8 Mar 2229
I can remember that night in the Situation Room as if it was like yesterday: all the Chiefs were there (fat good they would be I remembered thinking wryly), Nancy Dechart, the National Security Advisor; Mbossa N’gong, Interstellar Relations Ministry (IRM); Junichi Makata, Chief of Intelligence, all our Aides and the ever-present and brooding presence of the President’s Chief of Staff, the dour Scot, Marc Beaton. Amidst the blinking lights on the many data banks and the smoothly spinning holo images, I seemed to be the only one not sweating.
‘Ladies and gentlemen stand up!’ Beaton was doing his job and doing it well: if there was one rival I had for the President’s affections, this man was it. Amponsah entered the darkened and hushed room: he looked as cool as I felt.
‘Ok guys so we have our inevitable DOW from the Drengi-what happened and how are we prepared?’
I remember Nancy was the first to rise and address the situation-she looked maternal, stern and determined.
‘Mr President at 1800hrs Zulu Time a flash holo message was received by the IRM-it came direct from the Drengin Ambassador.
‘Play it Nancy’ snapped Amponsah-his eyes steely.
As if on cue, a holo message appeared in the centre of the huge obsidian table that split the Situation Room-rotating slowly in its midst was Lord Kona himself-ever one for grandstanding-he had not entrusted this missive to a subordinate. The speech was short, along the lines of:
‘Human apes-you are too much of a threat to be allowed to continue to exist. We, the Drengi will return you to swinging from the trees....if we let any of you live!’
And that was it-quaint translation by the Universal Translator software I had thought at the time: the message was quite clear nonetheless.
All eyes were on the President-if he looked in the slightest bit bothered, it did not show.
‘And the Torians M’bossa?’
M’bossa N’gong: genial, affable and a giant of a Kenyan man: he had been the perfect choice for the Interstellar equivalent of the Secretary of State. All in his Ministry and in Intel had been stunned by the DOW from the Torians only one week previously.
‘Sir all the signs are that the Torians have been paid to declare war on us. I am almost certain that if we refrain from hostilities with them I can put in a counter offer and get a peace treaty from them within weeks.’
‘Good man. General Mormon what are the dispositions of your guys and what is your plan?’ The President had asked-all eyes were now on me-I loved this sort of stage-they were all eating out of the palms of my hand.
At the press of a button the Obsidian table we were sat round turned into a 2D representation of our galaxy with the Drengi Colonial territories hard on our lower left, the Torians many parsecs to our top, the Drath in and amongst us below and the Iconians off to our right.
‘Sir as you know we have 9 colonies including Earth-all are protected by at least one Defender-basic fighter Class craft armed with Rail Guns. The Drengi are using the same type of offensive weaponry according to Military Intel so I have asked The Technology Minister to concentrate on researching Armour for our ships.’
M’bossa had interjected: ‘I may be able to help you there General-indications from our friends the Paulos are that they would be willing to trade Advanced Titanium armour for the right price-we reckon a trade for some of our developmental techs and a little cash will do it.’
‘Make it happen’ from the President. ‘General Mormon how is the infrastructure development going?’
‘Mr President we now have six operational stardocks and they are in full production. As you can imagine there has been no shortage of applicants from the TADF for the many positions vacant within the Star Navy-I have been able to cream the pick of the Officer and non-commissioned Officer Corps from the Air Force, Navy and Army.’ I shot a glance at the Joint Chiefs-they sat glaring: my shameless cherry picking of their finest had provoked a turf war that the President himself had had to step in and stop.
‘Difficult to say Sir-at this stage I believe that we have the better production capacity so I would advocate a lightning war-my plan is, now all our worlds are defended, to send all available forces to gather and attack Drengi itself-delay means death....’
It was a bravura performance-not for nothing had I earned the sobriquet, “Stormin”
‘Make it happen General’ The President had said and rose to leave. We stood as one. Once he had gone, I remember delivering some instructions to my Executive Officer, Brigadier General Carla Munities, and then I had followed the President. Sure enough, Beaton was waiting for me outside.
‘The President wants a word Mike’
I had nodded and followed him to the New Oval Office. Beaton showed me in and left wordlessly. The President was stood by the crackling fireside-we were in the last throes of winter in this part of Japan. His PA approached with a tumbler of my favourite Bushmills Irish Whisky-he already had a glass in hand. His handsome features framed by the crackling firelight he turned to me: he suddenly looked tired and drawn.
‘Can we see them off Mike?’ He asked earnestly ‘this is the implacable terror of our childhood nightmares’
I had looked him in the eye, my gaze unflinching
‘Sir my boys are spoiling for a fight-they believe they have the better craft the superior culture and above all you know what?’
‘What my old friend?’
‘They all say “we got the Ben and Mike show on board-we can’t lose!”’ We both broke into fits of laughter at this last-the pilots and their support staff’s confidence in us was silly, touching and reassuring all at the same time but By God it would do!
‘You just keep the research and money coming in Mr President and I will deliver you a victory-give me 2 years. ‘They were bold words but what I felt my friend needed to hear. Already he looked more energised-some of his old vigour returning.
‘2 years eh? You don’t fool me Mike but I will take it-I'll see what M’bossa can do at the UP: there is much evidence to suggest that a few of the other races will join us in our defensive war with the right incentives...’
I had swigged back the last of the whisky, savouring the burning smoothness as it passed down my throat.
‘And if you will excuse me Mr President I have a Star Navy to run’ and with twinkling eyes and a sharp salute I had taken my leave-all the chips were now in play: The Terran Alliance was at war...............