Legacy (The Vs. Reality Series Book 3)

By: Blake Northcott
Chapter One – Force Majeure

North Washington Prefecture | May 12, 3016 | 7:43 pm Standardized Time

Dia stands on her narrow glass balcony, perched a dizzying two kilometers above the ground.

The panoramic view of the city is breathtaking. During one of her rare moments alone she enjoys staring out into the distance at the endless rows of skyscrapers, protruding from the earth like shining glass stalagmites. As the final rays of sunlight recede into the distance the orange reflection shimmers off the towering solar panels of the buildings, creating a sparkling light show that’s both serene and spectacular.

Footsteps echo from the hallway behind her.

Her moment alone has ended.

She brushes the platinum hair from her face with both hands and ties it into a loose ponytail, letting it fall over her shoulder. She steps away from the railing and wanders back into her cavernous marble corridor to greet her guests.

Paige enters first, followed by a short, blond-haired Federation courier; a nervous teenage boy who looks no more than eighteen. As always, when meeting with one of The Nine, they dress in formal attire: white jackets with the golden wing insignia embroidered on the shoulder, matching pants, and patent leather shoes.

Dia’s flowing black dress and bare feet are somewhat less formal, but this is her day off. It’s to be expected.

“GJ 436c in the Leo constellation,” the courier blurts out, clutching his tablet close to his chest.

Dia raises an eyebrow. “Your name, courier?” She speaks in a formal, elegant accent, accentuating every syllable.

“My name?” he asks.

“Your name,” she persists. “Do you have one?”

“Y-yes, of course,” he stutters, his voice cracking. “It’s Spencer. Spencer Deutsch, from the Lincoln Prefecture in—”

“I didn’t ask for your life story, Spencer – just your name.” She places a hand on her chest. “Do you know my name?”

He hesitates for a moment, flicking his eyes towards Paige, and then back to Dia. “It’s Danica...Danica Davenport.”

“To some. But when you enter my quarters – not as a friend or as an equal, but as a courier – you are to refer to me as ‘Your Honor’. The same goes for any member of The Nine.” Dia often used condescending lessons in etiquette to belittle Federation members whom she outranked. It was more for the sake of public humiliation and her own personal satisfaction than to actually impart wisdom. “Is that clear, Spencer Deutsch of the Lincoln Prefecture?”

“Y-yes, Your Honor,” he stammers. “Crystal clear.”

“So what were you saying, about G something? What does that even mean?” Dia folds her arms across her chest, looking impatient now and drumming her fingers against the inside of her arm.

“It’s called GJ 436c,” he explains. “It’s the name of the planet. About five times the size of Earth, around thirty light years away.”

Dia shakes her head in frustration. “That’s what we’re calling it? That’s not a name. That’s just a series of letters and numbers.”

“I’m aware of that, Your Honor. It was named back in...” he flips over his transparent glass tablet, running his finger down the touch screen, “the year 2008, by a pair of astronomers when it was first discovered back in the old pre-Federation United States of America.”

“That’s imaginative.” Dia turns her head to gaze out the window, trying to catch the final moments of her sunset. Cars and mass transport vehicles whizz by in every direction, dropping passengers on landing strips and making their way through recharging stations.

Spencer clears his throat and continues. “Well, um, despite the bland naming convention there are some issues arising, and that’s why we’re here.”

Paige tightens her brow and flicks her eyes towards the courier.

Dia notices the subtle gesture, but chooses to ignore it. “Please, Spencer Deutsch, continue.”

“Well, Your Honor, it’s about their recent progress that our interstellar drones have detected.”

“What kind of progress?” Dia asks, her interest now piqued.

The courier taps the surface of his tablet and it illuminates with various holographic pictures and videos, swirling with blue light above the device. “A pretty monumental leap in technology, actually. They’ve just discovered the formula to creating something comparable to a nuclear bomb. Nothing too powerful yet, but we’re estimating it could have the same destructive power that existed here on Earth in the 1950s. They don’t have uranium, but they have a similar substance, that acts as a—”

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