The ten primary members of the New World Alliance sat around a table made of dark wood. Commander Liakos took a long drag on his half charred cigar. He hoped it would calm his nerves. The people who sat before him were incredibly intimidating in their own right. Most of them had assumed their offices of power within the last week. The Nuclear war had taken it’s toll, leaving most the top positions in their respective nations to be filled by new faces.
“Who are you?” Tariq Ghazini, the new leader of Pakistan said with a characteristic accent. Since most could speak at least some English that was the language that they used for the meeting. Liakos had to speak through a translator since he had never learned the most western of tongues.
He could feel the tension in the room. These ten heads of state had been dropping nuclear bombs on each other less than a week earlier. They were now sitting around a table. This could get ugly. For the moment everyone was behaving themselves.
“I am Achilles Liakos. I am Lord Zao’s first lieutenant.” He went pale at his own slip of the tongue. His subconscious insisted on placing the word Lord before his leader’s name. No matter how hard he tried to correct the strange habit he was unable.
“And why are we meeting with you instead of directly with Lord Zao?” Lynn Austin asked. She had recently become the commander in chief of the United States. She carried on the tradition of brash individualism that was expected of a president of the union. Liakos would normally wither before a strong willed woman, but he was determined to keep this meeting in order. Lord Zao had trusted it to him.
“Lord Zao is on a flight to Beijing. There is a weapon there that will shift the balance in our favor.” Liakos said as he nodded to Xiang Wu, the newly appointed leader of China.
Hoping that no more questions would be posed before he could make his speech, Liakos pushed back from his chair and stood. He tugged at the bottom of his uniform jacket; not yet used to being dressed so formally. Although he liked the position of power he had been given, he often wished to return to the solitude of his boat. He addressed those around the table in a proper tone that felt strange for a man of the sea.
“The world is coming apart at the rivets. We must grow the strength of this alliance to ensure—”
“What is rivets?” Ali Omid Rashidi, the dictator of Iran asked. Not a native English speaker, he was apparently struggling to understand the figure of speech.
“A desert dwelling terrorist wouldn’t understand. The civilized world has something called a boat. They float on the top of water. It would probably seem like magic to you,” Malakhi Rutenberg, the prime minister of Israel said in a slow, insulting tone, as if talking to a child.
Both Lyosha Reznikov of Russia, and the Iranian Dictator stood and began shouting. Rutenberg sat and stared at them with a smug look on his face. Liakos watched as the meeting disintegrated before his eyes. Avery Black, the minister from the UK was now trying to calm the situation, but it was only making it worse.
It occurred to Liakos that this meeting was his own responsibility. Lord Zao had trusted him to place an important idea in the heads of these world leaders. At the moment it seemed impossible to lead them in the direction they needed to go. To make things more difficult, Lord Zao had insisted that Liakos make them feel like it was their own idea. As the room erupted with shouts and explosions of anger he flipped a switch in his mind.
Liakos thundered in a tone that he had rarely if ever used in his life. He slammed his hands down on the table, which tossed nearby cups of coffee, or whatever these inbred desert nincompoops were drinking, to the floor. Liakos unleashed a firestorm from his mouth that was sure the singe the eyebrows of all who were near enough to be burned.
“How dare you descend into this disgracious dispute, despite everything that Lord Zao has done. You’ve mistaken this table for one of the worthless sand dunes that you endlessly lob mortar shells over. This council will be respected with the proper decorum. You’ve been invited into a hallowed alliance. If you can’t respect the office that you’ve been given, I have no problem removing a head of state, by removing yours from your shoulders.”
Liakos had everyone’s attention. He saw fear and surprise in the eyes of those who sat around the table. He wondered if his own eyes were as confused as theirs. What had come over him? He had spoken with such passion, poeticism, and poison that he could hardly believe that they had been his own words. He had just threatened to personally murder all the leaders of the ten nuclear capable nations, which was more than a little out of character for Liakos, even on a Monday. Before he realized it, his mouth was in motion again.
“If we are to survive as a species, we will have to work together,” Liakos said giving his statement a long moment to sink in. The tension in the room began to ease as the silence grew long.
“I believe we are ready to listen?” Chloé Legrand, President of France, said. Liakos turned to her and smiled.
“Thank you, Chloé.” Liakos straightened his uniform once again; he should have gotten a smaller size. His mouth took off as his mind was still considering his attire. “As you know, we were attacked yesterday by the alien force. More than a billion people worldwide were abducted.”
“When can we expect another attack?” Byung Hye Shin, North Korea’s supreme leader asked. The other’s around the table nodded to show that they also wanted to know the answer to that question.
“Lord Zao has informed me that this is a standard strategy that the Mad King uses. It’s meant to demoralize the enemy. Another abduction is possible, but Lord Zao believes that the next phase will be marked by a full military engagement.”
“How can we fight against such a powerful enemy?” Tariq Ghazini asked in his distinct Pakistani accent. Liakos was about to respond but Lyosha Reznikov of Russian stood and spoke. His words flew violently like sharp fricative daggers.
“We shift the gear to military production. World does not need more cars or cell phones. We need tanks, ships, and guns. Earth must become war machine if we want to survive. We show the Mad King that human race will live free,” Reznikov said.
Liakos was surprised at the speech. He held his breath thinking that the room might divide along sectarian lines again but a moment’s hesitation brought a shimmer of hope. Some strange magic was at play. Heads around the table began to nod. He felt a blanket of enthusiasm being laid over the room. Shashank Harjo raised his hand. Liakos gestured to him.
“India is starving. We are committed to this alliance, but we need resources.”
“Russia is also in difficult position. Our people are freezing. Many of cities have been destroyed by attacks.”
Liakos glanced around the room allowing anyone others to weigh in. UK’s prime minister said, “Nearly a fifth of our population was abducted. Another quarter will starve if we can’t rebuild our agriculture centers. With the ash in the atmosphere our scientists are saying it will take months for it to clear enough to grow anything.”
Lynn Austin added, “we’re in pretty much the same place. We have enough natural resources to supply this alliance, but we need time to get industry up and running again. We lost twenty three major cities, and the rest are in really bad shape.”
Liakos listened as they went around the table and explained the condition of each of their respective countries. Starvation, riots, and anarchy seemed to be the theme of the reports. In most nations there were even famines, earth quakes, tsunamis, and a whole host of nuclear war’s side affects. After each had explained their dire situation Liakos gathered their waning attention.
“The world is a bad place. Even if this threat had come at a time of peace and prosperity we would have been hard pressed to fight it off. As it is, the struggle will be that much more difficult.”
The room considered his words for a long few moments. He could feel them taking the bait. He was leading them toward this insidious idea, and they didn’t even realize it. Liakos turned his back on the council table and paced the length of the room. The tension built as he walked. The eyes of all those gathered there were on him.
“Is it possible that there are aliens among us? How do we know that they have not infiltrate our population?” Xiang Wu of China asked. Liakos spun around. This is what he had been waiting for. He wanted them to believe that they were in control, so he crafted a statement that would plant the idea into the fertile soil of their minds.
“It is a possibility,” He paused. “We are open to ideas on how to deal with this threat of infiltration.” Half the air was sucked out of the room with the chorus of gasps that followed.
“Is there a way to identify alien DNA?” Rutenberg of Israel asked.
“Lord Zao was identified easily enough. I was there when the medical examination was done.” Liakos let the statement sit in the air. He could see the wheels turning behind the eyes of these world leaders.
Chloé Legrand of France began to say, “Could we make medical examinations available—” but was cut of by the minister from Russian.
“Not ‘make available’ but make mandatory,” Reznikov said.
“That’s fine. Mandatory then.” She corrected.
Byung Hye Shin said, “We will need a way to easily identify those who have already undergone the examination.”
“We can handle that part. We have already begun research on a tagging protocol for inmates. We could easily adapt it for this.” Shashank Harjo of India said.
“The logistics of cataloguing and maintaining all that data would be a nightmare.” Tariq Ghazini said.
“I believe we have a solution.” Xiang Wu chimed in.
Liakos was surprised how easily it had taken off. They were describing the plan that Zao had laid out to his command team less than two days earlier. To see it coming out of the mouths of these heads of state was truly bizarre. It felt as if the room was caught in the current of a powerful river; a river that flowed from Lord Zao’s mind. The president of the United States spoke up.
“Hypothetically speaking, what would be done with those who don’t want to undergo the medical examination? There will almost certainly be a segment of our population that refuse.” Lynn Austin asked. Iran’s leader spoke up after a long few minutes of listening.
“They would be beheaded!” He shouted. It startled the room. They all stared at him and considered the suggestion.
“Maybe something a little less drastic,” Avery Black of the UK said with a sigh.
“They should not be allowed to use up limited resources. We are preparing for war. If one refuses to prove they are human by simple medical exam why should we feed them.” Reznikov said.
“Economic Banishment,” Legrand expounded. All nodded in agreement, although Rashidi looked as if he were disappointed that there wouldn’t be heads to sever. They were building steam now. They continued to talk about the logistics of how this world policing program would work.
Yes, Liakos thought. One by one he mentally checked the bullet points. Zao’s words played through his mind as these world leaders mimicked them perfectly. It would be a world-wide initiate to examine, document, and tag every willing human being. If they would not submit to the tagging process they would be banned from the world economies. Liakos was thrilled that he would be able to report victory to Lord Zao when he returned from Beijing.