Thursday, October 16, 2014


Things here have been quiet since Blood on the Stars finished - and for good reason. I've been working hard on trying to get myself ready for NaNo. Last year's novel was a fly by the seat of my pants adventure and the results of doing so are here for you to read. This year, I'm taking extra care in plotting the novels I'm going to be writing.

That's right. Novels. As in more than one.

These novels won't be posted here. I'm working for actual publishable material this time around. Which is why I'm not just doing one novel. I have an idea for a series so I am doing it all at once and working straight through at top speed even past the end of November. Or at least, that's the plan.

Of course, I have a lot of work to do. In fact, one of the reasons I am taking a moment to write a blog post (besides my guilt) is because I am feeling so overwhelmed by the amount of prep this series is taking. However, I think it's going to be worth it in the end. I can feel it deep down in the bottom of whatever passes as my soul. This prep work will make all the difference.

It has already, in it's unfinished form, been called overly organized and scarily detailed. I've added to it since then. I think, perhaps, that it has actually taken on a life of it's own.

I'm trying something a little different this time around. I've actually created an excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs to keep track of everything that I need to know about this world. From the characters to the timeline to the plots and even potential titles for the books.

Under the Characters tab I have all these headings for the 21 characters I have (so far) created. Name, Story Position, Represents, Associated Symbol, Associated Colour, Actual Alignment, Apparent Alignment, Goals, Driving Influences/Basic Backstory . In case you're wondering this series is very loosely based on something else so I needed to keep track of who they represent from my source material.

With only two weeks to go and I still haven't finished nailing down everything under the characters tab, the timeline isn't finished and the plot hasn't been touched since I first came up with the idea perhaps you can see why I'm a little stressed about this.

Not to mention, this year I am coming back as a second year member liaison for my area and I still have all my ML duties to take care of, refreshing the area website for a new year and getting the forum up and chatting for a new year as well! And let's not forget that it's still hunting season so my weekends are taken up with the need to fill my freezer.

So yeah, I'm a little overwhelmed and I seem some late nights in that last week leading up to November 1, but it'll be worth it. It will be worth it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 10 (4)

“Interesting,” Counsellor Hardeto said as she looked back up and turned towards Admiral Falun. “And were you aware that the leader of a barely tolerated anti-government organization was your personal aide?”

“I beg your pardon ma’am,” Altheia interrupted. “But we are not an anti-government organization – that’s just propaganda. We are an organization that fights corruption within the government.”
Counsellor Hardeto glared at Altheia for the interruption, but nodded her acceptance of the statement. “I stand corrected. Please answer my question Admiral Falun.”

“I was aware that he had such affiliations, but I hired him because he was very good at what he did and passed all security screening. I was not aware that he was a leader of the organization.” Admiral Falun looked up from the table to meet the Counsellor’s gaze. “Perhaps if the full nature of his involvement had been revealed things would have gone much differently.”
“How so?” Counsellor Hardeto wasn’t going to shy from any question that she thought may be pertinent to her investigation of the facts.

“I may not have hired him. It’s hard to say as he was, at the time, a very outstanding candidate for the job and his association was the only black mark against him.” Admiral Falun gripped his hand tightly together on top of the table. “However, I’m not entirely sure how this has any relevance to the investigation.”
“I will be the one to determine relevance.” Counsellor Hardeto stated. “So, I would like to repeat am earlier question with slightly different phrasing. Were you, Admiral Falun, in any informed that there were people who wished to meet with you on an urgent matter that is in any way related to the reason we are all gathered here today?”

Hans had to admire the Counsellor’s choice of words in asking the question. Admiral Falun hesitated in answering the question and it was at that moment that Hans noticed the way Admiral Georgio was glaring at his contemporary. It was as though she was trying to bore into his head with her eyes and place the correct answer there.
“I, uh. Well, I…” Admiral Falun stumbled as he finally worked up the nerve to answer the question. He looked desperately at Admiral Georgio for a moment as he grasped for words. “Yes. Yes, I was informed, but no meeting took place.”

Admiral Falun seemed to collapse in on himself as he slumped back in his chair with a sigh. Hans saw the flash of rage from Admiral Georgio that was gone as soon as it had arrived. She had composed herself, once again sitting stiffly in her chair with a neutral expression on her face that Hans could almost described as boredom.
“Why did the meeting not take place?” Counsellor Hardeto had leaned forward slightly at Admiral Falun’s admission.

Again, Admiral Falun hesitated, dropping his hands to his lap. He looked up and glanced around the table, meeting the eyes of each and every person seated there before standing up. “I would like to tender my resignation from this post and asked to be dismissed from this discussion.”
“What?” Counsellor Hardeto was on her feet in an instant, her chair falling backwards to the floor. “Admiral Falun, you are not dismissed from this discussion. Refusal to participate fully and honestly in an official inquiry will be considered an obstruction of justice. Possibly even contempt.”

“As it is, my statement stands.” Admiral Falun stood stiff, his chin up and his mouth set in a firm line.
“You leave me no option then.” Counsellor Hardeto kept her gaze on Admiral Falun and with great remorse quietly said a single word. “Guards.”

The doors flew open the instant she said the word and two guards marched into the room. Counsellor Hardeto did not take her eyes off of Admiral Falun as she spoke to the guards. “Please arrest this man for obstruction of justice. He is not be released until I have had a chance to question him in private.”
“Yes ma’am.” The guards answered in unison as they walked one to each side of Admiral Falun and escorted him out of the room. Counsellor Hardeto remained standing until the door had closed and then she picked up her chair and sat back down at the table, smoothing out her robes as she did so. She fixed her gaze on Admiral Georgio for just a brief instant before looking back down at her notepad.

“Ma’am, I wish to speak on my behalf before you start asking questions or making groundless accusations.” Admiral Georgio spoke up after a few moments of silence in the room.

“Do you? Well then, please do go ahead Admiral.” Counsellor Hardeto pressed her fingers together and smiled politely.
“Thank you. I’m not entirely sure of what questions you will be asking me, but I would like to state for the record that Special Forces is not the department that is charged with first contact situations, we were, however, asked to assist E&E to the best of our abilities. We provided assistance in all ways asked of us and that is the extent of involvement in this issue. Anything else above or beyond that is not something I am aware of.” Admiral Georgio spared a glance for the four people seated across from her before continuing.

“Further to this, if there has been any misconduct within my office be sure that I shall be the first to call for a full internal inquiry in to such things and those responsible for any misdoing will be held fully accountable for their actions. You have my word on that Counsellor.” Admiral Georgio leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms as she waited for a response.
“I see. So you will deny all personal knowledge of wrong-doing?” Counsellor Hardeto glanced at her notepad again. “You know nothing of illegal monitoring of citizens, threatening behavior, or potentially treasonous behavior from your department?”

“I was under the belief that I ran a tight ship ma’am. Apparently that is not so and those who may be responsible for such activates will need to be found so that they may answer for their crimes. I hate to think that there are such people under my command, but it appears that it must be so.” Admiral Georgio pursed her lips and then frowned.
“I see. Then I suppose I have no further questions for you. Is there anything you would like to ask or say as part of this discussion?” Counsellor Hardeto didn’t sound very pleased to be stepping back on this matter, but even Hans could tell she had no other option in this situation.

“None ma’am. I would like to be dismissed as I have much to do to correct the wrongs that have been brought to my attention unless you require my presence for the rest of this inquiry?” Admiral Georgio had already started pushing back her chair before she received an answer.
“Your presence will not be required. Please do be aware that you may be summoned at a later day for further questioning.” Counsellor Hardeto stood at the same time as Admiral Gerogio who bowed her head in respect before walking out of the room. Once again, the Counsellor waited until the doors had closed before sitting down again.

“Well then, that is going to leave me with quite a few mysteries on my plate to sum up. I must say, Altheia, that I am actually quite impressed with the amount of information that your organization provided me with. I was actually able to find quite a bit more information beyond what you had, but then I probably have a higher security clearance than most of your informants.” Counsellor Hardeto smiled and seemed to relax now that it was just them in the room.
“We do try our best, but it can be a hard job fighting corruption from within.” Altheia smiled leaned across the table. “I’m glad it was you doing this investigation cuz.”

“Like it could be anyone else. I must say I was surprised to see you here.” Counsellor Hardeto laughed and leaned over the table to give Altheia a kiss on her cheek.
“So you too are related?” Hans asked.

“Distantly, it’s a bit of a long story, but we both have a very similar interest of keeping the citizens of the United Planet safe. Although, I just chose to do so through more official means than her.” Counsellor Hardeto sighed. “I would have preferred for her to have taken a more sanctioned route to her passion, but it looks like her choice of direction has become a useful one.”
“So glad I can be of use to you Maki.” Altheia rolled her eyes.

“Sorry to interrupt this wonderful little reunion, but what happens now? I was all prepared to defend myself and my actions.” Hans could feel his heart beat a frantic pace in his chest, but he kept his excitement hidden for now. All he was doing was guessing at what was happening, he needed to hear someone say it.
“Now, you four are going to be working closely with me and my staff. We have an alien invasion heading this way and that takes priority over many things. You are currently our resident experts on this threat and I am a woman who makes use of all resources – no matter what.” Counsellor Hardeto stood up and held out her hand.

Hans stood as well and took her hand in his own. “I am very honoured by this Counsellor and I look forward to working with you.”
Duke and Honora stood as well each taking her hand in turn. Honora mumbled a barely audible ‘thanks’ as she did so. Duke was far less reserved with his words. “Well, ma’am, I had been prepared for many potential outcomes for this meeting, but you have surprised me. Not too many people do that and you’ve earned my respect.”

“I appreciate that Duke. You don’t strike me as a man who pays such compliments regularly.” Counsellor Hardeto smiled and clasped both of her hands around his for a moment. 
“You all will need to be sworn in to your new positions. We have a lot to do to be ready for these Afoixox.” Counsellor Hardeto started walking towards the door, but stopped so quick that Honora almost walked right into her. “And before I forget, I think we will need to make a more official first contact with Shai Halad in short order.”

“That can be arranged ma’am.” Hans said.
“Good. Then let’s go prepare for war.” Counsellor Hardeto said, her face grave as she led them out of the room.

*gasp* This is it, the last installment of this novel. If you liked it, let me know. Part 2: A History of War is being worked on, but as of the time of my writing this (June 4, 2014). I also haven't made any decisions about posting part 2 or the pdf of part one yet either since I haven't heard any feedback at this point. So post something if you want more Blood on the Stars.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 10 (3)

It was several moments of awkward silence before the doors admitted an older woman. She smiled politely at all the people in the room before taking a seat. It was her arrival that brought the two admirals to the table.

“So, we find ourselves in quite the situation here,” said the older woman. Her voice was soft and gently, but Hans sensed a strength behind it. “I am Counsellor Hardeto. I am charged with the Security of the United Worlds. The council decided that I would be the best person to mediate this discussion.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Counsellor. We are honoured greatly by your presence here today.” Altheia said and then bowed her head a show of respect before continuing. “I am Altheia. I am the current leader of the organization known as A Bloc.”

“Oh?” counsellor Hardeto raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips. “I thought it was a man by the name of Alfonzo.”
“It was until very recently your honour. Unfortunately, he has gone missing and we are presuming that he is dead.” Altheia couldn’t help but throw a glance in the direction of Admiral Falun. Hans had been watching the counsellor so closely that he knew she hadn’t missed the glance or its possible implications.

“I see then. I thank you for taking the time to attend this meeting. Please introduce your three companions and let’s keep this a more informal style of meeting, but, of course, it is being recorded as you were all informed prior to agreeing to attending. First names will be fine and you may address me simply as Counsellor or ma’am.” Counsellor Hardeto smiled at them. It was a warm and inviting smile and Hans felt himself relaxing a bit under her spell. She turned her attention to the Admirals now. “Please introduce yourselves for the record.”
“I am Admiral Falun. I am the head of Exploration and Expansion.” Admiral Falun spoke in a quiet mumble. He didn’t smile and he did his best not to look at any one.

“I am Admiral Georgio.” She sat up a little taller and looked down on the four people seated across form her. “I am in charge of Special Forces.”
Counsellor Hardeto nodded towards Altheia to begin her introductions. “As already stated, I am Altheia, current leader of A Bloc. With me are Hans, Honora and Duke. They hold no position within the organization, but they have been integral in bringing the information that has made this meeting necessary to our attention so that we were able to act effectively in the best interests of the United Worlds.”

“I have read the information that your organization has gathered and I must say that I am shocked at some the allegations within these documents. Only some of these claims are sufficiently supported, some are not. However, we will be looking into all claims, supported or not to get to the truth of the matter.” Counsellor Hardeto looked towards Hans. “You are the one who originally found the alien and believed that you were being watched by the government or the Armed Forces?”
Hans nodded, his feelings of ease disappearing at her icy gaze. “Yes ma’am. I am unable to prove such claims; however, there is plenty of circumstantial evidence that led me to believe that such was the case.” Hans, not really caring what anyone thought of it, folded both hands on top of the table.

He noticed the look that the three people across the table gave him and ignored the kick in the shin that he could only assume was form Altheia. Admiral Georgio seemed the most interested in his hand, but no one said anything to him about it.
“I see and you met the alien called,” Counsellor pulled a notepad out of her pocket and gave it a brief glance. “Ohaehim?”

“We all did Counsellor.” Duke spoke up from where he lounged in his own chair. Hans tried not to smile at the way drawled his words when he spoke. He sounded just like he had when Hans had first met him and Hans knew him well enough now to recognize that he was waiting for the Counsellor to give him a reason to respect her.
“And why did you not report it to the proper authorities? There are channels that you could have gone through that would have avoided all this fanfare and backstabbing.” Admiral Georgia asked, interrupting the Counsellor before she had a chance to voice another question.

Altheia glanced at the Counsellor before answering. It was obvious that she wasn’t happy about the interruption, but be she motioned for Altheia to answer the Admiral’s question.
“Although I wasn’t there at the time of the incident it has been related to me and as indicated by Hans just earlier, they felt that they were unable to trust the authorities and decided that coming to us was the best course of action.” Altheia smiled politely at Admiral Georgio and then glanced over at Admiral Falun who was steadfastly gazing at the table.

“Actually we did make an attempt to contact someone in an authority position, but that plan did not go as smoothly as we would have hoped.” Hans said, this time he fixed his gave on Admiral Falun who had yet to look at him. “We were informed, though, that are trust in this authority figure had been misplaced and that is when we took it to A Bloc.”
“I see. What authority was it that you thought best to take your story to then?” Counsellor Hardeto asked. She did not even once glance at Admiral Falun, but she hadn’t missed a thing.

“We initially tried to make contact with E&E under the belief that Admiral Falun was of an honest mien and would not betray such trust.” Hans was careful to keep the anger out of his voice, but he could not stop staring at the Admiral who was starting to sweat slightly.
Counsellor Hardeto turned slightly in her seat to look at Admiral Falun. “Is this so Admiral? Were you contacted by any of the people currently sitting at this table?”

Admiral Falun looked up at the Counsellor and said “No.”
“I see.” The Counsellor turned her attention back to Hans. “Yet you claim that you did make contact with the Admiral?”

“Not personally. Alfie – Alfonzo Ansanza was Admiral Falun’s personal aide. He was a close friend of mine back in Academy, ma’am, and he made the contact for us. However, the very next night he informed us that the Admiral was not to be trusted.” Hans bit at the inside of his cheek as he realized how weak it sounded without the proof to back it up. All they had was the word of a dead man.
Counsellor Hadeto glanced down at the notepad she had brought with her. Hans wished he could see what she was looking at, but it had been privacy screened so that no one else would be able to see it. Hans wondered what sort of information she might have that needed to be kept so secret.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 10 (2)

“Hans, you need to look good when you go to see Admiral Falun and Admiral Georgio. You cannot go in the same rags you’ve been wearing for the last while.” Honora was shouting through the door at Hans who didn’t bother to answer her. She smoothed down the dress shirt she was wearing, uncomfortable outside of her usual jumpsuit.
“He’s not going to listen. You know he wants nothing to do with either of those people. He still blames them for Alfie’s death.” Duke leaned against the wall his hand feeling the smoothness of his chin. It was strange for him not to have his usual stubble.
“That is irrelevant. Feelings should have no part in this. Alfie did what he needed to do knowing the risk and the officials responded in a way they felt fit. It is a non-issue at this point. This is a meeting that needs to happen.” Eve spoke from the doorway, but it was loud enough that even Hans had been able to hear what she was saying.
Hans opened the door, standing in a replica of his old dress uniform. “Let them try and talk down to me in this.”
“That was not the outfit that we gave you to wear. I will not ask where it came from, but I do approve of the change. Please try to keep your emotions under control during this meeting.” Eve said she turned and was met face to face with another woman. “Altheia.”
Hans looked craned his head to try to see past Eve at the new leader of A Bloc that he had yet to meet. He had heard that she would be joining them for the meeting, but had wondered at her persisting absence. Hans knew that it wasn’t really any of his business, but it was his neck on the line here.
Eve stepped aside to allow Altheia into the room and Hans could feel his jaw drop. Every thought he had been thinking had just disappeared. She smiled, almost shyly, and raised a hand. “Hi Hans. Ready for that meeting then?”
“You.” It was really more of a statement than anything. “I though your name was-“
“No, I was lying to you about my name. It was a cover while I was on Cantun.” Altheia shrugged. “Never really expected to see you again, but this is definitely much bigger than any of us could have thought in the beginning.”
“You could say that again.” Hans walked over and held out his hand to shake hers. She grasped his hand in both of hers and pumped it twice. “It’s a pleasure to actually meet you Altheia.”
“Same here Hans and, just so you know, I really appreciate all you’ve done.” She turned her head to look at Duke and Honora. “All of you. It was a big risk and I know it took a lot of courage. Thank you.”
Duke gave her a nod. “It’s nice to hear that. I think it’s the first time anyone has really thanked us or acknowledged the risk. Glad to see someone has some priorities.”
“Well if the introductions are done, shall we go and get this meeting started? This will be the first time that we’ve been able to be on a level playing field with the government as opposed to being considered nothing more than an annoyance.” Altheia grinned and then the joy in her face just crumbled in to sorrow. “I wish Alfie could have been here to see this. It would have made him very happy.”
“I would advise that you also try to keep your emotions contained.” Eve said to Altheia who just nodded in response. “If you have all finished your greetings I would recommend that you leave immediately. Please let me know how things went upon your arrival.”
“You’re not coming?” Hans stared at Eve and looked at Altheia, his eyes trying to find an answer in hers.
“No, while this organization is barely tolerated it would be hunter ruthlessly if my association was known. I am still considered and illegal object by the government. I cannot be there.” Eve tilted her head to one side. “I thought you were aware of that Hans. I know you know what I am.”
“I guess it slipped my mind.” Hans shrugged and walked past her into the corridor after the others. He paused after a few steps and turned to face Eve again. “I guess I should get you to remind me not to anthropomorphise machines, then again you’re not just a machine. Maybe I should remind you of that.”
She said nothing to him as he quickened his step to catch up with the others. A small smile played on his lips at his own little joke. He knew she wouldn’t understand, but it made him feel a little better to have just said it.
All four of them loaded into a transport, having turned down the official transport that had been offered. It was a silent drive to Capital City Complex where the United Worlds government held its office. No one really had anything to say, there was nothing to discuss at this point, they all knew what was at stake and what was required of each of them. Hans absently played with left hand trying to keep his mind occupied.
As the stepped out of the transport and at the entryway to the Capital City Complex Altheia glanced down at his hand which he had returned to a more human five digits. “Please try to keep your left hand steady. It’s bad enough that it’s black, but if you constantly change your digits it’s bound to bring the wrong kind of attention to you.”
“Of course.” Hans nodded. He had already considered that because he was now an anomaly among humans. Special Forces were always interested in the strange and unusual. He definitely qualified for that now. He had a feeling though that at some point he would have to show off his hand.
A guard was waiting to escort them into the impressive building. They went through countless security checks and several guard changes before they finally stood outside the meeting room. Hans had spent most of the time staring at the grandeur of the building. He had never thought that he would have ever have a chance to the Capital City Complex.
Two guards admitted them into the meeting room that was far less grand and much cozier than he had been expecting. Already both the Admirals stood waiting in one corner, deep in discussion about something that none of them could overhear.
Admiral Falun looked up and met Hans’ gaze before whipping his gaze away. Hans though he could see guilt in the Admiral’s face, but he a part of him wondered if it was just wishful thinking. A small round table had been set up in the room with cozy stuffed chairs around it. Hans, Duke, Honora and Altheia sat at the table and waited in silence.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 10 (1)

“Turn on the news! Turn on the news!” Mata came charging into the common room without bothering to knock. She didn’t even wait for someone to turn the screen on, beating Duke to the controller even though he had been sitting right beside it.

“What’s going on?” Honora asked having been drawn out of her room by the sound of shouting.
“-day. We will be joining the press conference live in just a few moments.” A stern faced newscaster stared at them from the screen. Even though they had missed what she had said the caption was easy enough to read. Government has made first contact with aliens. Press conference at 1000 hours.

“Today is the day then?” Duke didn’t sound particularly impressed, but Mata could hardly keep still. She was jumping up and down in place as she started at the screen, waiting for the newscast to get back to the story of the day.
“Isn’t this just incredible? First contact, I mean, I know not really, but it’s the first official contact and then we’re going to show the government up for making a huge galaxy threatening mistake. I mean this is just… it’s just…” Mata couldn’t seem to find the words she needed to describe how she was feeling.

“That’s enough Mata. I will be needing our guests to join me in the media room.” Eve’s voice immediately caused Mata to stop bouncing. She turned on her heel and walked stiffly past Eve and out of the room.
Duke shut off the screen and stood up from where he had been lounging. Honora walked towards him and together they headed towards the door where Eve waited.

Eve glanced around the room. “Where is Hans?”
Duke shrugged. “Beats me. I heard him head out fairly early this morning, but he never left a note or said a word to me about it.”

“I see.” Eve turned and started heading down the corridor. “I will have to have him paged then. I’m pleased to see that you two are far more capable of following simple instructions.”
No one spoke until they reached the media room. As soon as the door opened they all finally knew where Hans was. He was deep in discussion with Amit who was fiddling with a few knobs on one of the consoles. Neither of them looked up when Eve, Honora and Duke walked in.

Khalli acknowledged their presence with a nod of her head before turning back to her own console and Leighton was nowhere to be seen. Eve didn’t bother wasting words on questions, she simply walked up beside Hans and placed her hand on the console.
“That is a good course of action; however, I would like to make one or two changes.” Eve said. She glanced back at Duke and Honora. “Please join in the discussion.”

“What’s up?” Honora asked since she was the first to reach the trio.
“We’ve just made a few changes to the implementation of the plan for what has been previously discussed. We just got a bit of information in this morning that made gave me an idea and I was talking with Amit about it. I think I would like to anger them publicly so that the general public can see it live instead of just recorded.” Hans brought of a copy of the report on the screen of Honora and Duke to see.

“Yeah, that would be far better than a canned recording. I was always worried about saying it was faked to support our side of the story.” Duke said.
“You have not been quiet in your reservations. It was duly noted and I am pleased to see that this will allow for a change in plan that will take care of your concerns.” Eve pressed her hand a little hard to the console and the screen brought up a detailed plan of action that they had been working on for the last few days.

They all watched as changes were made faster than any person could have typed in. It was fascinating watching Eve work with the system. It was the reminder that she wasn’t fully human either. Hans nodded and pointed at something on the screen. Eve accessed the file indicated.
“We’ll have to change that a little. Do we want the public to see the reason why the Afoixox make the statement that they do or should we keep that part a secret?” Hans frowned as he gave it some deep thought.

“Don’t let them see. We have the transcript of the questions that are going to be asked. We just need to make their response seem like it fits the questions. Or at least make it close enough.” Honora grinned. “I used to do these little videos put together of clips from interviews for fun. Making it seem like politicians say weird things. This isn’t much different from that.”
“I do believe Honora is on the right train of thought. We’ll have to change the video a bit, but we should keep it hidden. All we need is their reaction, not what caused such a reaction. It will be better if no one, especially the government, knows the reason for the outburst.” Eve said.

It took them a few minutes to reword the transmission so that it would create the response that they were hoping for. It was only a few minutes till the time of the live press conference and interview with the alien race. Hans tried to keep his nerves under control, but he could feel his left hand constantly changing the number of fingers. It was harder to control when he was nervous.
The media room was far more crowded than it should have been, but nobody was ushered out because everyone was silent and still as the press conference began. It wasn’t until a fuzzy image of the Afoixox appeared that anyone made a sound. Someone mumbled something about them looking adorable.

“On my mark.” Khalli spoke quietly, barely above a whisper, but everyone could hear her clearly. Amit’s finger hovered over the button that would send the transmission to the Afoixox.
“Now.” Khalli said, it was louder this time and Amit hit the button. They held their breath knowing that it would take a bit for the signal to reach the Afoixox ships that were still en route towards the Milky Way. It was less than a minute later that they received the response that they had been looking for.
On the screen they watched at the small, fuzzy and generally adorable looking alien narrowed its wide eyes and bared its teeth for the first time – long, sharp and fearsome teeth. It spoke in the same sing-song tone that it had been using the entire time of the press conference, but this time the words came fast as though it couldn’t wait to get such distasteful words out.
“So this is how it is to be? Ruow? We are more than willing to meet you as equals then, but we will meet you on the battle field! Be prepared, for we are a species for which war is our nature and we will always emerge victorious!”

 It was a tinny sounding translation that didn’t have any of emotion that was evident in the alien’s voice as it spoke. The image of the alien turned to static and the government official who had been orchestrating the press conference had turned as white as a sheet. He seemed at a loss for words, his mouth just hanging open.
Someone else quickly marched on to stage and gently pushed the person standing there aside. He leaned over the audio pickup. “We seem to be experiencing some technical difficulties at this moment. Something has gone wrong with the translation matrix and we’ll have it sorted out shortly. Thank you.”

He turned to leave the stage when the screen behind him suddenly came back to life, but instead of a short fuzzy alien, it showed the logo for A Bloc. Hans could hear the other people in the room cheering quietly. He kept his eyes focused on the screen to watch the video that he and everyone else had worked so hard be played out for the public.
It brought a smile to his face as he watched several techs and government representatives rushing around, trying to find a way to block the transmission, but it was useless. Eve had set it up to be foolproof. It was unstoppable. Hans only hoped that it would be received as they had hoped for it to be. That people would believe them.

Just before the video ended the screen went dark. He could hear a few people groan and someone was cursing under their breath. It was Eve’s voice that rose above it all. “Transmission has been cut off. It’s still playing in front of the media at the press conference, but some news channels have cut their streaming of the conference. These would be the ones that the government has some control over. I am of the opinion that enough of our video has reached a wide audience.”
“Will it have the desired affect though?” Hans hadn’t meant to speak out loud.

“We will see. It has been posted to our site and everyone watching this broadcast will have seen it and most are familiar with it. They will look for the rest of the video to find out what the government was preventing them from seeing. In fact, I could not think of a response that would have been better in favour.” Eve crossed her arms and smiled at Hans for the first time. “I’m thinking that there are going to be people who will wish to speak to you.”
“I’m not entirely sure that I wish to speak to them, but I’m going to have to.” Hans sighed and glanced over at Duke and Honora. “At least I won’t be alone.”

“Now we just need to get you a meeting with the right people, the ones that will be on our side.” Eve paused for a second and then reached out to activate the intercom so that everyone in the building could hear the next part.  “Several messages have been sent to people in key positions not just with the video and the letter that we composed, but with all the evidence that we have gathered about the government and both species of aliens. These same messages are scheduled to go out to key media resources as well. One way or another, the truth will be heard.”
Eve turned off the intercom and walked out of the room, people making room for her to pass. Hans watched her leave as he tried to get his thoughts in order.  It was going to be an interesting few weeks. He only hoped that he wouldn’t have to put his life on the line again to make the truth be heard. With a sigh, he walked out of the room and back to his room. All he wanted now was rest.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 9 (6)

Eve waited till they were all silent and facing her before she spoke. “We have created a video to show to the public after we override the video feeds. Before we override the video feed with our message we are going to show the people who these Afoixox really are. I have managed to ascertain that the information provided to us is correct in that they are as dangerous as we have been told – perhaps more so.

“I have been in communication with a source that has provided me with detailed information on the Afoixox. We have a way to incite them into showing their true colours to the government. We have a few days in which to prepare for the implementation of this plan. I would like for us to use this time to gather as much information as possible about what the government actually does know about not only the Afoixox, but the Shai Halad as well.
“As for the opportunity that presents its self to us at this time has to do with the video message that will be overriding the video feed that is being streamed to all of the United Worlds. We can put our logo on it and let them know that we are involved in showing revealing this information or we can stay silent. This is not my decision to make – it is yours.”

“It would boost recruitment if it goes right, but it will also make us more visible to the government as a target. And if things go wrong…” A woman spoke up from the corner of the room where she had been standing with her arms crossed.
“It’s not a matter of whether or not it works out in our favour Khalli. It’s more of a matter of whether or not we are willing to take that chance. I’m all for it.” The man who had spoken to Eve earlier said. He turned attention to Hans. “I’m sorry we haven’t been introduced. I’m Leighton and I’m more or less the public relations person for A Bloc.”

Hans nodded as a way of acknowledgement. He really had nothing to say in this situation. Although he had been there in the beginning when Alfie had started the organization, it was never anything he had ever wanted to be deeply involved in, but here he was in the thick of things now.
“This is Khalli and that is Amit.” Leighton continued, introducing the other two people that had come into the room with them. “And I’m sure we’d all like to hear what you have to say on this.”

“Excuse me?” Hans stood up a little straighter. “I don’t understand.”
“You’re going to be the face of this. Do you want to be associated with us?” Amit spoke up for the first time and Hans was shocked that he recognized the voice. He had never know his name or face, but the voice he knew really well.

“Since I refused so vehemently the last time you asked?” Hans now understood their hesitation. He remembered when he had first been invited to join A Bloc and he had refused in such a way that no one had ever asked him again. Although he had always supported Alfie in whatever he did, he also was not the kind of person to get involved back then. All that had mattered was his career.
“I’m surprised you recognized my voice, but, yes, I did share with my colleagues your reluctance to be associated with this organization.” Amit shrugged and glanced over at Duke and Honora. “Your friends seem to think that you’d have a different opinion now.”

Hans considered his position carefully before answering the lingering question. “I can be the face if you’re willing to take the risk.”
“Then I think we will take the risk. You know, he always did believe that you’d come around some day. I never believed it.” Amit stepped forward and took Hans’ hand. “It is good to finally meet you in person though.”

“Is there agreement?” Eve interrupted her gaze fixed on Khalli and Leighton. When neither spoke up she continued speaking. “Then this is settled. Until Altheia says otherwise, this is priority one. Get it out to all members that for the next few days we need as much data as possible to work with. Even if it’s only peripherally related, I would like that information gathered as well.
“In the meanwhile, we will finish the process already begun for the inciting incident as well as the video afterwards. Also, we need to get a good prediction on how the public in general is going to react. You three, I’ll meet you in the media room shortly. I have one last thing to take care of.”

Eve waited until Amit, Leighton and Khalli had left and closed the door. She motioned to the chairs that none of them had been using. Duke and Honora sat on one side and Hans and Eve sat across from them.
“You three will need to keep a low profile in the coming days. However, I would like to include both of you, Duke and Honora, in the video Hans and I have already started. You are not required to participate, but it would be useful.” Eve said.

“I’m all for it.” Duke nodded.
“Never been pro-government, but are you sure you want me in it? I mean, my past is a little…well…” Honora blushed and looked at the table.

“Your personal histories were researched prior to my asking the question. I will consider that a yes then. Good. If I need any of you I will send someone to bring you to me otherwise, please stay in the suite provided. There is no need for too much advanced word to get out. That will be all. Thank you.” Eve stood up, nodded her head at the three of them and quickly exited the room.
“So what were you two up to?” Duke asked as he stood up from his chair.

“Believe it or not, talking Ohaehim.” Hans said.
“How?” Honora asked leaning over the table towards Hans. “I thought that wasn’t possible.”

“I didn’t think so either, but she has this incredible way of communicating. It was, it was something else entirely. It was very similar to the way the interface on Cantun communicated with me, but this was far more interactive.” Hans grinned. “I swear you guys need to take more risks because this has been quite the journey for me.”
“Kinda just happy both my hands as my own human hands, thanks though. I’m not that adventurous.” Duke wandered towards the door and Honora scrambled out of her seat to follow him. Hans stood up at a more leisurely pace.

“You’re really missing out. I mean, I can have as many fingers as I like with this hand. Way more useful than just being stuck with the typical five.” Hans sauntered after them, not caring that Duke was purposefully ignoring him.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 9 (5)

“How?” Hans was surprised that his thought was immediately translated into words. At that moment he realized exactly how the interface worked. He thought about Cantun and the system that the alien was using. He looked down at his altered limb and as he thought about it the DNA was analyzed.

“You are the human known as Hans.” Ohaehim was connected. Hans could hardly believe how easy this way of communicating was. “This is not a known part of your technology. This is more similar to Shai Halad technology.”
“I’m as surprised as you, but there are far more important things to discuss.” Hans said.

“The Afoixox move ever closer to this region of space. Is this the representative to which I am to make my case?” Ohaehim suddenly appeared physically in front of them.
“I am called Eve. I am not a representative of the government, but I am the person who will make sure that the message you have is received by the right people. Are you set up for direct communication?” Eve stepped towards the massive alien.

“Yes.” Ohaehim reached out a tentacle towards Eve and she grasped it without any hesitation.
Hans had a sense of information being passed, but he could hear or see nothing of the transaction. It lasted only a brief moment, like a handshake. They stepped apart and Eve gave a single nod. She turned her attention back to Hans.

“I have the information that I need now. Thank you for acting as a go between for this interaction. Ohaehim has been apprised of current situations. It will not be long till the Afoixox arrive, we must enact the plan immediately.” Eve held out her hand to Hans who took her hand reluctantly. There was no flood of information like he had expected, but instead it was similar to the interaction he had had with the Shai Halad – like he was in a different place entirely.
Hans now knew exactly what Eve had planned for them and she was going to enact this plan. Hans could feel the smile that was not just virtual, but real. It was a brilliant plan, a brilliantly simple plan. “Let’s do this.”

It didn’t take long for them to arrange what they needed within the virtual interface. Eve and Ohaehim seemed to know exactly what to do and how to do it. It was obvious to Hans that this was an incredible medium to work in – even if he required a lot of guidance to make it work for him. He could easily get used to this.
It seemed to take forever and no time at all, in that way it also reminded him of the virtual interface that he had experienced back on Cantun. Once all the material that they needed was created and stored somewhere that they could access it manually, it was time to disconnect. Ohaehim disappeared first and then Eve turned her full attention to Hans.

“Disconnecting for you will not be easy. I cannot just unplug you or I may damage you. You will be alone here for a few moments while I gradually slow down the information flow until it is safe to disconnect you. Do not do anything.” Eve didn’t wait for him to answer, but quickly disappeared herself.
It wasn’t long till Hans felt a distinct feeling of being cut off from something, but he was not quite able to comprehend exactly what he was being cut off from. He could still feel the vast network of information around him that could be accessed with a single though, but at the same time he felt as though he was no longer a direct part of that network anymore. The feeling increased until he was alone in the darkness and then he blinked and the computer room was visible once again.

“I feel…” Hans struggled to find the right word after that experience. He had been wrong to compare it to his experience in Cantun. This had been something so much more than that, something he had no words to describe. “I feel separate.”
“That is common. One day maybe we will all have the ability. I have disconnected from the network once and it was the worst experience of my life. Imagine having always been connected to that and then having it ripped away from you. It is an experience that cannot be compared to any other.” Eve said.

Hans almost felt as though, for the first time, that she had emotions – buried deep inside, but they were emotions all the same. She had a human part and Hans clung to that thought. He clung to the belief that he wasn’t working with some heartless machine because it was easier to work with a person that he could relate to in some way.
Eve used the same fast, efficient walk to take them back to the command centre. Duke and Honora were deep in discussion with someone else when they entered. Eve stopped short and raised her hand. Silence immediately followed.

“We have devised a plan to rectify the situation in which we have found ourselves. Do not worry; the founder of this organization sacrificed himself for the right reasons. I will enact the plan as soon as possible. I would like to remind everyone here that there have been instructions left in case of just such an eventuality.” Eve walked over to the console and placed her hand on it. She closed her eyes for a brief moment and when she opened them again she announced to all. “Altheia Nikos is the interim leader of A Bloc. She has been summoned.”
No one questioned the statement, but each turned back to the jobs they were doing except for a few people that approached Eve – including the man that Duke and Honora had been talking to when they had walked in. He was the first one to speak out of the handful people.

“Is this plan going to put us in the line of fire Eve?”
“That depends. I’ve been meaning to discuss that with you. We have an opportunity here to make ourselves known.” Eve walked towards the room where she had pulled Hans aside in earlier. Everyone that had approached followed her into the small room. It was quite crowded with seven people in it, but they managed to make it work.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 9 (4)

Complete silence followed the statement for a moment or two before everyone seemed to be talking at once. Eve placed a hand on Hans’ shoulder and guided him out of the control to a smaller room off to the side. She sat him down and brought him a glass of water. Hans just looked at it as he tried to gather his thoughts.

“We will be requiring your assistance and that of your colleagues as Alfonzo was of the opinion that your story is the true one. Tell me what you can of the Afoixox.” Eve sat down across from him and waited patiently for Hans to speak. Hans sipped at the water until it was gone before said anything.
“They are small creatures, very unintimidating by human standards and covered in dusty red fur from head to toe. They are relentless in their pursuit of war and will stop at nothing to take what they need before moving on again. If they are not fighting, their life is meaningless. If you trap one alone in a room long enough it will begin to fight with itself.

“They understand diplomacy and have used it before to gain a hold on civilizations that they are afraid may defeat them in outright battle. They are cunning, very clever. However, once again, their true character comes out quickly enough. They will fight, they will always fight. The Shai Halad believe that their constant war was and is how they keep their population under control. Are you aware of the old saying “breeds like bunnies?”
Eve nodded her understanding and Hans continued.

“They’re worse than that. They multiply very quickly, if not for war they would never survive. Its funny saying that about a race, but it’s true for the Afoixox. It’s been a very long time though. Maybe they’ve changed?” Hans thought about that for a moment and smiled. “It has been millions of years since the Shai Halad last encountered them. It’s possible, but then again all the predictions say that it is highly unlikely.”
“Then we will go on the assumption that the Shai Halad were correct in their assessments. However it would be good to know more about these Shai Halad. Knowledge is important.” Eve tapped her fingers randomly on the table. “I need to meet this one that you call Ohaehim.”

“I don’t know if that will be possible.” Hans met her gaze for the first time. “Getting off Earth and to him would be hard and getting him here is impossible.”
“Point.” Eve held impossibly still for a moment, her already dead eyes managed to look far away. “Okay, I am formulating another plan. However, I will need to contact your alien to be able to clear up this current misunderstanding with the government. Can you communicate with him?”

“Misunderstanding?” Hans could not think of a worse word to explain the situation.  
“You object to something?” Eve asked. Hans decided it would be better not to explain to her what bothered him so much. She wouldn’t understand.

“I don’t know. I haven’t tried and he said he was going to monitor things to learn about our race, but he said he would not be contact with us.” Hans struggled to keep the anger out of his voice.
“Good, then this is a very simple plan. Your alien will provide us with more information and we will incite a reaction from the Afoixox in a public forum. Then we will override all communication channels with our own message.” Eve stood up from the table. “Follow me.”

Hans was left with no choice but to follow her as she walked back through the control room ignoring all inquiries. She wasted no words or energy on anything other than getting to her destination. Hans didn’t bother asking questions because he knew that it would fall on deaf ears. He had a feeling that the explanation would be coming soon enough.
Eve finally stopped outside a door that had no way of manually opening it. She placed her hand on it and it responded to her touch by disappearing. She stepped inside and Hans followed her in to a room that was wall to wall electronics. He had never seen a system like this before it almost distracted him from the fact that door had reappeared almost magically behind him.

Hans had a million questions running through his brain, but he knew that there were more important things than doors and systems. It was making sure that Alfie hadn’t sacrificed himself for nothing. Hans asked the only question that really mattered. “What are we doing here?”
“This is my office. I had a few acquaintances set me up with a set up that would work for me. Almost all of the technology you see here is considered illegal by RAST. You aren’t jacked are you? Of course not, I read your profile. I can fix that.” Eve started activating what seemed like random machines and then tried to hand Hans a small cable. He looked at it confused.

“Put it in your mouth. Best I can do in these circumstances, but I need your help here. I don’t know if the alien will speak to me without you.” Eve proffered him the cable again. Hans took it and put it in his mouth as she had instructed.
“Wha-” Hans started to ask before a wave of information caused him to break off mid-word. It was almost overwhelming. He wasn’t able to move or even think as more information than he could possibly imagine washed over him, through him. As quickly as the wave of information washed over him, it stopped and he was left blinking into darkness.

“Sorry, miscalculated. This is an interactive virtual interface that I helped to create for those who are not permanently connected the way I am. Adjusting…” An image of Eve appeared in front of him and she reached out and took his hand. “That’s better. Let’s connect with your alien now. No time to waste.”

Monday, September 1, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 9 (3)

A few minutes later a girl popped her head into the room and smiled at everyone. “Follow me, I’m supposed to take you to a place to stay for a few days. I’m Matta by the way.”

She whipped around and started bounding down the hallway. Hans was left with the distinct impression of a puppy on speed as he followed along behind her. He would have smirked if he hadn’t been so deep in thought. He wanted to think of something that he could contribute instead of just relying on Alfie’s network of people.
He almost walked right by Mata when she came to a screeching halt outside a door. She reached out and put her hand on his chest. “Hold up there handsome. This is the suite I found for you all. I hope you don’t mind that I stuck you all together with a common room. Anyway, there really isn’t much to choose from. I made sure it was stocked up as well. We all generally share meals in the common area that you were earlier so there isn’t any food in here, but clothes and a few amenities. Just let me know if there is anything else you need.”

She opened the door and stood aside to let them in to the room. It was sparsely furnished, but comfortable enough and functional – which was the most important part. There were four doors that opened into other rooms. One was a shared bathroom and the other three were separate bedrooms. Just as Mata had said there were some spare clothes available for them to wear.
Hans turned on the screen and flipped through a few channels before turning it off.

“Hey, wait!” Honora dashed forward and pulled the controller out of Hans’ hand and turned the screen back on.
“-ing story for the evening. We take you to head of the Armed Forces Exploration and Expansion division. Admiral Falun has announced that we have made contact with a sentient species from outside of the Milky Way galaxy. Little has been released about the contact with this species, but we will keep you up to date as the story progresses.”

Alfie slammed the door open in his haste to get inside. “Did you hear the news?”
“Yeah we saw, but the question remains – which aliens is he talking about?” Hans shut the screen off as the news had moved on to another unrelated story.  

“You think it’s these Afoixox?” Alfie asked.
“I know it’s not going to be the Shai Halad. They left this galaxy a long time ago and they are never coming back. All they left behind was the warrior class that they created because of the war with the Afoixox. They are too gentle, too peaceful to stand for a war.” Hans began to pace as he tried to wrap his head around the news.

“I’m trying to get as much information as I can. I’m almost tempted to go back to work. I’m his primary aide, but having secreted you three away from under his nose I know it could be a dangerous proposition, but we need more information.” Alfie looked at Hans, his eyes asking a question that he wasn’t willing to vocalize.
“It’s your call, but I don’t think it would be a smart idea.” Hans said.

“Got anything better?” Alfie asked.
“No, but don’t go.” Hans walked towards Alfie and put his hands on his shoulders looking him straight in the eye. “I’d rather you alive and well than risking life and limb for a chance of getting a little bit more information.”

Alfie nodded and then embraced his friend. “I’m going to go anyway.”
Hans held on to him tighter. “I listened to you when you told me to shut up and sit down. It’s your turn to listen to me now. It’s not worth the risk. You know how dangerous these people can be. I know how dangerous they can be. We’ll get the information another way.”

Alfie pushed back from Hans. “I’m going.”

Hans didn’t say anything. He turned and walked to one of the bedrooms and closed the door behind him. He tried to think about anything else other than what Alfie had chosen to do, but it was all he could think about. Here was his friend, once again just taking his word that the Shai Halad were the good guys, and risking his life for it.
Hans fell asleep eventually. An alarm brought him fully awake in an instant. Hans rolled out of bed and was running for the door where he collided with Duke.

“What’s going on?” Hans asked once he regained his balance. Duke just shook his head and headed back into the common room. Honora was standing there looking confused, unsure of what to do. Hans headed for the door that opened before he even reached it. Mata poked her head into the room, her eyes wide.
“You three need to come with me now.” She whipped around as soon as the words were out of her mouth and dashed down the hallway. Hans was not far behind her. He didn’t need to be told twice, it was evident from the tone of her voice and the alarm that something big was happening. It wasn’t long before he found himself in some sort of control room.

“Alfonzo Ansanza has gone missing, presumed dead.” Hans had no idea who had spoken, but he turned towards the sound of the voice his anger rising at the deadpan tone. Before he could say anything his voice froze in his throat.  He had heard of her before from Alfie, but he had never once expected to meet the infamous Eve.
She looked at him with no emotion at all. A perfectly blank slate, even her eyes were as if she was dead, but she was very much alive and breathing. Hans closed his eyes for a moment to regain his composure before he spoke.  “You’re Eve.”

“And you are Hans Beaulieu. It is a pleasure to meet you even under these grave circumstances. We received a single communiqué from Alfonzo before we lost track of him. Please review the following files and tell us what you know.” She handed him a notepad.
Hans looked over the information that his friend had managed to gather before he disappeared. Hans tried not to think about how much the info had cost when he looked at the people gathered around him and said a single word. “Afoixox.”

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blood on the Stars - Part 1: Secrets & Lies - CH. 9 (2)

“Hans? Wake up.” Hans sat bolt upright in the dark room. He had recognized the half whispered voice as Alfie and he had sounded worried. “Hans?”
“Alfie? Why are the lights off?” Hans tried to clear the cobwebs out of his sleep his brain.
“Shhhh, keep your voice down and get up now.” Hans felt Alfie tugging at his arm with an urgency that was unusual for him.

Hans rolled out of bed and crouched down as he started to make out the shape of things from the dim light that snuck in underneath the door. What stood out the most was the fear that was evident all over Alfie’s face. He was not a man that scared easily.
“No time to explain, but I need to get you and your friends out of here.” Alfie moved quickly towards the door and looked both ways before signalling for Hans to follow him. They communicated without talking, Alfie taking point and signalling for Hans to go to Duke’s room while he headed into Honora’s to retrieve her.

It didn’t take long before they were all making their way down the hallway and back into the alcove that was empty of sentries this time. Alfie led the way once again as zigzagged down the endless corridors. Hans was starting to feel like a rat in a maze when they finally reached a dead end with a door that said ‘No Exit’ in bold red letters.
Alfie pulled out a small kit and started fiddling with the electronics until a small light on the device started to glow green. He pushed it open and motioned them through to the outside world. Hans knew enough to hold his breath, but he had neglected to warn Duke or Honora who began coughing as soon as they took a breath.

Alfie was right behind them and pulled some rebreathers out from behind a cement block where he had probably hid them earlier. He passed them out to everyone and put on his own. He motioned for them to follow him once again. They moved slower now, it was too easy to lose someone in thick smog that surrounded them.  
Even with the rebreathers they couldn’t last long in this environment so Hans knew that they wouldn’t be going far. Sure enough, Alfie stopped short at another door. He pressed a small button beside the door and waited. It didn’t take long until it opened and the muzzle of a gun poked out before a face peeked around the corner. As soon as the person recognized Alfie the door flung open fully and the gun muzzle pointed past him into the smog.

Hans, Duke and Honora followed Alfie inside and the door closed quickly behind them. They all waited for the ventilation system to take care of the smog that had followed them in before removing their rebreathers.  Hans spoke up as soon as he got his rebreather off. “What the hell Alfie?”
“I’m sorry, but I told Admiral Falun about what you told me. His reaction concerned me so I kept an eye on him and the first thing he did was contact Special Forces. He already knows about the aliens from what I can gather. Whatever you’ve stumbled upon is much bigger of a cover up than you think it is.” Alfie glanced at the person who had let them in, a young girl who was listening intently to the conversation. “We need to finish this discussion in private.”

Hans tried to get his thoughts in order as he followed Alfie through yet another maze of corridors. They ones looked a lot less cared for than what any Hans had seen before. He knew that there were places in this city that had been nearly abandoned, but he had never had the chance to visit one of these areas till now.
Alfie led them to what looked like a common eating area and cleared the room of all other people fairly quickly. He motioned for Duke, Honora and Hans to take a seat at one of the tables. They sat in silence for a few moments, Alfie just sat there, pinching the bridge of his nose for a few minutes before he sighed and looked them all in the eye.

“I’m sorry this went so horribly wrong, but I think it might be time to figure out plan B. I don’t suppose any of you had a plan B?” Alfie looked at their downcast faces and frowned. “No plan B. Well there are a lot of other letters in the alphabet.”
“What exactly happened Alfie?” Hans asked.

“He was planning to kill you all… I think. I’m not entirely sure actually, but I know now that you can’t trust him. I’m not sure anymore who we can trust outside of the bloc and even then I wouldn’t trust most of them with this kind of information.” Alfie suddenly slammed his fist on the table. “Dammit. This wasn’t supposed to happen like this. How could I have misjudged him so much?”
Hans placed a hand on Alfie’s fist. “Some people are just better at putting on a false front, we’re just lucky you figured it out now instead of later. You saved our lives Alfonzo. We’re grateful.”

Alfie collapsed on to one of the benches and shook his head. “We need to come up with a plan of action. We can’t just go public, it wouldn’t work. They’d want to check their facts and the government will shut them up.”
“Unless we don’t go to the media.” Duke said and everyone looked at him expectantly. “I know of some people that if I can get a hold of them can put me in contact with a certain sub-set of society that might be able to hijack the newsfeeds.”

“That would only give us this planet and not the rest of the United Worlds. We need to go big and let everyone know what is being hidden from them and why it’s being hidden. The why, I believe, would be critical and we don’t know why.” Alfie said.
“To be honest, we need a lot more information than that to make this work. Sure we have proof that aliens exist – well that at least one alien exists, but what about this other race he talks about. Are they really as he says they are? Can we trust this alien? There are a lot of questions that are unanswered that have nothing to do with the government cover up.” Hans stared at the ceiling trying to gather his thoughts. “I believe him, but no one has had the same experience I’ve had.”

“So, where do we start?” Honora said. She was leaning against the wall a part from the group.
“We start with finding people in the right places to get us the information we need. I have contacts all over the place in all levels of the government. I can put the word out for what we’re looking for. It might take time, but someone is bound to find something.” Alfie seemed to be brightening up. “Until then we’ll just have to lay low.”

“If it takes too long though then we may as well have done nothing.” Hans didn’t want to sound discouraging, but he knew better than the others what the Afoixox would do when they got here. He wasn’t willing to just wait around and let it happen.
“Then what do you suggest?” Alfie fixed him with a hard stare, but Hans wasn’t going to back down.

“I don’t know, but sitting around and waiting for a chance that someone might stumble across something isn’t my idea of getting things done.” Hans kicked at one of the chairs sending it flying across the room. “I want to actually do something.”
“Still aren’t happy with sitting on the sidelines are you? Always have to be the best and in charge. Well, look where that got you Hans; injured, mindwiped and working for Global Flight Tech on some stupid frontier planet.” Alfie stood up and leaned towards Hans. “Why won’t you just let me help you? We have some good people, some incredible people in this organization and we will find something quickly. So sit down, shut up and let me do what I do best.”

Hans shut up and sat down. No one spoke for a few moments and as they each tried to gather their thoughts. Alfie stepped away from the table. “Sorry Hans. I’m going to arrange for lodging for a few days and I’ll get a message out through the network.”
“Remind me one day to ask what that was really all about. It may be none of my business, but I really don’t care because that was the first time I think I’ve ever seen you actually do what someone told you to do.” Duke said to Hans who just ignored him.