Officials confirmed today that Earth is being targeted by yet another hostile alien force. The world’s greatest leaders and minds are in the process of being secured in undisclosed locations. Citizens have shown outrage at what many claim to be a sign of failure on the part of the world’s governments to protect their people. “I bet most of those guys being protected haven’t done a single day of honest work in their lives. If they’re the only ones left, we’re all screwed anyway,” one area man claimed.
She heard the heavy hammering of an armored fist on the door. Sighing, she pushed a button to open the it, glancing up to see a power armored figure filling the door. Acyth was covered head-to-toe in gleaming, blue armor. It was different than Sterga remembered, bulkier, with a new hand cannon attached. Fancy.
“What do you want?”
“You. Working for me.”
Sterga rolled her eyes and continued to with the work she was doing. She had been warned that Acyth was planning some sort of foolish world destruction project. But she asked the question regardless, “Why would I want to do that? And what could you possibly want from me?”
“You’re good with Tech. I can use that. And I can offer you access to stuff the likes of which you’ve never seen.” Acyth pulls out a device and tosses it onto the desk. “Case in point.”
Sterga stopped her work and looked at the device. It was small and rectangular, similar in size to a typical smart phone. On one side there was a pair of contacts, the other a small display with controls. The writing was in a strange language she didn’t recognize.
“And what does this little thing do?” The desk started analyzing the object, bringing up the results in a small window.
“Nothing much. It’s an energy cell, basically a small generator. Variable output voltage, from about a hundredth of a volt up to about fifty thousand. Maximum output’s a little under 55 terawatts an hour. Lasts about 50 years. Though that one’s…7 or 8 years old, looks like.”
Picking up the object, she studied it while continuing to fish for information, “What is your game anyway? I’m rather fond of this planet after all.
“Waving a hand dismissively, “It’s nothing special. A junk world that’s only survived this long through luck and the protection of its betters. You, I think, are one of those betters. Even if you are a bitch.” Nodding to the device she added, “You could run every electrical device on the planet off that, and it wouldn’t even be straining it.”
Setting the object down, Sterga leaned back in her chair, crossing her arms at the other woman. “So why bother? You could just leave.”
“Frankly, I hate this place. It’s annoyed me for long enough.”
“So much effort for such an insignificant planet. What did it ever do to you?”
The other woman placed an armored fist on her hip, “Mmm. Well it forced me to be here, for one thing. And annoyed the crap out of me the entire time I was here.”
“So, this planet annoys you and your response is to drop rocks on it? What would you do if someone pissed you off?”
“Instead of helping a bunch of people get off world to safety, and ignoring the ones that don’t resist… I’d make SURE they all died. Not that it’s going to be all that habitable anyway, a thousand asteroids hitting a planet makes ‘nuclear winter’ look like a brief squall.”
“So, what exactly does helping you entail?”
“In your case? I got ships, weapons, and other bits of tech. Thousands upon thousands of them. They break. They get lost. It takes a lot of people to take care of that stuff. To make more. To scrounge up the bits to keep it all working.”
“So, what? I’d just be some lowly minion?” Her brows knitted together, her voice became harsh, and she couldn’t keep the annoyance out.”
Only until you learned the tech. Then, research, design, whatever you were up to. I reward people based on ability, Ms. Sterga. But I WOULD have people teach you our tech. Hell of an opportunity for someone from this backwater. Oh, and you’d get passage off the planet before the asteroids hit. Which, frankly, I don’t like you enough to give you unless you’re useful to me.”
“If you don’t like me, why are you wasting my time here?”
“Because, you could be useful, and I’m willing to set aside the fact you’re a bitch because of it. On the other hand, I don’t dislike you enough to bother killing you, so you could just make sure to stay out of my way. But you’d be on your own then.”
“This coming from the woman who wants to destroy the planet because she’s having a PMS moment.”
An audible snort could be heard through the voice amplifier in Acyth’s helm. Sterga ignored it and continued, “When does this little party of yours start? And, if I should accept your offer, when would I leave?”
“The strikes start on the 17th. You could leave as late as the 17th itself, if you like. Millennium City isn’t on the initial target list, but it’ll be dust by the 18th. It’s up to you. Take your chances alone, or come with me, have a job working with the best tech you’ve ever seen. Food, clothing, a place to live…” She paused, letting the benefits of not being left to die sink in. “And the chance to rise as high as your potential allows.”
Sterga paused for a moment, considering her options. Having access to technology so much more advanced held great appeal. She didn’t believe Acyth would succeed, even for an instant. But it was possible that she could. The best thing to do is to go along for the ride and make my exit once the fighting breaks out.
“What if I wanted to leave tomorrow? Would that be possible? And how long before I could start working on this tech of yours?”
The power armored woman cocked her head, simply standing for a moment. Impatient, Sterga shifted in her chair, resting her chin on a fist and drumming the fingers of her free hand on the arm rest.”
Well unfortunately, none of my forces have arrived in system yet, except for a single fast-courier. I could get a transport in here for you on the 12th, and you could start immediately. Barring transit time, which is… about 12 hours.”
“Then I will see you on the 12th. Now, get out of my office. I have things to take care of.”
Acyth nodded and threw another device on the desk. “You can keep the energy cell. And that’s in case you need to contact me.”
Turning on her heel, she strode out of the office, bodyguards snapping in formation. The door silently slid shut behind Acyth. Preparations needed to be made and Sterga fully intended to end up in a better position than she held now.
The Mars Incident: After Death