Maximillian gazed absently out the cathedral windows of Party Up's planning chamber at the glittering transport and troop ships arrayed in space around them. He was supposed to be listening to the suggestions of the various unit commanders as they presented their strengths to him but he could care less. Maximillian was certain that if he heeded their individual advice he could conclude the campaign against the humans more quickly and with fewer lives lost. But Maximillian was beyond such concerns. He wanted the human home world turned into a bloody crucible that would forever test him in the history books. He wanted spawnlings to read of his exploits on this distant world and wonder how he ever overcame the terrible casualties his forces had sustained.
Seated next to Maximillian, and listening much more attentively, was Fleet Admiral Regel. The Admiral was technically in charge of the fleet, but the interdiction had been declared by Maximillian and as such remained under his command. Trade Code stipulated that Regel could countermand Maximillian's orders, but the precedent for such an act involved both dire circumstances and a lengthy appeals process. Admiral Regel knew little of why Maximillian's initial interdiction had failed, but he trusted the Commander to exercise good judgment. Maximillian had so successfully deflected the review and interrogation process that everyone believed the traitor Axion to be the sole culprit. Had admiral Regel known the truth he would have likely sent the bullheaded Commander to the flesh recyclers.
"…destroy their satellite network, as they are no doubt aware of our presence here." The Imperatrixian landing coordinator continued, oblivious to Maximillian's apathy. "Following that we can deploy up to 60 ion pulse satellites, capable of leveling most of the human's reinforced structures and drawing power directly from solar cells. My recommendation is for a 72 hour preparatory barrage to be executed on all key landing sites. Jerlemain Bondsmen commando formations will board stealth drop ships and insert at D minus three hours. They will move in and neutralize resistance in the immediate vicinity of our C&C drop sites and secure landing…"
Maximillian wondered if they would name a street, school, or even a stardock after him. His victory here would certainly assure his ascension to the rank of Admiral, perhaps even Fleet Admiral if Regel were to meet with an unfortunate accident during the operation. The human world was not much to look at, a watery sphere with brown pustules of land dotted with the tiny specs of crude urban centers. No majestic corona of orbiting ring states. No continent spanning cities. Not even the comforting glow of mass aurora advertising with their atmospheric sweeps of color and invaluable purchasing advice.
The human world was as unimportant as a barren moon compared to the glory of Imperatrix, but it had potential. It could sustain life. In fact, there were staggering billions of fleshy workers just waiting to put their backs into the splendid labor of Imperatrix.
"Yes, thank you for permitting me to address the grand Commander Soak and the wonderful Fleet Admiral Regel on behalf of my people." An unusually stunted Chimopteran wearing a dun-colored coverall and a glittering sequined eye patch introduced himself. "34th Regiment, Huntsmen Company, of the 125th Gravitic Armored Cavalry are fueled, loaded into bulk reentry droppers, and ready to do the bidding of the Galactic Trade Commission. If I may offer my humble opinions for review on how my forces might be best wielded for the benefit of Imperatrix…"
Maximillian's gaze wandered from the inane pie-charts the Chimopteran's aides were awkwardly setting up back out into the twinkling stars of space. Each shining light out there represented a potential for profit, a potential for some daring Imperatrixian to grab the galaxy by its reproductive proboscis and stake his claim. Not for personal financial gain of course, as all accrued wealth and power only served the greater good of the Empire, but for the esteem he would acquire. For the glory! Sweet, delicious, limitless glory!
Maximillian pounded his fists on the dark surface of the conference table.
"The advice I have heard today is sage indeed, but the time has come for action. The humans have defied our declaration of interdiction! They have dealt a shameful blow to my very own forces with the aid of internal treachery! Now they sit below us on their pitiful world laughing and rejoicing at our defeat! No more!"
Maximillian stood up and pointed at the landing coordinator who had been speaking minutes earlier.
"You. Landing Officer."
"Landing Coordinator Goonts, my lord." The landing coordinator bowed its armored head low deferentially.
"Prepare a ship barrage, no satellites, and load up the drop ships with everything we have as soon as possible. If you do this, knowing that my temper is barely held in check by the certainty of my swift revenge, how long before we can launch a full scale invasion?"
"30 hours my lord. We require at least-"
"Make it 20 hours or escort yourself to the zero point reactor and see if hurling yourself through the field recharging armature will speed things up."
The landing officer ducked his head, turned, and shoved out of the room past the gathered unit commanders at a jog.
"Wasn't that a bit premature Soak?" Inquired Admiral Regel skeptically.
"Haste prevents waste, sir." Maximillian folded his arms across his broad chest and smiled dangerously.
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
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