The news about Hurran Invasion reached Sooholl City—the Capital of the Allied Worlds Confederation on Planet Cotta, in Norghe System—after a two equ. days delay. The Delegates of all fifteen Republics, plus all Defense Military Commanders were summoned in a Crisis Meeting, in the enormous ring-shaped building of the Allied Worlds Council.

     In the same time in Gorkun City on Bant Island, in a nice large room provided with plenty of relaxing places around, there was another meeting between the seven Governors of the Free Democratic Republic Xallas. The room was on floor ninety-two; it had the outside walls made entirely of crystal, and that allowed for a magnificent view of the Storms Sea.
     Amazingly, all seven Governors appeared to be young Gentlemen of thirty or forty equ. years old, although the youngest person among them was, in fact, Najé Xallas at forty-five! The Governors were scattered all over the room, and each kept busy with some pleasing or entertaining activity.
     “You know, Najé, don’t take it that I want to get rid of you but, shouldn’t you be at the Allied Worlds Council Meeting with the other Delegates?” wondered Gebd Noraieb, an eminent scientist specialized in Spatial Substitution Theories.
     Gebd was a man of seventy-eight equ. years old—although he looked like in his late forties!—and he was the Senior Governor, meaning, he was a very good scientist. Gebd Noraieb was from the Ancen System: medium in height, thin, with plenty of brown and white long curly hair, and he had dark-green eyes on a handsome face. He was dressed in comfortable, casual clothes, and he worked stubbornly with a bowl of small red fruits. His goal was to eat all the fruits by throwing one at a time high up into the air, and then catching it in his open mouth. He never missed any!
     Najé replied thoughtfully, “Yeah, I shall have to go there . . . tomorrow . . . I suspect, today, nobody knows why they are there for.” Apparently, Najé was watching attentively each wave of the Storms Sea disappearing on the Hyrma Beach, while analyzing inner thoughts. After a pause, he added, “Anyway, we are here, Gentlemen, in a Crisis Meeting of our own, and we need to come up with some important decisions.”
     Najé Xallas was a man capable of drawing the attention out of any crowd. He was a typical representative of the Norghe System—tall, with blond hair, dark-blue eyes, and a tanned skin—but what was remarkable about him was his attitude. Regardless of the circumstances—where he was or what he did—Najé always managed to become noticed, to inspire a certain amount of confidence around him, and to create mystery.
     It seemed unnatural to be the richest person in the Allied Worlds, very handsome, and also exceptionally intelligent: all such exquisite qualities inside a single person! Above all, Najé Xallas had so much natural compassion in his behavior, that many people felt somewhat annoyed, since it was easily confused for an artificial exaggeration.
     “I don’t think there is anything we can do now, except for waiting. The Hurrans must come closer to us, Najé,” explained Linges Dekten, a Time Coordinates expert. He was a short, plump individual, and the offspring of Norghe and Kugh parents having a bluish skin color and much reduced in size bone plaques, compared to Kugh’s average.
     Linges was considered exceptionally well mannered and very funny by almost all Ladies in the Xallas Republic, and he was unusually intelligent. Only a few scientists were capable of understanding Linges’ brain shattering Time Disassembling theories.
     Najé replied, “I wouldn’t be so sure about that, Linges. Have you thought of how many the Hurrans are? We cannot take them all using the ‘Gradient Drive’.”
     Linges detailed, “That is exactly why I said we should wait. We need to get more information about their Fleet.”
     “Do you know what really bothers me, Najé?” asked Sadger Kone while targeting a red-yellow dart for his next throw. Sadger and Linges were competing in a “sharp-eyes, logic and hand-coordination” game of Kulai darts.
     Najé asked softly, “What?”
     Sadger replied, “They used the Trans-States Drive technology,” then he released the Kulai dart—unfortunately, a lousy forty-three points result. Following Sadger’s words, almost all Governors started throwing stealthy glances at Najé.
     Sadger Kone belonged to one of the three distinct races in the Ancen System. He was medium in height, athletic built with a short black hair and a brownish skin. His brown-green eyes were honest and intelligent, although he used to display, most of the time, a deceiving perplexed facial mimic. Sadger was a new addition to the Xallas Republic Governors—following the development of a revolutionary commgate communications protocol—and he was a senior scientist in Data Processing.
     “What do you think about that, Gebd?” asked Najé in a relaxed tone of voice.
     Gebd replied, “I suspect they have developed the two-points system due to your mistake, Najé, to publish it five equ. years ago. Anyway, the interesting thing is, the destination points are wide enough to let through a FW-Docking Ship of Hurran construction—which is way bigger than one of ours. I suspect the Hurrans use multiple, synchronized, area-enclosing generators.”
     “Yeah, that is exactly what I was thinking about, Gebd,” agreed Najé, then he twisted towards a man who was working feverishly with a pocket-processor. He added, “and I think that is also our solution, Kalga.”
     Kalga Abeb stopped his work short, then he asked disoriented, “What?”
     Najé explained, “We need to synchronize the Gradient Drive between many generator-ships, so that we may enclose as much of the Hurran Fleet as we can.”
     “Don’t worry; that’s easy,” replied Kalga, and he appeared eager to return to his calculations.
     Najé continued harassing him; he asked, “How many ships we have now, Kalga?”
     “Jekka knows,” answered Kalga briefly, then he quickly added a few more symbols to his equations. Kalga was a senior scientist in Matter-Energy Transformations, and he was so good in his field of expertise that he and Gebd were the only Governors having the longest political life. However, Kalga was a “true scientist”, therefore all those “political juggleries” failed to distract him from his real passion: the time-space-energy unified theorems.
     Kalga was the result of many indefinite interracial mix-ups. His skin was brown, with a few traces of bone plaques, he had little hair, very rare, blond and curly surrounding a bald patch, and his eyes had all-black irises. Kalga was tall and thin, and he had a permanently bent back due to the enormous amount of time he spent each day seated and working on theoretical problems.
     Jekka Gucan was in the process of training his taste buds via a wonderfully flavored, amber, alcoholic drink. He smiled happily, then said, “We have thirty-five ships ready, and another fourteen in the labs.”
     Jekka was more of a hero than a scientist, and many incredible stories were whispered behind his back. Although he enjoyed drinking heavily, and his movements were quite uncertain most of the time, the man never made mistakes! He never made mistakes in his scientific theories or in experimental applications, in politics, in management, or in social life.
     In fact, Jekka was the “Wizard” of all engines and drives, therefore most of the younger scientists regarded him as their idol. He belonged to the Norghe System race—tall and blond, with dark-blue eyes—and he was incredibly strong, both physical and psychically. Jekka used to say that he consumed alcoholic drinks only to “cool him down a little bit”, because his energy and power of logic were getting out of his control!
     Jekka was a specialist in Atoms and Molecules, and he had THE GIFT: he was capable of making any theoretical concept work, if he was allowed to do it “in his way”. The plain truth was, Jekka represented the guarantee of a certain success whenever he was assigned to a Project, therefore all Scientific Departments were fighting ferociously each other in order to “get” him.
     Najé said thoughtfully, “Forty-nine ships . . . That is not enough . . . Could we get more, Jekka?”
     Jekka watched him with unfocused looks for a few moments, then he replied after a strong body jolt, “I think there are five or six more older models assigned to various experiments.”
     Najé said, “Try finding as many ships as you can, Jekka, and work with Kalga to have them fully equipped within ten equ. days.”
     “You think the Hurrans could be here in ten equ. days, Najé?” inquired Gebd with plenty of doubt.
     Najé answered, “Naah, it should take them at least thirty, but I want that we test our technology first. Now, Gentlemen, may I have your attention, please.” Everybody ceased whatever activity they were performing, then they turned to look at Najé. He continued, “This is a real, terrible crisis, Gentlemen, therefore we need to take drastic actions. I would like each of you to take a direct control of our preparations for War, because time is short and the enemy is very strong. You are all aware that we have only one chance, and we cannot afford mistakes.
     As of this moment, the Government of the Xallas Republic is dissolved. All our research work will be suspended, and we shall work only towards defeating the Hurran Invader. It is very sad, Gentlemen, that we cannot act sooner, therefore very many Allied Worlds citizens are going to die, but we need to make certain that our actions do lead only to victory.
     Gebd; you are going supervise all our operations, and we shall keep contacts only through secure commgate channels. Kalga; your job is to see that we get as many ships as we can, and they are ready, equipped with all strategic technologies. Jekka, I would like you to assist Kalga and, in the same time, start working with Linges on improving the destination coordinates modules of the Gradient Drive: we need maximum accuracy, Gentlemen.
     Linges; start organizing the production of Gradient Drive generators in the Labs, in three shifts. Sadger; accelerate the production of individual shield generators. Agval; I want you to take care of the individual protective equipment: we need as many as you can manufacture, and please change them to a one in fifty proportion, Ladies’ to Gentlemen’s. By the way, Agval, I am really sorry about Kugh.”
     Agval Fedjez was a typical Kugh representative, and he was terribly worried about his relatives and friends back in the Kugh System. He replied in a bothered attitude, “Thank you, Najé. There is nothing we can do now, but I wish that we teach those monsters a lesson they shall never forget.” Although he was very angry, Agval was incapable of any violent actions, same as most people of his race. He was an eminent Neuro-Telepathic Controls scientist, and he was rather shy, sympathetic, and easily emotional. Consequently, everybody treated him with particular consideration.
     Najé assured him in a compassionate tone, “That is exactly the way we are going to do it, Agval, please do not take it too hard to your heart,” then he addressed to all Governors, “Gentlemen, you know what you have to do. Please, take all the initiatives you consider being proper, work with a maximum of patience and attention, and be prepared for any difficult and adverse developments.”
     Najé was right: the first day of the Crisis Meeting had been only a chaotic mess for the Allied Worlds Delegates. They barely managed to find accommodations for all the emergency personnel who were supposed to work there, days and nights, until the end.
     The enormous Allied Worlds Council building appeared to be an overpopulated hive. There was an army of secretaries, aids, Military Officers, Officials, Industry Coordinators and, of course, the Delegates of all Republics and their staff. Everybody was there, less the Delegate of the Free Democratic Republic Xallas, but nobody remembered him.

     Najé arrived at the Council the next day, in the afternoon. He had problems entering the Council Meeting Hall through the forest of Security checkpoints and Officials. Eventually, he was allowed in.
     When he entered the huge domed Hall, Najé interrupted an interesting presentation of a System Defense Commander about various tactics the Hurrans used to invade the Kugh System. The President Delegate of the Allied Worlds was Mr. Bundabe Angude from the Bane Republic in the Ancen System.
     “I specifically asked not to be interrupted during discussions!” said the President Delegate with irritation, talking to the Officials.
     Najé interfered, “I am very sorry for being so late, Your Excellency, but nobody bothered to contact me.”
     The President looked down at him. He smiled ironically, then said, “Aah, it is Mr. Xallas! We are sorry, Sir, we have completely forgotten about you due to the recent, horrible events. Maybe you will consider, Mr. Xallas, not to participate in this special Meeting—there is nothing commercial implied.”
     Most of the Delegates laughed at President’s joke.
     Najé replied, “Excuse me, Your Excellency, I am here as the Delegate of the Free Democratic Republic Xallas. Although I have only an Observer status within this Council, I want to offer all the help my people and I—”
     The President interrupted him amused, since he was nicely encouraged by Delegates’ reaction to his joke, “I am convinced, Mr. Xallas, if this War could have been won with money, the Hurran Arch-Commissioner were your prisoner by now.”
     Everybody present laughed heartily.
     Not much impressed by the general excitement, Najé said, “Your Excellency, I want to assure you that my people and I shall do everything we can to stop this Invasion, and we are certain that our next Defense Strategy—”
     The President Delegate interrupted him in a happy mood, “Thank you, Mr. Xallas. Please, somebody take care of the Delegate to accommodate him like the rest of us.
     As for the next Defense Strategy Mr. Xallas, please, let us do our job to the best we can because we do have a lot more to defend than you do. It is not my intention to be rude with you, Sir, therefore, please, feel free to give us any advice you think it could help the strategy WE DECIDE.”
     The Observer Status of the Xallas Republic did not offer the privilege to vote in the Council, although Najé was allowed to bring forth suggestions and proposals. However, what was really bad was, his actions were not limited by the Statutes, only, but also by the low consideration the Xallas Republic enjoyed within the Council, among the Delegates.
     Najé replied simply, “Thank you, Your Excellency.” He had been expecting to that attitude, and even to worse. However, he did manage to be admitted to the Council Crisis Meeting, and that was a good promising step ahead.



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