Part of Challenger: All For One & One For All

EIGHT

Vastitas Borealis, Mars
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2155
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“Well that’s a blast from the past I wasn’t expecting.” Rossi said as helped himself to the decanter of whiskey on the side.

Karim for the first time since moving to her Martian hideout was lost for words. Everything that she had planned over the past year felt like it was slowly passing through her fingertips. The arrival of her former first officer had never been part of the plan. She knew that bringing his father into the fold was a risky one but giving him Challenger had been the plan to keep him occupied. “You and me both Alec.” She said quietly. Staring out onto the Martian landscape from her office, which was on the top floor of their base, had become an enjoyable pastime of hers. But now the view was no longer beautiful, it was a bitter, scary one for her. She needed time to rethink how they dealt with the situation they were in. 

Rossi approached her, holding a glass of the whiskey he had just poured for them both. “Here.” He offered. Gratefully she took the drink and they both clinked the glasses together, like they always did. “So where do we go from here?” He asked, taking a sip from his glass and sitting on the black leather couch that sat under the window. The office itself was laid out in a simple square shape, with a slightly raised part under the window. Besides the black sofa, opposite were two same coloured armchairs. On the lower part of the office was a corner desk with a portable computer console on it. The room was accessed by two doors, one on the south-wall and one directly next to it on the west-wall. The south-wall door led to a small washroom while the other was back out onto the main corridor. 

“First thing we need to do is close Trentuno Galactica and all of its subsidiaries over the next few months. It needs to look like a natural business disaster that affected it because of the war.” Karim said. “We’ve got to stop using it as a means of removing people from the public eye as it will become too suspicious.”

“Agreed, but you know that’s not what I meant by where we go from here.” Rossi stated back. 

Resisting the urge not to shrug her shoulders, Karim looked down at her right-hand man. “Well we can’t remove them like we would with any other threat to this organisation, can we?” She asked rhetorically. “The death of four Starfleet officers who have all lost their father recently, by the way he himself is one of Earth’s top scientists, would look too suspicious. Hathaway would soon discover what we were up to and it would force us to go further into the shadows.”

“So, does that mean we’re recruiting them or keeping them locked up?” Rossi questioned. 

“Again, Hathaway would launch an investigation into the whereabouts of four Starfleet officers, especially with two of them being captains.” Karim took another sip of her drink. 

For a few minutes neither of them said a word as they considered their options. 

“We’ll need to get in touch with him, just like you told Lloyd.” Rossi said eventually. 

Karim nodded. “Make it so Alec.” She said feeling deflated. “In the meantime, I’m going to chat with Lloyd.”

“Understood.” Rossi said, knowing what she was considering. 

 

As their father had nothing else to say to them, along with that they had stopped talking to him, he had decided to leave his four children. He had locked the door behind him as he left. They had been thrown back to almost square one since they had arrived on the base: being prisoners of some shady clandestine organisation. 

The door began to unlock, the noise startled all of them as they looked to see who was coming in. It soon swished open and Rani Karim stood before all of them. She caught Lloyd’s attention and spoke up, “Lloyd will join me?”

Lloyd had noticed the EM-33 pistol strapped to her hip; it was apparent she wasn’t going to take any risk. He looked at the others and they all gave him that warning look not to comply with her request. Following his gut instinct that this could be a chance to find a way out of this mess, Lloyd got out of his seat and stepped forward towards her. As he approached her, he turned to the others, “Sit still for now. I’ll be back soon.” He reassured them. 

Soon he was walking down the corridor as before with Karim next to him and a very tall, muscular guard a few steps behind him. The guard was carrying a rifle that looked like a variation on the MACO phase rifle. Lloyd had noticed that it was set to heavy stun. Fortunately for him Major Yu had made him become familiar with the weapon, even at a glance he was able to determine its setting.

“It is good to see you Lloyd.” Karim said, breaking the ice between them. She sounded sincere. Their pace was slow as they entered another corridor that he was unfamiliar with. “I know there are no words I can share with you that would make this situation any better.”

“How about: I’m letting you and your team go?” Lloyd rebutted with. 

Karim looked up at him and rolled her eyes. “Lloyd, I understand you’re annoyed, angry, possibly fuming with me and all of this.” She took a breath, “Nevertheless your own actions brought you all to me. If our roles were swapped, I am sure you would do the same thing.”

Huffing in response as well as shaking his head, “It just shows how little you knew me when you made me your first officer.” Lloyd stared down at her as they approached a lift-door. “I would never have betrayed the uniform I wore.”

Refusing to engage any further about her being a traitor to Starfleet, Karim entered the lift and insisted that Lloyd follow her. Once all three of them were in the cart, she changed the subject. “I’m going to show you the work we’ve been doing, and I am hoping the open-mindedness that you showed when you joined Challenger still remains.”

The lift started to move, and Lloyd just scoffed at the remark. “You really think that showing me whatever you’re doing here would make me think that’s it all okay?” He looked down at his former captain. “You really think that I’m going to be so overwhelmed by your great work that I will go back and convince the others of it?”

Karim didn’t bother to look up at him. Eventually the lift arrived at its destination: the busy port that held a number of ships under construction. Engineers of all kinds were working in the bay on the number of ships that sat there. Lloyd followed Karim onto a platform that took them up towards the docking port on one of the NCC-class ships that were under construction. He noticed the name of the ship they were about to enter: Victory.  The Royal Navy buff within him wondered if the ship was named after the HMS Victory, if it was then he knew that Admiral Nelson would most likely be turning in his grave knowing that his flagship’s namesake was being used in such a vulgar manner. Stepping into the craft, Lloyd was expecting something else especially as he had served on board the Essex – which was the same class as the Victory. But it was certainly different. Instead of the curved corridors in their typical Starfleet grey and silver tones, the corridor was very straight. No evidence appeared for any curves that had become the standard in Starfleet’s design of its ships’ interiors. Along with this the walls were pretty much white, while the corridors’ bulkheads were narrower and shaped like the top half of an octagon. The doors were of a pure reflective silver metallic colour. 

“You’ve made some changes I see.” Lloyd muttered as they went further into the ship. Just like outside, many engineers and technicians were working on the craft on the inside building the ship.

Karim nodded. “Victory is one of many Daedalus-class ships that have been upgraded with the latest innovations we’ve developed here.” She led them down the corridor. “Remember I said earlier that anything that is alien it’s ours? Well from that we’ve also adopted some design features from various ships that Starfleet has encountered.”

“Oh, I see.” Was all Lloyd could say. He was still trying to get used to the unusual design of the ship. He wondered if Essex, if it survived the war, would ever be upgraded to these configurations. 

Karim looked at him. “I know some of this unnerves you Lloyd, but as I’ve said before we are fighting the same war you are. We are just hoping to be able to support Starfleet with improvements that could make a difference.” 

They ended up entering a room that appeared to be the ship’s crew lounge. It was empty and their guard remained outside as Karim approached the wide window on the opposite wall. From where she stood, she had an impressive view of the other ships that were being built. 

Deciding to remain quiet for the moment, Lloyd was still trying to think how he and the others would get out of here alive. He wasn’t impressed with what Karim was trying to show him. 

Karim continued to talk. “Our ships incorporate the best of what your ship has to offer along with a few other surprises that the Romulans wouldn’t expect.”

Leaning against one of the walls, Lloyd crossed his arms. He wasn’t going to engage with her any time soon. In fact, he found her constant talking a nuisance. Karim turned to look at him. 

“If it wasn’t for us Lloyd then Starfleet wouldn’t have the use of photonic torpedoes.” She mentioned. “Captain Archer and his crew rescued a Klingon ship from a gas giant a couple of years ago. We were able to gain access to the scans they took of their torpedo systems and were able to create our own based on their designs. Just remember that next time you fire a torpedo.”

He remained silent and just continued to stare at her. 

“Silence, really Lloyd? I didn’t realise how childish you were.” She finally threw back. “Can’t you see the work we do here can make a difference? All of it could be yours!”

Lloyd opened his eyes further at that remark. “Really?” He was sarcastic in his reply.

“Yes, really!” Karim exclaimed, almost mimicking his tone. “Once these vessels are ready to be launched, they need to join the war effort and will require a fleet commander. I can’t think of anyone else better to do the job!”

“I’m not interested, and don’t you think Starfleet would have something to say about that?” He argued back. 

Karim shrugged her shoulders. “Oh, we’ve got plenty of supporters in Starfleet who could easily play this out that we are a new shipbuilding facility. It could easily transpire that Starfleet needed to keep us a secret because of the war effort.”

“So, Starfleet opens, what? The Utopia Planitia Shipyard and at the same time reveals a fleet of ships that are pressed to the front lines?” Lloyd threw back. 

“The Utopia Planitia Shipyard does have a nice ring to it, but seeing as we are building a fleet, I think it should be fleet yards.” Karim considered. 

“You are unbelievable.” Lloyd huffed in disbelief. He stood up straight and began to walk towards the airlock, he didn’t want to see anymore. 

“And you are so short-sighted Captain!” Karim shouted at him. 

It was the first time she had raised her voice between the two of them. The sound of her frustration had filled the corridor. Burton spun on his heels to look at her. “I don’t get how you think that by showing all of this to me is going to convince me to join you? Or that you think that by convincing me it may help convince my sister and brothers! And you say that all of this is for the greater good of Earth? I get why it is important to keep secrets from our enemy, but all of this could still be achieved under the strict oversight of Starfleet and not some shady organisation that has branched off from it. And you know what, if we can’t win this war with our principles, our rules, our laws and our values then at least we will go down fighting for them and not taking the cheater’s way.”

Karim rolled her eyes at Burton’s naivety. “You keep selling that story to yourself, but your optimism is not going to win us this war Lloyd. It will be won by outnumbering the Romulans with powerful ships and powerful weapons. This war is only going to end with one of the sides surrendering and I’ll be damned if I live under a Romulan banner.”

Before Lloyd could respond any further to their debate, a nearby communication panel whistled and its light flashed on. “Operations to Director Karim.” Spoke the voice of Alec Rossi. 

Karim walked over to the wall and pressed the button inwards, “Go ahead Alec.”

We’ve got an incoming call from Earth; you’ll need to see it alongside our guests and Doctor Burton.” 


Manoir de Christofle, Place de la Concorde, Paris, France, Earth

 

Entering the office of the Prime Minister of Earth, Fleet Admiral Hathaway was not surprised to see Samuels sat behind his desk with Defence Secretary Stark standing by one of the large bay windows. The two people she was not expecting to see there were two members of her Command Council; Admirals Gardner and Admiral Black. Both men were in their uniforms and were sitting on the opposite side of the PM’s desk. 

It was quite early in the morning for French capital city and the sun had barely begun to rise. As a result, the office was still lit up by various lamps and ceiling lights. 

“Good morning gentlemen,” Hathaway said as she walked across the room and towards the PM’s desk.

“Fleet Admiral Hathaway, thank you for coming in so early. Please do sit.” Samuels said as he placed a cup of coffee down. Instead of being in one of his normal smart suits, he was wearing more casual attire. It appeared that he had just come down from his private residence. Looking over at Stark, who appeared to be in a state of disarray, it looked like he had been wearing a tuxedo, but he didn’t wear his jacket, his bow tie was loosely hanging around his neck while several of his top buttons were undone. His sleeves were also rolled up to his elbows. 

Hathaway took the last remaining seat, the one besides Gardner. “I take it this meeting is not to present me with good news?”

“Unfortunately, not.” Samuels said, with a mixed expression of annoyance and anger washed across his face. “Admirals Gardner and Black have just informed me of an undercover mission they have learnt about, one that you have kept off the books admiral?”

Hathaway remained calm and looked to her two subordinates. She wondered if the two of them were part of this conspiracy that she and Hanson had been investigating. Deciding not to reveal her cards yet, Hathaway remained level-headed. “I’m sorry sir but I am not aware of what you’re talking about.”

Samuels rolled his eyes and rubbed his eyes with his palms. “The Martian mission you have sent Captain Lloyd Burton and his siblings on.”

Still she kept her posture. “I’m not aware of any mission Mister Prime Minister.”

Gardner huffed before speaking. “Then explain why they are on Mars ma’am.”

Hathaway looked at the man that she had made Director of Starfleet Operations over a year ago. “I am as baffled as you are Sam,” She replied. “The last thing I was aware of, they all were on compassionate leave due to their father’s death.”

“Well can you explain why they were seen on Mars with one of my officers after she had a meeting with Captain Madison Burton?” Black now added.

Glaring in disbelief at Gregory Black, the director of Starfleet Security, Hathaway responded. “I am quite perplexed that the two of you are asking me about the whereabouts regarding senior officers who serve under you both.” Hathaway paused. Whatever Burton and his group had discovered on Mars had obviously prompted the two of them to react this way. Wondering if Agent Minerva was with Burton and his siblings, the admiral had hoped they had been able to solve this mystery that had plagued Starfleet for some time now. She felt the admiral were trying to weave a web of more lies, but it was so obvious. “Why don’t you tell me?” She continued with, “That is your job, to inform me of any situations that I need to be aware of. It’s called the chain of command, or have you not heard of it?”

“Then explain why you were taking your personal yacht out for a spin towards Mars?” Black quickly threw back. 

Hathaway kept her anger back at his insubordination. She needed to be careful how she managed this situation. “I don’t see how that’s any of your goddamn business. Last time I checked Gregory, you have eight pips on your shoulders, not ten like me.”

“Enough,” The Prime Minister said in a stern manner. “I won’t have this bickering like school children carry on in my office. There’s a reason why we’ve called you three here.” He looked over his shoulder to Stark. “Matthew, would you share with them what you shared with me earlier?”

Stark nodded, turned himself towards them and crossed his arms. “Of course, sir, but I’ve got to say all of this,” He remarked by gesturing at the three of them bickering, “It couldn’t have been timed any better with what I’ve discovered. So, as you know my political ambition was never a high one and I only got into it when Nathan asked me to run for office. Before that I ran Earth’s leading private defence company, however when I was elected and made Defence Secretary, I handed the position of CEO to my wife. Well I had an interesting chat with her earlier tonight while we were celebrating our wedding anniversary. She recently tried to buy a number of shares into various firms that provide interplanetary transport and one of them she had serious problems with.” He then uncrossed his arms, placed his hands in his pockets and began to pace the office before carrying on with his explanation. “Have any of you heard of Trentuno Galactica?” Not giving them time to answer he quickly continued. “It’s a small civilian company, it does journeys from Earth to Mars mainly. However, when my wife’s chief financial officer made a number of valuable overtures to them, they turned him down. This happened on more than one occasion. My wife, wanting to know why such a small company would not be interested in any business ventures with her, had her legal team look into them. When she got the report back, she discovered that the company itself wasn’t a real one. It was an empty shell, with only a few small properties here on Earth but the biggest thing that made this all interesting was the large amount of land they acquired on Mars from the Martian Assembly just outside of Utopia colony. Again, further investigation discovered that this area was bare, there was nothing there except large craters and canyons.”

“This is all fascinating, but I don’t see what it has to do with Starfleet and the Burtons unauthorised undercover Martian mission?” Black interrupted with. 

“Oh, you will.” Stark confidently said. “Because my wife also found out that this company was moving heavy construction equipment into this area on Mars. Equipment which is used to build starships. Alloys, materials and other resources from various other private smaller firms were being purchased and again being sent there. So, they continued to investigate and remember my old company has the best satellites and communication gear in the private sector. My wife trained all of what she had available towards Mars and they were able to get a number of sensor scans that indicate there is currently a large construction facility under Utopia colony.” 

Alarm bells began to ring in Hathaway’s head. She had not always appreciated Stark’s approach to many situations; however, the man was a genius, extremely charming as well as resourceful. If he knew even a part of this puzzle, then she had to find out what he knew. “I’m assuming your wife investigated this further?” She said, wanting to know more details. 

“Oh, she did admiral. You see, my Holly is a determined businesswoman, it’s why she was my successor. Once her mind is set on something, she won’t finish the work until she has all of the facts.” Stark explained. “She has discovered that a number of Starfleet resources were originally used to put this little facility together.” Stark now looked at all three admirals. “Anyone care to share anything now? Because I don’t recall ever receiving any report on such a venture.”

All three admirals remained quiet but being the leader Hathaway wasn’t prepared to look foolish. “I’m unaware of such authorisation being given to Mister Secretary.”

Stark nodded, he obviously knew the answers except he was testing them, “No admiral you wouldn’t know anything about it, because it was kept from you.” He looked at the other two. “Admirals, I think you may want to share what you both know.”

Looking confused, Gardner spoke up. “I have no idea what you’re going on about Mister Secretary.”

“I concur with Gardner, what are you trying to imply?” Black asked, who appeared to be now getting frustrated with the situation.

“Admiral Black, you sir, signed off the original order for the materials to be sent to Mars, four years ago. While Admiral Gardner has signed off the most recent orders and before he was promoted to his current rank, he was a frequent visitor to the same location on Mars.” Stark revealed. 

Hathaway turned to look at the two men. “Well gentlemen, would you care to explain to me what is happening on Mars or am I going to have to order the Judge Advocate General to do her duties here during a court martial?”

“Hang on here admiral.” Samuels said, now speaking up since he handed this over to Stark. “We still need to know what is being built on Mars and why any of this started.” He looked at the two lower ranking admirals. “Well? Care to explain?”

Neither of them said a word; Black crossed his arms against his chest while Gardner placed his hands on his lap. 

“Gentlemen, I now have an issue in bringing this to the president. As the commander of all of Earth’s forces I am sure I can get her to order you to share everything you know about this operation. But knowing President Littlejohn, I am sure she would want me to call General Casey and have him send an entire division of MACOs to Mars to find out what is happening without your input.” Samuels said, hoping his threat would be enough to persuade them to share. 

“It’s a shipyard, obviously, along with a research outpost.” Gardner said. The moment he spoke Black sighed out in defeat.

“A shipyard, building what kind of ships and doing what type of research?” Hathaway asked. 

“It’s building ships that aren’t as expensive to build compared to the NX-class ships. It’s also part of our efforts to develop the warp-seven engine.” Gardner answered.

The revelation shocked Hathaway and Samuels while it appeared to pique Stark’s interest. 

“And when were we going to be informed about this secret hideout of yours?” The Defence Secretary posed. 

“Article fourteen, section thirty-one of the Starfleet Charter, allows for extraordinary measures to be taken in times of extreme threat.” Black finally said. “The entire base is black-ops. It’s a branch of Starfleet Security that no-one is to know about to avoid anyone, especially the Romulans, finding out about it. Everything that is there is classified and strictly off the books. There’s no records, except those created to make it seem like a legitimate small transportation company.”

Sitting back in her chair, Hathaway had found the answers she had been searching for. “And I take it the Burtons have spoiled your plans?” 

“What do you mean?” Black quickly enquired. 

“The fact you two just sat here, insinuated that I had sent them to Mars on some undercover mission can only mean one thing: they found the base and now you’re worried that they will reveal its existence.” Hathaway deducted, she looked up at Stark and she could see from his expression he was thinking exactly the same thing. Hence the reason why he shared so much about what his wife had found. “And they would only do that if they found their father there.”

“You did send them, didn’t you?” Gardner asked.

Hathaway shook her head, “No as I said before I didn’t send them. All I did was tell Captain Lloyd Burton to look into his father’s death as I believed it was suspicious. My instincts were right and as the captain is an excellent investigator, it would appear he was unstoppable once he had the help from his sister and brothers.”

“Along with Commander Hanson too.” Black added. “One of our finest investigators joined them on their little Martian exploration,” He looked at Hathaway, “I know she reports to you admiral.”

“Indeed, she does.” Hathaway acknowledged. “Commander Hanson is a fine officer and her joining the Burtons has almost made them unstoppable from the sounds of it.”

Prime Minister Samuels now sat back in his own chair. “You’re telling me that a group of Starfleet officers, without authorisation from their own government, have set up a base in an attempt to build a fleet to defend Earth and its allies?”

Black nodded, “Yes.”

“Hot damn.” Muttered the Prime Minister in disbelief as he shook his head.

“Sir, we have to face facts that we may lose this war. What this particular section of Starfleet is doing is ensuring our survival by building more ships that are better and stronger than our current ones. Alongside that, the development of technology that will help us in our fight too. Do you really have a problem with that?”

“Why yes I do.” Samuels replied. “The whole point of having a chain of command and having security clearance is to ensure that state secrets are kept only with those who need to know. If you had to come to us with this proposal beforehand then I don’t think I would have had a problem with it, but now I know about its existence and how it came about it makes it a lot harder to put this genie back into its bottle. I mean once it is out there…well the political ramifications will be huge! This goes completely against the spirit of the Earth Commonwealth.”

The room fell silent as there was nothing else to say or add to the matter at hand. Hathaway felt betrayed by both Gardner and Black. She pondered who else was part of this section of theirs. She dreaded thinking about it.

“Perhaps there is a way around this sir.” Stark spoke. He walked back towards the PM’s desk. “We allow for my wife’s company to buy Trentuno Galactica as planned, but we also start a joint-program between Starfleet and her company to develop a starship construction facility on Mars. Once time permits, we unveil the new shipyards and they are handed over to the sole control of Starfleet. We keep it quiet and let the official record show that this started recently, while only a few of us know the unofficial story.”

“The Earth Parliament won’t allow you or a member of your close family to profit from such a large contract, Mister Secretary. It would be seen as a conflict of interest.” Black mentioned. 

“Then I’ll resign as Defence Secretary and from Parliament.” Stark offered and looked down at Samuels who was shocked by his announcement. “I can request that my wife places me back on the board of directors of our company, by being there I could oversee this project.”

Samuels was not happy with Stark’s suggestion. “Matthew, I don’t want to lose you right now. The loss of you as the Defence Secretary would be a major blow to this administration.”

Stark nodded in agreement. “Yes, it would,” He said in a very egotistical manner, “but I could state that you need someone who has been a soldier in this position, not a former businessman.” He stroked his beard. “In fact, elevate the current deputy defence secretary to the post.”

“You want Thomas Vanderbilt to succeed you?” Samuels remarked.

Stark nodded, “Thomas is a good guy and served in the US Air Force before he was made an MP for the Atlantic Seaboard. Since becoming my deputy, he has been one of my point men for Starfleet and the MACOs. He knows how to work closely with both of them.” 

 “Okay and what about the black-ops side of the base?” Samuels asked. 

“We give key researchers new identities and especially move the resources for the warp seven project to another facility. Perhaps a civilian one, the Cochrane Institute of Alpha Centauri would be an excellent choice.” Hathaway suggested.

“You can’t do this.” Black said in defence. “This section has been working hard in protecting so many lives. If you rip out its main base of operations, then we will have serious security concerns.”

Samuels snapped at him. “Admiral, you don’t have the right to tell me what I can and can’t do.” He looked at Hathaway, “How do you wish to proceed with these two?” He asked the two admirals.

Hathaway looked at them both, she considered her options and sighed. “Arresting them or removing them from their posts would not help troop morale at the moment. As you said Mister Prime Minister it would be a major blow, especially to the Command Council. That said, if I say we took a page out of their book, I do have the right to re-shuffle posts within the Command Council. However, I would like to know everything they know. Perhaps we can organise a deal gentleman?” She looked at the two of them, both of them looking defeated on their faces. 

“I’ll leave this under your discretion then Fleet Admiral Hathaway.” Samuels said in agreement with her choice. 

Hathaway took out her communication device, called in the three MACOs and Lieutenant Spencer (whom she had brought with her). They entered the room promptly. “Lieutenant Spencer, Admirals Gardner and Black will be joining us on Mars. Please escort them to the Dauntless and tell our pilots to prepare for immediate departure.”

Spencer nodded and gestured for the two admirals to follow him out. Once they had left, Hathaway looked back at Samuels and Stark to speak to them. “There’s more to this than we actually know.”

“I agree.” Stark said to her, “and I think we need to remain vigilant and ensure this little section of Starfleet Security does not get out of hand.”

“Then can I suggest we keep Commander Hanson on the case with a higher clearance?” Hathaway proposed.

“What if Black tries to interfere?” Samuels asked, knowing that Black was her direct superior in Starfleet Security.

Hathaway smiled, “Don’t worry Mister Prime Minister, I plan to move Gregory out of Starfleet Security and place him as the Starfleet Liaison to the Office of the Prime Minister of Earth. You’ll be seeing him a lot more than me.”

Samuels groaned at that idea. “At least we can keep a close eye on him. What about Gardner?”

“I won’t be able to move him yet; it would appear suspicious if I move experienced personnel out of vital posts. But I will keep a tight leash on him, perhaps I will assign him a new staff and ensure that all of his orders go through me for clearance for a while.” Hathaway remarked.

“Very well,” Samuels said standing from his desk, trying to avoid yawning, “Keep me informed of any updates.”

“I will sir. I will speak to the others too and issue classified orders to them. I may have to raise some of their security clearances though.” Hathaway said, she turned to look at Stark. “And I suppose I will need to wish you luck, Mister Secretary.”

Stark extended his hand towards the admiral. “I’m sure this is not the end of our work together, but it’s been a pleasure to work with you Moira. The best to you as well.”

Hathaway shook his hand and soon left. She was eager now to head to Mars and begin to put all of this to rest.