Janissaries Excerpt 2015-10-13T15:28:21+00:00

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Prologue

Snoqualmie National Forest, WA, August 28, 2018, 1430 PDT

“I may never finish all this paperwork,” said Calvin, “even if you give me a hand.” Lieutenant Shawn Hobbs, or ‘Calvin’ as he was known to the other aviators in his F-18 squadron, was catching up on all of the administrative things that hadn’t been done during the several days of the Sino-American War. He had started out with a huge pile of post mission reports to put together, tons of awards to write up and too many next of kin letters to send.

He looked at the other two occupants of the small cabin for support. He didn’t find it in Master Chief Ryan O’Leary. “I’m not helping you do it,” replied his second-in-command during the war. “That’s what they make officers for.” Although he generally liked his former commanding officer, Ryan generally didn’t like authority. Ryan believed that the reason officers existed was to take care of the administrative things, which freed him to focus on the little things…like fighting and winning the nation’s wars.

Two weeks previously, China, after patiently waiting decades for the peaceful return of Taiwan, had finally decided on a more aggressive approach. Until then, the threat of a United States’ counterattack had kept them from invading the island nation, but the Chinese had finally come up with a way to keep the Americans out of a war in Asia.

They invaded Seattle.

Not only did they invade Seattle (and Tacoma, as well), they also attacked and captured nearby Bangor Naval Base, with its arsenal of nuclear warheads for America’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles. With some of these warheads in hand, they hoped to keep the United States from not only counterattacking them in Seattle, but in Taiwan, as well, for fear that one of these warheads would ‘accidentally’ go off.

Lieutenant Hobbs, along with Master Chief O’Leary, a former SEAL living in the area, had led a group of Rangers on a number of dangerous missions behind enemy lines during the brief conflict. These missions included recapturing the stolen nuclear weapons, which enabled the U.S. military to not only go on the offensive in the northwest, but also to stage a daring raid on Taiwan that turned the tide of the war.

Unfortunately for Calvin, as the platoon’s only officer, he was the one responsible for filling out all of the post-war paperwork. Buried under an avalanche of it, he had requested a couple of weeks of temporary duty in the Seattle area after the war to get it all completed. Hoping for at least a little grudging assistance from Ryan, Calvin and his girlfriend, Sara Sommers, had come out to Ryan’s cabin in the woods.

“All of this paperwork might be my responsibility,” said Calvin, “but I’ve got a lot more of it than I can do. Take a look at this one, for example. This is the award for some idiot that saved a colonel from getting his dumb butt shot off when he tried to attack a tank with just a rifle. Who’d do a stupid thing like that?” He paused, looking at the award. Ryan looked up, recognizing that the award was for him. “A Distinguished Service Cross?” Calvin asked, his voice a little louder. “No way! I’m throwing this one away.” He crumpled up the piece of paper and threw it at the garbage can, missing badly.

“Really?” asked Ryan, “A Distinguished Service Cross? The only thing higher than that is the Medal of Honor. Shoot, sir, I was just doing my job. That was hardly worthy of a Distinguished Service Cross.”

“Well, I say it as worthy,” said Calvin, “and that’s all that matters. I still have a little bit of influence at the moment, and I plan to use it before my 15 minutes of fame are over. I’m writing up everyone I can think of for everything that I can remember. I just need your help in remembering all of the things our troops did that need to be recognized.”

“The navy said he could only stay here in Seattle until he got his paperwork done,” added Sara Sommers. She had met Calvin during the war and hadn’t let him out of her sight since the war ended. “Don’t help him too much. I don’t want him to get finished too quickly.”

“I see,” said Ryan. “If you’re only staying in Washington until you finish, you’re not in much of a hurry to get it all completed, are you?”

“Let’s just say that I’m trying to do a thorough job of it,” replied Calvin. “Besides, when I get back to the squadron, we’re still going out on our scheduled six month cruise.” He paused and looked at Sara. “I’m not sure that I want to do that anymore.”

All three of them were quiet for a moment, full of thought.

Without warning, Calvin’s head snapped around to look at one of the far corners of the room. “We’re not alone,” he said.

“What do you mean?” asked Ryan. “I don’t see anyone.”

“No, I’m telling you, I heard something,” argued Calvin. “For the last week, I’ve felt like someone’s been watching me, and I know that I just heard something over in the corner.”

Suddenly, in the corner were three…beings. They were generally humanoid but didn’t appear to be human, as they were too short, and their heads were too big.

“Hello,” said one, stepping forward. “Although I guess the proper thing in your society is for us to say, ‘take us to your leader.’”

“What?” asked Ryan, unable to come to terms with the sudden appearance of the humanoids. “Who are you?”

“My name is Arges,” the same one said. “We need your help.”

 

* * * * *

 

Chapter One

Tom Sommers’ House, North Bend, WA, September 1, 2018

Four days had passed since meeting the aliens, and Calvin looked out the front window of Tom Sommers’ living room to see two large, black Suburbans pulling up out front. The three-bedroom ranch that Sara’s parents owned was about 25 miles east of Seattle in the bedroom community of North Bend. The house backed up to E.J. Roberts Park, the site of one the platoon’s battles during the war. “They’re here,” he said as the men began walking up the pathway to the house.

As he had been asked by the aliens, Calvin had called the Chief of Naval Operations and told him that he needed to speak to the president about a matter of national security. The president had called him back later in the day during a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thinking that it had something to do with nuclear weapons. Calvin smiled at the memory; based on his reaction, it appeared that no one had ever asked the president to do something on an act of faith before, and certainly not this big. ‘Could you please fly out to Washington, without anyone knowing, and meet me at my girlfriend’s parent’s house, because there’s a matter of national defense that I can’t talk about over the phone?’ Had he been anyone else, Calvin probably wouldn’t have been able to get the aliens their requested meeting with the president. He was still recognized as ‘America’s Savior’ from the war, though, and still had a touch of political capital left to use. The president had agreed to come out secretly, but had also let Calvin know in no uncertain terms that (1) this had really, really, better be important and (2) this trip used up any favors that Calvin thought might be owed to him for his service during the war.

Calvin didn’t have a problem with either of these warnings, as he was sure that a meeting with extraterrestrials would definitely qualify as important under the first caveat. If anything, by setting up the meeting so discreetly, he had probably earned even more political capital for the future.

The problem with sneaking the president out to Washington, Calvin saw, was less a matter of a cover story than it was hiding all of the secret service guards and the rest of his entourage. The two black Suburbans that had pulled up to the house were the bare minimum that his secret service detachment would allow. The group walked quickly to the house, where Tom Sommers, Sara’ father, welcomed them at the door. Tom brought the president to the dining room table where Calvin and Ryan were waiting for him. The president, Calvin and Ryan all sat down at the table while the Sommers stood a little further back, listening to, but not really part of the conversation.

For Calvin, this was the first time that he had met the president in person. He was unsure of what his reception would be. While Calvin was responsible for leading a number of missions that significantly shortened the war, including recovering nuclear weapons on three separate occasions, he had also been the source of some discontent among members of the government after the war. Shortly after the Chinese surrender, he had sold the story of the platoon to the media for an enormous amount of money. Some people thought it had been done too quickly and that it was disrespectful to the dead.

“It’s good to finally meet the ‘Opportunist of Seattle,’” said the president to Calvin in a voice that might have been called ‘stern.’ Apparently, the president was part of the group that thought selling his story to the media wasn’t cool, Calvin thought. Oh well.

“Well, sir, I look at it as resourceful, not opportunistic,” Calvin replied without remorse. “I’m just trying to take care of the families of my men who got killed defending their country.”

“As the president, I am entirely opposed to what you are doing, as it sets a bad precedent for future conflicts,” the president said gravely. Then he laughed and winked at Calvin. “As Bill Jacobs, I think what you’re doing for those families is wonderful, and I’m glad you’re building a memorial, too. It would have taken decades for Congress to agree on the appropriate monument.” Calvin had used part of the money to set up a memorial and national cemetery next to where the nuclear weapons had been stored. The monument was to be placed in the field where 4,000 infantrymen had fought an armored column, armed with nothing but the rifles they purchased from local sporting goods stores. Although they had delayed the Chinese long enough for Calvin’s platoon to get there with the firepower needed to stop them, over half of them had given their lives in the battle, and another quarter had been wounded. Calvin had watched them continue to attack in spite of their gut-wrenching losses, and their sacrifice had made a tremendous impact on him. He would have spent every dime he had to his name to see their sacrifice adequately remembered. It was even better, though, to have the media pay for it.

The president looked over to where Ryan was sitting. “And as for you, Master Chief O’Leary, what do you have to say for yourself? No one hangs up on the President of the United States!” Ryan had hung up on him, not once, but three times when the president had called to ask for Ryan’s help in finding the stolen nuclear warheads. Jacobs had not been amused.

Ryan sprang to his feet, assumed a position of attention, and called out in his best drill sergeant voice, “Sir! Master Chief O’Leary is happy to be back in the navy and proud to have you as his commander-in-chief, sir!”

He said it with so much apparent sincerity that the president almost believed him, even though he knew Master Chief wasn’t a fan of authority. He decided to give him a break. Smiling again, he said, “At ease, Master Chief. Thanks for all of your help, even if you are a frustrating son of a bit…son of a gun,” he finished, flushing a little and looking at Mrs. Sommers.

Mrs. Sommers laughed and said, “Thank you, Mr. President, but I’ve heard it before.” She looked at Mr. Sommers, who had the decency to blush when called out in front of the president. Everyone laughed at that, even Mr. Sommers, and the tension eased a little.

“OK,” the president said, looking back to Calvin, “so now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, what is so damn important that I had to come all the way here, by myself, in secret?”

Calvin looked around the room. Although the president had come alone as asked, without any of his staff, ‘alone’ in the case of the president meant himself…and his six secret service guards. “Umm,” Calvin started, looking at the secret service men and women, “I need to talk with you alone…”

The president sighed, “Calvin, this is as alone as I get. The secret service guards swore an oath to protect me, not to do what I say. I could tell them to leave, but they wouldn’t leave me alone with people they don’t know. I have a hard enough time getting them to leave me alone with Mrs. Jacobs at night.” He chuckled at his own joke. “In any event, they are all sworn to secrecy, and I trust their oaths. We’re as alone as we’re going to get.”

“In that case,” said Calvin, getting up from the table and walking to a bedroom door down the hall a short way from the kitchen, “I have some people I’d like you to meet.”

The president looked confused as two short men and one short woman came out of the room with Calvin and walked toward the kitchen. The secret service detail, conditioned to observe, noticed their differences first and stiffened, hands moving unintentionally towards their weapons. Seeing them tense, the president looked again. Even though they looked almost human, they were shorter than normal, barely coming up to Calvin’s chest, and their heads were far bigger. When he saw that all three of them had six fingers, he understood.

“At ease,” he said to the secret service guards, figuring out who the newcomers were in a flash of intuition. “If these folks meant me any harm, I don’t think they’d have asked me here to talk.” He stood up and bowed. “Welcome! On behalf of the United States, I would like to welcome you to our planet. I am Bill Jacobs, the president of the United States.” He paused. “But of course, I’m sure you already knew that.”

One of the two alien males stepped forward. “Greetings, Mr. President. I am Arges, and these are my friends Brontes (he nodded to the female, who bowed) and Steropes (who also bowed.) You are correct; we are the Psiclopes and we are from another planet. We are not the ‘Cyclopes’ as in the one-eyed monster, but ‘Psiclopes,’ as in ‘sees with the mind.’” Calvin had told him to explain it so that the president didn’t get confused, like Calvin had the first time he heard the name. Arges continued, “Thank you very much for coming here today. We would prefer that news of our presence did not get out to the rest of the world at the moment. It is unfortunate that we had to reveal ourselves to you this way, but we need your help.”

“I’m sure that we will do everything we can for you,” said the president, figuring it was never a bad thing to have an advanced civilization owe you a favor. “What do you need?”

Arges looked at Steropes, who answered. “The communications link between our home world and Earth has been severed, which means one of two things. Either one of the relays broke, which is unlikely, or another race found one of them and destroyed it.”

“Does that happen often?” asked the president.

“No,” replied Steropes, “it does not. There is, however, a race called the Drakuls which loves finding them, because then they know there is an inhabited planet nearby. Long ago, we moved the relays so that they weren’t near the stargates, but if the Drakuls found one, they will not stop until they find the associated civilization. We need to go and find out which of these things happened.”

“Who or what are Drakuls?” asked the president.

Steropes replied, “The Drakuls look like giant carnivorous frogs that are almost ten feet tall. They are the closest thing to vampires that the universe has ever seen. They like their meat raw when they eat it, still alive if possible, and find it the greatest delicacy of all to drink the blood of their prey prior to consuming it. They are brutal and vicious, and their eating habits alone ensure that no race will willingly be captured by them. Despite the differences in biology and anatomy throughout the galaxy, there aren’t many races that they cannot consume.”

“They sound awful,” exclaimed Sara, unable to restrain herself. “How did a race like that get into space?”

Arges answered, a sad look on his face. “We used to keep outposts on all of the inhabited planets, including the Drakul home world. The Drakuls found our outpost there. It is fortunate for us that the four Psiclopes there were xenobiologists, so there was not much that they could tell them. What they did know, you can be sure the Drakuls found out. Between their brutal interrogation techniques and their propensity to eat their victims alive, the captured Psiclopes would have told them everything.”

Steropes continued, “Unfortunately, the frogs are also expert copycats. Like the Chinese of this world, they take apart everything that they capture. They find out what makes it tick and then reverse engineer it so that they have the technology, too. The Chinese on this planet are so good at it that the Russians stopped selling them new military hardware because they know the Chinese will only buy one shipment to reverse engineer it. Then they’ll produce their own copies, which are usually better made and cheaper, too. The Drakuls are just like that, only better…far better. They don’t have many new ideas of their own, but they are great at using other races’ equipment. The Drakuls captured one of our scout ships, along with the anthropology team, and they used it to take over the supply ship when it came. From there, the galaxy was within their reach.”

With a puzzled look on her face, Sara quietly left the room. The president watched her go and then said, “So let me see if I’ve got this straight.” He ticked off the points with his fingers. “There are many races in the galaxy, at least one of which is really bad. That particular race got the ability to get off its planet and is now roaming the galaxy, eating all of the other races they can find. You used to have a communications link that led back to your planet, but it either stopped functioning or has been destroyed, and you’re worried that the really bad race destroyed it.” He frowned. “And I think what you’re really worried about, which you haven’t said yet, is that you think the Drakuls, or the frogs as you called them, are coming here.”

“Unfortunately, your deduction is accurate,” said Arges nodding his head. He looked at Steropes, who continued the story. “If they come here, this will not be the first time that your race has battled the Drakuls. A derelict spacecraft found its way to the planet once before while we were asleep. In less than a year’s time, they had conquered all of your civilization. When we awoke to watch over you again, we found that you had been enslaved and were slowly being exterminated as a race. We helped you defeat them, although they nearly caused the end of your world.”

“They took over the world in one year?” asked Ryan. “How many of them were there?”

“There were ten of them,” said Brontes, joining the conversation. “At the time, you called them Titans.” Arges looked annoyed with her interjection.

“I thought the Titans were myths?” asked Calvin.

“No,” said Steropes, “they were ten-foot tall frogs, with hollow incisor teeth that could drain a body of blood in less than a minute. They are the original vampires of legend. In fact, most of what you think of as ‘monsters’ are actual races that exist in the galaxy. Vampires, werewolves, even the gorgon that Perseus fought…all of them are creatures that inhabit this galaxy. We’ve had to abandon our home planet on several occasions, a couple of which were due to potential invasions by the Drakuls. There are good reasons for the rumors and myths that surround these creatures.”

The president may not have caught on to the fact that they were aliens before his security detail did, but he was an excellent politician and backroom dealer, and he did well at connecting the dots. “You sound like you have lots of personal experience with them. I take it from your statements, Mr. Arges, that you have been on our planet for a long time.”

“You are perceptive, Mr. President,” said Arges. “Yes, we have been here a long time. Please, call me Arges, not Mr. Arges. We do not go by honorifics.”

I knew it!” shouted Sara, coming back into the room with a large book in her hand. In a more normal tone, she repeated, “I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!” Everyone looked at her, surprised at her outburst.

The president looked at Sara and raised his eyebrows at the breach of protocol. “What exactly did you know?” he asked.

Looking at the president, Sara asked, “Have you ever heard of the Theogony?” She looked back at the two male Psiclopes in time to see a worried look pass between them.

“The Theogony?” asked the president. “No, I haven’t. It sounds Greek, though. Something to do with gods or religion, maybe?”

“We had to read it in one of my Classics classes during my freshman year at the University of Washington,” said Sara. “The Theogony was a story that was written down by Hesiod around 700 BC, but had probably been told orally for a long time before that. The story tells about Zeus’ release of three Cyclopes from the pit of Tartarus. They helped Zeus overthrow the Titans by giving him some gifts.” She smiled. “I had to go back and look it up, but I thought I remembered it.”

Calvin looked at her quizzically. “Umm, thanks Sara, but I’m not sure why we needed to know that.”

Sara playfully punched him in the arm. “There were three Cyclopes that helped Zeus overcome the Titans.  Their names were…” she paused for effect, “Brontes, Steropes, and Arges. I think we have the original Cyclopes of legend here; there’s no way that those three names would be together otherwise.”

“Yes!” exclaimed Brontes. “That’s us!”

Both Steropes and Arges looked at her sharply, and Calvin could feel the tension between them as the two men stared at her. Finally, Arges sighed. “Indeed, we are those Cyclopes of legend, although the name has lost its original meaning over the ages. We had not intended to speak of this. There are many things that you are not ready to know, and more that we are not ready to tell.”

Sara looked at the book she had brought from her room. “The Cyclopes were named Brontes ‘the thunderer,’ Steropes ‘the lightning,’ and Arges ‘the bright.’ In the Theogony, the Cyclopes provided weapons that were used to help overthrow the Titans. They made a thunderbolt for Zeus, a helmet of invisibility for Hades, and a trident for Poseidon. They also created Artemis’ bow and arrows of moonlight and Apollo’s bow and arrows of sun rays.”

Steropes nodded, “Indeed we did, although those were just our normal items; they just appeared to be magic to the humans of that time. For example, a laser rifle could be explained as a bow that fired magic arrows of sunlight. With a little different frequency laser, voila, it now has moonlight arrows. No big deal.”

He paused, composing his thoughts. “As I was saying, much of human civilization at the time was located in the center of the Pacific on an island where the Marianas Trench is now. Generally, we Psiclopes stay awake for about ten years, but then we have to rest and meditate for a year. We had been here for some time, watching you, when a Drakul ship landed while we were in one of our meditative states. A human named Zeus happened to stumble into our cave while fleeing them, and he succeeded in waking Arges from his meditative state.”

Arges took up the tale, “I quickly deduced that the adversary he was fleeing was a Drakul and woke the rest of the team. We armed the humans, and the Drakuls were beaten back. The humans took horrific losses, but there were only ten Drakuls; even losing 100 humans to every Drakul, that still was less than 1,000 humans killed. When the last couple of Drakuls saw that they were going to lose, they detonated a large antimatter weapon, hoping to crack the planet and destroy human civilization for all time.”

“The Drakuls didn’t blow up the planet,” said Steropes, “but they did succeed in blowing up the island and causing a tidal wave that circumnavigated the surface of the planet, scattering the few humans that survived literally to the ends of the earth. Zeus happened to survive the blast and ended up in Greece afterwards.”

“Let me guess,” started Sara. “The cave you were in was named…”

“It was named Tartarus by the locals,” finished Steropes with a sigh.

“I’m curious,” asked Ryan pursing his lips. “Were you part of the assault on the Drakuls, or did you let the humans do all of the dying?”

“Our religion forbids us to kill or take a life in any way,” said Arges, “no matter how repugnant that life form may be. We practice ahinsa, which is a belief in kindness and non-violence towards all living things, including animals, because the energy of all living things is connected. Avoidance of verbal and physical violence is imperative because violence engenders negative karmic consequences.”

Calvin looked puzzled, both due to the big words, as well as the implications of what Arges was saying. “How is it, if you can’t fight or kill, that you haven’t been wiped out by some other civilization?”

“Although it is against our beliefs to fight and kill,” explained Steropes, “it is not against our code to hire others to do so when necessary. It may seem to you that this is morally ambiguous, but to us it is permissible, when undertaken for reasons of self-defense and species’ propagation. Like now for instance. In the past we have often hired other races to crew our ships and fight our battles for us. Are you familiar with the term ‘Janissaries?’”

“I think so,” answered Ryan. “Aren’t those the Christian kids that the Persians took and raised as a group to fight for the Persian Empire?”

“How the hell did you know that?” asked Calvin, stunned. He’d never heard of Janissaries before.

“Easy,” said Ryan, “my mom was a Persian who fled Iran when the Shah fell. She wanted to raise me with a sense of my cultural background. She made me take classes in Persian history.”

Arges nodded. “Master Chief is correct,” he said. “Many times we have used Janissary-like races to fight our battles. Although we will not take a life, there are many like you who will. The last time we fought the Drakuls, we used a Janissary race called the Eldive. That was a terrible time and a horrific confrontation. During the conflict, the Drakuls tracked a damaged vessel back to the Eldive home planet and blew up their world with a series of world-breaker bombs. The Eldive fleet was only crewed with males; the Eldive did not believe in allowing their females to fight. Because of this, all of their females were lost when their home world was destroyed. Believing they had nothing left to live for, the Eldive fleet conducted a suicide attack on the Drakuls’ home planet, which was guarded by a massive fleet. They destroyed the Drakul home world and most of their fleet with kamikaze-style assaults; what few Drakul ships survived were attended to by one of our other Janissary fleets. We thought that we had eradicated them from the galaxy, but it appears that we may have been mistaken.”

“This does, however, get us back to the point,” Brontes said after a couple of seconds of shared sorrow as they relived the events. “We have a spaceship to go and find out why the communication relay has stopped working, but we do not have a crew for it. It is cruiser-sized, necessitating a crew of around 400 people, not counting its indigenous air wing. If you intend to man that, you’ll need another 100 people to operate the half skrong of Zeebats.”

“What the hell is a half skrong of Zeebats?” inquired Ryan.

“A skrong is the basic combat unit of fighters,” said Steropes. “Each skrong is a double handful, or 12, fighters. A half skrong is six. Our recommendation is to at least bring Calvin to fly one of them. Eventually, you will need pilots for all of them if we continue to use the ship, so it is better to start flying them sooner rather than later.”

“COOL!” said Calvin. “I’m in! Where do I sign? Is a Zeebat a type of fighter or just the word that means ‘fighter?’”

“A Zeebat is a type of fighter, one of the most up-to-date ones that we have,” said Arges. “There are other types of craft that can be used in a variety of strategic, operational and tactical situations, but none of them are on the ship, aside from our two shuttle craft.”

“How up-to-date is ‘up-to-date?’” asked Calvin.

“The schematics for them are only 3,000 of your years old,” said Arges. “They were the most tactically-relevant fighters that existed when we came here.”

“Oh,” said Calvin, crushed. “So they are the tactical equivalent of driving my grandfather’s car?”

“The answer to your question is unknown at this time,” replied Arges, “as it is impossible to know the extent to which the rest of the galaxy has improved its armaments. The Zeebat had just been developed by the Eldive at the time of the climactic battle; it is unlikely that the Drakuls got the opportunity to disassemble and reverse engineer them. Assuming they haven’t captured any fighters from another advanced culture, the Zeebat was a ‘next generation’ fighter, to use your terminology, beyond anything the Drakuls had at the time. Please remember, they are not theoretical scientists. Their talents lie in reverse engineering other civilizations’ craft, not in inventing armaments of their own.” He paused, considering. “Regardless, I believe that you will still be impressed with the functioning of the Zeebat, Calvin. While the design is 3,000 years old to us, it is still several hundred years beyond anything you would likely have derived on your own, barring an unlikely breakthrough in technology.”

“Okay,” said Calvin, looking a little happier.

“Everyone is getting a little ahead of themselves,” remarked the president. “While there’s no doubt that we will help you, we can’t just go flying off without working out how all of this is to take place. Certainly, we’ll need to bring in some senior officers to determine how we want to man this ship that no one has even seen yet.” He looked at Calvin. “You, in particular, may be a little junior for this mission.” Calvin’s face fell at the news.

“Oh, no,” said Arges, “we definitely want Lieutenant Hobbs onboard. We have been scrutinizing his performance for a while now, and he must be the leader of the military forces with us. In fact, we would like to have the entire unit that he led during your latest conflict onboard the ship with us. They have proven that they are able to successfully adapt to constantly changing situations.”

“In that case, I’m sure that Lieutenant Hobbs’ participation can be arranged,” agreed President Jacobs. “What help and support can we expect from you?”

“We will provide all of the things necessary for this mission,” said Steropes. “The ship, arms and armor for the troops, the Zeebats, and everything else that is needed. We will also begin making our technology available so that your country will have access to it. If you are to have any chance against the Drakuls, your economy will need to expand beyond anything it has ever seen previously, as will the rest of the planet. You have not yet begun to see the horror that is the Drakuls. Pray that you never do.”

“I will need to go back to Washington and talk with some people to see what we can do to support you,” said the president. “The first thing that we will need is a point of contact at one of the bases nearby where you can use a secure phone, because I do NOT want this information getting out until we are ready for it.” He gave the group a look that included the Sommers, as well as the military personnel. “I don’t know how long all of you have known about our new friends, but you have already proven your discretion. To say that this is a matter of national security would be the understatement of the century. If what they say is true, it is a matter of global security. We cannot allow this information to get out to the media or to any of the other countries before we are ready. The panic and chaos it would cause would be overwhelming!”

 

 

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