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Spano didn't like being told anything by anybody.

Earthforce was the last place he belonged. He seemed a walking embodiment of anger. The muscles in his neck stood out like cables, and his eyes had an opaque, flat quality that was disquieting. John could feel his own face growing just as red as Spano's. This crew had more than its share of slackers, and nothing he did seemed to have any effect.

"Procedures are created for a reason, Lieutenant, the reason for this one being to ensure the safety of every soldier aboard this vessel. As a weapons officer, I expect you to know the procedures relating to laser cannons backward and forward, upside down, in your sleep, surrounded by enemy ships, and with my face in your face."

He stopped, exasperated, then paced a few steps down the line. The four weapons officers stood shoulder to shoulder at attention, the sixteen gunners formed in two ranks behind them, filling the weapons bay.

"How long have you been a weapons officer, Spano?"

"Five years."

"Five years and you don't know the procedure."

Spano looked ready to burst. John had no idea what was going on in his mind. After almost one month as captain of the Agamemnon, one of the most powerful ships in the fleet, John had made no progress toward melding this crew into a team. He'd run more drills in the last month than he could count, and several sections continued to perform inadequately. Weapons was one. Not good for a destroyer. He'd had the weapons chief speak to the crew under his command. No effect. He'd had his first officer speak to the weapons chief. No effect. So now here he was. So much for delegation.

He knew he shouldn't encourage excuse-making, but maybe it would help to know what was on Spano's mind. Maybe then John could begin to make some headway
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