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June 15, 2398 AD

Washington D.C., the White House

Monday, 9:45 AM, Earth Eastern Standard Time

“Mr. President, it has been more than four years since the Separatist War ended and two years’ since I left office,” Alexander Moore told his predecessor. Moore knew that his former vice president wasn’t likely to win the election coming up in two years time, and that he’d have to take the appropriate steps while he was still in favor.

“I’m well aware of the history, Alexander. But while the war is over, there have been continuous mopping-up activities and little skirmishes here and there. You left me with quite a mess.” The president attempted to use a politician’s grin on him. Moore had been there and done that.

“Well, Mr. President. I’m here to tell you now that you don’t know all of it.” Alexander pursed his lips, ready to spill one of the biggest secrets of humanity. It was a secret that only he and his family knew. There was much more to humanity’s bloody history over the past couple of centuries than met the eye.

“Alexander, I have been briefed on everything you had been into.” The president sounded a bit dismayed, if not annoyed, at Alexander’s suggestion that he was more in the know than the sitting president.

“Well, nobody could brief you on this, Mr. President, because there are only six people alive who know about it. And with all due respect, sir, you are not one of them yet.” Moore paused to gauge the president’s reaction. The man must be a good poker player, he thought.

“Okay, Alexander, I’ll bite. Tell me.”

“Well, sir, it works best if I show you direct-to-mind,” Alexander said, tapping the side of his temple with his pointer finger. “That okay with you?”

“Very well.”

“Alright then, pay close attention to the video feeds and audio tracks you are about to see. This is from nearly two hundred years ago during Sienna Madira’s third term as senator.” Alexander started the direct-to-mind movie data. The entire sequence of events lasted about three minutes. Moore could tell from the president’s reaction that he was as frightened as Moore had hoped he would be.

“My God, Alexander! How has nobody ever found this before?” the president asked.

“I’m not sure, sir. But I am pretty certain that Sienna Madira covered her tracks well, but left this bread crumb, this trail, for us to follow—for whatever reason,” Alexander said.

“What do you want me to do about it, Alexander?” The President seemed genuinely perplexed.

“My idea is actually very simple, sir. I want you to activate and promote me immediately to four-star commanding general of an Expeditionary Mission to track down further evidence of this threat. The U.S.S. Sienna Madira is about to be decommissioned. Give her to me and let me handpick a skeleton crew. I’ll take a small force into space and follow these breadcrumbs and report back on the threat. I will neutralize it if possible, but at a minimum I will gather recon and report back.”

“You have this all worked out, don’t you?”

“I’ve been, uh, monitoring the Separatist mopping-up actions since I left office. It seems that every time you turn around a new outpost is uncovered. I think these outposts are part of this bigger story. I think the outposts are the breadcrumbs left behind somehow by Sienna Madira, leading us out into the stars to a bigger, more dangerous threat than our own civil war problems,” Moore explained.

“Okay, Alexander, I will see what I can do.” The President shook his head and chuckled. “General, huh? What was it you used to always say? Once a Marine, uh . . .”

“Once a Marine, always a Marine, Mr. President.”

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