Monday, 03 October 2011 04:26

"The Ecstatic Sorrow" excerpt from "Imperial Odyssey - The War of Twelve"

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Chapter 24

The Ecstatic Sorrow

"Attention!" Amelia called as Queen Madelyn pushed through the thick double doors into the briefing room. The five Queensmen stood rigid as the Queen maneuvered to the front seat.

"As you were," her gentle voice was filled with stress. She typed a command into the computer embedded in the table, ordering it to bring up the Naval security reports on the boarders. Madelyn had grown wary of an incoming invasion since the attempt on Troy’s life. Scanning over the text she let out a long sigh of relief, happy to find the boarders firmly secured. "Thank Visuvie."

"The boarders are secure ma'am, there's nothing to worry about," Calikite reassured her.

"That's easy for you to say. Okay, what exactly happened down there?"

Xeno rose from his chair and walked around the table, warily approaching the screen in the wall. With a few keystrokes the Helmecute summoned a map of the city, highlighting the park in which Madelyn had made her speech.

"There was a sniper located approximately here," Xeno paused, pointing to the rooftop of a building near the far edge of the park. "As we secured you, Amelia and Arrow took the Divine Light along this route," a red line streaked through the city streets, highlighting the path the Queensmen had taken. "Acting on Troy's orders Amelia detoured onto the mass road. This is approximately where Mange, Calikite, and myself rendezvous with the assault vehicle. We were engage by several assassins, and neutralized a good deal of them when the Eloth'Naka suddenly appeared."

"What was the Eloth'Naka doing there?" Madelyn exclaimed in surprise. Xeno shrugged his shoulders as he slowly shook his head, drawing a blank.

"We don't know, but we'll find out. We continued down the mass road until Amelia pulled off and moved through the city. A little while later we neutralized the remaining assassins and several of us engaged the Eloth'Naka."

Madelyn sat in silence for a moment, contemplating the details of this successful mission. It was somewhat of an oxymoron; she was proud of the Queensmen, but still concerned for the attempt on Troy's life. Madelyn's bright red eyes lovingly centered on Xeno's face, relieving him of his subconscious worry. "Do you know anything of the assassins?"

"Yes ma'am," Mange spoke up. The Queensmen lifted himself from his seat and replaced Xeno at the front of the room, dialing in another set of commands into the view screen. In the blink of an eye several images of police records and photographs appeared on the screen, representing nearly a dozen individuals. "The assassins were all citizens of the Zintoniean Empire, which means this was an internal terrorist organization, or they were guns for hire. We identified many of the men and discovered most had a lengthy police record. Several of the deceased had ties to an old friend, Martel Herdiok.”

"The Boyie arms dealer! Do you think he plotted assassination?"

"It's hard to tell at this point ma'am. I think the only way were going to find the answer is if we pay Mr. Herdiok a visit."

"Your highness," Xeno blurted out. "It seems that once again we've fallen victim to a lack of intelligence. Something's happening outside the borders of this empire and we've ignored every warning sign; the invasion, the Boyie planet. These are all indicators of something big. Even this assassination attempt has more questions than answers. Who were these men? Why were they after the Divine Light? Why did the Eloth'Naka get involved and why did he attack the assassins? Something tells me we don't have much time left. We've been fighting a blind war all along, but now it's time to show our enemy we're not a target. Martel Hardiok may have the answers, he may not, either way we need to start taking drastic action."

Madelyn nodded in agreement. Looking up at Mange, she spoke with a powerful and authoritative voice, inspired by Xeno's strong words. "Queensmen Mange. I want you and Queensmen Diamond to go to the Boyie home world and find Mr. Herdiok. Make that man talk! I'll put the military on high alert; the rest of the Queensmen will be on standby. Everyone clear?"

The five Queensmen nodded their heads, tumbling the idea of a second invasion through their minds. Their expressions were mixed with hope and fear, with pride and panic. Madelyn's commanding gaze dropped over each of the Queensmen, analyzing them from the inside out. Satisfied with the soldiers before her, she rose from her chair and took a deep breath, slowly exhaling like an athlete before a game.             "Good...dismissed."

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