Ares Chronicles: What Comes After - Chapter 1: A Silent Approach

What Comes After

Chapter I: A Silent Approach

If one's eyes are well adjusted to darkness, one may be able to see several figures standing in this small, dark, and damp room. The figures stand in a straight line facing the doors. Their shining light bulb-like eyes offer the only evidence that these figures are actually alive as they flicker from time to time.

They seem to be waiting in anticipation. They are staring at the doors.

A few moments later, the doors slid open silently. Several other dark figures entered this room quickly, forming a semi-circle facing the line. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. Nine for the semi-circle. Nine for the line.

"The Oracle Committee is present." said one among the semi-circle.

"Everything did go according to schedule," said one among the line slowly. "But I must admit some uneasiness about this stage in our plans. Are you sure the fish will take the bait?"

"It is in their nature."

"But the losses among our people..."

"No pains, no gains."

"The Oracle was designed to prevent future Salrilian deaths. Yet-"

"Considering the prize, I would say that the price is cheap."

The director was silent.

Slowly, the center director said:

"Well then."

"How do you suggest that we approach the humans?" asked one director.

"Like we usually do. With stealth."

The Admiral-in-Chief of the United Nations of Sol Navy, Dennis Gray is on his way to an important meeting, escorted by several of his aides.

As the commander of the UNS Apollo and later the UNS Ares (now in a museum), Admiral Gray earned the complete trust of his men and his captain with his devotion to his duties. During the war to regain Earth, Gray was assigned as the human liaison to the Ishimans. Although he lacked combat experience prior to the beginning of the war, he was a quick learner. Ishimans were often impressed by his ability to understand military logistics quickly. Gray was responsible for supplying the assault force that led the crew of Ares from Ishima to Earth. For that, once the captain of Ares was elected as the president of the UNS, he appointed his loyal commander as the admiral-in-chief of the UNS Navy.

Although the admiral doesn't consider himself to be a diplomat or even an administrator, his previous post as a liaison between the crew of the UNS Ares and the Ishimans won him praise from his commanding officer who believed that his skills as a liaison will be invaluable during strategy planning sessions with the allies of the UNS.

The meeting he is about to attend includes representatives from the Ishiman Stellar Protectorate, the Bazidanese Star League, the Elejeetian Empire, and Obain.

The destruction of the Cantharan gate ship and the liberation of Earth created a deep impression among all the great inter-stellar powers. Now that the Cantharan navy has been isolated in its own star systems, what needs to be decided is whether to pursue them or to contain them.

Other matters that need to be discussed in this meeting include an alliance among the 5 states. Although Obain expressed interest in such an alliance, they also forwarded a stipulation that the great powers must discuss. In addition, these great powers must also decide on the Gaitori Union's peace proposal.

Finally, there is the question of the Salrilians and the Audemedons. They have been virtually silent ever since the Cantharan defeat at Earth. How the victorious powers will handle the Salrilians and the Audemedons is another important agenda item.

As soon as Gray enters the meeting room, the representatives, who were chatting amongst themselves before he came in, immediately became silent.

After a brief exchange of introductions, the admiral went right into the business at hand.

"Gentlemen, I'm sure we are all very clear about the agenda at hand. I suggest that we start with the Gaitori peace proposal."

The Obish delegate motioned to be recognized.

"Yes, Mr. Pren."

"I suggest that we discuss the issue of alliance first before we move onto the Gaitori proposal."

Of course, Admiral Gray was already warned about this Obish maneuver.

"I don't believe that will be necessary, Mr. Pren. Many among us want to settle our differences with the Gaitori Union first before we deal with the Cantharan affair. Is there any other objections?"

The representatives were silent.

"Very well. Then we should start with the Gaitori peace proposal. The Gaitori propose that in exchange for peace, they are willing to sever their Mutual Goodwill Agreement with the Cantharan Order. In addition, they are also willing to sign a Non-Aggression Pact with the Ishiman Stellar Protectorate, the Bazidanese Star League, the Elejeetian Empire, and the United Nations of Sol. In the event that any of these states goes to war against the Cantharan Order, the Audemedon Axis, and/or the Salrilians, the Gaitori Union will remain neutral. Is there any objections to this proposal?"

The Elejeetian representative spoke slowly:

"I think we can all agree that the Gaitori Union is not our primary concern right now."

The representatives nodded although Mr. Pren's face was one of disapproval.

"Very well. Then we will respond as a body that we will make peace with the Gaitori Union."

After a slight pause, the admiral continued:

"Now, the alliance proposal. The Ishiman Stellar Protectorate, the Bazidanese Star League, the Elejeetian Empire, and the United Nations of Sol have already drafted and signed a preliminary agreement. Now Obain wishes to join this alliance. But they also wish to attach a stipulation. Mr. Pren, will you please summarize the stipulation for us?"

"Gladly. Obain would like to reserve the right to maintain a neutral position in the event that the alliace is the aggressor."

"Mr. Pren," said the Bazidanese delegate. "Isn't that contrary to the very spirit of the alliance?"

"We do not believe so. We believe that the alliance should be an instrument of peace, instead of one for war. That is why we must request all of you to endorse this stipulation."

"Mr. Pren," said the Ishiman representative. "The achievements or failings of an alliance relies on its members, not on its rules. None of us here can be characterized as aggressor states. The alliance rules merely express the spirit of the alliance."

"In that case, I'm sure that including this stipulation won't have any noticeable impact."

"I disagree," said Admiral Gray. "As Mr. She'vok of the Bazidanese Star League suggested, I also believe that the Obish stipulation is contrary to the spirit of the alliance."

He quickly added:

"I think you can see, Mr. Pren, that there is no support for the Obish stipulation. Does anyone disagree with this evaluation?"

The representatives were silent.

"As you can see, Mr. Pren, we cannot accept the Obish stipulation. Therefore we are back to where we started and I must ask this question: Is Obain willing to sign the alliance treaty without the Obish stipulation?"

Mr. Pren considered for a while before answering:


"Thank you. I believe I speak for everyone when I say that we will be pleased to see you at the signing ceremony officially sealing this alliance."

Mr. Pren nodded.

"Now, our next matter at hand is how to deal with the Cantharans. Our commander-in-chief's position is very clear and I will reiterate it. The United Nations of Sol votes to continue to press our advantage."

"You mean attack?" said the Ishiman delegate.

"Yes. We cannot allow the Order to resume its aggression 5 years from now. We must press our advantage while we have it. Besides, the Order hasn't even pleaded for peace. There is no reason why we should volunteer to make peace."

"I must say that I am uncomfortable with this position," commented Mr. She'vok. "What does it say about the alliance that after its formation, its first line of business is to attack?"

"Normally, I would agree with you," said the Elejeetian delegate. "However, I think we have all been harmed by Cantharan aggression over the years. Our cause is just."

"Even so, we have been at war for far too long," said the Ishiman delegate. "Our peoples deserve a respite from constant warfare."

"But how long will that respite last?" asked the admiral. "5 years from now, the Cantharans will most certainly renew their attacks. Why not give our peoples a much longer rest by asking them to fight just a little longer right now? If we can completely cripple Cantharan power, then we will enjoy a much more lasting rest."

The Ishiman delegate was silent.

"The Elejeetian Empire votes to approve the offensive."

"Is there any objections?"

The room was silent.

"Very well. Our forces will soon go on the offensive."

"What of the Audemedons and the Salrilians?" asked Mr. She'vok.

"They haven't made any moves yet," said the admiral. "We'll see how they act when we resume our offensive. If they choose to remain dormant, we will leave them alone. If they decide to oppose us... Well, all I can say is that the battles at Lalande and Thasero proved that they are not invincible. We will defeat them again."

"Especially now that their Cantharan ally has been gravely weakened," added the Elejeetian representative. "Even if they mount a defense for the Cantharans, their effectiveness is very much in doubt."

Mr. She'vok was silent.

"The victory at Lalande was a costly one," stated the Ishiman representative.

"Yes. However, it was a victory nonetheless. Moreover, the Cantharans navy is now isolated and segmented. We can apply overwhelming force to defeat their individual fleets." countered Gray.

"Since we decided to take the initiative," said the Ishiman representative. "I suggest that we send a scout ship to determine the strength of Cantharan forces in each system before we launch an offensive."


"In addition," Gray added. "My government would like to ask the Ishiman Stellar Protectorate to loan your shipyard in the Fansi System to us. Our ship construction has been slow and we wish that by using your equipment and observing your construction techniques, we can increase our efficiency."

"I don't see a problem in this. However, I do have to report back to my government to get a formal approval."

"Of course. Now, Mr. She'vok, my government..."

By the time Admiral Gray re-entered his house, it was midnight.

The meeting went on and on, covering practically every issue. Admiral Gray disliked such minutiae. He shuddered at the thought that tomorrow, members of the Foreign Ministry will be meeting with their counterparts to discuss trade deals. He marvel at some people's ability to discuss everything ranging from tons of metal to the export of grain while keeping their sanity intact.

The admiral preferred to delegate such minutiae to his subordinates. Yet, he also knows that it is important to cultivate friendship among the influential circles in foreign governments.

The admiral tip-toed to the kitchen, not wanting to disturb his w-

What wife? She's been dead for more than 100 years! The admiral smiled at the thought, although that smile was more bitter than sweet. She died under the Cantharan occupation. The exact circumstances are unknown.

He poured some Ishiman tea into his cup (He developed a taste for it.) and then walked to the balcony, staring at the outside world.

There are still lights in the city. Occasionally, shuttles take off and land in the distance.

The admiral took a sip of the tea and looked into the sky. Other than a few moving lights which are no doubt lights from shuttles, the sky is clear and full of stars.

It is still incredible for the admiral to think that many of those stars are inhabited. Some friendly, some not. Some known, others mysterious. Some of them still lives under Cantharan administration.

If he had been living on Earth just a year ago, many of these stars will be flying the Cantharan banner. Due to the efforts of the Ishimans, their allies, and the crew of Ares, many of these have been freed.

But how many more remain imprisoned? The Menaetheans, the Vorzelians, the Zenaiyens,... and so many others. The Cantharan crusades took a long time before it was finally halted. No doubt it will take a long time to roll it back.


The admiral immediately turned back. The sound came from the living room.

"Who's there!"

No answer.

The admiral quietly put down his cup and drew out his disrupter. Within seconds, he moved like a cat, quietly slipping back into the living room.

Then he saw what made that sound and the sight of it stopped him dead at his tracks.

It was a pendant.

Not just any pendant, from the picture, he could tell it was the pendant that he gave to her the day he left in the UNS Apollo.

He walked to the table, completely oblivious of hidden danger, and picked it up.

There was no longer any doubts. It was in his hands. He stared at the picture. Not much has changed. Except that the former owner has turned into ashes. Even the location of her grave (if she had one) was unknown.

He slowly put the pendant around his neck, trying to imagine that it once hung around her neck. How many times had she opened it? Did she wear it while takeing a shower? Did she take it off when she went to bed? Was she wearing it when the Cantharans dragged her off to one of their concentration camps? Was she-

That was when the admiral saw a dark figure leaning against the wall. His alertness back in full swing, he pointed a weapon at the figure.

But before he spoke, that figure said:

"Strange gesture, coming from someone who just received a gift."

"Who are you?"

"A friend."

"That's not good enough."

"It'll have to do."

"All right, who are you with?"

"I hope I am with a friend."

Then the figure took a step towards him and said:

"I hope you won't mind if I sit down."

Before the admiral can reply, the figure sat down on a chair.

That was when the admiral, through the dim moonlight, was able to determine that this figure is a Salrilian.

"How did you get in here?"

"Please Mr. Gray, there is no need for weapons between civilized people. Besides, do you truly think that I will expose myself to a potential hostage situation? I can assure you, your weapon had been disabled right after you walked in the door."

That was when the admiral took a glimpse of his weapon and realized that inexplicably, the weapon's energy indicator was dark.

"I can still call security."

"Of course you can. But I can assure you, by the time they arrive, I'd be gone already. Besides, aren't you even the slightest bit curious about why I'm here?"

"I'm not interested in why you're here."

"Really? Not even interested in the whereabouts of your wife?"

"If you think you can exploit a dead person, you're gravely mistaken."

"What makes you think she's dead?"

"It's been more than a hundred years. She-"

"Admiral, never underestimate Salrilian technology."

"So, should I assume that you're going to call her out now?"

"Of course not. After all, she's been dead for more than a hundred years."

" just said..."

"I asked you not to underestimate our technology. I didn't say she's alive."

The admiral doesn't wish to dwell further on this topic.

"Why are you here? Trying to kidnap me, perhaps?"

"I can assure you, admiral, that's not my field of expertise. Besides, if I want to kidnap you, you'd be on a Salrilian ship on your way to Salril by now. No, I'm here to make you an offer."

"And what possible offer do you think might interest me?"

"A gate ship, perhaps?"

"A gate ship?"

"Let's face it, admiral. You're in a dire situation here. Your navy relies upon the good will of the Ishimans to be transported from star system to star system. Otherwise, you'll have to rely on jump gates. As you well know, construction of them takes so long as to be inconvenient. In addition, if an enemy attacks one of your colonies and destroys the jump gate, what will you do? By the time your fleet reaches the colony, it would've been destroyed a long time ago."

"And I take it that the Salrilians will be magnanimous enough to build one for us?"

"Of course not. Charity is not in the Salrilian dictionary. What we propose is an alliance."

"An alliance?"

"Yes. In exchange, we will provide the United Nations of Sol with a gate ship. Plus training of a human crew to operate it at no extra charge."

The admiral considered for a moment. Then he answered:


"No? Admiral, need I remind you that this is an opportunity of a life time? We don't make these offers to many people, you know? And a gate ship is not something you can purchase at the open market."

"The Ishimans will build one for us."

"Are you so certain? After all, they have already shown reluctance in lending you the services of their gate ship. What makes you think that they will construct one for you?"

"We're allies."

"I see."

The Salrilian paused for a while before continuing:

"In that case, I wish you the best of luck and hope that your faith in your ally isn't misplaced."

Report to Steering Committee

Initial contact went according to expectations. Waiting to proceed to second stage.

- Dr. Lurith, Division of Psychological Warfare, Military Directorate

- htjyang

nice story!

This post has been edited by Patrick : 25 September 2007 - 02:50 PM

Looking good so far.

"You can get much further with kind words and a loaded gun than you can with kind words alone."
- Al Capone

more insomnia htjyang?


Hope so. I liked What comes before! 🙂

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
-Alduran Outlaw Rick Blazer


Originally posted by Pyro:
**more insomnia htjyang?


Thankfully, no. For your information, I don't enjoy insomnias. I survive them.

No, this is just a welcome diversion from my busy routines.

"Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam"

This is already better then its predecessor, thus giving me an even higher level to aim for. However, rather than compete with you, we may strike a deal. Expect an email from me soon.

Ugh, don't take this as offense, but your story caused me to scrap mine....

Oh well, keep up the good work.


(This message has been edited by Avatara (edited 11-13-2000).)

Wait a second... I just dug this up:


Originally posted by htjyang on September 30th:
And just in case anyone has any funny ideas about what my next chronicle will be titled, it will not be called "What Comes After." (I admit, I'm not the most creative person when it comes to selecting titles, just look at the title for the final part. But you do have to give me some credit...)

Mind explaining? 🙂


(quote)Originally posted by Avatara:
**Mind explaining?

(quote)Originally posted by Avatara:
**Ugh, don't take this as offense, but your story caused me to scrap mine....


I see, the despicable quality of my story compels you to withdraw yours. You simply cannot stomach the thought that your masterpiece will be displayed on the same board as mine. I can understand that. No offense taken. None whatsoever.

"Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam"

(quote)Originally posted by htjyang:
**I see, the despicable quality of my story compels you to withdraw yours. You simply cannot stomach the thought that your masterpiece will be displayed on the same board as mine. I can understand that. No offense taken. None whatsoever.;)


They're good, except the tenses are sorta mixed. Woud you mind terrible if I edited your future Chronicles?

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
-Alduran Outlaw Rick Blazer

Great! What Comes After!. Brilliant start htyjang! 🙂



Originally posted by Slug:
**They're good, except the tenses are sorta mixed. Woud you mind terrible if I edited your future Chronicles?


Only if such changes were approved by me before they were posted.

I hope you can understand a writer's impulse to protect his work.

"Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam"

Great story htjyang! Keep up the good 'ol writing skills!

To Escape Velocity: Nova and Beyond!

Hey, how'd you get those words to be red, green, and aqua? HTML coding?

To Escape Velocity: Nova and Beyond!

yes (trying out html...)

just take my post, and imagine everything is speeled right.
nickel count: 6


Originally posted by Pyro:
**yes (trying out html...)

Ah. You mean like this?

To Escape Velocity: Nova and Beyond!

(Trying out sig with HTML)

(This message has been edited by Captain Carnotaur (edited 11-30-2000).)

(This message has been edited by Captain Carnotaur (edited 11-30-2000).)

When will Part 2 come out?

To Escape Velocity: Nova and Beyond!
Millennium. Its coming, prepare for it.
Coming to the (url="http://"")EV Chronicles(/url).

I apologize for the long delay. I've been incredibly busy lately.

However, I got some free time coming up. With luck, chapter 2 (and maybe 3) will be released within 2 weeks.

"Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam"