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By the Horns (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 30 - By the Horns[]


Quartermaine Hotel
Sosa, New Syrtis
Federated Suns
November 2th, 3025


The agent of MI4 sighed as he gazed out of the glass doors which had a spectacular view of the distant space-port. He would have been on the balcony—had it not been thirty degrees below zero outside, and he snorted. One by one, dozens—scores—of DropShips began to lift into the sky and the agent sipped a cup of hot cocoa. Then he turned his back on the glass panels and sat down at his desk.

Opening a case, he removed a key-board and a cable and then set the case aside. Grunting with effort, he lifted another piece of luggage and set it upon the desk; he slid his thumb across a concealed panel and it opened—he plugged the cable into the outlet and unlocked the four latches before lifting the lid.

Except for a monitor screen, the interior of the case was consumed by a single metal object—ebon in hue and constructed from thick armor plating. It was marred only two buttons, one red and one green; he depressed the red button and the machine began to hum . . . the monitor flashed to life, showing an empty screen and a flashing cursor.

Opening a file, he drug down a priority message form and began to type.



QUINTUS.

MHD HAS LAUNCHED INVASION OF TAURIAN CONCORDAT.

NEW SYRTIS CMM, 5TH, 6TH, 8TH SYRTIS FUSILIERS, DAVION ASSAULT GUARDS, 1ST CAPELLAN DRAGOONS EN ROUTE TO TARGETS.

MHD ACCOMPANING 6TH FUSILIERS, DESTINATION NEW VALLIS. OTHER TARGETS INCLUDE NEW GANYMEDE & JANSEN’S HOLD.

ARE WE AT WAR AND DID YOU FORGET TO TELL THOSE OF US IN THE FIELD?

REQUEST INSTRUCTIONS. ASAP.

JOHN



And with that, John pressed the green button and the humming increased in volume—then the screen blanked and the words MESSAGE ENCODED AND TRANSMITTED appeared. John pressed the red button again and the humming died; he disconnected the cables and keyboard and closed the case before he picked up his cocoa . . . and then with a shrug, poured whiskey into the cup as he stood at the glass doors and continued to watch. And sip.


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