This month’s update to The Hungry Stars is a long-awaited (sure, why not?) interrupt, showcasing more of Nibiru’s tumultuous history. There’s been a lot of speculation about what happened between the Triquetrans and the Confederate refugees, and this instalment should shed a little light on those events. Suffice to say, the League and the Confederates didn’t get off to a good start and some, er, cultural differences made things worse.
Much, much worse.
Below is an excerpt from the chapter, where Confederate conspirators prepare for a worst-case scenario as their response to a worst-case scenario. For the full instalment and context, check out the links above and hope you enjoy!
“We’ll have to accelerate our efforts,” Jericho announced. “There’s no other way. Right now, there are too many people that we can’t count on in positions that can cause trouble for us. I want our people in their place, or I want them neutralized. I don’t care if it’s with a scandal or a bullet, just so long as it’s quick and it can’t be traced back to us before we move.” He pressed his hands together. “This is going to be bloody,” he told them. He didn’t want anyone to have any illusions about what they were going to do. “It’s going to be bloody, and it’s going to be ugly and awful and I wish to God we had another choice, but we don’t. We need to hit them hard, we need to hit them first and we can’t let them see it coming.”
“All three of those are going to take some doing,” Hastings pointed out. “We’re tempting fate just with the network we have now.” There’d been some close calls, some bigger than others. So far, the ‘network’ had stayed intact and largely unnoticed. If the League suspected the presence of this fifth column, they didn’t have anything actionable on it. Suspicion alone would get them to act, so the continued survival of all the men and women in this room was the clearest proof that they hadn’t been compromised.
“You’re right,” the admiral said. “But we have to move forward on this. We’re on the worst kind of tightrope now. We go too fast and we’ll be noticed. We move too cautiously, and we’ll have lost before we even begin.” He accepted the datapad back, pulling its storage chip out. “I know what I’m asking of you. If there’s another way through this, I’d take it in a heartbeat, but I’m not going to put my fingers in my ears and wait for it to come. We have a solution. It’s the worst one imaginable, but it’s a solution. If anyone comes up with something else-” his voice cracked and he paused, getting control of himself. “If another viable choice presents itself, we’ll take it. Until then, we’ll proceed with the only option we have.
“You’re all good men and women. Everyone in the network is, but for this to go forward, we’re going to have to put that aside. Our future is at stake, and I don’t mean as individuals or as the last remnants of the Confederacy. Our future as a people – as a species – hinges on what we’re willing to do here and now.” Better we be remembered as monsters by those left alive than we do nothing.