Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

Dominating the center of “The War Room” was a large horseshoe-shaped mahogany conference table. At the head of the table sat the President of The United Earth, and his Joint Chiefs of Staff. Along the two sides of the conference table sat the Cabinet Members, Ministers, and Regional Governors. A large holographic 3-D map of the “Local Galactic Region” filled the space within the horseshoe. Glowing red spheres about five centimeters in diameter represented Sol, and the systems controlled by Earth Gov. The star systems controlled by the Eridani were glowing blue. Currently, there were thirty-seven red spheres creating a thin crescent that nearly encapsulated the eleven closely packed blue spheres.

Also within the horseshoe stood Fleet Admiral Fritz Haber. He purposefully walked through the hologram of the Centari System, and stopped within arm’s reach of Sol. He gave a sweeping gesture with his right hand toward the small cluster of blue orbs a few dozen meters behind him. “Mr. President,” he projected in a baritone voice that radiated both power and confidence, “the Eridani have retreated into a small defensive shell, and our noose is tightening.” He balled his extended hand into a fist. “It is time, Mr. President, to use the hyperspace transporter, and end this war quickly and decisively.”

“We’ve had this discussion before, Admiral,” responded President Rutherford with more than an edge of agitation in his voice. “The hyperspace transporter is a cowardly form of warfare, which does not commend itself to me or Earth Gov. We will win this war using conventional weaponry.”

“With all due respect,” protested Admiral Haber, “that will likely cost us billions of lives. The Eridani will not give up easily.”

“Perhaps,” conceded the President. “But transporting bombs directly onto the bridge of enemy starships, or into Eridani factories, is unethical. Need I remind you of Earth’s pre-stellar barbarism? Poison gas, biological warfare, and nuclear weapons were used against defenses soldiers and civilians. This new hyperspace transporter can penetrate all known mass and electromagnetic barriers. At lease there are countermeasures for conventional transporters. We must engage the enemy in a fair fight. If we use this new hyperspace technology, history will not look favorably upon us.”

“History is written by the victors, Mr. President. Besides, it would be naive for us to assume that the Eridani aren’t also developing this technology. Fortunately, we beat them to it, which gives us a brief strategic advantage. I emphatically recommend that we use it with impunity now, and deal with the consequences after the Eridani are crushed. Then, if a Galactic Convention wants to outlaw its use, so be it.”

“No, Admiral. I will not authorize the killing of defenseless beings.”

Admiral Haber realized that he needed to change tactics. It was clear that he was not going to win this argument, so he decided to attempt a compromise. “Understood, Mr. President. But, sir, can I at least offer a counterproposal? What if we only use the weapon once? Would that be acceptable? Perhaps we can kill the snake by cutting off its head. My tacticians say that with proper trilateralation, they can place a bomb under Emperor Sune-ku’s bed. Without Command and Control, the Eridani resistance may crumble. We could still achieve a quick victory.”

Just them, a metallic object about half a meter across appeared at the admiral’s feet. It had the Eridani phrase “Ezel on-ze k’ussen” printed in bold letters around the circumference. Seconds later, The War Room, and its occupants, were vaporized in an antimatter explosion.

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