Flanked by his dedicated team of Ksa, Vice General Elkay touched down outside the freshly rebuilt chambers of the Council, the main governing body of Rethan society. He was immediately met by Thitavee-En, the head of security for both the Council and the High General of the Retha.
“Good morning, General Elkay. I assume you had a nice holiday?”
“Indeed, and a good morning to you too!” Elkay beamed, feeling fresh and relaxed. “You though, you do not seem well. What is wrong?”
Thitavee spun around and led the General into the building and up some stairs to the right, the personal offices for each of the members of the Council. “A lot. Always a lot. I am very glad that you came back today.”
Elkay hesitated as they arrived at his office. Sitting by the entrance at his own desk was Elkay’s secretary, Itakay.
“Good morning, ser!”
“Morning, Itakay. I trust everything is in order?”
“Mostly, yes. Apart from two major things. Hence why the head of the N-Class Ksa is here.”
Itakay got up and opened the door for Elkay and Thitavee-En. Two of Elkay’s Ksa entered with them, while three more guarded the entrance. Itakay closed the door behind them, so they could have their conversation in private.
Elkay sat down at his over-sized desk. Most of the paperwork had diligently been organized by Itakay while he was away, and he’d turned on Elkay’s computer before he arrived. He quickly glanced at any messages he might have received, then turned back to Thitavee-En.
“What’s wrong with Photeianos this time?”
Thitavee rolled his eyes. “I wish I knew, General. He took his favourite Ksa and said he needed to be alone. Before I could inform him of the dire news, he was gone.”
“You don’t know where he is?” Elkay asked, quickly feeling more and more stressed.
“I know exactly where he is. He’s gone to his little home on the outskirts of Thre-Syris and locked himself away, surrounded by most of the N-Class. But not me. I did not wish to go.”
Thitavee sighed loudly. “Ser, I should not say this, it would be considered treacherous. Traitorous even. But I do not think the High General is worthy of leading us. For that reason, I am here to serve you.”
Elkay stood up and put a hand on Thitavee’s shoulder. “You are not acting traitorous in any way. We have free speech for a reason. Your job is to act in the interests of the Retha, and that is what you are doing. If Photeianos wants to sleep, so be it. I can deal with whatever this new problem is myself…” The General paused for a moment. “What IS this horrible problem that’d etched dread into your face?”
“Ser…” Thitavee hesitated. “The Tavrans contacted the Maza this morning. They believe there is a fleet of ships heading directly here, to planet Threa.”
“A possible invasion?”
Elkay tutted. Typical really, for Photeianos to disappear during a time of need. But this was no time for political thoughts. “I need to speak to the Tavrans then. As soon as possible.”
Thitavee looked away. “Ser, they are very unwilling to speak to anyone really. Very uncooperative.”
That didn’t bother Elkay. He was already coming up with plans and ideas. “I’ll make them talk. We have something in common and I have a pity card. I’m going to use that.”
“Ser, what is your plan?” one of his Ksa asked. “How can you make them talk if they don’t want to?”
“Bring one of the Dessaron to me. Don’t care which one, just get one of them to this office. In the meantime, Thitavee, I need you to speak to the other Council members. Inform them of what is going on. We have a lot of work to do…”