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.

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