Obverse of the Confederation (Calubra)
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Oct 9 2013 8:39am
Revanche-class Star Defender Revanche, Deep Space

Rear-Admiral Lucerne’s eyes scanned the holographic star chart, making quick mental notes on the nature of the star lanes nearby Bachani Heaven. Much older charts labeled the planet as Calubra; a name he much preferred. He internally sighed. The Contegorian Council is correct, there are not many alternatives better than going through Calubra to create an alternate secure hyperlane corridor between the Confederation Proper and the Meridian Prefecture. Unlike travelling at sublight speeds, the number of proper hyperlanes that are available are constricted by a number of factors setting them to exact points of navigation. And Calubra is the perfect alternative to our current route. But at that the same time, we are pushing the limits of what we can legally do. Not that the council has ever had any problems with that...Corise silently cursed that irony before turning his gaze to a handful of other crewmen in the warship’s auxillary bridge. Most of them took notes from the unoccupied consoles, watching the actions of other junior officers actually working the warship’s main bridge. Orientation, I do not miss those days, nor do I-


Corise slowly turned around to face another one of his aide-de-camps, a Multopos with spotted grey skin. Major Gisew seemed apologetic, at least as far as the Rear-Admiral was capable of reading the almost reptilian face of the Multopos. The alien handed him a datapad with its webbed hand. Corise briefly scanned the contents and handed it back to him.

“Talk to Colonel Dagui about it,” replied the Rear-Admiral.

The Multopo hesitated, “She said talk to you.”

Try as I might, I can’t seem to delegate everything away…why can’t things be simpler like they used to? Corise took the datapad back and read the document thoroughly. He frowned. I can see why she didn’t want to get involved in this decision making now. It’s kind of hard for a starfighter officer of the same rank to take a naval officer of the same rank for obeying conflicting orders. He briefly thought of the alternatives and frowned. No, we do the Floréal to hold off on its departure until the Star Defender’s CAG is completely refueled for this operation. Where’s the Line Captain when you need him to sign off on things like this…nevermind, he’s probably as busy as me. Corise walked up to the console he had been using, and allowed the warship to scan his fingerprint and match his retina, unlocking the console in which his rank cylinder was already plugged. He typed a few commands into the console, causing the micro holoprojector built into the arm of the small command chair to hum until it displayed a gray, blue, and white version of the Unitas symbol rotating round and round.

It dissipated shortly thereafter to display a woman of slight build with inquisitive light slate gray eyes; short, wavy hair the color of caf with crème; and tan skin befitting someone who spent a lot of time outdoors. He tried to pull up any information on her from his mind, but aside from her striking appearance, he found none. Lucerne forced a smile upon his face for Captain Puelta, commander of the La Galissonière-class Star Destroyer Floréal. With that warship mere kilometers away, Corise almost felt like visiting her in person, despite knowing full well rationally that it would be a waste of fuel, and more importantly, time.

“Captain Puelta, how are you this fine day?”

“Well,” she squeaked, “but what can I do for you sir?”

“I understand that your ship is set to leave our formation in roughly an hour or so, am I correct?”

“It is sir,” replied the woman, brushing an invisible strand of hair from her face, “has there been a change of orders?”

“I intend to hold your ship here with our formation until the Revanche’s air wings are entirely refueled,” stated the Kashan man, “not because I wish to delay you and your crew’s much deserved leave before joining the Compact Fleet, but because it is imperative that going into combat that our little force here has enough fuel for any unwanted surprises. Is there anything I can do to sweeten the delay? I imagine your crew must be getting restless…perhaps we can link your star destroyer to the Revanche not only to transfer fuel, but also to allow your crew to enjoy the Revanche’s recreational facilities while the fuel is generated.”

“I do appreciate your concern for my crew’s morale sir,” stated Puelta plainly, “I will have our helmsman bring us to dock immediately.”

“Thank you captain.”

The holo-projector flared out. Politics. How did I ever get this far? I’m a tactician and strategist, not a politician. Politics are for the Sith…
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Oct 12 2013 10:10am
Admiral's Quarters, Revanche-class Star Defender Revanche, near Calubra

“Colonel Dagui, please come in.”

Corise hastely buttoned up the rest of his sable-colored tunic and stepped quickly out of the doorway. The woman wore a similarly cut tunic, but in the antique gray color utilized by the Contegorian Starfighter Corps. As she entered the suite, she glanced around the gleaming white quarters that Lucerne inhabited, noting a few new bare spaces on his wall where holos and other artwork had previously hung. Lucerne tapped a button on his comlink, causing the doors to whisk shut behind her.

“Ready for the briefing with the Diplomatic Corps?”

She briefly shuddered. The Revanche and the other large flagships of the Confederation all had small missions of Diplomatic Corps personnel assigned to them. While the two have proven to be invaluable to each other, a tangible sense of friction always seemed to pervade the briefing rooms; enough that the traditional rivalry between the military services became null and void as the military personnel faced off with the politicians, diplomatic aides, cultural specialists, and a whole slew of titles which Lucerne cared not to recall. The Revanche's CAG commander offered a conciliatory smile.

“I appreciate the call you made to get the fuel, and while I know you said you were just doing your job, I wonder if you'd give me some of your insight, maybe even lend me some of your influence...”

Corise paused, “I'm listening.”

“You know they killed the SD15 project...”

The younger Lucerne reflexively turned to supposedly look himself in the mirror, yet he still didn't to completely manage to conceal the wince. Colonel Dagui looked down and slowly shook her head. Corise turned about.

“Sorry Colonel, I just get a lot of that. Most of our R&D efforts are under a lot of scrutiny and pressure right now, between the defense budget cuts to help procure food and the incident at Vahaba...but what is it you wanted to say?”

“Didn't Costigan bring back enough food from the Commonwealth to feed nearly everyone?”

“The Commodore did bring back a lot, which thankfully, none of our service people had to pay with with their lives,” agreed Lucerne, “and the CMF continues to bring it in from a host of neutral trading partners. But while the actual supply is there, the fear is still there. I imagine prices are going to remain artificially high until the Audacians' next quarterly harvest comes in and gets reported. Until then, the government will continually be looking to funnel money away from us, or make us more cost efficient, in order to help grocery corporations and the agriculture industry in general until we're in the clear. Is there a reason why the SD-15 project needs to go ahead straight away at this instance?”

“I suppose not, I just heard from General Lebronis that they started a new Army project. I thought maybe, if they could it, we could get in on it again.”

“You realize that General Lebronis doesn't want this new project, correct? It's the Army equivalent of the Piranha Drone program...”

“Automated Tanks?” questioned Dagui, “let me guess, to reduce the number of soldiers, and thus overall pay, thus reducing the military budget yet again...”

Lucerne nodded and glanced at his chrono, “Exactly. Now let me guess, you wanted to get a little leverage with our little demonstration to the Councilor and the Diplomatic Corps with this operation.”

“It would appear that I've been defeated already,” sighed the woman.

“Along with many more soldiers than you know,” acknowledged Lucerne, walking towards the doors.

The doors opened, revealing the group of Paladin IIs and Confederation marines who watched over the Rear-Admiral's quarters. Corise returned the marines' salutes and kept walking. The two passed through the bustling quarters of Contegorian service people to the Diplomatic Mission housed within the Star Defender. The Mission's doors, emblazoned with a Unitas crest encircled with a continuous wreath of golden branches, zipped open for the pair to reveal yet another set of guards. They exchanged salutes yet again before being whisked away to a conference room where Loretta Fujilage, chief diplomat on the vessel, was entertaining Councilor Harding of Audacia, and Councilor IW42D1, the droid who represented Uffel on the Contegorian Council.

“Rear-Admiral Lucerne,” stated Councilor Harding, rising to greet the officer, “it is good to see you again.”

“And you as well sir,” replied Corise, extending a hand to the man.

“Greetings,” said IW42D1 plainly.

Colonel Dagui extended a hand to the monotone droid, which he slowly attempted to shake. Isn't this wonderful, we're already on the handshaking portion of our diplomatic exercise today...This continued as more diplomatic mission personnel and aides entered the room, and thus propogated even further. Ten minutes later, Fujilage cleared her throat, and they all settled down in the rows of seats. Corise rose and joined the ambassador at the front near the holo-projector, which produced a real time image of Calubra. Vast oceans of blue separated the world's splotchy tan and green landmasses in a pattern Lucerne thought unusual. But the audiences' focus didn't stay on the planet, but instead on what appeared to be countless debris in the planet's orbit.

“This Bochani Heaven, or Calubra, depending on which name you prefer,” stated the woman plainly, “it is a class M world most known for its anarachist government and cultivation of Bochani...”

Lucerne had already knew much of the world's background. It had been a social experiment in a type of anarchist government (or rather anarachist rule set) that had been moderately successful in and of itself, but the main interest to outsiders was its widespread cultivation of Bochani, which was ostensibly grown as a medical herb, or what as Lucerne and many soldiers thought, as an illegal narcotic. What had been prohibited elsewhere by laws had taken a world with almost no laws by storm. But Lucerne did have to give credit to the beings he considered Drug lords; they at least had strong enough planetary shielding that the Reavers hadn't been able to make planetfall. Though Corise suspected it was no foresight of the Reaver threat, but rather protecting their cash crops from raiders and addicts.

“...we have managed to come to an agreement drawing them into the Confederation. There will be some internal changes coming to their way-”

“Tell me. How does an anarchist government have a government?” queried the droid councilor.

“They're forming a sort of world-wide congress in which everyone directly votes on via electronical means. They intend to form a very loose, but very free direct democracy. But as I was saying, there are two points that need to be worked out between the two of our, ah, groups. The first relates into how bachani will be regulated in terms of exports. The second is why we're currently here. Admiral Lucerne?”

Lucerne snagged the remote control from the ambassador.

“As you know, the main reason that brought Confederation interest to Calubra is establishing an alternate, more secure route from the Confederation Proper to the Meridian Prefecture, particularly as many of our foodstuffs from the old Commonwealth are being shipped through the Prefecture to the Confederation Proper. Bochani provides us a route further away from more intense Reaver activity. Unfortunately, there is still some Reaver activity here, that you can see right here. If you look at all of this debris, you'll see that most of it actually covered in a fine dust, which we have discovered to be a sort of BDE-originated nanobot mixture which is responsible for the creation of what we call the Reavers. In the debris field, there are likely those beings. Our recon drone from which this imagery is currently streaming from is over a thousand kilometers away but even at this distance, you can see this structure right here-”

Corise tapped a button on the remote, focusing the holo-projector onto a large warship, which at one point had been a stock Ashar Corporation-built Sapphire Heavy Frigate. But its newest owners, the Reavers, had managed to cobble onto a warship a bunch of additional modifications, most of which Corise was clueless as to what they did.

“...what intelligence we were able to get from the Fidelitas at the latest Battle of Vahaba suggests that is what we are calling a Reaver Control node. It coordinates the Reaver threat, and consequently makes them more dangerous than the mobs of Reavers...”

“You offered to exterminate the Reaver presence for admission,” stated the droid plainly.

“It's more of a mutual benefit,” stated Loretta, “though we certainly discussed it at length during our negotiations.”

“We're not even sure we'll be able to remove the Reaver threat entirely,” cautioned Lucerne, “but you will get to see of the experimental techniques in action here to see how the Confederation armed forces are attempting to combat the Reaver threat....”
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Oct 14 2013 10:50am
Auxiliary Bridge, Revanche-class Star Defender Revanche, near Calubra

Corise leaned back in the auxiliary command chair of the warship; while not quite as large or advanced as its counterpart on the main bridge, Corise could hardly justify kicking Line Captain Charos out of the captain's chair when the man was the ship's captain, especially when the man had relentlessly drilled the warship's crew on the mission. Several hundred meters away, the councilors and the rest of the Confederate Diplomatic Mission would be watching on a smaller holo-projector than that of the Auxiliary's bridge. Rear-Admiral Lucerne and Colonel Dagui stared at the hazy flecks of light that formed an image of the Reavers' Sapphire-class Heavy Frigate light-years away as seen from a recon drone. Corise glanced at his wrist chrono.

“How much longer?” asked the starfighter pilot.

“Fifteen seconds to my chrono,” replied the younger Lucerne, staring intently at the visage.

Few seconds passed before dozens of tiny flashes sparkled around the frigate's hull. The lights turned a deep blue as the Starflare Torpedoes jetted forth to strategically smash into their target zones on the hull. Brilliant flashes engulfed the warship as the first set of warheads penetrated the hull and detonated their ionic charges; blue lightning splayed across the hull, but no sooner had it done so when mere seconds later, another salvo dropped out of hyperspace and smashed into the listing frigate's hull. The second salvo detonated simultaneously, producing a vivid flash that could only from the electrite crystals as they dissolved everything within their blast radius, especially the unshielded warship. The light faded away, revealing entirely nothing. Striking a stationary target with superior is no extradionary feat, this is where the more interesting part comes...

According to Technical Director Chenault, the chief scientist studying the Reavers onboard the Fidelitas as part of the Compact Fleet, the Reaver infection was highly reliant on hyperspace-capable ships to spread the virus. Without such ships, the nanite-based infection was reduced to traveling at sublight speeds, forcing it to take hundreds of days to wander into the next system by pure accident, assuming that it wasn't destroyed by any irregular radiation, dispersed into ineffectiveness by solar winds, or ionized by any number of natural phenoma, including countless number of nebulas. Destroy the vectors, and the disease is contained, but not eliminated. But none of that interested the man as much as what the Reavers' response to an unknown attacker would be. Now we hopefully get to see if they actually have anything else in the system that could hurt us, besides that nanite cloud...

Out of the tumbling debris, a few dozen smaller craft zoomed towards the last location of the frigate. Corise guessed that at one point, the lead ship had been a Corellian freighter at one point, though the rest of the craft seemed to be snubfighters of some sort. As if on que, dozens of concussion missiles seemed to be appear out of nowhere as the Confederation's elite Greywind squadron expertly piloted their stealthy A3 Nemesis Assault Bombers to ambush the Reaver responders from a long distance. Can't fight what you can't see...Dozens more missiles poured out before Greywind retreated into hyperspace to a pre-designated quartine zone. The hundreds of missiles and exposive devices exploded, wiping out the formation of small craft and taking a large portion of the Reaver's nanite cloud with it.

“This is the part where I'm wondering what we do,” stated the woman, “are you really going to saturate the area with explosives until every last nanite there is destroyed? I realize life and the Reaver threats are important, but that still seems cost prohibitive...”
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Oct 18 2013 2:38pm
Juaire Mk II-class De Grasse, Calubra System

The boxy warship reverted to realspace; from the bridge viewport, Lieutenant Maldova watched the elongated lines of faster than light travel diminish into the more familiar pin-pricks of stars. Calubra's blue star beat down on the hull, bathing it in an icy cold light that cast shadows from the corvettes dozens of quad laser cannons. He involuntary shivered, contemplating which fate would be worse: to be turned into a Reaver or to shrivel up and die in the cold vacuum of space. A dozen of Shadowcasters hovered around the hull, almost giving the Till Chorios native a measure of reassurance. He glanced down at the sensor display, noting the dozens of dots present. But not the Revanche. Not yet.

“Sensors, do you have any updates for us?” questioned the junior officer.

“Sir,” replied an enlisted sailor, “the Reaver nanite cloud has not noticeably changed, nor are there any new starships in the area, aside from Confederate vessels.”

“Well, at least that part went according to the plan. Communications, inform the fleet about our status. We are not in any danger of infecting the fleet. Sensors, begin a detailed scan of the cloud and prepare to transmit the information to the Revanche.”

Maldova glanced around the viewport, looking for any other of the Confederation warships. Yet he could not make them out, nor the ominous Reaver nanite cloud. We're all pretty far away, enough to ensure that we're not in danger, and far enough to notice and potentially block the Reaver cloud from infecting us. Is the Reaver cloud intelligent enough to know of our presence here? Or does it just mindlessly infect whatever it touches? The Black Dragons were capable of some truly impressive technological feats. Could they have done such a thing? A massive, ephermal flash of light followed by a huge mass of gray in the viewport banished the thoughts from his head. Hundreds of meters away, the Revanche entered the system, with the bulk of the Confederation fleet trailing in her wake. The man gripped the armrests of his seat tightly. A little close, aren't we Admiral? The Confederation fleet was well-versed and practiced in that sort of precise hyperjumping, but it still unnerved the man.

Barely had the flagship of the Confederation entered subspace when it opened fire on the distant cloud of terrors. Dozens of incandescent rays of white-gold light burst forth from the blisters on the warship's hull...and stayed active for several seconds. The lieutenant frowned. That's no turbolaser weapon...tachyon cannons, probably taken off this ship's decommissioned predecessors. Like at the last Battle of Vahaba...so the real Admiral Lucerne is using information demonstrated by the clone-Corise actually to test KDI's theories about BDE technology after all... He glanced around to see more of the bright particle beams erupting from the rear of the Confederation fleet as several more Suffren-class Cruisers added their own tachyon cannons to the mix, obliterating the nanites in massive swathes. It probably doesn't help the nanite cloud that it's not shielded, but being so diffusive has its benefits. I'd guess it will take weeks of this to completely wipe the last traces of the virus from the system...


Two Weeks Later...

Ryecer, Calubra

Rear-Admiral Lucerne strode through the streets of the planet's capital. On most worlds, it might have been a small town. Despite a main thoroughfare no more than four lanes wide at its greatest girth, traffic easily flowed through the street as if it were no more than a mere residential side street on Audacia. In the distance, the largest building on Calubra towered a whole ten stories. Corise turned to his compatriot, a grizzled, aging man named Adaga. Adaga was the planet's lead Encourager. A somewhat odd sounding title to Lucerne's ears. But I suppose he lets the blasters do the talking...The Kashan man pointed to the building.

“What is that place”? questioned the younger Lucerne, “your government building?”

Adaga shook his head, “Nah. The buildings a corporate one. It has a lot of tenants, mostly small bachani businesses, not growers mostly. Think more of small-time processors, bachani shipping offices, you know, that sort of thing. Funny thing about that, there's a lot of those companies closing shop now. Just...Like...That...Funny coincidence, that and your arrival, and then your interest in the building.”

Corise stared hard at the building, focusing on not revealing anything through his body to the the man who passed as the planet's primary military leader. The negotiations between the Confederation and the new government of Calubra had been intense, and not entirely friendly to some of the planet's inhabitants. Many of them were worried about losing the world's devil-may-cry attitude: a more normal measure of law and order had come to world finally. Bachani cultivators were not wholly thrilled with the Confederation's extra-planetary controlled substance laws; likewise, many in the Confederation remained skeptical of the growers' intent. Corise was more skeptical of Adaga's intent, after hearing the man's version of “justice”. The younger Lucerne turned and stared down at the bushy face of the “Encourager”.

“Perhaps,” decided Lucerne, “some people are adjusting to the changes already. I realize that you are currently in a position which has changed somewhat, from being more of a doer to more of a supervisor. Perhaps you would care to enlighten me on the subject.”

“Not much to say,” muttered the man, “those shield generators you've been pestering me about are in the process of changing hands into the government now. But I sure as hell won't be in charge of them, because that's not my job. Look, they may have been able to force me into this lead military man position for now, but don't get used to me. It looks like I'm headed elsewhere, jackass.”

Corise suppressed a grin, “That sounds an awful like disrespect to a superior officer.”

“Don't give me that regulation crap,” replied the man, jabbing a grubby finger into Lucerne's tunic, “I remember the days when Calubra was a hub of free will. When anybody could do almost anything, and as long as it didn't hurt anyone, everyone else could care less. Now we have all these threats, and suddenly the younger generation is pushing for this order. And now the old-timers like myself have to go this ridiculous route because of necessity. Don't you push your luck on me. I've taken out over a hundred men. How many have you killed?”

Corise hesitated. Indirectly, or directly, I've probably been responsible for more deaths than there are people on this backwater world. Not that he'd want to hear it. Hell, I'm responsible for more people just in my little expeditionary force here than there are people on this planet.

“More than I care to admit,” replied Corise testily, “more than you would care to know.”

His comlink began to vibrate. Holding up a hand to the “Encourager”, the Rear-Admiral tapped a button on his comlink.

“Sir, there is a call for you from Brandenburg.”

“Who is it?” questioned Lucerne, “if it is anyone connected to Pro-Consul Thorn, I'm not available.”

“Roger sir. I'll tell them you're busy like before.”

Corise turned the device off and neatly pocketed it. The younger Lucerne glanced over the “Encourager”. There's a lot of fight in him, and at least he stands for the values he believes in. I should give him the chance. But not here. The two bantered back and forth as they continued to walk towards the Java. They went back over the new organizational differences that would be taking place as Calubra entered the Confederation, including its change from Bochani Heaven. A demand not from the Confederation, but rather the younger generation that was beginning to take the power in the loosely formed direct democracy. Corise was skeptical that would work; contemplating if they should agree to set up some sort of back-up plan to a more traditional government if the direct democracy somehow fell flat on its face. Roughly an hour later, the two entered the Java, the Admiral's shuttle since his days as the captain of the Seraph. Corise handed the man a cup of fresh caf off the shuttle's caf maker.

“I want your opinion on something,” decided Lucerne, measuring his words, “and maybe even your trust. Man to man, and not to leave this room.”

Adaga snorted, “And what's that? The taste of your caf? It's not bad, not amazing...”

“Just exactly how stable do you think Calubra's new government is going to be? I realize that all new governments have their growing pains.”

The other man sipped his caf, his tired brown eyes bore into the younger man's, “Look, I know we seem a bit weird, maybe even crazy to you. But given how long Bachani Heaven went without a true government, I think we'll be fine. Even if I don't really like it. What are you getting at?”

“You didn't seem fond of the lead candidate for Calubra's councilor.”

“He isn't a straight-shooter, maybe a little too close in mold to your little Diplomatic Corps for my liking. But you knew that. What are you getting at?”

Corise hesitated, “I don't fully trust many of the Councilors on the Council right now. If you hear anything that you don't like, or you think isn't straight coming from that man, I want to know.”

“You're suspicious of your own government? Maybe we have more in common than I thought,” decided the old man, finishing off his caf, “I heard about the whole clone thing. I thought it was a whole one-time deal.”

“I don't know,” informed Lucerne, “I don't know if they all have something else going on behind my back, behind our backs, and I don't want to be blindsided again. I'm assuming you do not.”

“We're not getting into anything your people might consider to be treasonous, are we?” questioned the man, “because that's where it sounds like we're headed.”

“Treason is actively hurting the government, and more importantly, it's people,” rebutted Lucerne, “no, what I'm talking about is for the good of the Confederation...”
Posts: 1865
  • Posted On: Oct 22 2013 2:40am
Later that day...

Admiral's Quarters, Revanche-class Star Defender Revanche, in orbit via Calubra

“We haven't been able to detect a trace of the infestation in a little over three days,” informed Line Captain Charos, “which is a good thing, seeing that Audacia Agri Corp has been pressing us to open up the lanes for their transports.”

Corise frowned, “Why? They're not transporting any Bochani, there's no permits for that yet, and they certainly aren't transporting the foodstuffs from the old Commonwealth.”

“No,” replied Charos, “but they do have buyers on the planet for their seeds. A bunch of the Bochani farmers see the writing on the wall. They're changing over to more traditional crops. One of our diplomats has been key to-”

A new voice emanated throughout the cabin.

“Sir, a KDI message drone has arrived for you. It has a priority flag transponder code.”

Corise pursed his lips. The use a KDI messenger drone, really little more than an antiquidated IA Elegance Messenger Drone updated with KDI stealth technology, was rare simply because it was both more expensive and less up to date compared to Confederation's mainstream military communication. Most Confederation traffic went through the encyrpted hypertranscievers, the comms arrays on the Treville cruisers, or even the local holo-net. But I've sent out several, and hopeful this is one of them finally returning.

“I'll be there shortly,” replied the younger Lucerne, “which hangar is it in?”

“The command hangar,” informed the disembodied voice, “set next to the Java. I nearly forgot sir, the droid does have a designation etched underneath the coating: HL22.”

“Thank you Lieutenant.”

The intercom shut off with an audible click. HL22, the one I sent to Commodore Costigan three weeks ago. At least that one didn't get lost. Corise gestured for the Line Captain to sit back down. The more junior officer frowned.

“Aren't you going to check on that messenger drone?”

“I am,” said the Kashan man, “but it's personal correspondence, not official. House Lucerne business, actually. It won't expire because I'm a dozen weeks late, not after the days it has traveled to reach us. But tell me, what do you think of the mine field plan, as it currently stands?”

“It's a low cost solution,” decided the man slowly, “at least long-term, but not nearly as flexible of a strategy as I'd like for the planet. Area of denial strategy always seemed to me as rather unimpressive, even if it does offer a decent bang-for-buck. But you knew this, what did you want me to get out?”

“I wanted to see if you'd give me your honest opinion, or start spouting the party line that the Council has recently been going on with their proponent of more mine warfare.”

“And why's that?”

“What I'm about to tell you does not leave this room, does not get documented or discussed with anyone else, revealed to anyone else in any manner.”

“Why's that?”

“Because it is going to upset a lot, but not, of the Councilors. That is, if it comes to past...”