The Admiral took out his antique, laser ink scriber and peered at the official, crystal-marked defense office paper. One last swig of Ouuixy helped steady his mind and hand, which trembled at the thought of similar letters to come.
He’d never seen an enemy like the Xothic. Brutal. Insane. Merciless.
He placed the nib of the scribe to the paper and guided the lines into words…
“Dear Hannu-Kilda Lothnon,
I’m writing, firstly to thank you for your support of our military and to the security of our people. I knew your husband, Jorgan, and served with him in the Battle of Ohessod. Indeed, in our continuing work we tirelessly fight to combat all threats to the Commorium people and their way of life.
As you know, a military career is amongst the most honourable there are. There is no greater act of valour than to lay down one’s life so that others may live without fear.
Sacrifices are made, and will continue to be, to secure all our futures.
It is with great regret and personal sadness that I report the loss of your son, Lieutenant Tontor Lothnon, during a long range survey mission within Empire controlled space. Lieutenant Lothnon came under fire from the enemy and, though we understand he fought bravely, was simply outnumbered. As a result of this event, our Commorium fleets have been placed on high alert. The Emperor has been made aware of the situation and I await his counsel.
The perpetrators of this cowardly act (known as the Xothic) are a recent arrival to our quadrant of space. It is apparent to me that his aggressive species is uninterested in diplomacy. Furthermore, we believe they pose a direct threat to the freedoms we enjoy as Commorium citizens.
We all owe a huge debt to your son for bringing this menace to our attention.
Some time ago I put together the elite Commorium Anti Aggression Task Force to preserve the Commorium people’s safety and way of life. Comprised of individuals specially selected based on their exemplary service to the command, they are fully equipped to defend us against just such a threat. They are the best of the best.
Tontor, deservedly, was among these elite personnel.
While we have suffered a terrible loss at the hands of the Xothic, I am determined to make sure that it will not be in vain. With or without the support of the Empire, we will avenge his death.
I assure you of our full commitment to exacting retribution upon the Xothic for this despicable act of terrorism and murder. Our most brilliant tactical minds are working ceaselessly to put a stop to Xothic aggression in our quadrant forever. In addition, I have made a personal recommendation to the Emperor that those within the Federated Republic that help the Xothic have sanctions imposed on them.
This terror will be stamped out.
On a personal note, I would like to say that your son was one of the finest officers I had the pleasure of working with. He was like a son to me. As you know, I took him under my wing at the academy after the tragic loss of your husband.
He was a credit to his team and the wider military community. He will be greatly missed.
Thank you for your service, Mother Hannu-Kilda Lothnon
Admiral Amadesu, Commander, Commorium Department of Space Forces"
His eyes welled up, he closed them as though to block out the grief.
He threw the laser scribe at the wall. His tears fell upon the letter.
Standing at the observation platform in his quarters, his hands shaking, he stared deep into space, whispering the words “Xothic…Xothic…Xothic…Xothic…”