Fear and panic went spreading throughout Norghe System when they received the news about the second day of fights in Ancen. Lootings, crimes, and abuses were only secondary effects of the mass madding panic, which also caused major disruptions within the most important social activities.
     Jeolan, Raika, and Najé had worked intensively. Their secret group in the Council numbered ten Delegates, and that was more than sufficient for the planned Presidential change. However, their new problem was, social life in Norghe System was threatening to get out of control. Moreover, that highly inflammable social situation demanded an immediate and decisive action inside the Council.

     The Meeting of the Allied Worlds Council started with the news of the third day of fights in Ancen, when Jeolan asked to speak. Since he represented the most powerful Republic of the dying Allied Worlds Confederation, the President Delegate agreed to his request.
     Jeolan said, “Your Excellency, and honorable Delegates, it is the opinion of the Cawa Federation that the time for an organized action has come—”
     According to his privilege, the President interrupted him surprised, “To what kind of an organized action are you referring, Mr. Nendem?”
     Jeolan explained in a relaxed tone, “Your Excellency, I would like to initiate a change within the Council.”
     “What kind of a change is that, Sir?” inquired the President beginning to be suspicious.
     Jeolan replied, “Your Excellency, it is the intention of my Government to change the President Delegate of the Allied Worlds Council.”
     “I do not think this is the proper moment, Mr. Nendem,” replied the President quickly, looking a lot paler than usual.
     “You may think whatever it pleases Your Excellency, but I would like to ask the Delegates to vote for the proposed change.”
     Soon, the voting panel displayed ten votes in favor of the change, three undeclared, and two against. The Official Secretaries declared the procedure valid.
     “Thank you for your support, Honorable Delegates. Mr. Angude, please step down from the Presidential Chair.”
     The President was very pale, despite the natural dark color tones of his skin. He tried to say something, but the words couldn’t get out of his strangled neck. There had never been in the history of the Council a demotion as fast as his, and with such an overwhelming majority! The worst aspect was, although he had had many means to prevent that demotion from happening, he never implemented any since he failed to consider it possible!
     It was a plot, and Mr. Angude was thinking he should protest, only that the fear of having been discovered as an agent of the Hurrans was choking him. He managed to say with great efforts, “Mr. Nendem, I would like to . . . to protest, Sir. We are in a Crisis Condition and the Council cannot demote me.”
     Jeolan smiled with pity at the man, then said, “We are indeed in a severe Crisis Condition Mr. Angude but, somehow, you forgot to declare the Status of Crisis for the entire Allied Worlds.”
     Mr. Angude cried, “I declare it now!”
     Jeolan replied in a firm voice, “It is too late for you, Mr. Angude. Besides, I doubt that you can get enough votes to make it Official.”
     “The Official Status of Crisis—” started the President.
     Jeolan interrupted him angrily, “That is precisely the reason we demote you, Mr. Angude! You did not handle the present situation of the Allied Worlds with the required energy. Please, step down and allow us to continue our work, otherwise you will be thrown out for misconduct, Sir!”

     Mr. Bundabe Angude rose from the privileged chair, then he walked to his Delegate seat. He was very scared. The Hurran Fleet needed about fifteen equ. days to arrive into the Norghe System, and he was unprotected . . . but still a Delegate . . . And if he managed to survive, somehow . . . he was going to take his revenge!

     Jeolan continued with the second part of his assignment; he said, “Now, Honorable Delegates, we need a young, energetic spirit to take the Presidential Chair of the Allied Worlds in such a dire time of a crisis. We need a courageous person to defend wisely our Confederation, therefore I propose the candidature of Dr. Najé Xallas, the Delegate of the Free Democratic Republic Xallas.
     For those of you, Gentlemen, who are in doubt about the legitimacy of this candidature, I would like to inform you that we have studied all the regulations thoroughly, and they do allow to any Delegate to take the Presidential Chair, with no specifications as to the Official Status of that Delegate. Please vote, Gentlemen.”

     That time there were ten votes for, one undeclared, and four against. None of the sixteen Official Secretaries to the Council came with objections to the legitimacy of the nomination, therefore the change was registered as official.
     Jeolan continued, “Your Excellency, Dr. Xallas, please come and take the vacant Chair of President Delegate.”
     Najé had followed the entire procedure attentively. He was very glad he had Jeolan on his side, because politics was simply flowing through man’s veins! Jeolan Nendem had the right attitude, the required boldness, and the perfect profile for his mission.
     He walked to the Presidential Chair, then said, “Thank you Honorable Delegates for your vote of confidence. I declare Official the Status of Crisis throughout the Allied Worlds, due to the current Hurran Invasion situation. Therefore, I suspend any further Meetings of this Council, and all Delegates and their Governs shall function at my disposition only.”

     Najé asked that all ten Delegates of their group to meet in the cafeteria on floor forty-two. He was guarded by all Security Forces in the Council Building and throughout the Allied Worlds because, by declaring the Crisis Status, he became the only official ruling power.
     The cafeteria had been evacuated; guards were posted everywhere, and a handful of trusted personnel were waiting in attendance. All Delegates of their group found comfortable places to seat, in a general circle arrangement, then Najé said, “Gentlemen, thank you for your support. First, I want you to know that the time to fight the Hurran Invader has come. All that the Allied Worlds has left, as its last Defense Force, is Norghe System and you, Gentlemen. Now, we are going to win this fight together.
     To start, I would like that each of you shall address to me by my given name only, Najé. The time for etiquette is past, Gentlemen. We are all soldiers fighting for the same cause, on the same front. I nominate Jeolan as my Official Successor, in case I shall be missing, or if I disappear. He, in turn, will nominate one of you as his Successor, and then each of you should do the same.
     We are going to start operating in groups of action, on four main objectives. The number one priority is the fight against the Hurran Invader, and I shall personally take care of this problem. Number two is the actual panic crisis, plus the deterioration of our social life. Jeolan and some of you will work on measures that must inspire trust, security, and order to the people.
     The next objective is to deceive the enemy. We believe the Hurrans have informers inside the Council itself. The Council shall never meet again with all Delegates: it will function only in the formation we are gathered now. However, the enemy must not suspect that we are prepared to enterprise anything more than keeping the order, and to bargain for an honorable surrender. Please, start spreading these rumors, and do not trust anybody outside this circle.
     Finally, Gentlemen, those of you who can, please contact your Governments to start intensive preparations for a counteroffensive in the Kugh and Ancen Systems, in the strictest secret possible—”
     The Delegates interrupted Najé, since they all started to cheer and to applaud him for his last words. Najé thanked them, then he went on debating the action groups composition, and their specific duties. Later, he and Jeolan had a long private discussion.
     In the evening Raika came to him and they had dinner together in his suite. Following, they went to the Study Room, as usual, to savor refreshing drinks, to relax, and to discuss the plans for the next day.
     She inquired, “Do you intend to move into the Presidential quarters?”
     “Naah, I feel perfectly comfortable here, Raika.”
     She protested, “You make our lives hell, Najé! This place is so full of Security that, after ten steps, there is always someone around to scan us and to check permissions again and again!”
     “I know that things are a bit difficult, Raika, but it is not going to last for too long. Besides, I have to leave for a few days from time to time.”
     “Do you want me to accompany you?” asked Raika with a lot of innocent hope in her stunning bright-green irises.
     Najé realized that he was constantly monitoring her eyes, and her complexion, trying to discover in due time her true feelings, in order to help her in whichever way possible. He admired her intensely for a few brief moments, then he replied smiling kindly at her, “I would be very glad if you do it, Raika.”
     “Thank you, Najé, I like very much to travel—Oh! I forgot to congratulate you for your nomination. I am still very much impressed that you made it!”
     “Thank you, Raika. As you can see, our plans are drawing closer to conclusion.”
     She asked doubtfully, “Do you still think you can win?”
     “Please, use the pronoun ‘we’ when you talk about our fight, Raika. Yes, I think we can win, but in a few days I will know for certain,” assured Najé.
     She objected, “My role was a minor one; almost insignificant.”
     He explained caringly, “Given the importance of this fight, there are no minor roles, My Dear.”
     “Thank you, Najé. You are very generous,” said Raika, and she smiled ironically at him.
     “No, Raika, it is just the plain truth. By the way; while I shall be gone on my mission, a few days from now, I would like you to be in Gorkun City, with my people.”
     “What mission is that, Najé? You never mentioned anything about missions to me,” wondered Raika in a reproachful tone.
     “I have to meet with the Hurran Arch-Commissioner, together with Jeolan Nendem, to offer him our Unconditional Surrender—” started Najé to explain.
     She interrupted him, appearing to be surprised, “Oh! You do not take me with you?”
     Najé protested, “Oh, come on, Raika! That is not quite the proper place for a Lady.”
     She looked at him straight into his eyes for a few moments, then she explained, “I know you are a good psychologist, Najé, therefore listen to this. I think the more diverse and innocent your group appears to the Hurrans, the more you shall calm down their suspicions. My opinion is this: one person is suspicious; two are a little less; but three are just right.”
     Najé considered her idea. From the psychological point of view she was right; however, that mission was way too dangerous for her. He replied cautiously, “I cannot ask you to do that, Raika.”
     She wondered, “Is there another Lady around who deserves it more than I do?”
     He replied looking troubled, “No, Raika, this has nothing to do with deserving it or not. That mission is just too dangerous for you.”
     “Because I am a woman?” asked Raika quickly with a beginning of irritation.
     Najé had no intention to argue with her, therefore he replied with little energy, “No . . . yes.”
     “Aha! I knew it Najé Xallas! You consider women to be the inferior gender!” concluded Raika using an accusing voice and pointing at him with a superb, though incriminating finger.
     He protested defensively, “How can you say that, Raika? I respect you very, very much.”
     She explained, “Respect is one thing, and it could be generated by a good education; consideration is different, since it is generated by personal beliefs.”
     Najé replied perplexed, “Wow! I had no idea you were such a good psychologist.”
     She snapped back caustically, “You are not the only one around here who has a doctorate title, Najé Xallas, and mine happens to be in Psychology. How do you think I got this job? With my father’s money?”
     “Now, wait a minute, Raika; money means nothing to me. They help me save the Allied Worlds this time, and then I shall get rid of it. You will see,” promised Najé.
     “That would be a real wonder to see, Najé Xallas,” said Raika smiling disbelievingly.
     Najé replied only with a superior, a bit mysterious smile, and by nodding a few times.
     Her ironic smile changed slowly to a confused expression, then she said, “All right then; if you win the fight against the Hurrans, and if you do what you said, I . . .” said Raika, and then she stopped because she didn’t know how to repay Najé for her conditions. Nothing she could offer seemed to be worth much . . . except maybe . . .
     “What?” asked Najé while watching her attentively, with a trace of hope in his eyes.
     “I shall marry you,” finished Raika, then she began adding a lot of red color shades on her tanned cheeks. She was well aware that her offer was of not much value for him, though it meant everything to her. On the other hand, their chances to marry were close to impossible.
     Najé remained stunned by the news for some time. Her deal was a fantastic opportunity to become very good friends, and even a lot more! He had considered he needed at least one equ. year of friendship relations before making any attempt of proposal. When he recovered, he asked with doubt, “Are you joking, Raika?”
     “Are you?” replied Raika defiantly.
     “No. If we manage to win the fight with the Hurrans, I intend to do as I promised: I shall start giving the money away . . . The only thing is, I do not want to taint my father’s memory; I want his money to reach exactly where they are needed most.”
     “Then you have my word, Najé Xallas. This is, of course, if you want it—”
     He rushed to confess, “I do, Raika, I do! I fell in love with you the very first time I saw you!”
     She looked at him with indignation, then said, “Please, do not be that impatient, Mr. Xallas! I need to see little action first.”
     He protested in a pleading tone of voice, “But, Raika, do you have any idea how much the money is? I am going to be a very old man when I finish them all.”
     She replied in a firm voice, “Action, Najé Xallas! I intend to marry a man capable of supporting his wife and children by means of his honest work: a true man!”
     He rushed to assure her with great confidence, “I am that man, Raika, and I am going to prove it to you!”
     She watched him inquisitively for a few moments, with a lot of doubt in her beautiful eyes, then she said in a dry voice, “Good. Then we have a deal.”
     “You are joking, Raika, but I take all these very seriously—” started Najé.
     “Me too, Najé. If you win the fight against the Hurrans, you will be a hero for the entire Allied Worlds. Then, if you give your money to poor people, you will become a very good man for everybody. To me, you will prove to be a true man. What more could a woman ask for?”
     He said timidly, “There is a small problem, Raika . . .”
     “Problem! What problem? The Hurrans?” asked Raika surprised, and a little scared of the possible perspective.
     “No, the money . . . You see, I am afraid they come in faster than I shall be able to give them away,” confessed Najé troubled.
     “I am certain you can think of something,” replied Raika with caustic irony.
     “Yes, I do. How about you take care of them?” proposed Najé enthusiastically, with lots of hopes in his eyes.
     “I do not want to touch the sweat and the blood of billions of poor—” started Raika with dignity.
     He protested, “Oh, come on, Raika, I haven’t exploited anybody!”
     “I wouldn’t know, Najé Xallas,” said Raika, while watching him with exaggerated doubt.
     He paused for a few moments, then he started in an insinuating tone of voice, “Soo, you do not dare to do the merciful Lady work, to bring happiness to the needy—”
     “Najé Xallas!” exclaimed Raika shocked.
     He continued, “It is all right, My Dear. Let the MAN do ALL the hard work.”
     “Ah, you are twisting my arm, Najé!” protested Raika with irritation.
     “No, My Dear, not at all. I just want to be fair, and I expect that you will share the burden, and the responsibility—”
     “All right, Najé Xallas! What is your proposal?” asked Raika while watching him with genuine suspicion.
     He explained enthusiastically, “I say, we marry as soon as we finish with the Hurrans. Then, we start together a massive campaign of helping all the people of the Allied Worlds, beginning with those who need help most.”
     She replied thoughtfully, “The only objection I have is . . . you are rather quick to marry.”
     He protested, “Raika, I am not a young bachelor anymore, My Dear!” then he motivated, “I want to have little power left in my arms to hold my own children.”
     She watched him critically up and down, then she said simulating compassion, “Well, I must admit that your objection is valid, Najé. Poor you, you do not look very well. I think I should take over some of your tasks, to ease the burden—”
     He continued as if he didn’t hear her, “Besides, you are not quite very young yourself, My Dear. If we do not marry as quickly as we can, we may never enjoy the happiness of being parents—”
     “Najé Xallas!” exclaimed Raika deeply shocked.
     “What?” asked Najé defensively, slightly scared of her reaction.
     She decided, “That does it!”
     “Does it what?” asked Najé beginning to be very scared.
     “I do not know exactly. I have to think about it,” explained Raika while watching him suspiciously.
     He felt relieved, therefore he rushed to ask in a gentle voice, “What is there to think about, My Dear?”
     “I started having serious doubts about your sanity,” confessed Raika.
     “My sanity! I just love you, Raika; what could be insane in this?” motivated Najé perplexed.
     “A man who goes by himself against a Fleet of enemy ships cannot be a sane parent for his future children,” explained Raika in a serious tone.
     “Aha! I know what you are trying to do—you are not going!” decided Najé in a perplexed attitude.
     “If you treat me that way, Najé Xallas, I shall never marry you!” replied Raika with irritation.
     He tried to reason with her, “Please, Raika, be reasonable! That is a men’s job—”
     “Good night, Mr. Xallas,” said Raika, then she rose from her seat.
     “Wait, Raika, please do not leave! Let me think for a while, will you?” asked Najé pleadingly.
     “Say it!” demanded Raika nervously.
     “Maybe there is a way—” started Najé hesitantly.
     “Yes!” triumphed Raika.
     “Now, why don’t we relax a little, My Dear? How about a dance?” asked Najé with bright hopes in his eyes.
     She replied in a firm voice, “I am sorry, Najé, but I am very tired. Besides, it would not be appropriate: we are still at War. See you tomorrow.”
     “But, Raika . . .” managed Najé disappointedly.
     She was gone, and Najé thought that she was such a different Lady . . . very smart . . . and so full of spirit! Later, he thought again about how was it possible that she was not married already. Maybe she didn’t want to . . .
     “What a wonderful Lady! She is the nicest Lady I have ever met . . . A true Lady, no doubt about that . . . and the most beautiful one! And from now on she is MY LADY! Ha, haa!” he thought, and then he went to bed happier than ever before in his entire life.



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