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  • #31
    Let the Games Begin

    Hive Prime
    Conference Room

    Spymaster Shirlak and Minister Ehud stood at the front of an assembled group of officials while they all watched the large holo-image in the center of the room. The image displayed numerous Morganite ships enveloping the planet Callisto.

    Shirlak spoke up, "That's it, InEn has lost Callisto everyone." Ehud grimaced, then walked forward.

    "People," Ehud began, "On one of the evacuated InEn ships that made it out safely, we have planted a message on one of the wounded/soon to be dead. It reads as follows:


    Your loss to Morgan Interstellar is a great tragedy. However,
    this will only be the beginning. Morgan Interstellar and the
    Spartan Federation are planning a massive invasion of the Sol
    System. Enclosed is a rough battleplan captured from a
    Spartan spy. Also enclosed is a map that shows the borders
    of Morgan Interstellar in relation to your own. A single ship
    will enter your Earth's Moon orbit, that will be us so we may
    open relations with you to help stem the tide against them.

    Of course the battle plans are faked but they wont know that. Since we have begun preliminary contact procedures, we must be extremely careful. Spartan agents will no doubt become aware of our ship. To avoid the Hive being identified, the ship, non-Hive configuration of course, and its ambassador will pose as an independent world that has suffered at Spartan hands. Xiero's will be on the ship to make our story more convincing."

    Spymaster Shirlak spoke next, "Hive agents within the Sol governments will help our ruse seem more believable, whether by suggestions to officials or modifying their data. We want our true identity hidden until we are ready to expose ourselves."

    The assembled audience broke into hushed conversations for a moment. Shirlak could tell some of them did not like the idea.

    "Reports show that Sparta would bring its fleet to Sol if Hive influence is found there." One of the officials shouted.

    Minister Ehud stepped forward, "By the time a Spartan battlegroup entered the system, the Terrans would have amassed their forces to counter any invasion. Remember, our main goal is to drain Morgan and Kessels resources in a protracted war. Besides, no one outside of the Hive have seen the Xiero's. Nobody will know that they are part of the Hive Empire."

    Another official, a Bulwark, stood up, "Spies under my command report that it would take the entire Terran Alliance to fend off both the combined fleets of Sparta and Morgan Interstellar."

    Shirlak smirked, "Kessel won't send his entire fleet. Right now their assembling a fleet near our border. As for Morgan, InEn will get the backing it deserves. If Morgan holds Callisto, the Terran Alliance has to step in."

    "Well everyone," Ehud interrupted, "We have our orders. Your individual assignments will be handed to you as you leave. InEn should be getting our message any time now. Dismissed."

    As all the officials stood up to leave, Ehud turned to Shirlak.

    "I've waited a long time for this, Shirlak."

    The Spymaster raised an eyebrow, "Waited for what?"

    "Nwabudike's head on a platter."

    * * *

    Spartan Border
    Ship Bringer of Peace

    Ambassador M'rocks ship and its two escort frigate suddenly exploded into real space near the Spartan border, their destination. The two escort ships immediately took up positions in front of M'rock's ship to prevent it from being destroyed.

    M'rock glanced out one of the viewports. Finally , he thought. M'rock couldn't bear being in transit anymore. His legs cramped, M'rock stood to alleviate the pain. While bending over, he pressed the comm to the pilot.

    "Tell the other ships to go on red alert, I have a feeling we may be expecting company soon."

    M'rock released the button for a moment to think then pressed the switch again.

    "Pilot, you can broadcast my message into Spartan space."

    "Yessir." The pilot responded.

    Now the fun begins, M'rock thought nervously.

    To: Spartan Federation
    From: Hive Ambassador Telhai M'rock

    Spartan Federation, on behalf of Emperor Sheng-ji Yang and the Greater Hive Empire we wish you good health. We have recently become aware of potential Spartan plans of invading Imperial Hive space. We cannot allow this. In order to avoid conflict we ask that you do not attempt this. Representing Emperor Yang, I petition that we both discuss an alternative to Spartan invasion of Hive space.

    Please contact us as soon as possible so that we may avoid war between our two flourishing empires.
    Last edited by Frankychan; January 16, 2002, 20:46.
    Despot-(1a) : a ruler with absolute power and authority (1b) : a person exercising power tyrannically
    Beyond Alpha Centauri-Witness the glory of Sheng-ji Yang
    *****Citizen of the Hive****
    "...but what sane person would move from Hawaii to Indiana?" -Dis


    • #32
      Location: Administrative Conference Room, Horizon Aida Base (Capital)

      Nicholas felt sweat overflow his forehead. This was the end of his carrier as a pacifist thinker and the beginning of being a revolutionary. The only worlds he felt connections with were Mars and Titan – the only places where he actually lived, spending six years of his life studying Titan ecosystems and genetics exploitations of man. The government policies towards a more ‘regulated’ exploitation came as a direct effect of his publishings. He couldn’t believe a few thoughts of a single man could stir powerful reactions. Earth seemed far away in his mind now, even though the words he is about to speak will change the relationship between the Titan and Earth people forever – or at least until they reach some sort of an understanding – which, in his opinion, is something to be fought for…

      One of the make-up artists wiped his sweat with a chemical: “This will stop the production of sweat for thirty metric minutes,” the oriental-looking woman said as her hand passed his face, and then went off, leaving Nicholas alone with a mirror. He looked at himself – a man in his thirties, resisting longevity treatments, with natural blond-brown hair, green eyes and a single pair of wrinkles. He felt his face swell up for a second and then the chemicals kicked in, leaving his facial muscles feeling slightly outstretched. He felt uneasy as he went over the speech once more, practicing facial expressions and controlling his reactions. Finally Nicholas felt confident. And then he met his audience.


      Doctor Samato Tanaka looked at his cards – two aces, a seven, an eight and a jack of hearts. Around him sat Shacraz and three other colleagues of theirs – a woman with short brown hair, and two identical middle-eastern men. Five scientists, after work at the holo-bar, playing poker and fully aware of what was going to happen – new rulers will come, they may not work against Titan’s interests but scientists are apolitical by nature and rulers will always cherish power, in their opinion, and not the people.

      Samato placed three cards on the table and received another three. He looked at them – it is amazing how four aces looked almost exactly the same as they would nearly a thousand years ago, and the king of diamonds was as two sided as ever. Shacraz showed his cards first – three kings and two queens. The rest gave up and it was Samato’s turn. He looked up at Shacraz:

      “So, you think you’ve won?”

      “Not likely, unless you haven’t got four aces and a king.”

      Samato laid his cards, and to everyone’s astonishment the cards were as Shacraz predicted.

      “Very good Shacraz! I see you have been studying the probability theories and bending them to your own purposes lately!” he smiled.

      “God’s dice are loaded,” the woman said with a smirk.

      “How true,” Shacraz agreed. “Say, since when have you chosen politics as your study area?” he asked suspiciously.

      “You know very well, don’t pretend Shacraz,” he gave him a wary glance, “We have been producing armaments for nova Saturna for years. Might as well come clean now.”

      “But become the Research Minister? How did that come?” one of the other men asked.

      “Well my friends, as you said, God indeed plays with loaded dice.” He felt a tingle in his left ear and reached for it. One of the people at the Rhean laboratories called him:

      “Dr. Tanaka! The prototype of the Theseus C-5 design has been completed! The ship would be in service within ten metric hours. On your holo, now!” And on Samato’s left came a holo image of the ship. It looked like a giant slug of a space ship, size of a sub-capital ship, with two layers of hulls – the outer and bio-repairable layer and inside it the core layer, which was unrepearable and contained the reactor chamber. No other shields – they’ve been traded for the ships speed and energy weaponry. The most striking thing about it was it’s indigo colour with green patches here and there. Its construction had been expensive and time-consuming but worthwhile – to possess the first Sol bio-ship can be a blessing, or a curse.

      “Excellent officer! Dismissed,” he said. The others looked at the holo in awe.

      “Aye sir. Out.”

      There was a message being broadcast throughout the bar: “Magistrate’s speech starting in ten… nine…”

      “This is it,” Samato thought as the holo changed to the Administratory conference room, with the now former Magistrate signing his death warrant to the EC.


      Nicholas looked around the room – reporters, hundreds of them, and little cameras hovering all around him, recording his every move, like in Geneva. He breathed in and started:

      “Ladies and gentlemen, people of Titan and Rhea, people of the Sol system, today is a new chapter in history of Sol,” he paused. “Today, I, Nicholas Popullos, am stepping down from being another EC governor who works against the interest of the people of Titan and Rhea. But before I do so, I will disclose the crime EC committed to you,” and the holos around his changed to images prepared by Maria Sanchez’ officers. Images of mass murder, nerve stapling, hidden records of evidence that EC was behind numerous assassinations, and even a secretly filmed meeting of EC planners discussing how to crush Titan resistance in most unorthodox ways. Through all this Nicholas talked to the audience: “… and their blood was shed for their belief in an independent Titan and Rhea, currently ruled by the greedy bureaucracy of EC. Well, now their martyrdom will finally be avenged. As I step down as the last Colonial Magistrate, I want you all to meet the future Queen of this world, Maria Sanchez,” and Maria walked up on the stage, closely followed by her two guardians, Oberon and Titania. There was a wild applause from the audience, hundreds of camera flashes and twice as many questions being hurled at the stage. Nicholas shook hands with her and sat on a seat nearby, while Titania and Oberon stood on the sides, reminding him of gargoyles.

      Maria lifted her right hand and there was silence in the room. She placed her hand on her chest and spoke:

      “I, Maria Sanchez, will soon be officially sworn-in as Queen of this world. I am behind the people, and together we march forward,” she paused and spoke triumphantly: “to freedom!!!” There were many supporters in the crows and they gave her a wild sheer. Thunderous applause and even more flashes followed, as the Queen appeared on all holosets throughout the Sol system.


      In orbit around Titan was the Orbital Cannon. It soon came into light and all it’s technical brilliance was shown. The black ball was filled with grey streaks of machinery that moved it and it’s deadly rods. Two of the rods were at the sides and the third pointed outwards, towards space.

      “Initiate pulse test,” a command was given. The structure moved and brightened a bit and the third rod glowed blue until a beam came out and blasted away into a brilliant straight blue line. Then it disappeared, and the structure went into darkness, poised to strike from the darkness.
      ... This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality...
      ... Pain is an illusion...


      • #33
        Edge of Hive Space
        Destroyer Good Will of God

        The Conclave ship came out of FTL without any problems. The ship's cargo was taken out of storage and loaded in the torpedo room. On the bridge of the warship, Commander Lilly Miessly took another drink of her coffee. The bridge of the destroyer was set in the typical Conclave fashion. The Captain in the middle, with helm in front, weapons to the starboard side, sensors to the port, and everything else below or above the weapons and sensors. Lilly smiled, when she saw the latest drill reports that were comming in from all decks. As the ship was exiting FTL she ordered a suprise battle alert of the crew to see how far they had progressed since they left the station over New Eden. This was her second command and her first destroyer. The ship was an old Class 95 from 20 years ago. It design was one of more agilty then firepower and the Good Will of God 's main firepower laid in the two torpedo fore bays, an excellent suite of ECM, and a couple of Chaos battries and several rapid fire gattling lasers for anti-fighter and missile. It had served under several captains and was considered on of the worst ships in the fleet due to having lost 3 crews during a single campaign. This ship was the poster child for what was wrong with the class 95 DD's. But to Lilly the ship could do no wrong, she had quickly fallen in love with being on her own, unlike being a micromanaged commander of a frigate.

        Her weapons officer said. "Captain, message drone is loaded and ready for launch in torpedo bay 1"

        "Navigation, we are at the correct location the Hive Ambassador said, when we last had contact with them correct?"

        Lt. Joung replied, "We are holding in correct postion Ma'am."

        "Programer at Arms, is the computer systems and navigation systems of the drone up?" Lilly asked, going by the book.

        "All systems are green, computer and navigation systems are up and running at 100 percent."

        "Good, Weapons." She called out, "Fire bay 1."

        "Aye aye, message drone fired."

        The holo plot in front of her came to life as the message drone zoomed out towards Hive Space with the propostion of the Solider of God program. Lilly had heard from other ship captains in her leave on New Eden that messages were being sent out to all the governments and factions, and that the first units were doing their final training at the moment. She had watched the bill pass on the holoscreen, and wondered if her ship would be part of the escort group for the transports.
        "I do think that it is important to realize that wars are ugly and vile and that there better be a damned good reason for getting involved in one. Because the price for somebody is going to be very, very high."

        David Weber


        • #34
          Dresden, Earth. Some four hundred kilometres north of Geneva.

          The sun was rising behind the horizon as two marine transports made their way trough the central Dresden. The traffic was, as always, hidious, and the transports were forced to halt for several times, greatly irritating the commanding officer of the detachment ordered to retrieve the Minister of Defense from his house and bring him to Geneva as soon as possible.

          Meanwhile, in the top floor of a skyscraper some three kilometres away from the transports, Adrian Koch slept. The bedroom's computer console had awakened, but Koch had ignored the alarm and had ordered it to stop.
          Then the computer started to wail again, but with a different frequency and a louder voice. Koch attempted to silence the alarm, but to no avail. He rose, stumbled to the console and saw two words on the screen:

          "Code Three".

          The first transport began it's landing descent as the other one proceeded to circling the building some fifty metres above. The squad guarding the Defense Minister had been informed, and the structure was going under a maximum level security check.

          In a few minutes Koch had put on his clothes and grabbed his portable computer system. As he was putting the headset on a knock was made on the apartment's door. His servant was not present, so Koch proceeded to the door and looked through the security monitor. The chief of security of the building was standing nervously on the door.
          Koch opened the door with a word, and said to the waiting soldier: "You are faster then I thought." Then he was escorted to the roof, where the transport had already landed.

          After sitting down inside the transport's passenger cabin, he finished connecting his computer system and patched it to the EarthCom network from a port in the vessel. As he waited for the security system to clear him in, he had a chance to finally think about the situation.
          Code Three. A colony of the Coalition was under a surprise assault.

          Vancouver, Earth. Coalition Defense Operations Headquarters (DOH).

          Admiral Ferninand Endo sat in the command nexus of Defense Command. He was staring at a holographic display casting a phantom of the moon Callisto in the middle of the room.

          Any reliable scanner data was yet to be received, but the 16th Battle Squadron in the area reported that most of the orbital platforms had been destroyed. The 16th itself was plotting a rendezvous, as ordered by the Terran Alliance Fleet Command, with a number of Alliance Battlecruisers and an InEn fleet to get into formation and engage the enemy ships now orbiting Callisto and, without a doubt, protecting landing vessels delivering troops on the surface.

          Navy tacticians believed that the attackers were clearly Morganites. There had been a worrying amount of activity in the rogue regions of the Asteroid Belt, but no Belter would actually land. If this was a Belter attack, the ships would have already be gone, but instead they were hanging around the planet. This was supported by information from the Interplanetary Enterprises, which had sent them scanner information matching the ships with Morganite silhouettes, and communications transmissions from the surface defense forces speaking of Morganite emblems in enemy ships and combat suits.

          The most worrying aspect was that after that transmission, nothing had been received. If the defense forces had been annihilated, the Morganites had landed over fifty thousand troops to overwhelm the resistance. So this was no ordinary raiding trip; the Morganites were there to stay.

          Somewhere above the Alps

          "The situation does not pose any threat to Earth. The Naval Intelligence is certain that Morgan Interstellar couldn't been able to gatheran invasion force sufficient to attack any other settlement then Callisto.
          Intelligence also suggests that the InEn scanners were bypassed using data stolen from the same base in which the failed peace negotiations were held", Supreme Commander Wakazashi's voice told Koch via the earpiece.

          "So they are Morganites? How certain is that information?" Koch asked.

          "It would be a great surprise that this would not be a Morganite attack. All other parties, except perhaps the alien races, have been cleared."

          Koch asked Wakazashi to stand by for a moment.
          "Pilot", he said to the craft's intercom, "what is our ETA?"

          "Two minutes, Sir."

          "Wakazashi, what would you suggest at this time?"

          "I suggest that no-one panics. The Callisto situation is strictly under our control, and Terran Alliance has taken to co-ordinate the effort of retaking the colony. I already have discussed with General Rosenberg about the possibility of aiding the Alliance troops, and she has agreed to send a battalion to the location onboard six Barge Carriers. The ships are leaving Oberon Outpost in some fifteen minutes."

          "A battalion? That's thirty thousand men."

          "Yes, and some two hundred armoured combat vehicles. But that is enough; though the Morganites did land with some fifty thousand soldiers, at least one fifth of them will die in the original attack; another fifth can be taken out by orbital attacks and surface bombardment; and the Alliance is bringing in approximately an equal force of soldiers itself."

          Wakazashi terminated the transmission as the transport landed right in front of the tall steel-glass building accommodating the Council of State offices and the Parliament.

          "Pilot, why have we not landed on the roof?" The Cabinet conference rooms were on the higher levels of the building.
          "The President's transports are there."

          Koch left the transport, and saw that the Global Plaza was empty, excluding some random patrols touring the streets. The Coalition Headquarters Complex had been apparently isolated. Usually a Code Three would not mean this high level security arrangements in the capitol. Not even with the President there.

          In a great sensation of confusion, Koch walked through the automated transparent doors into the Central Hall, which was octagon-shaped. It's ceiling was high, half-way up the building, and had four elevators with glass walls leading to the upper levels, and an express elevator that went straight to floor 70, where the Council of State convened.

          Koch stepped to the express elevator and looked with a slight fear at the standard elevators. He hated heights and would always rather walk up the stairs then use those kind of elevators.
          The Minister of Defense entered a clearance code to open up the elevator doors.

          Vancouver, Earth, DOH.

          The counter-offensive was proceeding well. Most of the Morganite fleet had been scattered or destroyed, and Terran losses had been at a minimum. Admiral Nedo had ordered all of Coalition's military forces to raise their combat readiness level, and the other colonies' Orbital Defense systems were completely online.

          Earth itself was now surrounded by an impenetrable sphere with a diameter of some five hundred thousand kilometres; nothing without the proper clearances could pass. Trading vessels were under a careful eye, but with the abundance of them only one out of two hundred could be scannered more closely.

          Geneva, Earth, Coalition Headquarters.

          As soon as Adrian Koch had entered into Conference Room 4, he was greeted by President Tremaine. The bulk of the goverment was present. The Ministers of External and Internal Affairs, the Prime Minister, the President and now the Minister of Defense. The rest of the Cabinet was approaching Geneva from their residences, but not with such a haste as their significance in a Code Three event was rather minimal.

          "Adrian, long time no see", Henry Tremaine hailed him and shook his hand.

          "Mr. President", Koch replied and glanced at the television screens while pulling a chair and sitting down. One was showing GNN, one IPN, one the IETV and one MarsTV. All of them had archive footage of Callisto, the Moon hassle (Except Interplanetary Enterprises Television, which broadcasted a continous list of Morganite losses), and a handful of experts giving the viewers in-depth analysations of the situation.

          "The media is hot on the trail, as usual", Tremaine commented somewhat bitterly after following Koch's gaze.

          "And somehow the first information of an assault is received via GNN, not the Naval Intelligence", the Minister of Internal Affairs snapped.

          "I have no doubts of the abilities of our intelligence forces", Drecaille responded.

          "Now, now", Tremaine attempted to pacify. "This sort of squabbling will not benefit us."

          "I must admit", Koch said, "I was not aware of this. But I must also remind you that this is, or before this attack was, an InEn affair. We were explicitly asked by the corporation to remain at bay. Now that is, of course, impossible."

          "The Terran Alliance is almost screaming for blood", the Minister of External Affairs, Peter Kalm, reported. "They never have liked anyone intruding the system."

          "I presume we will be issuing a declaration of war anytime soon?" President Tremaine asked.

          Drecaille's face change into a somewhat distressed expression.
          "Yes, there is a press conference in", she looked at the chronometer on her wrist, "forty-three minutes. I'm going to discuss quickly with the PR director in a moment, unless someone has something to discuss in this Cabinet at this instant." She looked around, and no-one spoke. Drecaille nodded and left the room.

          "So what about the Supreme Commander?" Tremaine asked Koch.

          "I talked briefly with him while in transit. He assured me that all proper action is being taken. A fleet consisting of six Barge Carriers is currently departing from Uranus, accompanied by a Battle Squadron. We will have a respectable force orbiting Callisto by the end of this day."

          "The Alliance will take care of the retaking?" Minister of External Affairs asked.

          "Yes. Since this is a Member versus Outsider situation, it has taken control. We will aid with all that we can, or is required, as will InEn. The other members have not yet offered any help, nor have they been asked to assist.
          Actually the Alliance reported that it could take care of the Morganites with it's own troops, but for the sake of public relations, if nothing else, Wakazashi dispatched the forces." Koch took a sip of the myriad of refreshments available on the table.
          The Global News Network anchor seemed agitated, and Koch turned the volume up from a button in his chair.

          " - our correspondants on Titan have been invited to a press conference, where the relatively new Colonial Magistrate Nicholas Popullos is going to hold what is told to be a speech, which will take place in a few minutes. The Global News Network will keep a close eye on the situation and broadcast the conference live from Titan with the speed of light. But now we have here with us our diplomatic expert, Raynold Grimm. Raynold, what do you believe will be the outcome of this conflict?"

          Koch muted the television and the other Ministers and President Tremaine looked at the Minister of Internal Affairs, Trey Jacobs.

          "Popullos. Titan has not been in official contact for a while", Jacobs reported. "Last time I heard, they were doing fine in all fields, especially in biotechnological research. Maybe they have made a breakthrough of some sort."
          Koch thought he saw President Tremaine wince for a second when Jacobs was talking. He was getting even more confused of the situation, and had a feeling that something was intetionally kept from him.

          Prime Minister Drecaille walked up to the podium with the Coalition emblem engraved to it. She cleared her throat and started.

          "Today, ships of Morgan Interstellar were detected near Callisto, moon of Jupiter. The fleet's hostile intentions were quickly revealed, as it attacked the colony's defense systems and started landing troops.
          Our current record tells that one thousand three hundred citizens of Coalition have been intentionally killed by Morganite soldiers or ships. Also, increasing harm has been caused to our assets on the moon. Since Morgan Interstellar was completely aware of our presence on the moon, it is my duty to inform you that from this moment on, the Coalition of Earth is officially in a state of war with Morgan Interstellar.
          The peace treaty signed 12th of December 2516 has been nullified by Morgan Interstellar by breaching Article IV of the aforementioned treaty."

          Once the Prime Minister stopped, all reporters in the room stood up, shouting for a chance to ask a question. Drecaille picked one up by random.

          "Thomas Cliff, GNN. Prime Minister, how has the Coalition responded to hostile action? Are any Coalition Navy fleets heading towards Callisto?"

          "I will not answer to questions regarding secret military information, but anyone can make the obvious conclusions. Next question -"

          One of Drecaille's aides walked to her and whispered her something. Drecaille made, against all rationality, an expression of amazement in front of tens of reporters, and quickly left the room. The aide took the microphone and informed that the press conference had ended.

          "Today, I, Nicholas Popullos, am stepping down from being another EC governor who works against the interest of the people of Titan and Rhea. But before I do so, I will disclose the crime EC committed to you."

          Drecaille and the rest of the people in Conference Room 4 looked in disgust as holographic projections of all imaginable kinds of terror and atrocity filled the room around the former Colonial Magistrate.

          "Their blood was shed for their belief in an independent Titan and Rhea, currently ruled by the greedy bureaucracy of EC. Well, now their martyrdom will finally be avenged. As I step down as the last Colonial Magistrate, I want you all to meet the future Queen of this world, Maria Sanchez."

          A quite striking, tall and dark-haired woman replaced Popullos in the picture. She was accompanied by two bodyguards, and raised her hand to calm down the storm of applauds.

          "I, Maria Sanchez, will soon be officially sworn-in as Queen of this world. I am behind the people, and together we march forward to freedom!"

          President Tremaine walked to the screen, darkened it in a click, turned around to face the Cabinet and uttered quietly: "Bloody hell."

          An atmosphere of complete surprisal floated in the room. All Ministers looked at each other, trying to speak, but failing when trying to find words.

          Then, Tremaine lifted his bowed head and said: "Well, they got us with our trousers down. Second time this day, as a matter a fact." He was known as a calm nerved man, and did not fail to match his reputation.

          Tremaine sat down and looked sharply at the Ministers. "We do not have much of information on Titan's condition. However, it is clear that such an attempt of overthrowing the legitimate authority of Earth on the colony is an act of treason, from which the maximum sentence is death." Preferably shoving the culprit out of an airlock without a vacuum suit on, Tremaine thought.

          "We will have to give a statement to the media as soon as possible." Drecaille looked at the President. "As the leading figure of the planet, Sir, I would suggest that you make that statement."

          "Agreed", Tremaine replied. "I will briefly consult the PR Chief."

          And so this time Henry Tremaine left the room.

          Drecaille used the controls on the partition of the table in front of her. The electronics made a beep, and Drecaille entered a new series of commands. Immediately, a sound from the built-in speakers of the room echoed:

          "This is Admiral Wakazashi."

          "Admiral, Prime Minister here."

          "Good morning, madame."

          "Not a very good one, I am afraid."

          "The Titan situation, yes. I was aware of it yesterday."

          "Excuse me?" Drecaille asked in a wary tone.

          "The final report of the local situation arrived last night."

          "Why was the Cabinet not informed? Why did you not attempt to
          counter the situation?"

          "You are underestimating me, and the Naval Intelligence. Our local agents attempted to assassinate this Queen, Sanchez, some four hours ago, but the chemical they tried to disperse into the ventilation system of her hideout was of the wrong composition, and failed it's designated task.
          The agents were then discovered, and the last report from our central operative in Titan had a note for her husband. She did tell she would try to leave the colony, but our ships in the region have not yet intercepted her ship, nor do any of the passenger manifests of the last ships that left the planet, just before the speech, have any of her aliases.
          What comes to neglecting informing the Cabinet, I did not get knowledge of the NI failure until fifteen minutes ago, and I was at that time busy entering a connection shuttle to Moon, where I will oversee the construction of a new dreadnaught, Black Hole."

          "What do you propose as our course of action?" The Minister of Defense asked, as Drecaille did not continue the conversation. One of the other Ministers checked that she was fine, just lost in thought.

          "Admiral Kamalakara and the 21st and 28th Battle Squadrons are plotting a course to leave Earth orbit. Some of the patrols near Titan and Rhea are moving in to halt any ship traffic to and fro while the rest remain in standard routes to look out for any intruders.
          The colony will be isolated entirely in a few hours, but we cannot inhibit communications. They will continue disseminating their ridiculousnesses for now."

          Yes, the atrocity acclaim. The President and the PR chief are probably discussing this for the time being, Koch deduced. All of that would be, of course, denied, and the Titanians labeled as dirty liars. He personally did not know of such things, but when thinking of the earlier Magistrates, and the earlier regime, everything was possible.

          "In the Coalition of Earth, there are no dictators or royalties. The power in this nation is in the hands of it's 28 billion citizens, and no-one else.
          This self-proclaimed Queen..." Tremaine paused.

          "A Queen. She is no nobility. The last blood of any royal family was spilt in the over five hundred years ago, when Francis the Fifth, Prince of the United Kingdoms of Benelux, was killed by an angry mob after he had declared that he would not submit to the Coalition. I predict a similar fate to Miss Sanchez, here", Tremaine declared in a patronising tone. Some of the reporters had a hearty laugh, and Tremaine smiled.

          "This is exactly the message I want to send to Titan. Your little upstart rebellion will not last for long. The people of this great Coalition have grown attached to democracy, and no-one, not even Queen Maria of Titan and Rhea, can overcome that. I doubt that Miss Sanchez and her terrorist organisation has any support from the majority of her citizens, and that this rebellion is a one forced on the locals by Queen Maria and her underlings."
          The President took a breath.

          "The Coalition of Earth gives Maria Sanchez and the Nova Saturna movement five hours. If by 14.26 Standard Geneva Time we have not received an instrument of surrender from Miss Sanchez, we will retake the colonies of Titan and Rhea.
          If the ships landing to arrest Sanchez, Nicholas Popullos and the other rebel leaders are fired upon, we will respond with an equal military strike."
          Cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the test. Thank you for helping us help you help us all!


          • #35
            All Hail the Conquering Heroes

            Callisto, Prime Command Center (Callisto One)

            Major General Harry Marmion was somewhat relieved. He’d spoken just minutes ago with CEO Morgan (via commlink), who had assured him that preparations were being made to ship him reinforcements. A good sized volunteer army was gathering at Pollux C, Aristophanes. This was the planet that had constructed the Namibian Queen in the first place, and a good number of the populace had relations on her when she went down. It was quite a sad event, and though the ship was almost 30 years old, it was still a symbol of pride for every shipworker when their ship flies overhead, or they hear of it in the news, or they meet one of it’s functionaries. It’s even more of an honor to be the creator of a symbol of Morganite heroism, and so every man in the major city, Aristophanes, including the Governor, Saeed El-Hashian, wanted to get in on the action, and wanted to avenge the heroic dead. Of course, the only problem was that all of them would be green, and that they would take some time in arriving. Ah well, at least the CEO was pleased.

            As Marmion marched down the walk through the Cafeteria to the Command Center of Callisto, he passed a group of lunching soldiers, the elite of his army. These were some of the very backbone of his force there. As he passed the room, a short, stocky engineer popped in. “Bill!” he called to a friend sitting at a table, filling his face with a (stale) chocolate long-john, “There you are, mate! Been looking all over for you, mate!”

            “’Ave you, now, Geoffrey, eh?” asked Bill, sinking his jaws into the donut, “What’s on your mind?”

            “I’m hungry, Bill. That’s all. I looked for you as I knew you’d be where the food is. Ooooh, soup, I see!” cried Geoffrey, pointing to a tureen filled with a thick green liquid.

            “Er, wouldn’t touch it me-self, it’s pretty cold, and that kind of soup is not good when cold. Must have been one of the last things the cook prepared before we burst in on our carriers, blazing away at everything in sight, and giving the cook a run for his money. Try one of the sandwiches, though, just got done one me-self. They are pretty decent, if a bit stale. Not as good as the orbex tongue sandwiches back in Morgan Interstellar, though.”

            “Thanks, Bill, I believe I will.” He grabbed a sandwich off a tray that stood abandoned in the center of the room, near the kitchens and the counter, eagerly biting into the thing. “Yes, it’s pretty good, for stuff that’s been in deep freeze for who knows how many months, and was just thawed out last night. It’s not real lettuce, either. But it’s OK.” The two then began to compare their favorite Dirty ‘Dustrialists band members.

            A third man entered the cafeteria, this one was sick to his stomach. “Hello, boys,” he said wearily.

            “Oh, hello, Martin,” said Bill, “What’s the matter?”

            “I just saw one of the civilians blow himself to bits, yeah, right to bits. In a dwelling. You know, those big, white, bulb-like things strewn out as far as the eye can see. A Sergeant and I were inspecting them, in the North Sector, and we opened one of them that belonged to a widower, a Mr. Chang, 38 years old, five feet and eight inches, black hair, brown eyes. As soon as the Sergeant went in, this Chang guy grabbed him and started struggling with him. He called out for me to shoot this attacker off of him, and I was about to do so when this Chang fellow blew himself, and the Sergeant, to bits. He must have had a concussion grenade or something. Man, I tell you, these people, even when they know they’re whipped, they refuse to give up.”

            “Yeah, well, thanks, I just lost my appetite,” said Geoff, slamming the sandwich back down onto the tray.

            Marmion walked into the Command Center to be greeted by his Lieutenant, Sigurdson, and the commanders, Brigadiers Kingson and Bismarck, Colonel Nassar, ordnance chief, and flight commander Needleham, who had been in charge of the carriers. They all saluted Marmion as he marched in. He returned the salute and marched in.

            “How is are position, eh? Could we hold if the Terrans attack us?” he asked.

            “I think so, sir,” responded Harry Bismarck, the right wing commander, “Nova Saturna and the bunch have seceded from the Earth Coalition, which is quite a pain in the neck for the Earthers. They’ll be trying to think of a bloodless way to bring them back, and if they can’t do it, they’ll declare war, tyrannical pigs that they are. Hang the lot, I say. Anyway, they will have to deal with both the secessionists, and us, and that may well be too much for them. They certainly can’t attack Morgan, except maybe from one of those far flung colonies, but we have a better chance of catching those. I think they’ll put up some orbital attacks though…”

            “Conventional Missiles and the like, sir, they won’t risk too heavy bombardment, in fear of destroying their own work down here,” added Nassar, helpfully.

            “Yes, that’s right, I think they’ll do some nasty attacks via ships. They could have done worse with the orbital facilities, but we shot those things to atoms when we attacked. InEn is no longer as much a threat as the Terrans. This attack of ours really damaged InEn, and may well be the final nail in the old oblong box for ‘em. The Terrans will attack, and unless our reinforcements get down her before then, we may well have a very tough time. But I think we can hold until reinforcements come. Or at least we can cut our ways out and make for the carriers if we have to withdraw.” Marmion thanked them, and dismissed them. He was fairly interested now in speaking to the Magistrate, Mrs. Napgraft.

            Mrs. Trudy Napgraft, he found, was a tall, attractive individual. She’d been magistrate for nearly seven years now, and she was married, with two children. She was rather stiff and quiet around the Morganite however. Marmion could tell she’d be much more interesting to talk to had he not been a sworn enemy.

            “Mrs. Napgraft, have you been able to speak to your family at all since this morning?” asked Marmion, to break the ice.

            “Yes, once,” she responded.

            “Were they alright?”

            “Yes, they were perfectly alright.”

            “I’m glad to hear it. I caught a glimpse of your children yesterday, at play. Beautiful family, ma’am. Both your children look just like you. Especially the little one, young Trudy. How old are they?”

            She hesitated in responding. This was obviously the least thing she’d expect to talk about with her enemy, unless of course it would develop into a threat, which remained a very horrible possibility in her mind. Finally, she said, “Jonathan is 7, Trudy is 6.”

            “Really? That’s nice. I’ve got a 6 year old son, Arthur. Named after his grandfather. He learns fast. Smart boy, you know. I do hope to see them again.”

            “I hope you may see your family again as well, then.”

            “Yes. I understand your fears. Don’t worry, though, your family will not be harmed in the least. I will give special orders for it. Unless I really need you for some reason or another, I shan’t ask to speak with you or your family again. I can see that it is…unpleasant.”

            “No, really, I am sorry for being so stiff. I expected you Morganites to be a bit more brutish, actually. You know, like a bunch of gorillas in uniform. Grunting, I expect,” she laughed. They got on a bit better after that, and soon began to talk about each other’s families. It was, to say the least, a rather odd interrogation. It seemed, for the time being, to be a rather well-mannered war. But that was about to change. The Terrans were on the move, and it seemed as if the last few minutes of peace were quickly passing.
            Last edited by History Guy; April 10, 2002, 16:30.
            Empire growing,
            Pleasures flowing,
            Fortune smiles and so should you.


            • #36
              Location: Titan Administratory Headquarters, Horizon Aida Base

              Maria looked at the purple Titan sunset. Saturn was clearly outlined by a silvery circle and its big rings. It was a thing of exotic beauty, above the forever active human zones of the base, lights from the numerous buildings looking like ground stars themselves. Maria smiled to herself – no Titan or Rhean- bound resistance was met. She was welcomed as a saviour of her people. She also seemed to get acknowledgement by civilians across the system, especially from Mars and other more outer colonies. She received the message from the EC, it was a swift and simple ultimatum – surrender. ‘No one would comply with such a ridiculous request,’ she thought.

              The room, which used to be shared by numerous past Magistrates, had been redecorated and had many sentimental things of Maria’s – the portrait of her still-living uncle, her link to the ancient European royalty; numerous holo-pictures, one of her whole family, taken just before the Great Persecution, undertaken by Colonial Magistrate Jessin; a big Christian cross, decorated with emeralds, sapphires and a big crystal of amethyst in the centre.. Maria was a Unified Christian and not a Vassion, to the contrary to many of her followers. She considered the new religion a post-apocalyptic dogma and not a God-given idea. This didn’t cause any conflict between the nowadays pacifised religions.

              There was a discreet beep by the updated Colonial AI, just as she adjusted its disturbing interaction. Maria clicked with her right hand and the AI spoke in its original (non-human robotic) voice: “The leader of the Kawassan Belter clan is willing to negotiate. Put on screen?”

              “Yes,” came a short reply. A hologram floated up in the air and there was the face of an elderly man, face mutated by age, and probably radiation, with a black patch over his left eye. He spoke in a husky voice:

              “Well, isn’t it Queen Maria Sanchez! I was expecting one of your subordinates but this is better. How are you my dear Queen?”

              “Fine, thank you, Colonel Minogue. What is it you wish to discuss?”

              “You see, we are worried about the situation regarding your succeeding…”

              “Are you questioning my decision-making?”

              “Why, no my dear Queen. It is just that my followers need an assurance that the clan can profit out of the possible war.”

              “Assurance? Profiting??? Weren’t the credits enough?”

              “Yes, but…”

              An area on the moon Calypso will be secured by your signing of the new contract, you should be seeing it right now.” Maria paused. She gave this offer of land on Calypso to all other clans – they all accepted it.

              “You what? You are requesting our full support in the case of war!?!”

              “’Possible’ war, Colonel. May I just point out that other clans have accepted the offer and if you don’t, you will be left with no land anywhere in our region.” She waited for his reaction. ‘Just say yes, like everyone else of your buccaneer friends.’

              “This is outrageous…” he went off the holo for a minute, to discuss with the clan council. He went back on, and Maria waited, with a grin on her face.

              “We are in agreement, my dear Queen,” he said monotonously.

              “Excellent! Now, what a pleasant chat we’ve had! But I’m afraid I have other business to attend to, Sanchez out,” and the holo disappeared. She smirked and enjoyed the view outside. Her first day as the Queen of Titan and Rhea was nearly over. All she needs is reports from Popullos and Myodin, about their set tasks. ‘The Martian has good friends at home,’ she thought. ‘Let’s hope they’ll be more supportive.’


              Nicholas stared at the holo-screen. His former colleague, Peter Jovovic, was there, with a raised eyebrow:

              “You’ve made quite an impression here at home, Nikos. Although you have my personal support, going official will be tough,” he said, with a faint east European accent. He had brown hair and thick eyebrows. In the background could be seen brighter skies on Mars, especially during these terraforming stages.

              “I am no longer asking you only as a friend, Peter. I am officially advising you to take our Terran Alliance application to their HQ. It is that simple! Your favours will be well remembered.”

              “I still can’t take you as a Titan Minister,” he started and sighed. “But I’ll do as you asked. My people will direct your ‘plea’ for membership to the Alliance HQ.”

              “Receive most sincere thank-yous on our behalf!” Nicholas clasped his hands and smiled.

              “This may be official business but take it as a personal favour from me, OK? Peter out.” The screen blanked out. Nicholas wiped the weary smile off his face and sunk his head into his folded arms with a sigh. This was his workplace, near his quarters. It was a dark office with a view to the spawning bio-city of Horizon Aida, with fuzzy and distorted skies. He didn’t like it much. The welcoming party also decorated it in red, yellow and brown colours, to remind him of Mars, to ‘feel like at home’, which did no good, for it induced intense nostalgia. As he sat there in ‘melancholyland’, Anita came in and touched his shoulder.

              “You all right Nikos?” she said in a concerned voice.

              “Yes, just fine. I am not used to sudden changes, you know.”

              “Well, your work certainly suggests change is needed in this world,” she stroke his head.

              “I didn’t know you appreciated my work,” he looked up and said cheerfully. They smiled at each other. He stood up to stroke her hair.

              “That isn’t everything I… erm… appreciate,” she kissed him. They made love there and then, in midst of revolution.


              Commander Myodin was in the future Saturn Command Nexus, organising and reshuffling workforce and resources. Many of his subordinates worked around him, making essential contacts, necessary modifications in data and changes in the system. He was currently given the task to organise Titan (and Rhean) defences. Myodin looked at the holo in front of him – dozens and dozens of bio-ships appeared like a swarm in the midst of space, all expensively bio-replicated from the first Theseus C-5 prototype. He was also in constant contact with both Oberon (in charge of conventional and ‘digital’ forces) and Titania (in charge of biotechnical and psionic forces) and organising the clans that have been hired to work with them. In the skied above, the rouge Belter ships joined the swarm as the Sun rode up from behind the bulky shape of the gas giant. The Orbital Cannon was also in full view, brightening itself once more and blasting off a blue shot to symbolise their readiness.

              They were ready for practically anything EC could throw their way.


              Non-encrypted Broadcast to Earth Coalition Command

              Dear President Henry Gerald Tremaine

              We have received your request for ceasing all revolutionary activity and an order to arrest all those allegedly accused of the act of treason. As promised, well gladly reply.

              We the people of Titan and Rhea denounce your rule of our worlds. Our goal is one and only – true independence. We will not stop at an illegitimate threat coming from your way to once again crush the freedom of our people. After all, isn’t democracy about the will of the people?

              Cannot we rule by ourselves, without constant harassment from your side? We wish all the remains of your past administrations removed, unless we find them useful, and you to follow proceedings of the Terran Alliance and not create a member-member conflict.

              To freedom we march,

              Queen Maria Sanchez
              Last edited by Cybergod; February 3, 2002, 14:15.
              ... This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality...
              ... Pain is an illusion...


              • #37
                The Grand Temple, near Caledon, Vega Prime

                "You okay, Gary?"

                The Thinker nodded slightly. Earlier that day, Derek Sorensen and his team had discovered a sliding panel that concealed another mysterious control board. On an impulse, Gary had offered to probe the system. It was surprisingly easy. All he needed to do was attach his computer interface accessory and plug the uplink into a convenient slot in the wall.

                Closing his eyes, the Thinker saw a schematic of the system. It seemed as though he were standing on a long green platform, glistening with wires and nodes. It stretched off as far as he could see in either direction. Above him was a similar platform, and below him yet another. He had been to both of these, as well as identical ones a couple of levels up and down from his current location. What seemed to be of more interest was the writing in the blackness beyond.

                Gary could not read them, but they reminded him of the Santanni cave paintings recorded by Spartan explorers. He sought the familiar detachment, which would normally be followed by his seeming to float over to them. Nothing came. No, not quite nothing; it felt almost like he was being restrained . . .

                He tried to terminate the connection, but the feeling of restraint increased, as though giant hands were pulling him by the legs. On the verge of panic, Gary struggled -

                - and found himself back in the hall. A sudden dizziness washed over him, and he found himself leaning on Sorensen. "Are you all right?" The voice sounded a thousand miles away.

                Gary nodded. "There's a pretty sophisticated defense mechanism. We're going to need an expert."

                "Hm. If Domai was still around, he'd ask Roze's hackjobs to do it. Who do we have?" Sorensen mused.

                The Thinker contemplated for a minute. "I know," he said at last. "But we'll have to pay a call on the President . . ."
                Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.


                • #38
                  GNN Studio 4, Geneva, Earth.

                  "The reply of the insurgents on Titan and Rhea has been acknowledged by the Coalition goverment. A press conference is set to begin in a few minutes. While waiting for the conference to start, we have with ourselves here Jarman Biggs, Member of the Parliament and the chief of the Parliamentary wing of the Central Planetary Party. Good day, Mister Biggs."

                  "Thank you."

                  "How will the Coalition respond to this? Will they attempt to retake the colony?"

                  "Of course they will. The President has been very straightforward in this matter, and I expect nothing else but a declaration of war. It would require a miracle to save the Titanians. I am certain that a fleet of the Navy is already in the Titan region, alongside with a hefty unit of our fine marines."

                  "You seem to approve of this action, Mister Biggs, even though you are leading the opposition in the Parliament."

                  "When facing a common enemy, internal bickering must be set aside. Unless the Cabinet engages in some atrocious and ludicrous actions, it has the party's uncontested support in both media and politics."

                  "Very well. The Nova Saturna declared also that the earlier regime, lead by the CPP, committed such atrocities as nerve stapling on Titan. Executions are claimed to been taken place, even though the Constitution prohibits death penalty to matters of war time treason only. How do you answer to such accusations?"

                  "Ridiculous. Probably they are desperately trying to cause unrest inside the Coalition, or to get the other powers of the Sol system to help them. If the rebels attempt to present evidence, I urge the people to think with their common sense and refuse such trash."

                  "How about the Titanian people? Rumours tell that they are supporting the monarch Maria Sanchez."

                  "Yet again a lie fabricated by the terrorist group called Nova Saturna. I see no reason why the freedom loving citizens would allow such tyranny to be upheld, unless they feel threatened. Besides, the colony's research facilities are based on biological technology. I would not be surprised if the troops would discover, after seizing the colony, that the water supply is full of drugs."

                  "The press conference will start in a few moments. Before it starts, Mister Biggs, will the Coalition prevail in this conflict?"

                  "I have no reason to believe that by tomorrow afternoon, our marines will be hauling Queen Maria back to Earth to face trial."

                  Command ship CNS Galaxy, in Saturn region.

                  Titan was now in the scanner range of the first scout ships. It had what appeared to be squadrons of different junkyard ships orbiting it. The other moon, Rhea, was a bright star in the blackness of space if viewed from the scenery room in the upmost deck of the dreadnaught Galaxy.

                  The ship was almost one of a kind. Only two others, the flagship Solaris and the sister ship of Galaxy, Supernova, existed. A new ship, somewhat longer then the two sisters, christened Black Hole, was under construction in the Moon.
                  Admiral Kamalakara stood in the scenery room with his second-in-command, Commodore Craston.

                  "How many ships have the scanners detected so far?" Kamalakara asked.

                  "Let me check." Craston used a portable datapad to get the information. "twenty-nine. The amount is increasing slowly - apparently some Belter mercenaries are coming in to assist."

                  "So we have the numerical advantage."

                  "The 21st Battle Squadron has 30 capital ships, the 28th has 26 capital ships. We are clearly on the top." Not to mention that this is only two Battle Squadrons out of the available one-hundred the Navy could throw at them in the following twenty-four hours, Craston thought. Another one hundred squadrons - ten fleets -were patrolling the system and doing cargo tranfers. The Commodorel had never grown accustomed to such big numbers, and was happy with the three Battle Squadrons he had in his unit.

                  "Admiral, Sir, may I ask you, how come did we leave the 41st Battle Squadron back to Moon? My unit is not intact."

                  "Time, Craston, the factor of time. The 41st was short of fuel and other supplies."

                  "But readying the Battle Squadron would of taken only a couple of hours."

                  "In interplanetary warfare, Craston, two hours can mean everything. It is clear that Titan is at this time trying to get an emergency meeting at the Terran Council to get membership. We still possess an advantage, so no harm was caused by leaving the Squadron home."

                  Coalition Headquarters, Geneva, Earth.

                  "So, what is this 'Greater Hive Empire'? At least they aren't too modest", Elise Drecaille asked.

                  From his shuttle, now making it's way to the scaffolding that housed the Black Hole, Michael Wakazashi sent a brief decoded transmission, ordering the network of the Naval Intelligence to deliver an intel package to the conference room's communication computer.
                  The video screen on the walls and in the table were filled with what was primarily numerical data.

                  The Prime Minister glanced at the information. "Admiral, the last date these records have been rectified was in 2522. All it contains is a brief summary of the Human Hive, a Chironian faction. It ends with a notice that the Hive has left Chiron for deep space. Is this really all we know?"

                  "I am afraid so, madam, that is just about it. No Terran ship has ever encountered a Hive vessel, nor do we have any Chironian resource to rely on. All we can tell is, that they do have possession of a superluminal communication system of some kind, because they have intercepted news broadcasts and have been able to send us a direct burst transmission."

                  "This message was sent on a narrow bandwidth?" Drecaille asked, lifting an eyebrow. Accurate transmissions, especially on superluminal speeds, required very able computer systems.

                  "Yes, it was directed to the colony in the Ross 128 system. The Terran Alliance is naturally also aware of this message, and redirected it since it was meant for us. The very existence of this message tells of a rather impressive level of technology. Initial inquiries into some more friendly Chironian factions, the Cyborgs for instance, have revealed that the Greater Hive Empire spans a very large area, and reaches far into deep space. Keeping this in mind, this message is both pacifying and worrying.
                  The Greater Hive Empire obviously can prove to be a worthy ally. The other option is that they are doing some covert maneuvre, and attempt to abuse us in this condition."

                  "Your analysis on the situation is as enlightened as one can expect, Admiral. I suggest that we respond to this message, but in a very wary tone and selection of words, so that we can give them a feeling that we are open to any propositions of an alliance, but will not bind ourselves to anything in the long term. I shall have the diplomatic corps to formulate the message. Anything to add, Admiral?"

                  "No, Prime Minister - that is, as far as I am concerned, a prudent course of action."

                  And thus, a transmission was sent to the same direction the GHE message was received from, except that this one would be sent several times a minute for the next two or three days, and on a wider scale so that the Hive would receive it.

                  To the Greater Hive Empire, from the Coalition of Earth.
                  Your message has been received and understood. We are open to any propositions. We also desire that a permanent diplomatic link between our factions be established, to ensure that we can communicate further on.

                  Coalition Headquarters, Geneva, Earth.

                  "The Coalition has received the response of Nova Saturna", President Henry Tremaine began.

                  "And my regretful duty is to here and now declare a full state of war between the Coalition and the Nova Saturna regime of Titan and Rhea. Before this transmission is carried to Titan by communication waves, a fleet of the Coalition Navy has moved in to help a contingent of our troops to land. This is the force detailed in our demand of surrender as the policing unit set to arrest Maria Sanchez and her accomplices.
                  If this unit is attacked, we will retaliate with all our strength, attempting to leave civilian losses to a minimum.
                  It also appears that several tribes of mercenary Belters have decided to join the Nova Saturna effort. I hereby ask these forces to withdraw their support to any rogue elements, as the Coalition will hand over strict retribution to any faction deciding to support Nova Saturna."

                  Terran Alliance Headquarters, Geneva, Earth.

                  The Terran Alliance building was only a few miles away from the Coalition administrative complex. It was only half the height of the Coalition main building, but increasingly wider. The main hall was several hundred metres wide, and thirty-five metres tall. In the middle of it was a circle formed by a fence restricting trespassers, and inside the fence was the corner stone of the first United Nations building from northeastern United States and some other salvaged relics from the first and second UN buildings . The TA HQ itself stood on the founding layed originally for the Restoration League headquarters.
                  The Peacekeepers and the Terran Alliance had jointly decided that these objects should remain on Earth, and not be risked in a long space flight all the way to PK space.

                  On the northern side of the main hall was a series of display cases, most of the holding some age-old documents and treaties made on purely paper form. Also there was a series of items recovered from different time capsules.

                  The items were there because the construction of the Museum of Human History some two blocks away had been delayed by funding problems and a small diplomatic dispute as the last remaining pieces of the Temple of Jerusalem were to be placed there.

                  The rest if the headquarters was dedicated for interplanetary bureaucracy. All license bureaus, security and space navy offices, databanks, all that and more were placed there. And there was, of course, the Terran Council Room, a dome-shaped conference room where the representatives of the members of the Terran Alliance met.

                  And at this very moment, members of the media, and two representatives from each faction, lead by the Secretary General Daniel Stormhill, were arriving in the hall after being called to an emergency assembly convened by a certain prominent official, named Peter Jovovich.
                  Last edited by Kassiopeia; February 7, 2002, 17:24.
                  Cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the test. Thank you for helping us help you help us all!


                  • #39

                    Morgan Interstellar City, Central Plaza, Morgan Street

                    The ‘City’, as it was called, was extremely busy today, busier than most days. It was, after all, the nerve center of Morgan Interstellar; it could be called the Wall Street of the 28th Century. It had existed, long before the ‘Great Leap’, on Chiron as the center of Morgan Industries. Here in the ‘City’, every major financial decision was made, and money was, after all, the most important thing to a Morganite. Without money what are you? “The answer is absolutely nothing”, as the CEO would say, “Today money rules all, and without money one cannot accomplish a thing. Without money one cannot clothe one’s body, one cannot wash one’s skin, why, without money one cannot even eat! If one doesn’t pay for one’s food at a restaurant, one must buy it from a Super Morganmarket. As sad as it may be for many, in this day and age, money is everything, and everything is money. If we are wise enough to see this and act upon it, we shall discover an eternal fountain of wealth.”

                    CEO Nwabudike Morgan was present at the ‘City’ that fine day, walking about with his young friend, the economics specialist B.W. Ewell, who insisted on accompanying the CEO down that day when he opened the ‘City’. With a little clang at the small brass bell (the same bell that Morgan had taken from Earth when the Unity left for Chiron) the ‘City’ was opened and the crowds began to form in the huge building. The focus was usually on the huge computer built into the far wall, on which all trades were recorded.

                    Morgan was fairly happy today, as he was most days, but especially so today. Things were going well, increased trading with the Drone Republic had been opened up, and ship parts were being sent by the hour to Morgan trading docks from the Vega system. Besides the fresh money pouring into his 1st Interstellar Morgan Bank (IMB), the idea of his military victory made him glad. It was rare when he won much of anything in a militaristic sort of way. Indeed, it was rare for him even to be taking part in a war, let alone fighting it out. It seemed, for a while anyway, that this was precisely what he’d done. The taking of Callisto left Interplanetary Enterprises with very little to hold on to. InEn owned Callisto, 99% of it anyway, and without it a good chunk of the business was gone. The taking of Callisto had also put the Earth Coalition in a messy spot. Not only would they have to react in some fashion, but they would also have to deal with the simultaneous secession of the Titan and Rhea communities (who’d been quite a help to Morgan in taking over Callisto). The Earthers would have to get them back before the Terran Alliance could accept them. In short, things seemed to be going well for Morgan Interstellar.

                    To add to this already momentous list of successes, more men and women were pouring into volunteer offices by the hour, joining the ranks to go serve with their comrades to destroy the evil attackers, those who would dare fight against all that was right, all that was Morganic. Who could stand against them? Furthermore, if more men were needed, Morgan could buy mercenaries from the Believers, the almost unstoppable Soldiers of God, better troops could be found only in the elite sectors of Spartan barracks. Within two weeks, these volunteers would be on Callisto, ready to repel any attack from the Terrans, and if things got too bad, they could be easily withdrawn via transports before Callisto could be totally surrounded by Morgan’s enemies. For the time being, the war seemed to be in its final weeks, if not it’s final days.

                    “Ah, Good Afternoon, CEO,” said Dr. Ishimora Heidyako, one of the more useful trade analysts in the building, “and Good Afternoon Mr. Ewell.” The two men greeted the good doctor.

                    “I see, Dr. Ishimora, that Morgan Mines is suddenly up again,” said the CEO, pointing to the readings flashing along the wall.

                    “Yes, CEO, it certainly is. A fresh discovery of vizorium there has become a top seller to our Drone friends. It sells like hotcakes you know, that lump of metal. I predict that this little colony has got an almost inexhaustible supply there.”

                    “Wonderful, Heidyako. I’m certainly glad to hear it.” Morgan looked down at the doctor’s desk and spied the latest copy of The Morganite Economist. Emblazoned on its cover was a recent photograph of Morgan at the opening of the new Interstellar Morgan Bank on Castor C.

                    At about this time, young Mr. Ewell spotted Miss Sophie Carstairs. “Excuse me for a bit, CEO, I shall return briefly,” he said, as he hurried off in her direction. Ishimora and Morgan allowed themselves a little chuckle. A tall man walked towards them with Dr. Roberto Delgado, the head of the Board of Trade. The tall fellow appeared to be in his mid-thirties, and had large gray eyes, which were fixed on Morgan’s face. He was dressed in a black suit, and he wore a strange bright tie, purplish in color, which looked extremely out of place on him. He was balding, and his hair (what little of it there was) was pushed to the back of his head. He had a smirking face; one that resembled a bust of the mad Emperor Nero Morgan had once seen nearly 700 years prior. Morgan felt rather strange at the time when he peered at him. He felt as if he was standing next to something evil.

                    “Ah, Good Afternoon, CEO,” said Mr. Delgado, “How are you this fine day?” Morgan stated simply that he was fine. He hated questions like ‘how are you today?’ as he knew no one listened to the answers. "I would like you to meet a new trade analyst here, Mr. Sym. It’s his first week here, and he’s been doing splendidly.”

                    “It is an honor, CEO,” said Sym, shaking his hand. There was absolutely no emotion in his voice at all. Morgan responded that it was a pleasure to meet him, though this was, of course, a total lie. “You may find me useful also for diplomatic purposes. I have received much training in that.” Morgan suddenly felt very uncomfortable.

                    Camp of 8th Volunteer Regiment, 3rd Corps, Morganic Army

                    “Good Afternoon, boys. My name is Sergeant-Major Rowlands, but you will address me as sir. We don’t have too long to yap, so I’ll state the case quickly. In one week I expect you to be proper soldiers, and I’m personally going to make sure you are. If you’re not, then you’ll be the ones with your heads on the blocks. This is the 1st Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Volunteer Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, and 3rd Corps of the Army of Morgan Interstellar. It isn’t much, but it’s going to be everything to you for quite some time, at least until your terms run out. And we are at Camp Motyer, and twenty miles down that road is the city of Morgan Interstellar itself. In one week we’ll be heading off for one of those big transport ships, and that’ll be our home for three weeks. On the 2nd week we’ll be leaving this planet altogether. Here’s the situation boys, and it isn’t a pretty one. You’ve all heard, at least I hope you have, of the fall of Callisto to our forces last week in a brilliant piece of fighting, and we now have complete control of that moon in the Sol System. You know who we’ll be up against boys? The Earthers, that’s who! Our granddaddies and the like, you know. We’ve angered them already by taking their little moon base, but remember boys, they are in the wrong, they are the interplanetary terrorists, and we are simply fighting to avenge those they murdered. No one can stop those who are morally right, and thus we shall prevail, ultimately. We’ll be on Callisto in three weeks, and I’ll bet those bloody Earthers will be blowing the place to bits as well with their bloody orbital cannons and the like. Yet their attacks won’t be as powerful as ours was, as they have to put down this blessed rebellion of the Titanians, thank God, and that’ll put a stopper in the works for ‘em.”

                    “But sir, are we not allies with the Titans now?”

                    “Private Soldier Stubbs, we are not as yet allies. Our government has recognized the Titans as a sovereign kingdom, and that’s all for the time being. Of course, I can not speak for the future, but as of yet no alliance exists between our two governments.” Sergeant-Major Terry Rowlands then fooled around with his huge black mustache with the hand that was not gripping his little wooden baton. He then began once again to address those standing to attention in front of him. “Now, refrain from asking anymore questions until I’m quite finished, eh? Here’s what you should expect from the buggers from Sol. They will, I’m sure, launch a counterattack on Callisto, and will start out with a bombardment from the air that’ll probably take out a good 10-15% of our boys down there, I’m afraid, and then they’ll move in with a sizable ground force, and shall hope to surround our boy’s defensive positions. However, they’ll find Marmion’s boys walled up in the command complex, with is very defensible, and could have been put to excellent use by the moon’s original defenders, but it seems they were too bloody scared to do anything to protect it. Both of them shall fight themselves to exhaustion, and by the time we arrive they may well be too bloody exhausted to do much to stop us. This is how I hope it is. We may just get blown to atoms before we even reach Callisto. I suggest the religious ones here had better pray for mercy, just in case. Anyway, if we do cut these boys out, we’ll help defend the place further, and if we receive word of more of these bloody Earthers coming, we’ll pull out. Callisto is worth nothing to us anyway. We attacked it simply because it was the most important holding of InEn, and so it’ll be nothing to be ashamed of if we leave it. Now, any questions?”

                    “Yeah, I do, sir,” said Pvt. Cadwallader. This boy was trouble. The practical joker of the bunch. Had a brain comparable to a lump of basalt. “What the hell is the Sol System?” he squealed with a guffaw. A fellow other numbskulls chuckled; though one couldn’t see why. Cadwallader, though he attempted to be funny, never was, as evidenced by his latest yap.

                    The Sergeant-Major took his little wooden baton and broke it over Cadwallader’s shoulder. The shards flew threw the air, as Cadwallader released a cry of annoyance. The majority of the other students began to s******. The Sergeant-Major produced a second baton from a small box sitting near the large map of Callisto, which raised a greater laugh. “Right, if you’re quite finished,” he said, pointing the little stick at the map position of the moon’s command nexus, “We’ll continue…”

                    Callisto, Medical Sector, Command Center

                    Dr. Irving Netley was talking to himself again. It was incessant, he did this too often for Nurse Hegg to take any liking to the man. He was elderly, and so it was in many ways understandable that he would act this way, but the coldness of his voice and the fact that he was always speaking to himself of the ineptibility of a certain medical assistant seemed to make the Nurse more and more angry. The one she felt truly sorry for was the poor Terran citizen in the cot who the doctor was bandaging. This fellow, a Mr. Kruger, was found in the middle of the command complex with a bad wound to the right arm and leg, inflicted by a gausse rifle. He was surrounded by the corpses of several other functionaries, workers, and soldiers (all Terrans), and was unconscious when carried off to the Medical Sector. It seemed as if when the Morganites burst through the complex grounds they fired at everyone in sight, including poor Mr. Kruger’s fleeing party. He was the sole survivor, and at first it was doubtful that he would survive either.

                    Now, however, he was wide awake, and sitting up in his cot, the Doctor bandaging his arm and leg for the second time since he’d been found alive two days after the battle. Netley was gabbing about stupid nurses to himself while rolling the bandage about the poor man’s arm, and one could tell Kruger thought little of the old fool. “Poor man,” she said quietly to herself, “Very nice looking too. Really nice, you know. Reminds me of Rocky back on Earth. Why did I ever leave that place anyway? If I knew I was going to be stuck with this old crank I’d never have left.”

                    “I heard that, Nurse!” called the Doctor angrily from the other side of the room. For an old weasle, he sure had keen hearing. The Doctor then spied something on the back of the wounded man’s arm. It was faded, dim, and hard to make out. At first it looked like a burn, but now it vaguely resembled some sort of…symbol. An arrow, was it? “What’s that?” he asked.

                    The patient looked only slighted unnerved. “A burn. I got that a while before I was shot, though. Don’t worry about it. I’ve already been treated for it.”

                    “OK, Kruger. Nurse! Go check on the officer in the room down the hall, please, I don’t need you here.” The Nurse left in a huff as the Doctor swung round to peer at the report on the wounds of Mr. Kruger. The patient soon covered up the burn mark himself completely. He hoped the Doctor had not recognized it. It was no burn mark, it was a brand mark, one that was on every single officer of his class. It was the symbol of the Spartan military.
                    Last edited by History Guy; April 10, 2002, 16:53.
                    Empire growing,
                    Pleasures flowing,
                    Fortune smiles and so should you.


                    • #40
                      Deep Space: Starport Yang
                      Near the Bree Fringe

                      "Sender of message, identify yourself immediately and show your location. Do not attempt to interfere."

                      The Drone message blared through the command center's speakers. Since receiving the Drone's reply, Colonel Yasir Barak contemplated his next move. Sitting in his command chair, Barak rubbed his brow.

                      "Comm, any news from homeworld?" Barak asked, leaning back in his chair.

                      "Colonel, message from Homeworld. Says that you're in charge of the situation here, sir. They also order us to not expose our presence here. Command will assess the situation and decide on a course of action. Until then, you're in charge, Colonel Barak."

                      Yasir winced. Great.

                      "What about the Drones? Anything new?"

                      "Sir, we have reports that the Bree have launched an offensive against the Drone fleet." The comm officer shouted.

                      Barak listened to the Drone message still repeating itself through the command center.

                      After thinking for awhile, Barak stood up.

                      "Send the Drones this message:

                      Invading fleet. You have trespassed in territory that is considered neutral territory. Withdraw at once. We will not tolerate this act of aggression. Repeat withdraw at once.

                      Send it and loop it."


                      Barak looked around the comm-center for a while, then focused on the officer.

                      "And after you send that communique, turn off this stupid message," he said, motioning toward the speakers.

                      Hive Prime
                      Planet Surface

                      Emperor Yang and Warmaster Kang walked along the shore of one of the ocean's on Hive Prime. Yang breathed in the rich, sea air. He sometimes came up to the surface to clear his mind and focus on his goals. He usually brought up Kang on his trips, considering him almost like an adopted son.

                      Warmaster Kang, towering over the Emperor, spoke first.

                      "My lord, recent reports indicate that there is Drone activity near the Bree fringe."

                      Yang sighed, "Yes Kang, I've read the reports. I've instructed the colonel there that he can handle it." Needing a distraction, he looked skyward.

                      Hive Prime's violet-blue sky gave the planets surface a slightly darker mood. The stars above yawned over Yang, basking himself and Warmaster Kang.

                      "We've received a transmission from the Believers." Yang said, not turning toward Kang.

                      The Warmaster growled in his bass-like voice, "After 20 years they finally contact us. What took them so long to reply to us?"

                      "They aren't seeking an alliance. Apparently their message says sometihng about hiring out Believer soldiers."

                      Kang snorted, "My lord, you mean to tell me that first they ignore us for 20 years and refuse our offer, then offer to sell their services to us? I think their bible-worshipping leaders have gone mad."

                      The Emperor stopped walking and turned to face Warmaster Kang.

                      "Kang, I appreciate your honest comments. However, we may need them shortly. I have a feeling our forces will engage in battle soon and we may need their help."

                      The Warmaster bowed, "My lord, I meant no offense. But we are mobilizing the cloned armies and our regular military forces are enormous. We don't need any help."

                      Yang turned to look at the horizon.

                      "If one Believer soldier dies for us, that's one more Hive soldier we can use. Using them will free up more of our men and resources."

                      Beaten, Kang became silent while Emperor Yang continued.

                      "Our agents report that one of the Terran worlds has broken away and declared itself independent. I think now more than ever they will need our help. They should be getting Minister Ehud's message any day now. Hopefully nothing will implicate the Hive in the Terran's affairs."

                      Yang turned to walk back to the rover, the Warmaster following behind him.

                      "With the Terrans squelching this rebellion and fighting Morgan, their military will be stretched. Our forces could help alleviate this strain."

                      Kang spoke up, "But the Drones and Spartans..."

                      "Damn the Spartans," Yang interrupted, raising his left hand. "We'll have the Drones run around in circles before they realize its us. The Spartans, however, pose a different threat. We have an ambassador speaking with them now."

                      Yang continued, "Send a message to the Believers. Tell them we want a force large enough to garrison a small moon. Get a price. As for the Terrans, we'll have to wait to see how they react to our message. Do you understand, Kang?"

                      "Yes, lord Yang. I'll send the message to the Believers myself."

                      "Good. Now, we have to discuss the Spartan menace..."


                      Near the Spartan Border, Ambassador Telhai M'rock waited for the Spartan response to his message............
                      Despot-(1a) : a ruler with absolute power and authority (1b) : a person exercising power tyrannically
                      Beyond Alpha Centauri-Witness the glory of Sheng-ji Yang
                      *****Citizen of the Hive****
                      "...but what sane person would move from Hawaii to Indiana?" -Dis


                      • #41
                        Calling on the Soldiers of God

                        ENCRYPTED VISUAL MESSAGE
                        TO: NEW ISRAEL GOVERNMENT

                        Sirs and Madames, having received your offer of late, stating that we may purchase the services of mercenaries code named “Soldiers of God”, the CEO and the Minister of Defense are interested in taking you up on your kind offer. If you would kindly give us an estimate as to how many men are up for grabs, and what the going rate for them is, we would be much obliged.

                        Thank you,
                        Amalthea Whitaker,
                        Defense Secretary

                        WHERE DO YOU WANT YOUR NODE TODAY?
                        Last edited by History Guy; April 10, 2002, 16:59.
                        Empire growing,
                        Pleasures flowing,
                        Fortune smiles and so should you.


                        • #42
                          TO: MORGAN INTERSTELLAR
                          We can offer for your operations 1 Core of Infantry with the latest weapons, 3 Armored Cavalry Divisions, and 2 Artillery Divisions. Fleet units involved would be 1 Carrier, 2
                          Heavy Cruisers, a squadron of 8 Light Cruisers and a the same number of destroyers and destroyers escorts to escort the transports.The price is a 3 year contract in which the said
                          force would report directly to Morgan Interstellar, for each year of service we request lowering the monthly payments in our loan for our two mining stations.

                          Jorgen Fjolks Minister of War

                          TO: GREATER HIVE EMPIRE
                          Dear sirs in response to your offer of a garrison force for a small moon, we can say that it would cost about 900K B-Bills (you can figure out how much its really worth) for a small frigate squadron and 3 regiments of infantry. If you wish to include some anti-starship weaponry, we can add a portable Chaos Gun Emplacement on the surface for another 10K B-Bills.

                          Jorgen Fjolks Minister of War
                          "I do think that it is important to realize that wars are ugly and vile and that there better be a damned good reason for getting involved in one. Because the price for somebody is going to be very, very high."

                          David Weber


                          • #43

                            The Spartan Exploration vessel continued to broadcast the surrender call, even as the Protectorate Star Crusier Judgement tore it up bit-by-bit using heavy particle cannons. Had the Spartan ship merely powered down and ceased transmitting upon being ordered to do so, none of this would have happened.

                            Unfortunatly, the Vaunted Spartan stubborness seemed to carry over into their scientists. The Spartan ship, Magellan had began to broadcast to the rest of the Federation upon the Judgement's orders.

                            And so, they had to die.

                            Captain Parada of the Judgement gave a chuckle as the Spartan shipcontinued to broadcast "We Surrender!". Looking at the bridge crew, he smiled and said "Remember this well, Spartans begging for mercy. It won't happen again anytime soon, I assure. Destroy it."

                            With a few more shots, the 2km long Judgement vaped the Spartan vessel. Nodding to the Helm, he said "Inform General Ved on Beta Station the ship has been destroyed. We will return to Altair4 to report to his Excellancy personally, as is the custom."

                            The Massive ship turned away and opened a Jumpgate.


                            The Palace, New San Antonio

                            "Thank you Captain, that is all. Have you and your crew take a 3-week leave."

                            Lord Protector Ian I tapped the HoloCom, and the Captain's face disappeared. Turning to his War Minister, he said; "Well?"

                            Taking a deep breath, Nishant Kolasklar spoke. "Well, that's the third incursion this year. 4rth if you count the unmanned Earther probe. We should be amazed it's taken this long, we're only 17 light years from Sol."

                            "I guess this part of the Orion Arm is geeting crowded..." Ian murmered. He glanced around his office, and turned on the Holo-Map. The Protectorate was Small compared to the other Human Nations, but it was unknown to them as well. It appeared as if that would change soon.

                            "Nishant, we really, really need to speed up production on the Goliath Star Crusiers. Our Technical advantage will be our only one, once we are known. Those vessels can go toe-to-toe with anything in known space, and walk away."

                            "I know Sir, but you have to remember, this is an entirely new line of ships. Besides, 50 ships in 3 years isn't half bad. And our Alliance with the Dosi..."

                            "Ah yes, the Dosi. That reminds me...." Ian highlight the relavent star system on the chart. Procyon, clear on the otherside of Sol. "They've discovered another Believer Colony. Apperently the Good Reverend built this out of the way, in a vain effort to hide from the others."

                            "Kind of like us..."

                            "Hmmm....The Spartans will eventually send a larger force to find out what happened. 2 ships in 30 years. Fortunatly, they seem to be otherwise occupied right now. We can only hope our 'friends' the Caretakers keep their minds shut if asked about this system..."

                            "Well, Sir, you know what the Senate thinks. They'll support you on this, and in any event, we need to set somethings in motion. The other Humans are going to be mightily ticked off when they discover we were the ones destroying their vessels lo these many years."

                            "Inform the Commitee Chairs that I'll be wanting to speak to them in a few days. Your right, better we reveal ourselves now, than wait until Santiago or Yang send a rather more heavily armed expeditionary force."
                            Today, you are the waves of the Pacific, pushing ever eastward. You are the sequoias rising from the Sierra Nevada, defiant and enduring.


                            • #44

                              ENCRYPTED VISUAL MESSAGE
                              TO: MINISTRY OF WAR, CONCLAVE

                              Dear Sirs and Madames of the Ministry of War of the Believer Government, CEO Morgan, my staff, and myself have all unanimously agreed to your terms of purchase. We would be glad to receive your force (of 1 Corps of Infantry, 3 Armored Cavalry Divisions, 2 Artillery Divisions, 1 Carrier, 2 Heavy Cruisers, 1 Squadron of approx. 8 Light Cruisers, and 1 Squadron of the same no. Destroyers and Destroyer Escorts) at the earliest possible occasion, as they may come in very useful in our operations, so please send them directly to Morgan Interstellar. We'll handle the cost of the trip.

                              Our thanks once again offered,
                              Amalthea Whitaker,
                              Defense Secretary
                              Last edited by History Guy; April 11, 2002, 11:00.
                              Empire growing,
                              Pleasures flowing,
                              Fortune smiles and so should you.


                              • #45
                                New Jerusalem
                                Conclave Expeditionary Force 1 ground staging area

                                Private Barney Franks woke up to the sound of starships landing on the landing pad. He was in Bravo Company of one of the 56th Infantry Division barracks. The leader of the company came walking into the barracks and had the NCO’s get everybody ready. Sergeant Peterson started yelling at the slumbering troopers screaming, “Get up you bloody maggots, we are to be in parade formation for inspection of troops by 0600.”

                                In the next half hour the company formed up on the parade grounds along with the rest of the 1st Corp. The grounds were in and outside a stadium that the army had taken by the
                                starport. After walking among units picked at random, the leader of the expeditionary force, General Markus Collins went up to the special podium in the middle of the large stadium and saw the mass of humanity of the units that had scored the best of the morning surprise inspection and who were inside the stadium actually looking at the general. For others troops outside they saw his image in the sky by a large holoprojector and he began
                                to speak.

                                “Soldiers of the Almighty Lord, I have just been given the orders by our blessed government that our force will be sent out in a contract for the forces of Morgan. We do this because it will help the god fearing folks here at home to build up our infrastructure
                                and to make sure that no one will be able to stop the flame of light that is the Word. Do we want to let our families and friends down?” He asked, a resounding yells of “No!!”s filled the air. Markus smiled, and said, “Then we will leave in 6 hours, all units are to load up on the transports like we done before and double check to make sure all equipment, supplies, and ammo are in their correct place. You will be dismissed by companies.”

                                He turned around and walked of the stage, where several of aides came and told him what a great speech. One of them reminded the General that he had to meet with Commodore
                                Gregor Kincaid in a half hour. The General sighed and was lead to a ground car which took him to the starport VIP shuttle terminal and took a clipper up to high anchor where the carrier Blessed Redeemer and the naval element of the task force was at.

                                New Jerusalem
                                High Anchor
                                CNSS Blessed Redeemer

                                Commodore Gregor Kincaid was a man who was running late. The carrier was a brand new ship with a brand new crew and most of the dockhands were running everywhere trying to make sure that everything was suppose to work the way the boys at the dock did. He had just came out of meeting with the Major in charge of the Pysch Chaplain Core for the expedition. Apparently one of the more less inhibited members of the construction
                                crew that built the ship had used the chapel as a person theater for several illegal Morgan porno’s. Gregor being a veteran space officer didn’t blink a beat when he saw the video’s started playing but the poor chaplain for the ship had to be rushed to the medibay to stop the heart attack he received. He while walking through the corridors of the ship told one of his staff to send a message to the Space Dock 5 to find out the man in charge of him do some time in the penance square. He shook his head and walked into his room, where a half hour ago he should of been eating his sandwich which one the table. He shut the door
                                and smiled thinking about how hungry he was and that there was lunch on his desk. He was about to take the first bit when his secretary buzzed him and said, “Commodore, General Collins is here to see you.”

                                He looked at the sandwich which was so close to fulfilling his hunger and sat it down on the plate and hit the reply button,

                                “Send him in Gladys.”

                                The general walked into the room and the Commodore stood up, the General saluted the Commodore first since he was the captain of the ship and leader of the naval forces. Gregor offered the general a seat in his chairs by the desk and the General took it.

                                “Sorry for running late Commodore, but I decided to through a little surprise at my troops, they should be loaded up and leaving the surface in 8 hours.” Gregor nodded and said, “Excuse me for a second General,” He leaned down and hit the bridge button and
                                said, “Commander Hoarks, please inform the rest of the flotilla that we are to be moving out in about 8 hours, I want MPs now going through all the taverns and watering holes that don’t officially exist getting our sailors, ASAP.”

                                He looked up and said, “Please continue sir,”

                                Collins said, “Well as you know that the Morgans hired us, and we are to go directly to Morgan Interstellar, I am thinking we are going to be taking part in some offensive, since I doubt Morgan would hire such force design for assaults to simply garrison their home base.” The general realized that the Commodore knew this already and said, “OK I will be frank with you, I knew the man who was originally assigned to this mission in your place
                                and he wouldn’t tell me anything useful, that is why I pulled strings and him reassigned.”

                                The commodore looked at the General and wondered if he told him that because he wanted Gregor knew that he had full control of this mission or was it a desperate plea for some long delayed information. So he said cautiously, “Well General, we have this carrier which has 72 fighters on it, a decent array of defenses and some limited offensive capability. Of the 72 fighters we have 2 squadrons of SF-12s which are used for recon and interceptor work, 2 squadrons of SF-17s which are our space superiority fighters, and 2 squadrons of SB-8s which are our dedicated heavy weapons fighters capable of taking out a battleship. We have 2 Angel of the Lord class heavy cruisers which only
                                weren’t considered battlecruisers because they were to small to fit the length by a rather slim margins, they be able to deal with any ships that break through our fighter screen, and we have our light cruisers which will be our general purpose ships, and we have our destroyers which half of them are configured for launching torpedoes and the other half for anti-fighter work. Light cruisers and the heavies will be able to give you orbital
                                support if you need it, though with some planets depending on the type and the makeup of the atmosphere it will be less efficient then normal. The ships all carry at least 1 company
                                of marines, for the smaller ships and about a couple of companies per anything over a destroyer. We have about a transport for every division, those transports, we will be able to do anything you want us to do. Plus I think we will probably be working in tandem with Morgan forces.”

                                The General looked and said, “Can you do all those plans that I gave you when you first got the job to run the carrier?”

                                Gregor smiled and said, “While you boys been playing in the dirt, we been practicing your plans, don’t worry General Collins, the navy will be able to holds its own. If I am not mistaken, I am guessing you have to oversee your troops now” Gregor said eyeing the clock in the corner of the room, the general looked down and said, “Oh yes, well I will be talking to your later Commodore, but I must be going.” With that they both saluted each other and once the ground pounder left his office, Gregor reached over and grabbed his sandwich and ignored the buzzing of his secretary trying to get him.

                                12 hours later the First Conclave Expeditionary Force left the New Jerusalem system and headed towards Morgan Interstellar.
                                "I do think that it is important to realize that wars are ugly and vile and that there better be a damned good reason for getting involved in one. Because the price for somebody is going to be very, very high."

                                David Weber