November 8th 2244
Terran Alliance Federation Council
The Green Zone
My recollection of that momentous evening is still so crystal clear it might have been yesterday. On my 61st birthday, I had entered the massive Council Chamber that was the seat of our galactic power and the source of its democracy with the words of my friend, the President, still ringing in my ears:
‘You must be at the top of your game General, your powers of oratory at their most persuasive. The “Council of 25” will need some reassurances that the prosecution of this coming war is in good hands.’
The ‘Council of 25’ sat in a vast debating hall that could house 500 Senators-all seated in political grandeur. At the front were three concentric semi-circular rings of seats each of 10: the first two and half rows were filled with the Senior Planetary Reps or Senators. As if by some sort of statement of intent, there was space for considerable more seats after the third row. Behind them were the backbench Senate seats or those reserved for the Junior Senators from each star system. Each could send up to twenty depending on the size of that system-Earth for instance, had the full quota: 5 Senators representing each continent, including the Senior Senator, Abraham Ikzulu from South Africa.
Facing them was the President and on occasions various members of his cabinet-his job to chair the meetings and provide guidance when there were disagreements. He also had the power of veto on certain bills and proposals but, of necessity, was constrained to use this sparingly. The Industrialist Party to which he belonged was in power across the Alliance and so, by and large, the Council’s desires and those of my friend’s Administration tended to coincide.
On this night, all were there and the hall was packed and expectant as I strode forward resplendent in my No2 Dress Uniform, my medals glinting on my chest. It was a deliberate ploy on my part to awe these politicians not just with my plan but also with my bearing and demeanour: every planet in our great Alliance needed to get four square behind this project and tonight was the night that this was to happen-the last thing any of us wanted was political interference. My Aides shuffled in behind me as I took my station at a huge Hover desk that had whirred in from my right.
‘Council Members and Senators, ‘I had begun in booming tones ‘I am here tonight to outline the particulars of Operation Jade Thunder-the plan to take on and destroy the Torian menace for once and for all within our Galaxy.’
I paused, suddenly aware of the five Senators sat in front of me, who were Torians themselves, all representatives of Torian worlds that had defected to our Alliance. As if sensing my discomfort, the oldest and most experienced of them, Hlas Sziontho, adjusted his spray device to further moisten his amphibious skin and spoke:
‘It’s ok General, you may speak freely-the Torians of the Terran Alliance see the ongoing machinations of the Torian Confederation as being just as much of a threat as any human I assure you-pray continue.’
I breathed out slowly-my brief had almost started in hesitation and subsequent disaster-I thanked the old Torian silently whilst outwardly making an almost imperceptible nod in his direction.
‘Senators this will be an operation in three phases, the first two of which will run concurrently whilst phase three will be consecutive. The opening phases have already commenced Honourable Councillors-I say again the first two phases have started already.’
I paused to let this sink in-I certainly had their attention now-you could have heard a pin drop such was the hush. At a nod to my ADC, the Hover desk 3D projector sprang to life beaming an image of part of our galaxy in crystal clear dimensions onto a point above it so that all could see. I cleared my throat and began:
OP JADE THUNDER Phase 1
‘To our immediate West we have the most difficult task as here are the main concentrations of enemy systems. I have grouped them into four: Severus all by itself, with the Paulos system and Paulos I to its south. Moving clockwise from Severus, we then have the Torian main systems centred on Megres, Drengia, Ancros and Athena: five planets in four systems. We then have the Torian Lentzlandians systems and finally what I have termed the Torian Primary systems as they are the ones closest to our Western worlds.’
Again, another pause for effect-this bunch of politicians needed to know what we were truly up against. This would be no cakewalk but probably a battle for our survival.
‘Our plan depends on the completion of planetary sized space stations we have called Terror Stars. They pack enough firepower to destroy complete suns and thus the planets that depend on them.’
At this, there was a collective intake of breath and murmuring from all around the hall. I ploughed on-this was not the time for faint-hearts,
‘Yes a public/private consortium of our Shipbuilders Guild under Professor Sharpe and the Mitrosoft Corporation are indeed working on the blueprints for these. We will require up to three of these Stations, one for Torian Prime, one for Torian Main and possibly one for the Lentzlandians system. The money and research that will be necessary for these is immense but that, Senators, is not my concern. You have given me this assignment and I intend to prosecute it with all the strength and all of the resources at my disposal.’
The murmurings had lessened. Underneath my tight fitting dress suit I could feel the sweat dripping down my armpits-outwardly I looked as cool as if I had just stepped from an Altarian spice bath.
‘Here and here’ I indicated with my laser pointer ‘are two blue defence lines I have designated one and two. DL1 running north to south will protect us from attack from Torian main. DL2 which is to our Northwest and runs west to northeast will protect our north-western systems from any move by the Torian Battle Fleets on the worlds in Torian Prime.’
‘General if I may...’ an interruption by the Senator from Mars, an elegant lady called Sirwa Mahmood. I bowed in deference to let her speak.
‘I am sure that you would join me in welcoming our newest member planet of Marie IV, recently joined our Alliance from the area that you call Torian Prime.’
‘Of course my lady’ I returned smoothly,
‘Sadly Senator Mzor Frakientha is not able to join us but would you not agree that, given that Marie IV has fallen, then so too could Marie II and neighbouring Britannion without bloodshed?’
There was much nodding in agreement, particularly, I noted, from the Torian Senators. At this point, the President stepped in:
‘Senator Mahmood is quite correct and General Mormon’s plan is predicated on us not needing a third Terror Star to subdue Torian Prime as we will hopefully have brought these worlds to our Alliance through peaceful means by that stage. That is correct is it not General?’ The President said, eyeing me intently.
It was not quite as I had envisaged it but it made sense, not least because of the massive timescales that could potentially be involved in researching all the levels of Terror Star development, Professor Sharpe’s remit.
‘That’s absolutely correct Mr President. Now if I may continue to Phase 2, which primarily concerns our Korath systems’
OP JADE THUNDER Phase 2
Suddenly there was loud roaring and banging on seat tables by the Korath Senators representing our Far North Western worlds: twenty years of being part of the Terran Alliance had merely softened some of the rough edges of the Korath Clan. It would seem-once a Korath, always a Korath.
I waited for the commotion to die down and continued:
‘Phase 2 is very simple: culturally subvert the worlds in the Torian systems of Snathi and Alexus and establish DL3 to protect from the inevitable attacks that will come from the Torian northern worlds. We already have fleets moving into position along DL3 and many constructors building Influence Starbases around those enemy worlds I just mentioned so Phase 2 is actually progressing faster than Phase 1.’
Another nod to my ADC and the last of the images was projected:
OP JADE THUNDER Phase 3
‘Once Phases 1 and 2 are in place then Phase 3 will swing into action. It is not so crucial for our survival but is necessary to help damage the Torian infrastructure. Here you can see the start of the Torian Main systems to the North and to their south a forward Starbase line. Phase 3 requires the destruction of those Starbases and then the establishment of DL4 to protect our own main systems from the inevitable Torian incursions from the North.’
I had stopped speaking now and gave the Senators time to digest the plan and prepare their questions. It was a bold plan, one that I had prepared carefully and planned with my able no 2, Hias Pzientho, herself a Torian battle commander of no mean repute. She had been impressed but had helped me touch up the plan in a few places- not least our intention to use the fact that our ships were technically superior to theirs by some margin and were properly configured to take on their ships whereas theirs would have little answer to our nightmare torpedoes: a war of attrition we would not win....
As if reading my mind one of our Arcean Senators raised his seven foot bulk off his seat and addressed me in sonorous tones:
‘General this is a bold plan, worthy of any Arcean H’sak but might I ask what you will do to counter the fact that they outnumber us possibly as much as four to one in heavy capitol ships?’
‘A good question Senator-if I may pass this onto my Senior Weapons Officer; Colonel Nordvik Haas he will respond.’
My capable Weapons Staff Officer nodded to me and coolly took up the brief;
‘Senator we believe that over the years that we have configured our ships correctly in Torian sectors to take on their weapons, which are primarily mass drivers. Our formidable Zero Point Armour should stop all but the most powerful mass driver attacks. Conversely, they appear to not have researched the main point defence systems needed to keep out our missile-based weapons and more specifically the Locksteed XV Null Point Generator Missiles better known as Nightmare Torpedoes, which generate the event horizon of a black hole near their target and are utterly devastating. We envisage that fleet actions should be heavily weighted in our favour in spite of the mismatch in ships numbers.’
It was a pleasing answer, which had many a Council Representative smiling and nodding confidently: at this stage I had the whole Chamber eating out of the palm of my hand, responding personally to some queries and handing others off to various of my staff. By the time the questions ceased we had been briefing for fully two hours and I was exhausted: my long illness a few years earlier had permanently sapped me of much of my vaunted stamina. I felt myself swaying in the bright lights.
Then a rumbling clapping interrupted my hazy thoughts and I came to. The whole chamber was on its feet-all 400+ Senators-all shouting and clapping. The President too, was on his feet and he came down towards where I stood unsteadily, clapped me on the shoulder and, beaming, whispered:
‘A bravura performance Mike- no one will stand in our way now. I may be their President and guiding light, but you are their passion, you are their hero!’
It was as grand a moment as I could remember: all the elected heads of all the systems in our great alliance, Torians and Korath, Arceans and humans all acknowledging me and my plan..................