4: Nova (3/4)

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March 13, 2180 (New Era Calendar)/
Antilla System, Alliance Research Station Skyline, Arveria high orbit

General Byron Elanger sat alone in his office deep within the Alliance Research Station around the ice planet, Arveria. Heavy bags weighed his eyes down indicating his lack of rest. Was it 36 hours? Or 48? Elanger couldn't know—he'd lost track after the first 24. He typed away at the keyboard and with a final key press leaned back in his leather chair. Elanger took the brief moment for his query to be sent and received to rest his eyes.

A computerized voice prompt stirred him to attention, "Incoming priority message from General Christopher Winston. Access is classified. Please state voice authorization code."


The computerized voice returned, "Identity confirmed."

Elanger exhaled tirelessly with a rub of his forehead while on his computer terminal's screen, the Alliance crest was replaced by a two-dimensional image of General Winston, who also appeared no worse for the wear.

"Chris! You don't look well at all."

"I'm fine, Byron. But there's a lot going on back here in Sol."

"What's happening?" Elanger asked Winston through the computer terminal.

"It's General Howard. The Senate has pressured the Old Man to start looking into your special programs budgeting." Winston's brow furrowed and his expression became grave.

"You aren't getting cold feet on me over there, are you Chris?"

"Don't be stupid, Byron. But I am worried about what we've gotten into with Project Nova."

Elanger stared intently at the image of the General who was half-way across the galaxy, "Explain."

"The Old Man signed off on Project Nova almost a year ago. But if he really knew what was going on with it, he'd kill our funding and shut the whole thing down."

"Howard wouldn't dare."

As the words escaped his lips, Elanger knew deep down that General Howard would certainly dare. He hadn't been an active combatant since championing the failed Second Armistice, and though he no longer waged war in the physical sense, Elanger knew the old man merely traded battlefields. The aging General Howard was a politician now—more concerned with achieving an end to the war through diplomatic means.

A shame the old man hadn't come to the hard truth Elanger had many years ago: that peace--true peace--was an illusion. Violence and hatred only begat more of the same, however noble the initial intent.

That's what Nova was: a way to win the war.

If Elanger had his way, Project Nova would not only win the war with the Confederation, but prevent all future wars. He couldn't blame anyone for not being able to see it as he did -- not even Old Man Howard, a man Elanger once considered a friend.

"To be honest, Byron, I'm not too worried about Howard and his fight with the Senate," General Winston's image said through strained speech. "It's the damned Confeds. They've been very quiet since we took Arcturus. Branson tells me through his sources that something big is coming down, he thinks its a new type of Destroyer, but doesn't want to jump to conclusions until he's got something more concrete. They're up to something. I feel it."

Winston looked away from his monitor, to what, Elanger couldn't see.

"Of course they are. But I can promise you, whatever Destroyer they're working on pales in comparison to what we are trying to accomplish with Project Nova. I can guarantee that."

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