Robert sat in the view room overlooking the great circular
meeting room divided into three sections. Each section had a
different flag settled behind the chair stationed at it; each of
the flags represented the three great fleets of Earth. Robert
laughed to himself, this was only the second fleet conference
since the invention of the Faster than Light Stardrive over
eighty years ago. The first had signified the end of the last
Great War and the beginning of this sustained cold war between
the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics. Back on Earth the States and the Union were locked in
stalemate over more than half of the Earths remaining oil supply.
But for space exploration all unions that were capable created
their own organization, the USA created the United States Defence
Fleet dedicated to the defence of the USA from orbital attack
from the USSR who retaliated with the creation of the Socialist
Republic Exploration Fleet. Within the first five years of the
creation of the two forces, war was once again on the horizon. To
keep the peace the European Union created its own space force the
European Task Fleet. This third force called for the first
conference which was a huge success and both of the other forces
set about their own goals. But with war staring the human race in
the face once again the ETF had called for the second conference
on the Mars colony of Galileo, Mars being the only place of
neutral human territory. Robert laughed to himself again, just
who was he explaining this all too. The viewing room was starting
fill up with journalists as the starting time for the conference
drew near. It took less than seven minutes for the entire room -
and several others like it - to be filed. Robert was right at the
front of his room with a clear view of the conference centre.
An entirety seemed to pass before the delegates and a fourth man,
the mediator, entered the wide space. The delegates took their
seats at their respective positions whilst the fourth man move to
the back of the room to a chair which was not dissimilar to an
old judges stand back in the twentieth century. As all of the
journalists fell silent the mediator stood up to begin the
"I would like to welcome you all," the mediator spoke his
Japanese accent quite strong, "to the second major Fleet
conference. Here we will settle the more recent arguments amongst
the Fleets and hopefully avoid more war."
There was a unanimous nod from all three Fleet delegates, the
mediator spoke again.
"Representing the United States Defence Fleet, we have Fleet
Admiral Donald Merrit." The man seated in front of the USDF flag
raised his head slightly at the mention of his name.
"For the Socialist Republic Exploration Fleet, we have Fleet
Admiral MarijaPavliha, and representing the European Task Fleet,
Fleet Admiral Nathan Anderson."
Neither of the other admirals reacted to their name being called.
After finishing his speech the Mediator sat back down in his
seat, there was a silence that only lasted a few seconds but felt
like a life time. Admiral Merrit rose to his feet. Robert noticed
the Admirals stance; the six foot tall tank was shifting his
weight constantly from left to right as he began to speak.
"I am here for one reason only today. That is to demand the
return of Colony-One, from the SREF." The American man was
growing in confidence. "It was attacked and occupied by their
forces as it passed the Titan research Facility, and..."
He was interrupted by the SREF Admiral.
"Proof," she screamed, "where is your proof."
Sensing this could continue for some time Robert closed his eyes
and drifted off to sleep.
He awoke when the young female reported jabbed him in the side,
he looked at her, and she smiled back.
"What did I miss?" Robert asked her looking into the main
conference hall to see the USDF and SREF admirals arguing,
"Fighting again are they."
"No, this is still the same argument," the younger girl next to
him replied, "It has been going on for hours now, the ETF admiral
is yet to get a word in edgeways."
Robert was disappointed to learn that nothing had changed in the
hours that he had been asleep. The other reporters loved this.
There story would prove the Fleets inability to work together and
delay space exploration again. There was a loud noise as someone
cleared their throat, silence feel as everyone including the
bickering Admirals looked around to see who it had been. The
European Admiral rose to his feet he was not as tall as the other
two but seemed to have a much bigger presence.
"Grow up you two," he yelled at the other Admiral, "It's like
listening to an old married couple. I am going to retire for the
day; I suggest you both do the same. We will continue tomorrow in
a more civilised manner."
With his piece said the Admiral bowed to the mediator and left
the conference hall, both of the remaining Admirals looked at
each other then followed suit. The mediator dropped his head into
his hands, and then proceeded to leave as well.
All the reporters and journalists began to pack up and leave the
moment the mediator left the conference hall. Robert went to
stand up preparing to leave before he got caught up in the exodus
of the press, when a hand grabbed his sleeve, he turned to see
the young reporter who had been sitting next to him.
"Can I ask your name?" She asked
"Robert Fletcher" Robert responded. "Yours?"
"Rachael Arroway. You're not he captain of the Destiny by any
"I was Captain of the Destiny, yes."
"The Captain of the Destiny! I don't believe it, can I interview
you about the conference?"
"Only if you let me treat you to dinner?" He smiled as he asked.
"Sure, if you promise exclusive."
"It's a deal; I take it your staying in the Earth Rise Hotel."
"There is no other hotel on Mars."
"Then I'll pick you up at 8 in the lobby and take you to the best
restaurant on the planet."