With a punch of hydraulics, the hangar pad dislodged from the far ceiling and lowered itself. Aboard was the "Serial Peacemaker," the cargo racks already abuzz with wheeled loading limpets exchanging cargo.
"Being unloaded presently," Wingnut addressed the assembled executives "is approximately sixty tonnes of Mark 23 inflatable survival shelters from Core Dynamics. Twenty-five tonnes of water, two tonnes of advanced medicines, two tonnes of clothing.
The last five tonnes is scrap." The one half of the audience, the ones physically present, recoiled in horror at the pungent waft.
Air filters beeped and went into overdrive.
The scrap in question, was only a small fraction of the spoiled armour plates that had infested Whitelaw Enterprise's HAZMAT hangar. A collective groan went up.
"This is - all of it - from the Tote system market. I want you to let that sink in for a moment, folks.
AEGIS is not in that system, yet the attacks continue. It doesn't take a genius to figure this out - some of you have open requests for this exact same problem.
While you guys are dragging your feet, forcing us to look for support from other systems, people are still losing their ships, their homes, their lives.
Where you are not - AEGIS is helping them."
He stepped away from the caustic pile of pitted metals and melted polymers, and towards the tightly bundled shelter-packs, each unit a fully self-enclosed bubble barely large enough to house a single person with food and oxygen for a comfortable - if very dull - month.
"See, I personally have delivered so far," Wingnut cleared his throat here, pausing for full effect. "around twelve hundred of these units to the Vanguard - in the past three days, from Whitelaw Enterprise in Tote. And demand is still not going down, ladies and gentlemen."
He gave them a moment to do their math. There were uncomfortable expressions exchanged.
"Now imagine around this time next week, each and every single Vanguard Division pilot will be shuttling that much weight - in body bags instead."
"Now being loaded, on the other hand."
Wingnut indicated the bundles of hull plate, engineered here on the Vanguard on an hourly basis. "The AEGIS Vanguard - in case some of you have forgotten" he added in a sardonic tone. "is a combat ship. Expressly, an Anti-Thargoid Megaship."
"As its mission is to deal with an especially toxic adversary, the Vanguard's manufactory is specifically designed to deal with the same problem you all are ignoring.
Since ships are being attacked in your separate territories, they're stopping in for decontamination. Quality of life is going down aboard some stations like Whitelaw Enterprise.
Simple decon services will never pay for the damage this facility incurs on a daily basis, and they have no other source of revenue.
They *can not* get this material from anywhere else in your systems. Nobody even produces it in the quantities they need.
So I thought to myself - why don't we?
Turns out, it's a real money-maker.
It is because we can provide reactive armor and hull plates on a nearly industrial scale - a Megaship scale, even - that the authorities in Tote are all too happy to trade with us what we need in turn. Everything we can't get from you - which, frankly, has been a lot as of late."
"While you were all trading oxygen over the values of the Empire, those of us working with AEGIS are busy finding solutions, seizing opportunities, opening new horizons, drawing upon the support of your fiercest competitors, and still managing to drive the enemy out.
AEGIS is getting the job done.
WE... are getting the job done.
With or without your help."