5 of 6 | Chapter 16

 

“I agree. If we first construct a program that resembles a resolution on which direction we direct our operations, that would fit the concept nicely. We'll be doing nothing other than preparing a fertile environment for the media to disseminate information to the public,” said Alan Furman, who at thirty-two, was the team's youngest member, though the effect that his guerrilla marketing activities had had on the Turkish oil giant, the FossOil's drilling efforts in the Aegean Sea had made him a legend. Because of his work, FossOil had abandoned their plans and an environmental disaster had been averted.

“All right. Global deployment of the enforcement poles is then scheduled as part of this program so that it becomes an integral part of the concept; clearly designated but easier for the public to understand,” said Trenerry.

“At this point, however, we need to allow some time, as it is in itself an overwhelming event. There'll most certainly be conflicts and incidents that will cause considerable hindrance to proper management of the implementation process. If we deal with any obstacles well enough at that point, and the ideas and concepts behind our work will be clearly understood, then, and only then can we unveil the document.” Sal Selma joined the debate. As the only employee of Middle Eastern descent at ASEC, she did not feel too comfortable about the circumstances surrounding the attack on Excolopolis.

“Yes, this is a pivotal point, and therefore I think we need to make sure that we support it and generate some positive press with a new media event, to ensure that we're not just drawing all sorts of directives in the sand,” said Jens Saari, with his usual visualizing ability.

“I'd say that the launch of the new space fleet might just generate the hype we need,” Trenerry observed, smiling.

“Then we can work around that, too.”

“And, to the defense corps. Anyway, how will the corps work? I mean, in what sort of cases will it be deployed? When would it intervene in a crisis, and to what extent?”

“This document will lay down the guidelines for intervention. Its strength and credibility will lie in the fact that ASEC stands behind it, and also considers itself bound by it. ASEC will consistently support it and not allow any transgression to go unanswered,” Trenerry stated, with a tired frown, having missed out on days of sleep.

“Perhaps this document should be issued sooner. Then we could support it and give it weight with the launch of the enforcement poles. Because each step in the plan is built on the previous step, efficiency will be enhanced, meaning that an event like this will be useful to us in any case,” opined Jackie McCold.

“Sounds reasonable. In this case, however, we don't have much time to prepare the document, which adds a little extra risk,” Trenerry responded.

“Regardless of what order things are done, we need a framework that sets the basic tone,” said Alan Furman.

“Definitely. The establishment of the enforcement poles and constructing the defense corps will certainly take a year. The factory plants are still under construction, so we have considerably less time than we need.”

“Factories?”

“Four giant factories are being built near Odessa. All routine manufacturing processes will be relocated there, except for prototyping. In fact, we'll need to build residential facilities because the plants will function as a labor magnet for the whole area.”

 

Test drive

As the Sumo II cargo transporter had not been designed for space travel, it had to undergo significant modifications in a short period of time, like a sports car tuned up in a backyard garage workshop. Six NGI drives were installed in an octahedron formation, the most ideal arrangement for three-dimensional spatial navigation. Because use of the impulse drives was not recommended in the densely populated atmosphere of Earth, it was necessary to fit a further eight more powerful DCG spheres to allow the ship—along with it's extra weight—to ascend past the theoretical limit of the atmosphere and into outer space—across the Karman line at an altitude of one hundred kilometers. It was at this point that the impulse drives were designed to kick in.

The ship's cargo hold was not empty either. The first fifty units for the global sensor network filled the entire bay. Massive hockey puck shaped devices were ready to be put into orbit around the planet at about sixty thousand kilometers from the surface of the earth.

Samples of construction materials were also being taken for testing. The polymer tissue that had been designed for use in the structural frame of the spacecrafts was to be put into space with the aim of observing how it would react.

 

Alien navigational map

How it was possible to exchange messages with a planet in a star system so many light years away so quickly, was a mystery that caused some concern. Martins sometimes still had his suspicions that it was some sort of elaborate scam and because of that some of his team members were also a little uneasy.

On the basis of distance alone, it was obvious that there could presently be no reasonable explanation for this phenomenon, and although in a previous observation it had been noticed that the velocity of radiation near the Earth reduced, that too had not yet been proven.

However, the complexity of the signal caused quite a few headaches for every member of the team, which kept them going and reaffirmed their belief that their work over the past few years could not have just been a huge mistake.

“There are an amazing number of references in the transmission, that correspond to earlier or later details. It is as if they were not willing to apply the same unit twice, but rather wanted to refer to it obliquely. At the moment, though, I really can't see what the point of it is,” snapped Pat in annoyance. She had proved to be the fastest during the entrance tests, and when they saw that the young women was—in spite of her rebellious nature—taking the challenge extremely seriously and was dedicated to her work, they let her in on the secret of the alleged source of the signal. Meanwhile, she received a very gratifying offer of permanent employment from ASEC, which she accepted.

Another girl, Tya Mints, had also been drafted into the inner circle of the program and had been quick to accept the job.

“Yes. We have already struggled with this problem in the past,” said Dr Martins, who was also the girls' boss. “In this sequence they use it especially often.”

“I'm going to get a coffee,” said Patricia, suddenly getting up from her seat.

Martins had become accustomed to her habit of being abrupt hotheadedness whenever she didn't understand something immediately. Due to her fiery nature, there was a sleeping volcano inside her that would often wake up at times like these, but by the end, it always burned out, and from the eruption a solution was born.

“Get one for me too, please,” he called after her.

Patricia stayed away for a while. She could always concentrate better when she was alone. At times like that, she had no idea what her body was doing, it was on autopilot while her brain worked. On one occasion Martins found her on the table standing on her head.

“Let's try something!” she said suddenly, flipping upright and instantly beginning to pound out the fruit of her latest brain wave on the virtual console keyboard.

It took quite a while.

 

*

 

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CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 2 | MACHINES
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 13 | ENERGY WAR
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH