A computer made a soft pinging sound, and a petite (read tiny) girl with dark hair and a smattering of freckles across her pert nose removed said nose from where she had buried it in one of those dry and ancient tomes on the permissible style, forms, and terms of privateering charters and what technological and weaponry limitations were permissable and/or enforcable in pre-Alliance precedent and general Alliance practice. The girl's name was Shelley Huntington, a sufficiently English-world name to mask her Ybreteh breeding and interests. She perked up when she realized the alert was the one she had set to Elysium incident reports.
Tome dropped and thunking off the hardwood floor in her bedroom, small kosher dinner abandoned, Shelley eagerly settled in at her slim, top-of-the-line computer and set to work hacking.
INTERCEPTED COMMUNICATION (Encrypted Packet)
To: Darren Summers, Diplomatic Affairs
From: Dabri Renner, IP [redacted]
Timestamp: 002204.11.07.1533 HAC
Origin: CERNET. Destination: HADNET.
- Militancy Incident Report - Talon-Mede
- Alliance C-H Analik Incident Report - Talon-Mede
I have reviewed the attached reports and compared their pertinence to the general Elysian-Talon situation brewing in the Council hall and found them relevant to your arguments, concerning secession and privateering just cause, primarily in what they do not say.
It is reasonable to believe that while the situation on Darkstation, o: Talon-Mede, was successfully secured, there were several instances of failure to report, in that:
- a previously deployed militancy officer, flight capt., was diverted to Darkstation without extant explanation;
- the Alliance officers who secured the alert origin diverted to target without extant explanation; and
- cause was stated as Talon provocative attack without explanation.
Elysia is claiming that the situation shows extensive Talon piracy without appropriate Alliance interference. I am under the impression that the unstated cause of the Talon attack was diverted from the Alliance to the militancy and that renegade members of that body have perhaps colluded with Elysia.
Media organizations have been denied access to the reports, and no hearsay reports have surfaced.
Shelley perused the communiqué at what most people would consider the speed of a scan and tapped her chin thoughtfully (the personal spelling of the signature was particularly interesting) before tapping a few buttons and sending her fingers flying across the keys. She closed the packet and resecured it, wiped traces of its interception, and send it winging back through Kippler's toward its destination, the Hadrius network.
Each star system had its own network, an aggregate and backup to the planetary and station networks. Packets came tagged with various markers, such as broadcast, communications, internet, etc. and passed through Kippler's cosmoparticular transdimensional elevator shaft before they could be sent onto another star system. Delays were inevitable. Nobody would even notice that The Good Hunt, Inc. had delayed it just a little further before granting it passage.
Her computer pinged again, this time followed by a birdlike chirp. She raised her eyebrows and opened her the network email. She scowled when she saw HADNET at origin, but clicked anyway, accepting with a resigned sigh that her father could afford the two shekel cost for each interstellar communication.
A quick perusal even faster than she had scanned her intercepted report, then abruptly, Shelley jumped out of her chair, exclaiming, as if she had been bitten by a spider.
RECEIVED COMMUNICATION (Open Packet)
To: Shelly Huntington, IP [redacted]
From: Official Office of Recruitment, Council
Timestamp: 002204.11.09.0812 HAC
Origin: HADNET. Destination: ELYNET.
This official notice hereby remands one, Shelley Huntington, resident p: Elysia, to serve full vocational degree at any Earth-located Priority One Alliance school.
She is requested by demonstration of Priority One skillsets, as follows:
- computer network intelligence,
- technology consultation,
- computer securities, and
- general research and intelligence
to serve three – seven year terms post-graduation within any preferred designation of Alliance offices and assignments.
We look forward to assisting you in your new assignment. Feel free to contact our Office of Recruitment by responding to this communiqué.
Human Alliance Council
Nov. 9, 2204 HAC
Hadrius Solar Year
Gnell sat enthroned, gnome-like in her oversized chair in her tiny communications room and intercepted the third Alliance request for an extended militancy report on the Darkstation incident two days ago. She sipped her steaming mug of a local drink, laken, purportedly little more than spiced water but with a rich flavor and stimulating effect that belied the claim, and ignored the message.
Instead, she continued to study the brief missive displayed on her tertiary monitor and sip her brew.
BUFFERED MESSAGE (Encrypted Packet)
Arrived safe. Orbital Transit Station 5286E-6284. Disc encoded. No further report.
Two questions missing and this was Seara. Of that, Gnell had no doubt. She did not want a reply; she did not want contrary orders to however she planned to find out what was on that disc that was worth all this fuss.
Gnell stated, "Delete and militant-lock all traces of open missive." She sniffed, then, "Voice-code authorization: Nelly the Gnome of Doom." Nobody had ever guessed she knew her nickname around the base—or that she blatantly bent it to her own purposes.
"Godspeed," she whispered and sipped from her cup.
A small, thin package arrived at Kailin University in North America, planet Earth, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon on a fine Indian summer day at the start of the third semester vocational program, something Clark Gabrin generally preferred to forget about as he was usually drafted most unwillingly into the teacher track for said program.
But today, he was in a fairly exceptional mood, that is until he picked up his mail, which included the package and attached letter and one of those old-fashioned printed newspapers he refused to do without.
The return address on the package was enough to sober even his generally cheerful disposition, as it simply contained the name of an old friend that had never been anything but trouble: Seara Marré.
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