Chapter 16 - A Coordinated Attack

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GEA Headquarters, Brussels

Theo scanned the report in his hand before turning back to the communication screen. "This goes beyond any information we've received."

Capt. Rex Doran nodded, his cold blue eyes only adding to his steely demeanor. "As soon as I realized that, I tried to capture the suit so we could use it to improve our own forces."

"And cost us three Galahad suits and the lives of two highly skilled soldiers." Theo smoothed his uniform as his car pulled up to the GEA Headquarters. His fellow officers were waiting for him to deliver a  briefing, and he hated only having part of the story.

He'd placed Rex in the Earth's orbit because he suspected the attack on the Jade Colony would trigger Project Ragnarok. And as much as he enjoyed being correct, his success came at a price and raised even more unsettling questions. Five meteors had entered the Earth's atmosphere at precisely the same time. One of them was the suit Rex had engaged. Attacks on three GEA targets occurred within hours of the meteors' impact. And a small company of Special Forces soldiers equipped with Lancelot suits that had deployed to inspect one of the impact sites was completely annihilated.

His fellow officers would turn to him for answers—answers he couldn't give based on what scanty information he'd received. But he suspected that each meteor housed a rebel suit. He just needed confirmed visuals on them. "Please tell me you have some better news."

"There's a chance we may still be able to retrieve it from the bottom of the sea."

Know your enemies as yourself. As one of the first lessons he'd been taught at the GEA Military Academy in Verona, where all the Special Forces trained. The best way to win wars was with intelligence, not force. And the reports he'd received hinted that the rebels had created a new alloy they called Valkyrian that far surpassed the lunocarbonite the GEA used now. "Do what you can to retrieve it."

"Our reports indicate that the GEA Navy has already undertaken the task," Rex replied, frustration edging into his voice.

Theo knew exactly what his subordinate and close friend was feeling right then. Rex hated to lose almost as much as he did. His second-in-command was probably still reeling from the sting of defeat. "Then I suggest you find it before them."

Rex's lips curled into a cold smile. "As you command, sir."

"Oh, and Rex, I'm thankful you survived." He'd need skilled soldiers like Rex if he wanted to have any hope of defeating these rebels and carrying out his master plan. More importantly, he needed men like Rex who had little fondness for the current ruling council.

"That makes two of us."

Theo ended the call and stepped out of the car, slowly climbing the staircase that led to the entrance of the main building. Even though he'd been successful in carrying out his mission to conquer the Jade Colony, he'd undoubtedly hear about the repercussions of his actions. That was usually the case with the Special Forces. The GEA tasked them with the dirtiest of work. That way, even when they succeeded, the GEA could still lay the fault on them.

When he arrived, the boardroom was filled with high-ranking officers of every military division. Intelligence. Navy. Space Corps. Homeland Defense. Medical Corps. Every one of them a general or admiral except him. He was the only colonel among them, something they made no effort to hide their annoyance at. He knew what they were thinking, that he'd only achieved his rank because his step-father was the head of the GEA Ruling Council, but with each battle, he proved he was a solider who'd more than earned his rank.

"Col. Alexandrov, how kind of you to join us," Gen. Tatsuo Masuda, commander of the GEA military forces, said as he arrived. The battle-hardened officer was in his early sixties, but his body still rivaled that of his samurai ancestors. Lean muscles bulged under his uniform, and his sharp dark eyes spoke of high intelligence.

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