Chapter 1: Prologue – Year 2017
The Jitzan battle cruiser and Silkaran assault spacecraft carrier, both surrounded by their screens of protective and supporting vessels, hung in space one light-year from Earth.
Aboard the battle cruiser, Senior General Dova Blogg, newly appointed chairwoman of the Jitzan Coalition High Command Council, sat at a small table in front of the metaglas partition separating her compartment with its atmosphere of 28% carbon dioxide and 68% nitrogen from the adjacent compartment. Her Silkaran Union counterpart, First Admiral Vesqar geFramex, Chief of the Silkar Defense Forces General Staff, faced her from the compartment where the atmosphere had been adjusted to match that of Silkar, approximately 22% oxygen and 76% nitrogen.
“Those civilians who run our government do not seem to understand the danger we face from Jeritha,” Admiral geFramex said.
“What can you expect from those who have never faced an enemy in battle?” General Blogg agreed.
Admiral geFramex sighed, and rubbed the brow ridges on his reddish face. “But to have failed by so many votes in the League’s Executive Council. Only Dakonia’s ambassador voted with us. Three votes out of nine . . . not good at all.” He stood and stretched his six-foot-four frame, short by Silkaran standards but much taller than General Blogg’s four-foot-ten stature.
“There is nothing more to do except monitor these Jerithans in accordance with the League’s resolution,” Blogg said, scratching an itch on the top of her hairless gray head.
“No, that is not all we can do,” the admiral emphasized by slamming his fist on the table in front of him. He sat down again. “Our military has a plan that we have already put into operation. At the rate their technology has been growing, we may only have fifty to seventy-five standard years before those Jerithans begin to explore interstellar space and encroach on planets claimed by Silkar and Jitza. I may be getting old, but I intend to see this through.”
“Hmm, what plan is this? And how does it involve us?”
“Just think, General, they began atmospheric flight only a hundred years ago and now they have an operational space station. They may be growing technologically, but they are still a primitive, belligerent species that cannot stop fighting among themselves.”
“Yes, my government is fully aware of this. That’s why we voted in favor of your resolution to quarantine Jeritha. But please get back to this plan of yours.”
“Oh yes, I digressed. Sorry. Our scientists have developed a procedure to genetically modify the Jerithan population and significantly reduce, if not eliminate, their violent tendencies. Possibly, enough so when we eventually meet them in interstellar space, they will not have the will to oppose us.”
“Admiral, how operational is this plan?”
“In a couple of months, using our role in the Jeritha Study Group as cover, we will start testing our methodology on a small sample of Jeritha’s population. We expect to know how successful it is within five to ten years. Then . . .”