In a darkened office, high above the City of Lights, a lone figure sat at a heavy wooden desk.
The only light in the room came from the scrolling holographic feeds projected from hidden generators in the desk’s surface. The only noise came from the readers' sleeves as she manipulated the projections with waves of her hands. Only seven people in the universe had access to so much data, so many feeds from all over the GCPS and beyond, in real time. But the feeds from the markets and reports from analysts and commodity speculators were not what held the reader's attention this morning.
With a flick of one wrist, she minimised the financial reports and, with the other, pulled up the communique she had received from ISO an hour earlier. At the bottom of the report, in glowing green letters, it said;
‘Commit’ or ‘Reserve’.
She knew the other six would have received identical reports and be facing the same choice she was.
Asterian spies were not novel, nor was Forge Father duplicity. But the latest analysis, the data presented in this latest report, of Veer-myn numbers and movements was - alarming.
And the Plague. Containment, it appeared, had not been sufficient. A whole Black Site was gone. Not even all the people working there had known exactly where it was. And yet the Plague had found it and destroyed it.
She made a mental note to ruin the careers of the scientists who had told her, told them all, that the rat men were a mere nuisance, part of the price of doing business with the universe. She had argued against Containment too, once, in the past. But she could not touch the people who had outvoted her on that one.
But this vote would need to be unanimous. Its consequences would, after all, touch the entire GCPS. Possibly the entire galaxy.
‘Commit’ or ‘Reserve’.
Tango, Epsilon, Ruhila - just a few of the battalions awaiting the decision of the Council. Some were training battalions, some more experienced. But all of them created with only one purpose.
Really, there was no choice.
She activated the secure and unique identification implants in her palm and held it over the scanner beneath the displays. Then, with one finger, she tapped the single glowing word that would send those men and women to war. The system collated her vote with those of the others and immediately relayed the result to Core Command.
Within minutes, across Corporate space and far beyond it, a thousand commanders received new orders and began to deploy their forces accordingly.