A Show of Force

Free A Show of Force by Ryk Brown

Book: A Show of Force by Ryk Brown Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ryk Brown
Tags: Science-Fiction
call it a day,” Josh said. “It’s not like the troops on the ground are a threat to Earth… Not from eleven light years away.”
    “Eleven point four,” Loki corrected, knowing it would irritate his friend. A mild groan confirmed it. “It was a show of force, meant to send a message to not only the Jung, but also to the Coporans… That the Alliance means business. At least, when dealing with the Jung. If you’re trying to sell a product, it’s best to make an impressive demonstration.”
    “One that kills a few thousand civilians?”
    Loki’s eyebrows furrowed. “Since when do you care about civilian casualties?”
    “I don’t,” Josh admitted. “I’m just trying to understand the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of everything. Isn’t that what Major Prechitt wanted me to learn?”
    “I stand corrected.” Loki examined his sensor display again, finding nothing of interest in his scans. “Two five seven, please.”
    Josh groaned again.
    * * *
    Nathan entered the command briefing room only a few steps behind Commander Telles and Admiral Dumar. Minister Abrahms was seated at the conference table, already appearing impatient.
    “Minister Abrahms,” the admiral began, “I apologize for any inconvenience we have caused you…”
    “Inconvenience?” the minister laughed. “There are nearly four thousand dead, and thousands more injured…”
    “As well as many of my men,” Commander Telles added.
    Minister Abrahms looked at Commander Telles, already accustomed to the commander’s steely gaze from the ride up from the surface. “Not to appear callous, Commander, but the Coporan people did not ask you and your men to invade our world. You took it upon yourself to…”
    “Liberate your people?” Commander Telles offered.
    “Are you saying your people liked living under Jung rule?” Admiral Dumar asked.
    Minister Abrahms looked at the admiral. “I don’t even know who you people are. ‘The Alliance.’ What Alliance? From where? Your very name implies some sort of interstellar coalition, but a coalition of what worlds? And why did you invade our world?”
    “We did not ‘invade’ your world,” Admiral Dumar insisted. “We did, however, neutralize the Jung forces that have been holding your world since it was captured three years ago.”
    “Neutralize?” the minister replied, obviously irritated by the admiral’s choice of words. “Rather weak word, don’t you think? Obliterate would be more like it, along with thousands of Coporans. None of whom, I am quite sure, have ever done anything to you.”
    “Minister…” the admiral began.
    “What exactly did the Jung do to warrant your rather vicious attack?”
    “They nearly destroyed my world,” Nathan interrupted, anger spilling into his tone, “killing millions, I might add, not thousands.”
    “Really?” the minister replied, as if challenging the young captain’s assertion. “And what world would that be?”
    “Earth.”
    The minister was silent for a moment. “You cannot be from Earth,” he finally said. “The Earth was the hardest hit of all the core worlds. We didn’t even begin picking up simple radio emissions from it until about fifty years ago. Our last long-range scans showed that the people of Earth had not even gotten back into orbit yet.”
    “Things have changed,” Nathan told him. “This ship was built by the people of Earth.”
    “Preposterous!” the minister exclaimed. “There is no way that the people of Earth went from pre-orbit to interstellar travel in only a few decades. Hell, it would take longer than that for even the most advanced sub-light ship to travel from Earth to Copora.”
    “Actually, it only takes us about a minute or two,” Nathan told him. “Actually, more like a split second, but with the calculations and such… And you know how Ensign Riley loves to count down to the jump for dramatic effect,” he added, looking at the admiral.
    “Yes, I’ve noticed that,” Admiral Dumar

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