Sky Fleet Commander, Adrian Shaw, took his eyes off the electro-telescope, and shook his head.
“Is everything alright, Commander?” the woman by his side asked.
He shook his head at her. “Captain Nasha, I am not too sure of what this signal is, coming from the fourth quadrant. Take a look for yourself, and confirm if this is real, or not.”
Captain Nasha stepped on the elevated podium he was standing on. She grabbed the levers of the electro-telescope, peering through the visors.
She could see the wide expanse of the dark space above them, stars, and planets, and other bodies shining, and glittering like colorful bulbs on a canvas painted in black. But she knew better than to admire the same heavenly patterns she had seen several times before. Nasha reached for the knob by the side of the left lever, and rolled it, turning the telescope to face east, towards the fourth quadrant.
She could see Mars prominent in that area, along with several other smaller asteroids; all stationary, or moving very slowly, except for one white, and shiny object that was moving fast. It was moving very fast.
She dialed in on the knob, and the object zoomed closer. It looked like a bolt of lightning that was moving very quickly, faster than any other object in that quadrant.
“Well?” Commander Shaw raised a brow. “What do you see?”
Nasha pulled away from the telescope, “This could be hostile, Commander, and it is moving very fast.”
“Yes, indeed. I just wonder what it could be.”
“Shouldn’t we be adopting interrogative protocols to determine its mission, and its destination?”
“We should, but that is if we knew what we were up against. From what I can see, there is no evidence that it is a ship.”
“But it’s coming from the fourth quadrant, Commander. It must be their ship, perhaps one that has been modernized, and heavily improved. We should take preventive maneuvers just to protect ourselves.”
Commander Shaw pressed a knob on the side of the helmet he was wearing. “Mission Operations? Mission Operations, can you read me?”
There was a crackle on his headset. “Affirmative Commander, we can hear you loud, and clear.”
“I’d like you to check, and confirm what I have observed from my position.”
“Is it an enemy ship, Commander?”
“We don’t yet know what to make of it. Check the fourth quadrant. There is an object moving at high speed. Let me know what you think.”
“Yes, Commander. We will review the object, and get back to you immediately.”
As the line went dead, Commander Shaw sighed. “Just when you think the whole mess is getting better, you discover things are not the way you thought they were.”
“Are you talking about the ceasefire agreement that was signed last week?”
“What else would I be referring to, Captain. I knew there wasn’t much to expect from that ceasefire agreement with the Martians. How long had we been at war with them?”
“Seventeen years, Commander.”
“Exactly, and how many ceasefire agreements did we sign with them during that time?”
“I can count three.”
“Three would be after you joined the Space, and Sky Defense Corps. I have been here right from the beginning, and I can authoritatively tell you that we have had exactly seven ceasefire agreements since this war started.”
“Indeed, Captain. Seven agreements. Can you believe that? And guess who always violates these agreements?”
“No, not the Martians. It is us, the Earthians.”
“How can we be the ones violating the agreements, Commander? Earthians want peace.”
“Yes because of the severe devastation Earth has recently undergone during this senseless war. But there are things that you are not even aware of.”
“I don’t understand, Commander.”
“Don’t mind me, Captain. I know you want to hear all the hidden details behind this ongoing conflict we have with the Martians—but I’m sorry that you would not hear much from me anymore. My mouth is sealed.”
“But sir, surely you can tell me if—”
“Captain Nasha, please check with Mission Operations, and see if they has gotten any reading on what that object is. Okay?”
Nasha nodded. She stepped out of the cubicle, and the door slid shut. After she was gone, Commander Shaw sighed as he reached for the telescope again, and peered through it.
The object was still advancing through space, speeding towards Earth.
He opened the war protocol book, which clearly stated—contact the Martians in case of an attack, and negotiate for unconditional withdrawal—in case that fails, Sky Fleet Commander to pass the instruction to the Armed Forces, and get them ready for counter onslaught on Planet Mars.
He sighed, and called his wife to tell her that he loves her, and to ask her to pick their kids from school, and head to the punkers. Then he took a deep breath, and called the head of the armed forces for an immediate attack on Mars.
Malasi Morei turned to look at the man standing before him. “What nonsense is this?” The man retreated backward in fear. “Answer me. What is the meaning of this?”
The man cleared his throat. “Your highness, the agreement that we have recently signed with our brethren on Earth, has not been violated. You see, the object coming towards us is from Earth, but it’s an unidentified object. We can’t just assume it’s a missile, and react irrationally by attacking our brethren.”
“Are you crazy?” Malasi Morei snapped in anger. “Whom are you calling brethren?”
“Your highness, our conflicts aside, aren’t the Earthians still our brethren?”
Malasi Morei was red in rage. “Brethren do not go to war, and continue to fight for so long. As the Prime Minister of our planet, Mars, and as my adviser, you should know better.”
“But isn’t that why you signed the ceasefire agreement with planet Earth?”
“I don’t blame you, I really don’t. You really don’t know what is happening. You think that this ceasefire is going to last? Really? And for how long? Two weeks? Two months? This ceasefire is just for a while. It would eventually be broken, just like the six before it did.”
“Your highness, we can’t allow it to be violated. We have suffered severe losses, and I am sure the Earthians have suffered the same, if not more. Isn’t that why both sides decided to come together, and agreed to stop fighting?”
Malasi Morei grunted. “It is obvious that you don’t know anything about what it takes to fight a war. Brethren indeed. You don’t know that the Earthians are very likely planning another attack on us even as we speak. Have you ever thought of that possibility?”
“Your highness, the thing coming towards us is an unidentified object. We are just assuming that it could be a missile. We cannot base our thinking, and actions on assumptions. We can only work with facts, and the fact is, we, and our brethren on Earth have agreed to ceasefire according to the terms in this agreement.”
“Now,” Malasi Morei said, disregarding his Prime Minister’s opinion. “Attach Earth will full fledge power, don’t hold back.”
“But You Highness, it is wrong to have such a bad notion against the people of Earth,” the Prime Minister pleaded.
“Really? What other notion do you want me to have against the people that have been at war with us for so long? I should trust them, love them, and believe them when they agree to another round of ceasefire?”
“Then what is the essence of entering into an agreement with them in the first place?”
“You could ask the Earthians themselves. Why don’t you contact their command centers, and ask them this same question? Because I also do not see any need of always signing ceasefire agreements, and enjoying a short period of peace, only for hostilities to be renewed again.”
“So, what do you want us to do now?”
“What else? Attack, attack them now,” Malasi Morei ordered in a firm voice. “I am really annoyed about the deception of it all. We meet, we agree to down our weapons, and we enjoy some brief moments of peace. Then what happens? The fighting resumes again. We have done this six times until now. Don’t you think I should be tired of it all?”
“They are all fools,” Jason Cole addressed his followers. “Both missiles are within forty minutes of impact with both planets. Our plan is working just as expected.”
His men shouted in excitement.
Jason smiled as he watched their display of joy. He did not ask them to keep their voices down, he felt no need to do so. Where they were hiding inside the mountains of the Scandinavian Forests, no one would be able to hear them, or even locate their presence.
They were all holed up inside an ultra-modern bunker, fortified with advanced communication gadgets, computers, and monitors. Apart from being designed to be self-sufficient in generating its own power, the entire place was hidden, and soundproof.
He raised his hand, and the people with him fell silent. “I’m not trying to stop your celebration, but it is imperative we review our strategy one more time.”
The men, and women sat down, and listened to him.
“Effective immediately, all communications between planets will be intercepted by us, and prevented from happening. In less than forty minutes from now, both missiles would strike their targets on each planet, and that would be the beginning of renewed confrontation between these planets. We need these hostilities to continue. Who needs peace with those who are supposed to serve us?”
“No one,” the men, and women chorused in unison.
Jason’s voice thrummed through the room. “We own Mars, and everything in it. We deserve to have everything in it, and not just these minor rations that come to us from their weekly supplies. Even though those on Mars are also humans, we deserve everything they have, not just some of it. And we all know why, don’t we?”
“Yes, Mars is our colony,” the crowd chorused.
“Exactly. This war is never going to stop until Mars is completely taken over. The way to ensure success is by continuing to send more, and more missiles until their leaders are weakened, their weapons decrease. We make sure they get exhausted by the whole thing, then we strike, and take over both planets for ourselves.”
The people with him cheered, and clapped shouting excitedly.
“Our people are there, on Mars, and Earth in every corner of their organizations, from the lowest of levels to the highest. We count on them, and they count on us. We are almost there, comrades, and when the time comes we will take over. We will overthrow their systems, and establish ours, and the time of their defeat is coming soon.”