Articles - Unicorn's Shadows - Part 1Part One
Old Athen, Backyard 1, Apartment 3.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
"Damn! Alarm off!" he screams from underneath the sheets of his comftable bed.
An automated female voice replies. "Alarm is off. Your coffee is being made Commander, you have seventeen messages in your grid e-mailbox, one listed urgent, two are from members of your staff."
The man sits up on his bed, yawns and stretches.
"Time?quot; he asks with eyes half open.
"Current or related to grid e-mails?quot; the voice replies.
"Current." he says while yawning.
He gets up from his bed, grabs his white silk robe and slowly walks to the kitchen to fetch his cup of coffee.
"Sort messages on urgency and MD level, display on-screen in livingroom." he commands as he begins to drink his coffee.
"Messages sorted and displayed." the voice replies.
He walks to his livingroom to check his messages at the wide-screen across his sabrethooth leather sofa.
"This coffee is pretty damn good, did we switch the brand?quot; he asks looking at his cup.
"Yes Commander. The previous brand was from Tir, "Turreto's Coffee". The current brand is an import from Borealis, "Atlantean Coffee". Would you like me to set this as your favorite brand?quot; the voice says.
"Yes, this is the best I've tasted in weeks; how many different coffees have we tested?."
"A total of 17 coffee brands, would you like me to list them alphabetically?quot; the voice asks.
"No need. Hmm...wait, a message has no sender listed. Check grid message six and identify."
"Checking grid message six...." the voice answers.
A few seconds later the voice gives him an answer he was expecting. "Unable to comply."
"Explain." he commands with a raised eyebrow.
"Message was routed through several different relays over the planet, it has a currupted ID code, possibly hacked."
"Tell me something I don't know." he says in a frustrated tone.
"Temperature outside is..."
"Stop! I meant...nevermind. Display message six." he commands, leaning forward to read it carefully.
<<The Unicorn's Shadows are over Rubi-Ka>>
"Unicorn? Cross-reference the word Unicorn with any known military group on all available grid-databases."
Drinking his coffee he ponders why he is bothering with it, he receives false messages daily, and this appears to be another. Yet he has a feeling that this can be more than a prank.
Two minutes of searching and the voice gives him the answer he was hoping for. "Reference Found."
Reading the information he puts down his cup of coffee on the livingroom's table and realizes his feeling was right this time.
"Omni-Tek, of course. Let's see...Unicorn Company, elite forces, genetically manipulated super-fighters? with...all the latest weapons technology at their disposal. Where did this information come from?quot;
"War Academy, Athen Shire. Public Files of Andrea Machioni." the voice answers.
"Open a secure channel to Andrea Machioni."
"Opening secure channel to Andrea Machioni."
"Andrea Machioni is not accepting private messages."
"Alright, upgrade contact to military level, and try again."
"Upgrading, opening secure channel to Andrea Machioni."
The screen flashes, and a young woman with a face that obviously shows she was asleep speaks with a frustrated tone of voice.
"Dammit! it's six in the morning, this better be important, who the hell is this?quot;
"Commander Windguaerd, Mercury Dragons Clan. I sincerely apologize for waking you up Miss Machioni. I know ladies need their beauty sleep." He answers with a charming smile, knowing that this is a moment where it is needed.
"Oh...sorry for the outburst Commander, but did you look at the time? I get little sleep as it is."
"I know it's early, but I think there is something you should see."
"Forward message six to Andrea Machioni."
"Sending. Message sent." the voice replies.
"Please read it, it's important."
With a frown on her face she reads it, half asleep.
"Unicorn? Unicorn! my god." Her eyes widen, the message has woken her up.
"I would appreciate if you could give me more information on the Unicorn Company."
Hesitating for a moment, trying to decide if to trust the man, she answers. "These people make Omni-AF look like school-boys compared to them. They're only committed when OT needs a little 'extra force' if you know what I mean."
"Anything else Miss Machioni?quot;
Nodding she replies. "Yes. A friend of mine came up against them in his home planet. They killed anything that was in their way, including children, unarmed people who had surrendered, and even OT personnel who were in their path. I was hoping they would not arrive, but I fear the message may be legit. Anyways, OT only needs an excuse, something to say to the ICC, and they'll be here. They're even worse than the Dust Brigade."
"Do you know how many are in that Company? perhaps your friend can tell us more."
Shaking her head she says "No, I don't know about their numbers, but I can try and find him, we have not spoken in aproximately a year, he went north to join the Knights of Avalon, haven't heard from him since."
"Please do try, this information could be crucial to the clans, if this Unicorn Company is as you described, they could be a serious danger to us all."
"I know this well Commander."
"Please, call me Kyle."
"In that case, call me Andrea."
"I have a question, not related to this Unicorn situation. Are you in need of teachers or tutors at the War Academy?quot;
"Actually now that you mention it, yes. Most have either retired due to old age, died in these Notum Wars or dissapeared, like in previous wars."
"I see, would you consider taking some volunteers to help you?quot;
"I need all the help I can get over here. Let me consult with the current staff and see what they advise, we're on a tight budget as it is."
"I think my clan can provide some funding, does two hundred million sound good?quot;
"Two hundred! yes yes! sure!"
"Alright, give me a few days to arrange the transfer of funds, I need to get clearance from my Command Staff, but I don't think they'll object to a worthy cause. Many good people I knew trained at the War Academy, at least in their memory something should be done to keep it going strong."
"Thanks Kyle, I appreciate this. Are you always up this early?quot;
"If I wasn't, someone would be waking me up anyways. There is always trouble brewing somewhere, and some people have the idea that I can stop it or fix it. I'm not able to do that every time, but I try, when duty calls, I answer."
"I understand, been there."
"Also if you don't mind, would it be possible for our Drill Instructors to run Boot Camp and Training Sessions on the War Academy Grounds?quot;
"I see no problem with your people training here, as long as no damages are made to our property, and of course none of my people get hurt in any way, insurance costs are higher these days."
"I doubt there will be any damages, my officers are well trained, and our donation should cover any insurance if there is any unfortunate accident."
"Alright Kyle. I'll try to give you a call later today, with more information I hope."
"Sure Andrea, and thanks for taking my call."
"I should be the one thanking you, have a good day Kyle."
"You too Andrea, be well."
The wide-screen flashes and returns to it's default grid e-mailbox display.
He picks up his cup of coffee and knows that it is now cold.
"I need another coffee."
"It's being made now Commander." the voice answers.
"I want any messages from Andrea Machioni or with the word Unicorn to get priority level one."
"New settings are now in effect."
"Good, forward all Applications to join the clan to Recruitment & Training Department, remove all request for buffs, same with item requests. How many messages remain?quot;
"Three" the voice replies.
"Move message six into new directory, name directory "Unicorn Company" and show remaining messages."
He begins to reply to messages and contact members of his clan, part of his daily routine.
Another day, another problem added to his list.
Written by Luis Odicio
Released July 11, 29477 (2003)
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