by Max Barry

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Region: The Milky Way Galaxy

The intersystem alliance

President's Office, The Citadel, Executive District
Geneva, Switzerland

"Breaking news coming in from the Mariner Valley tonight, where riots have persisted for nearly five weeks now. The leader of the riots has refused to comment but Alliance officials have-" The screen, once filled with vibrant colors have since fallen silent and dark at the press of a holographic prompt. Alone in his office, Elias sighed heavily as he reclined in his chair, arms draped over his head, creasing his fresh suit under his arms. The stress of the position as President had grown burdensome to him. Outer colonies on the brink of collapse, inner colonies on the brink of rebellion, such as the Mariner Valley riots on Mars. The Alliance was dying and partisanship would be it's executioner. The Golden Age of Earth was coming to a close.

A knock on the door caused Elias's body to jolt as he stared blankly out into the snowy cityscape of Geneva surrounding the massive white marble and stone structure known as the Citadel, center of Intersystem Alliance power. Elias put his hands on his desk and cleared his throat.

"Come in." the doors opened, revealing an older man, late seventies, grey-haired, wrinkled face, worn eyes. A member of the Old Guard, a faction of politicians that remained from President Juarez's administration during the height of the golden age. Only two remained, Mr. Kevin Younger, Minister of the Interior and Mr. Jinn Wright, Minister of Transportation.

"Mister President, got something you're gonna want to see." Minister Younger said as he hobbled into his office. The Minister had a bad hip, but instead of implementing cybernetic implants that much of the Alliance enjoyed, he was content with old fashioned pain killers and getting back to work. A mentality that has been in short supply, one that has been desperately needed.

"Show me what you've got."

With a few presses of his hand terminal, his office terminal lit up with cartographic displays of a Star system, sequences of numbers and letters next to the star and the various planets, moons and asteroids.

"A new star system, untouched. Nine planets in total with at least two that are habitable. We've been sending probes here for two months and compiled enough data to initiate an expedition. This expedition will be assembled with a team of scientists, colonization specialists and security forces to hold the site while we prepare to bring the system into the fold. The expedition will target 2D66A, or Harvest. Plentiful bodies of H2O, flora and fauna. The second, 2D92B or Bounty, while also habitable is mostly arid. Harvest is priority one."

President Walker nodded In approval at the discovery of new territory. A boost to the I.A.'s economy, for sure.

"When will the expedition begin the trip?" Elias asked with tight lips, grasping at a gold pen with some inscription given to him by one of the Vice Presidents, a name he couldn't remember.

"Within 72 hours is what I was told. My office is requisitioning the science vessel Magellan from the Home Fleet, but you know bureaucracy better than anyone. Things take time." Elias thought on this for a moment.

"Right....I'll make a few calls. I bet I can shave a few dozen or so hours off of that wait time. I'll call you."

With that, both men exchanged hand shakes and parted ways, leaving Elias to contemplate the future of his people and his administration before making calls.