Tale: Preparation

“… Every non-combatant needs to get to the safe-zones at the edge of each Thre or off planet. But I want as few non-combatants as possible. There are twenty billion of these bastards and the Vice General needs as many of us as possible defending Thre-Etas and Thre-Vretania!”

“General, ser, how are we going to defend the other Thre if we’re all stationed here?”

Rethais turned to face the little soldier as he turned off his communicator. He was a fairly young Rethan. Ethran-type, bulky and built like a rock, but still slightly scared. Ethran-types were never as war-happy as others.

“It may be risky to put most of our eggs in one nest, but if Thre-Etas and Thre-Vretania fall, then the rest of planet Threa falls too. The smaller cities on planets Ethra and Retha will survive if we keep them on the low down.”

“Ser? That makes no sense!” the Ethran-type exclaimed. “Surely they will discover them if they take us down!”

Rethais sighed. “Were you not around when I explained all of this?”

“No, ser. I am fresh meat.”

Another sigh. “Then my apologies. But when I am done talking, you need to get the full explanation via your Group Centre. It is utterly important that all soldiers know what is going on. A good eighty percent of the Rethan populace lives here on planet Threa. We are secretly sending people to planet Ethra in order to protect against a successful invasion.”

The Ethran-type still didn’t get it. “They… are only invading Threa?”

“These Temthans don’t know about the Rethavok. They believe they are coming here to enslave the Threavok.”

“They’re extinct though!”

“The Temthans don’t know that. That is why we are doing this all quietly… One second…” Rethais picked up his communicator. “Brother, where are you..? Hm… Very well… General Elkay sent you there..? You are a natural trainer, yes, you have all the fresh meat but you can train them faster than anyone else… Thank you…”

The voice at the other end disappeared and Rethais turned back to the young soldier. “Go to your Group Centre. I must make a few calls.”

Rethais dismissed the Ethran-type then headed into the barracks behind him. Four Ksa, all N-Class, flanked him and followed him inside, where a holo-communicator was waiting for them. Rethais sat down at the end of the table while the Ksa checked the room then left him in peace.

After a few moments, the holo-communicator buzzed and the other Generals of the Council appeared, strange, translucent versions of their true selves. This wasn’t for a private conversation. The Generals of the Council were recording themselves, live. Vice General Elkay was about to address the Rethans. Rethais quickly glanced at his fellow Generals, and waited patiently for Elkay to start.

“My fellow Rethans. Today, we are preparing for a war which may start at any moment. The enemy, a race known as the Temthans, wishes to take over our homeworld and enslave us. They are a race we did not know existed until recently. A hostile threat. A species of twenty billion with an empire that spans many a star system. I cannot begin to explain the danger we are in.

“We are not without hope. Through many a varied source, we have discovered critical information that the Temthans lack. They believe they will be talking to a weak race. They will land and demand that we surrender straight away. But they do not know who they will talking to, they do not know their enemy.”

Rethais glanced at the other Generals. They were all standing proud.

“We have defeated the Vohra, the enemies of the Temthans, and today they assist us. We have defeated Deitics, the greatest threat to Temthan society, and today some of them are among our ranks. They say only a great army or a tongue of silver can defeat the Temthans. We are blessed to have both.

“I will not lie to you, my fellow Rethans. I cannot promise that we will be victorious, that we will all be safe, that no one will die. I will not make false promises. We are in dire danger, but I am doing everything within my power to protect you.”

Elkay paused for a moment, taking a deep breath. Rethais noticed, through the holo-communicator, that he seemed ever so slightly scared.

“Sisters and Brothers. I understand that you are scared, some of you more than others. As I just said, I will not lie. I have my own fears as well. For now, we are at peace. We must use this time wisely. I implore all of you to speak to your loved ones, to eat and rest well. We only have a vague idea of what lies ahead but we must stick together and follow the commands of our leaders. You have all been informed of our strategy but it means nothing if we do not remain strong.”

Another pause. Elkay glanced at his fellow Generals

“No matter what happens, the Rethans will survive. We will not go down without taking our enemies with us. That, I can promise you. Thank you, my fellow Rethans. May the Light guide us all.”

The holo-communicator switched off, leaving Rethais alone in the room once more. But the cold silence was soon interrupted by a small buzzing sound. His personal communicator.

“Well said, Vice General…” Rethais muttered.

“Thank you…”

“Are you really going to try…”

“If I can avoid bloodshed, then yes, I will.”

“Very well, Vice General. Rest well.”

“You too…”

The voice faded away, once again drowning Rethais in silence. Rethais sighed, a knot at his throat and a tear in his eyes. Just like every other Rethan out there, he too was fearful of the future.