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Story: Decision


    The captain’s cabin was strikingly different from the cold metal decks of the Carrier. The interior was designed in perfect Victorian style. A large oak table was littered with papers and blueprints. Cupboards against the walls were filled with books. Leather chairs and a small sofa created comfort. The chairs were facing a real fireplace, which looked very unusual in the military carrier.

    A silver-haired elderly man was standing in the center of the room.  He was dressed in a brown military coat, wore glasses and leaned on a cane. His right hand almost lost mobility and lay on a special supporting device. It seemed to be broken. He stopped reading the report and pointed to the chair…

— Come in, Commander, have a seat. Do you smoke? No? That is good…

    The old Lord took out his pipe and lit it. He sat down on the soft chair and  fell into thinking. The silence did not last long…

— I hired you, Commander, because of your flawless tactical skills, but you will face with extraordinary and difficult tasks, different from you’ve been taught. Here is what’s waiting for you: the war with an absolutely new enemy, latest technologies race, diplomatic and spy missions.  That’s why I invited you to this cabin. Tomorrow, this cabin will be yours… But today, I’ll tell you about the true state of affairs and tasks that you have to solve.

    The silence reigned again. The Commander didn’t interrupt or hurry the elderly Lord, he was careful and self-disciplined.

— Our enemy is a state of the new type, driven by mysterious “Cult”, the powerful organization with a charismatic leader. They found the way how to enrich ordinary Etherium and turn it into the new Black Etherium. We still don’t know how they do it, but it’s obvious that using the new mineral they can lead people into a trance, hypnotize politicians and generals, influence on our soldiers on the battlefield, create people without fear: So-called “Purified”

    He cleared his throat…

— The war has changed… — he continued — dramatically changed.  We can’t take prisoners, but rather the opposite, after a battle our soldiers get into “cleaning camps” and they are not able to return quickly to the duty. Everybody who deals with Black Etherium needs such kind of quarantine. We can’t build alliances and bribe generals, they are adamant in their “Common desire”. So they call their fanatical faith in Cult’s ideals. Their scientists are constructing unprecedented powerful machines, their soldiers don’t know the fear of death. Cities take the Cult’s side, their economy is growing…

   His voice became higher.

— All their military and economic power is based on the illusory world. The world, where free will has been taken away and replaced with the great Leader’s desire. The leader’s call sounds inside people’s heads, it’s like an electromagnetic wave spreading throughout the Cult’s territory. We believe it’s a new psychical weapon, and if it’s true it has to have a unified centre. Whether it is a scientific complex or the leader himself – we must destroy the source of this global threat!

    He thought for a while and then added…

— This terrible war is a testament to my failures… I knew that creation of Black Etherium is possible, and there are people who are ready to do it, but I did nothing to keep this information secret for many years. I lost my worldwide influence, nearly died, and now I am too old to fight, and it is shameful that I must rely upon you, Commander,  to set things  right.

— Tomorrow this Carrier will rise into the sky. We will strike at Cult’s scouts. The crash of the fallen tower in form of gossips will spread over Europe. Everyone will realize that I’m alive, and I own the weapon capable to strike anywhere in Europe, without fearing of the Black Etherium influence. The Cult will start the hunt on me, but better to say on you! Tomorrow you will take command of this Battle Carrier and our secret base. You should gather your team, increase a combat power, and find the source of the Cult.

— What do you say, Commander?

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