Angular Trifecta 1: Angle of Dissent (Series Premiere)
Everybody had an angle to play – Enderbrook Boyd thought. It so happened to be his responsibility to find out what the particulars of those angles were. But a month into this assignment on the planet of Dio Qze and he had found none.
A loud sigh escaped from his wide open mouth as an exhale of frustration that served up the audible evidence of this impending mission failure while his left hand caught a cocked and throbbing forehead to create the resultant posture of racked brain cells which had also settled in on the fact that there might not be a way of connecting up three dots with two simple lines in order to possibly construct this obtuse angle.
Boyd happened to be piloting a Class V Fighter at the time, relatively speaking. His ship was on autopilot, and this allowed him a chance to think through these matters with a clear mind which subscribed to the peaceful skies that were opened up to the stealth-based flight. The nagging part of his conscience which understood the need for cutting losses and moving on did not necessarily want him to leave a mission unfinished where the deepest and most trustworthy parts of his gut were clamoring for him to pay attention to the subtle details of nuance, but there was an understanding that the specialist’s employer would soon be requiring his talents elsewhere throughout the universe. Until that call-up however, he was still a part of a current mission which needed to be completed.
Utilizing the cover of an investor from his previous successful missions on the planets Pasma Tam and Kamenska, Boyd sunk into his latest role with unlimited funds and the controlled arrogance to flaunt it. That happened to be the honey which could attract the bees – all of these wayward unincorporated planets and cause them to sign onto the lopsided albeit ultimately beneficial trade agreements which could be used to leverage a growing dependence upon his faction – the Space Force. Energy sources, food rations, materials refinement, technological advances, and basic textiles were all a part of these deals, but his faction’s main export was protection.
Now, this was not some sort of throwback to those old-school mob-style politics as the added benefit of protection was rarely ever discussed during negotiations, but from Boyd’s perspective, the idea was just the same. So where the honey did not work in attracting those bees, a flamethrower was called for. In his most natural capacity as an agent of the Space Force’s black ops outfit called the Enforcers, he became the subject of legend – a person who had been highly practiced in such reverberating tactics as regime change and assassination that the specialist could teach academy courses to the tune of a long and heralded tenure if only he even existed. For him, a dual-pronged approach was sufficient: Get the unincorporated planets to sign onto the program individually with a backdoor entry that circumvented their overarching governing authority and union called Galaxy Bloc or replace an individual planet’s leadership with more amenable participants…and then get each to sign onto the program that had the backdoor entry.
More obligation than charity, Boyd might have been better served to dedicate his nomadic affinity to an outside sales position if he was looking for work that could be performed for the sake of his own health. As a result of these personal sacrifices and the sacrifices from others of those Enforcers who were deployed throughout the stars like him, Galaxy Bloc was going to accept the hidden gift of protection. Nobody ultimately had any other choice in the matter. Powerful enemies of the Space Force were set to make a beeline for this universe, and they happened to be more than capable of exploiting the stubbornness of the unincorporated planets to not only his faction’s but the universe’s detriment.
At first glance, Boyd’s methods might seem to be heavy-handed because they were being performed in the interest of the covert, but he was only called in because the ongoing high profile (yet secretive) talks that were being held overtly between the Space Force and Galaxy Bloc at levels which far exceeded his pay grade had stalled. The leadership of those unincorporated planets knew about the impending threat and refused to do anything! Whether they did not believe in the intel or were sitting on their hands to wait out the threat for rapacious aims of swooping in to pick up the pieces was the subject for a debate that the universe did not have time to moderate.
Four megapowers existed throughout the universe, and they each held down a corner of it as a claim to their vast dominion. The Space Force, the Doran Aristocracy, the Pillorian Regime, and the Slorgs had carved up systems and sectors as well as they had carved out ideologies and legacies.
The Space Force originated from Earth over in the Terran System but grew to include the Exilis and Quadron (where Boyd was at currently) Systems as a part of their empire. The Doran Aristocracy hailed from the massive Crystalline System and was actually in the midst of a civil war with the New Alliance – the aforementioned enemy who was amassing a fleet that could easily overwhelm this divided universe and the source of much angst among those who were rallying to the charge to try and stop them. The Pillorian Regime was by far the most powerful megapower because it boasted of no fleet and only a tiny footprint within the system that was known as Explorigvasun, but they were a faction of Ethereals – the beings who many cultures prayed to. The Crabmartian Slorgs from Xenos happened to be as old as time, so they possessed incalculable numbers of people within their midst and held jurisdiction over the remaining and still expanding space of Explorigvasun.
To the Space Force who had once been to war with the Slorgs but had since put aside differences in order to become tenuous allies at worst or terraforming partners at best, Galaxy Bloc was little more than an annoyance that would not be tolerated during this moment of increasing peril. The unincorporated planets were not even considered a smaller faction like the Robots or the botanical Rylaea, yet wound up cementing a place as a micro nuisance and a strategic vulnerability.
When the boots eventually hit the ground to fight this impending war against the New Alliance, these worlds happened to be located deep within the Quadron System and prime targets for being usurped, converted, plus used as enemy staging points. In Boyd’s mind, there were only two options: Get with the program or get lost. Numerous chances had been given for them to fall in line, so if open talks, socioeconomic espionage, and black ops were not enough to do the trick, then SpaceStation Konxerus would be along in short order to annihilate those planets for the purposes of creating a preliminary rampart from the asteroids of their rubble.
Nobody wanted it to come to that – thus Boyd’s urgency on the matter, but things happened to be what they were, and this was the background. At present, he took hold of his fighter’s twin yokes – intuitively alerting the autopilot to give him back control of the ship. Thoughts of the future centered around the old technical sales adage of tracing the components of a computer in order to deliver a total solution with the hope of its inspiration becoming a complete solution.
Boyd was grasping at straws to be thinking along those lines, but sometimes he just needed to simplify his position down to its least common denominator. True, he had the makings of a successful salesperson in presentation and persuasion, however the answer seemed to lie in the resourcefulness of his presales acumen to design a custom solution. Follow the keyboard? Follow the money!
It was weird that Boyd had been undercover for so long that the danger of not being able to pull himself out paled by comparison of what it took to separate himself from a position that clamored for the big fish when the guppy would more than suffice. Again, the fighter’s computer took up the piloting slack when he removed both hands from the controls in order to type his query into the ship’s keyboard on the center console.
“The Power Authority,” Boyd smiled before digging in his grips on the twin yokes and blowing out the spark plugs on his fighter, so to speak – enjoying the remainder of a night of soaring through the skies of Dio Qze.