Commander Conall Bornani sat outside Tomar Donovackia’s office, waiting for the Chairman of the most dominant Corporation in the two worlds to call him into his office. It was uncomfortable. Commander Conall Bornani was a soldier, through and through. He was about to be promoted to the rank of Captain when an opportunity arose to take command of the next planetary exploration mission to a planet known as Earth. He leaped at the unique chance to lead such a critical task. He had been orphaned at a young age and had recently lost his wife. He had little left but his military career.
The plush and palatial office of Tomar Donovackia felt too pretentious for Commander Bornani, but he forced himself to appear comfortable while meeting the most powerful man on the two worlds. Tomar was gracious, offering the Commander a seat in an area overlooking Stujorkian City. “Commander, I appreciate you taking the time to come and see me. I have several things that I want to discuss.”
“Of course, sir. This is an exciting and important mission, and I am honored to be a part of it,” answered Commander Bornani, trying to sound humble.
“Please give me an assessment of your crew,” Tomar requested. “This is likely a one-way mission, and I need you to be sure that you can accomplish the goals of quickly and thoroughly assessing the planet’s readiness for invasion and development. Of equal, and perhaps even greater importance, is discovering if any Transprophetics have appeared in the population.”
Commander Conall Bornani gave Tomar a thorough assessment of the five other soldiers, the two infrastructure and technology analysts, the two global logistics and trade analysts, and the two experts who would be working to discover if the planet had any Transprophetics. With just over a year left to prepare, the Commander was very confident that his crew would be one hundred percent ready for the mission.
Tomar had, of course, been involved in the selection of the six experts on this mission, but he had been less involved in selecting the soldiers. That was General Chaldea’s job. He had faith that his military would provide the best possible warriors for the job. This was the first planetary exploration mission to launch since he had taken over as chairman. While he was extremely busy with growing the Corporation, he absolutely wanted to make sure that this mission was successful. “Do you understand, Commander, exactly how the experts will proceed to root out Transprophetics?”
“They will be dispatched into the planet’s population to try to find anyone who claims to have the powers to move objects, the ability to move through space without being seen, or any of the known capabilities of Transprophetics,” explained Commander Bornani. “They will scour whatever news and research resources that they can discover. If they find a potential candidate, they will interview the candidate to ascertain whether or not the person is, in actuality, a Transprophetic, or simply a charlatan playing on the gullibility of others.”
“And what happens if they discover a true Transprophetic?” Tomar knew the answer, but he wanted to see how the Commander would approach and handle his response.
“They will kill them.”
“Yes,” Tomar replied, satisfied with the Commander’s direct and blunt response. “And if we are unable to validate that any Transprophetic exists on Earth, then what?”
“The remaining four experts in infrastructure, technology, logistics, and trade will make an assessment of whether the planet is primed for development. That assessment will be sent back, along with various planetary artifacts, via the return vessel,” responded the Commander.
“Very good. Are you prepared to send back a report that states the planet is not ready, knowing full well that you and your crew will likely spend the rest of your lives on that planet?” Tomar inquired.
“Each of my crew members and I are absolutely prepared for that option.”
“Do you understand what you and your crew will be tasked with, at that point?”
“Yes, sir. We will fan out across the planet, continually looking for Transprophetics. If we find any, we kill them. If we are fortunate, we might someday run into a future crew from Donovackia. If, as the years have passed, we have found a Transprophetic, then we inform the future crew.”
Tomar and the Commander continued to talk for some time. Tomar was comfortable that this was the man for this mission. He had a clear grasp of what needed to happen on Earth. While Tomar absolutely wanted to hear that Earth was ready for development, he would rather that the mission find the planet needing a bit more time. Tomar could wait. He had absolute control of his Corporation, and many plans that would take him even further than he had already come.
The Commander left Tomar’s office and returned to the former Stameyerson Corporation’s launch facility. Of course, now it was the Donovackia Corporation’s launch facility. What was once Eleven Corporations was now Nine, and there were rumors that another Corporation was being targeted for acquisition by Donovackia. It really didn’t matter to Commander Conall Bornani. He would only be here for one more year, and then his fate was on Earth.
Tomar began preparing for the last meeting of the day. Spending any time with Scharbigot Canchorus, one of the now-three Ministers, was more of an annoyance than anything else. Celestina was firmly in control of the Ministry. Her uncle’s health had further deteriorated, and his vote was absolutely hers. Scharbigot had simply become a figurehead. He still performed Ministry duties, but Celestina ran the show.
The communication device on his wrist vibrated. It was Celestina. She was crying, but also seemed to be smiling at the same time. He swiped his finger across the device, and a live holographic image of her appeared in front of him.
“Celestina, what is the matter?” asked Tomar.
“My uncle is dead. He passed away a few minutes ago.”
“I’m very sorry to hear that. Hareold Wiroviana was an amazing man and was so wonderful to you. And I suppose congratulations are also in order. His seat in the Ministry has now passed to you.”
Celestina smiled, answering, “Yes. It is true. I now have complete control of two of the three votes in the Ministry. I’ve already passed my first new rule since my uncle passed. I’ve granted Scharbigot a lifetime seat on the Ministry’s board. In return, when he passes away, the seat becomes mine.”
Tomar laughed out loud. “You are such an evil genius.”
“I know,” she replied, her smile growing.
“Have you contacted Scharbigot to tell him the news?” asked Tomar.
“Not of yet. I believe you are meeting with him in a few hours, so perhaps you could share his good fortune and lifetime appointment with him?”
Tomar laughed. “I’d be more than happy to let him know that for the rest of his life, he is a Minister.”
• • •
|Chapter 19||Chapter 21|