A Quiet Revolution - Chapter Thirteen

And the megalomania of the Primus is front and center.

She was never subtle in her ambitions.

Ever.

But this...!

I don't want to say too much, because otherwise you won't have a reason to read it, but.

Damn.


CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Artemis City, Council of Ministers

“Minister Taylor, Minister Dent. Taylor, you asked for this meeting. Why?”

“Yes, Primus. After the Council meeting two days ago, Minister Dent and I had a most productive discussion.”

“Lovely, Minister Taylor, but what is the point?”

“It occurred to us now is the ideal time to launch an attack on the Federation.”

“You have counseled patience for lunars, and now you’re eager to attack? Explain.”

“Primus, the Federation is like a man after a large meal. They need time to digest and rest before engaging in any further activities. Their intelligence service, if they have one, has not yet integrated the new territories. Their military planning has not yet extended to defending their new territories. And there is likely to be internal dissention regarding the disposition of the new territories. Primus, they haven’t been this vulnerable since the launch of their first starship!”

“Not that I want to dissuade you, Minister, but I have to repeat. You have argued most forcefully for a more measured building of our forces. Why change?”

Averroes is returning to service today. El-Baz is ready for his recommissioning runs, and Al-Battani is only a half-lunar behind. We have seven Gemini frigates and three Apollo cruisers which can be used in support, or as a diversion, and that’s without involving the Union in the slightest.”

“How soon can you put this together?”

“Three weeks would be optimal, Primus. We will have our maximum firepower available at that point. In addition, Minister Dent believes that he can use MinInt to spread disinformation to our enemies, leading them to believe we are dispirited and demoralized over the defections of the Guild and Titan.”

“Three weeks is the optimax for a disinformation campaign of this sort,” Dent added. “Less, and they will doubt the accuracy of the reports. More, and their own sources will begin to chip away at the veracity.”

“Three weeks. July 4?”

“Certainly, Primus. It will be an honor to strike a blow for Artemis.” Taylor wondered if perhaps he was being a little overenthusiastic, but then he remembered his audience.

“Oh, yes, Minister Dent. Thank you for lending me Tal. She was most helpful.”

It took Dent a moment to realize that the Primus was speaking of Underminister Phalkon. “You are most welcome, Primus. May I ask with what she assisted you?”

“Your suggestion of making changes at the next Union Assembly was inspired, Minister. With only two members, and the Martians already giving me their assurances they will follow our lead, we have made great plans to revamp and reshape the Union!”

“Wonderful, Primus. Can you tell us of any of them?”

“Certainly, Minister Dent, it’s no secret. Why, you were the inspiration for one change, expanding the role of MinSec throughout the Union.”

“Ah, yes.”

“However, that’s a secondary change. We intend to wholly reorganize the Union to better reflect the changed circumstances.”

“How so, Primus?”

There was an almost girlish excitement coming from Newling when she answered. “We’re changing the name.”

“Primus?”

“It will be the Union of Artemis, to reflect our primacy within the political structure. No more shall we be hamstrung by the weak wills of others! Representation will be proportional to length of membership in the Union as well as population; the older a nation is, within the Union, and the larger it is, the most power it will wield.”

She gestured to Taylor. “We are going to do away with the foolish notion of independent navies, as well. It is counterproductive and wasteful. In just a few days, Minister, you will have all the combined might of the Union at your disposal!”

“That’s wonderful news, Primus.”

She turned her attention to Minister Pitt.

“Your job will be simplified, Minister, as you no longer have to try to balance the influx of trade from this nation or that; it will all be the Union, all internalized trade!”

“Splendid.” Pitt’s face belied her word, but Newling wasn’t looking at her. Economics weren’t as simple as Newling was painting it.

“And Dent, you’re going to be pleased.”

“Am I?”

“Yes! We are combining three Ministries into one: Foreign, Intelligence, and Security. What good is security without intelligence? Where are the activities of intelligence directed but outward? And you, Minister, will be at the forefront!”

“And Underminister Phalkon?”

“She’s perfectly happy to be your first assistant as we transition to this new, consolidated Ministry.”

“I’m sure she will be a great asset, Primus.”

“It’s the dawning of a new day for Artemis, Ministers!”

With that she swept from the room as if she were an Empress; which, of course, she nearly was.


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