protect the native nation no matter what.
In essence, the region was going to focus their efforts on internal optimisation. There were still some two million homecoming Shiksans' families gathered at Port Patkara which had to be transported to the region before the homecoming Shiksan folks could be disbanded and settled. The administration would have to work closely with the local administration to assimilate the Shiksan immigrants properly.
As two new standing corps had been trained in the kingdom, they would be taking over the Rimodran and Askilinian regions. As such, the eight garrison forces from the region would also be sent back. Due to the formation of Typhoon, only retired veterans remained in the garrison forces. There was only a total of a tribe or two men, which could easily be retired and transported back.
However, the region had constructed factories in the three southern prefectures of Askilin to make ammunition for the new rifles and cannons. Skri would be in charge of moving them to Northbay. As Typhoon and Thundercrash, as well as the eight homecoming Shiksans, were currently in Port Patkara, the situation at Shiks was still really stable. Claude's expectation that the region's retreat would cause chaos to break out immediately didn't come to pass.
It seemed that the situation on both continents would be relatively calm for a good while. The region could only turn its attention back to the western coast after all the immigrants were transported and settled and after Thundercrash's return. As for the various factions in Shiksan borders, they could only start fighting once the region's troops retreated from Port Patkara for good.
That was why Claude made Borkal a private promise to get in touch with Eriksson to see whether his pirates had the guts. Since the region would be mostly inactive at the western coast for the coming year, letting the nations there get harassed by pirates wasn't a bad idea. Claude wasn't going to pay anything in advance, after all, and only promised to transfer six ironclad warships to Blacksail after they completely wiped out a Fochsian fleet.
Those six warships were basically the same ones as those given to Aueras, all first-generation ironclad warships that had just been retired by the region and left docked in Port Patres. There were no plans yet on how they were to be revamped and sold as. The navy had suggested they be converted into fast civilian cruisers transporting passengers between the two continents. That would effectively shorten the time it would take to sail to the other continent from half a month to ten to twelve days.
Currently, the ships still in service of Ironclad were second-generation and third-generation warships and transport ships. Liboyd and his researchers were also currently working hard on the development of the fourth generation. It was said that the new steam engines had passed through the prototype stage and would soon be installed in the new ships. Moriad made a report with a request to retire all the second-generation warships.
Admittedly, development on ironclad warships greatly enhanced the region's technological capabilities, mainly in terms of steam power, alloy refinement, forging, welding and so on. They even made huge strides in the field of chemistry, mainly in the form of the coat of toxic paint applied to the bottom of the ships to prevent barnacles and other undesired maritime lifeforms from attaching to the bottom of the ships. The coat of paint could lengthen the time before maintenance had to be carried out to remove those lifeforms from three to four months to a year.
But unlike what Claude remembered of his previous world, this world's technological development had too much focus on magical experiments. For instance, the new steel plate to be used by the ships was something rune magi discovered using their alchemical array. They would only later be brought to the refinery later for the refining process to be formalised before the final product could be made.
Birkin mentioned in the meeting that in the year and a half Claude was at Shiks, the top-secret technologies, materials and techniques the region acquired numbered more than 400, most of which had something to do with shipbuilding. They were gushing out like pressurised geysers. Thanks to the rapid development of steam power, the train locomotives the region used were now powered by seventh-generation steam engines that saw their speed shoot past 25 kilometres per hour.
However, Birkin complained that they were spending too much on shipbuilding as technology advanced. The problem now was the region was the top of its game in shipbuilding, with no other nation being able to match their prowess so far. They didn't even have the slightest hint of making their own first-generation warships, yet the region was already on its fourth. That was why he suggested that the shipbuilding efforts at Port Patres be stopped. It wouldn't make sense to spend money enhancing something they were already much better than everyone else at doing.
Claude was considering taking some time to go to the shipyards for a look. The development should really start to slow down. Perhaps they could focus on coming up with new tactics using those ships and compiling them. Any improvements should be made on prototype concept ships instead of replacing all of the old-generation ships with entirely new ones. In fact, they should consider ships with upgradability as a factor so the ships would be able to be upgraded once new advancements arrive.
Instead, the four large shipyards and the ship-design department could divert their efforts to civilian ships. Ironclad ferries, cargo vessels and large fishing boats would definitely be highly sought after. As long as there was a supply, there would definitely be a steady demand. It would be enough for each shipyard to leave a spot for constructing civilian ships or modifying existing warships. It was due time they profited off the market with their technology instead of reinvesting another two to three million crowns for the development of a newer ironclad warship.
Sheila entered the room and saw him alone behind his desk in deep thought. "What's wrong, Claude? Did your fat friend bring you any bad news?"
He snapped out of it and shook his head. "No, I was considering the future plans of our military. There are quite a lot of things I have to deal with personally. I will be going to Port Patres in a few more days. By the way, why did you come?"
"Why?!" she bellowed angrily, "Look at the time! go get some lunch already! I thought you would come to eat with General Boa, only to hear from the servants that he had already left while you are still in your study blanking out like that!"
Claude finally realised that it was time for lunch. he looked at the crystal sandglass on his table and suddenly thought of an idea to get Liboyd to design luxury timepieces for another source of revenue. As he accompanied Sheila for lunch, he deliberated over who he could put in charge of the matter. Perhaps he could let his illegitimate son with Sonia, Marcus, deal with it. Marcus was already a student of engineering under Liboyd, after all.
Just as he was about to take a nap in his room after finishing his meal, a servant came and told him Myjack had come to visit. He had no choice but to put his clothes back on to see his brother-in-law. What was with everybody visiting him on the same day?
Myjack was no longer leading troops in the field. He was mainly in charge of the military administrations' matters and logistics. In essence, he held the role of the supervisor like Skri used to. Claude, being the commander-in-chief of the region, needed a person he could trust well to manage headquarters. After much deliberation, he decided to appoint Myjack for the role.
Myjack had come to consult him on his itinerary after his break, as well as two personal matters. The first was to report on Tesoray's performance in the force. He was also forced by his wife, Claude's sister, to join the Han Ferd household and take on the name.
He had always been an orphan without a surname that ended up conscripted by the local government during the First Great Eastern Freian War to fill up the quota. Back then, he was only 16. Claude kept him close as his orderman. Eventually, Myjack, contrary to everyone's expectations, became a major-general and hereditary baron of the kingdom and could even hold the fort for Claude.
As his most trusted and the one who married his sister, Myjack did once consider joining the Ferd household. However, Claude had been far too busy, and the Ferd household was mainly controlled by Kefnie and Madam Ferd back then. Later on, the incident that caused Bloweyk's wife, Adele, to die and ushered in Bloweyk's departure from the household only added more drama into the mix. There simply wasn't an appropriate time for Myjack to come in.
So, Myjack sent someone to his hometown to try to find what his surname used to be. But due to an unlucky coincidence, his hometown's government office archives were burnt up. The ones who survived didn't really recognise him in the first place. Even the elderly that knew about the orphan couldn't recall his surname.
Usually, there were two solutions for someone in such a situation. The first was for them to join a household they were close to, and the second was to pick a surname for themselves to become the founder of a household. Given Myjack's current status and position, he was more than qualified of founding a household, but his serious demeanour made him feel unworthy of forming one just yet. Given his heavy workload and desire to properly pick a surname, he let the matter drag on till now.
Now that the two Ferd households were properly split, Claude became the head of House Han Ferd. When Angelina heard about it, she immediately forced her husband to join Claude's household. After much consideration, Myjack thought that to be a rather suitable arrangement, so he came to Claude for a signature and letter of agreement as proof. Those at the registration office needed Claude's signature and seal as the head of the household.
Apart from Myjack's matter, Gum was also going to retire and join Claude's household as a servant. Unlike Myjack and the rest, Gum had always played the role of Claude's guard. He was currently 46 years old. He had served Claude from the start of the First Great War and even saved Claude's life during the assassination attempt of the Greytower magi.
While Gum was a lieutenant-colonel, his military career was already at its end. Two years ago, he found a tough lady to take as a wife, who bore him a child last year. That was the reason Claude didn't take him along to the Shiksan invasion and left him at headquarters instead. Since the 25 years he joined the military, Gum grew weary of his career as a soldier and decided to retire and join the household as a servant.
Gum's full name was Gleimyte Opus. It was a shame that he already had a surname of his own; Claude would've taken him as a member of the household by virtue of him having saved his life alone. Naturally, Myjack was a branch of the Han Ferd household and wouldn't be able to inherit the position of household head, unlike Bloywek. But the more branches a household had, the more influential it would become anyway.
After discussing the matter of Myjack joining, Claude brought up his plans for Myjack. it just so happened that Staff-Sergeant Kester had gone to the royal capital with Kefnie to protect her and Claude's two children. Claude decided to let Gum take over as the head of security for a brand new force he could count on to defend his household.
Myjack brought out his notes and confirmed Claude's itinerary with him. He was no longer Claude's adjutant, so he didn't need to pay attention to his schedule every day. Instead, he merely kept an eye on the matters Claude needed to deal with and remind him from time to time to get to them.
The most important matter on Claude's plate concerned his visit to the pamigar republic three months later, assuming no war broke out there. As the commander-in-chief of the region, he would visit President Tanganem to sign a few treaties of friendship to establish cooperation in military, trade and economic matters.
The purpose of the visit was to broadcast the region's amicable attitude towards native nations by outrightly placing the pamigar republic under the region's protection. Anyone that dared challenge them would incur the regino's ire. It would also serve as a warning to the remaining Southern Freian colonisers at the western coast.
Myjack needed to double-check the date of the visit so that he could start preparing it with the pamigar republic and plan the visit in detail. Additionally, he wanted to ask whether Claude would also be paying the losman tribal union a visit in the meantime. Claude dismissed the idea as he wasn't the least bit interested in the union so long as they still had that much internal strife.
Having dealt with the official matters, Myjack changed the topic to Tesoray's performance. Claude didn't just throw his eldest son in the force and leave him to his own devices. Instead, he had Myjack observe him in secret. Yet, three years since he started, Myjack's evaluation of Tesoray didn't change. Tesoray was now the run-of-the-mill soldier that did no more than do the bare minimum required of him as a soldier without showing any initiative at all.
Initially, Tesoray was merely a weakling when he first joined. The half-year-long training did shape him up to some degree. He finally realised that his father wouldn't change his mind about sending him into the force, so he put in a little effort and became a qualified cadet. However, he would easily mingle with the other soldiers in the camp in their shenanigans. Some people were just born to follow.
From slacking off, hazing new recruits, stealing food from the cafeteria, drinking in camp, and teasing women, Tesoray behaved exactly the same as the veterans would. He didn't commit any huge transgressions, but his minor transgressions came often. Being kept in detention that often didn't bode well for one's military career. Soon, Tesoray became an actual veteran and joined two campaigns at the western coast. His performance could only be described as passable. He was part of four battles throughout the campaigns. It was said that he often boasted about having three kills so far.
In summary, his three-year military career was somewhat of a failure. Thanks to his disciplinary infractions, his rank was still that of a staff-sergeant. Yet, Claude's brother Bloweyk became a captain within three short years of joining the force.