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From: Vasu Soon-kit <vasu.soonkit@luna.gov>
To: Vasu Hui-lan <vasu.huilan@luna.gov>
Delivered-To: Vasu Hui-lan <vasu.huilan@luna.gov>
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Subject: I have finally convinced them!
Date: 22 Sep 2421 03:19:22 +0000
Date-Local: 22 Sep 2421 03:19:22 +0000
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Embassy of the Luna Free State on Titan
Arrakeen Tower, Arrakis Planitia
Wednesday, 22 September, 2421

Dear Sister—

Greetings from Arrakeen Tower! I trust you continue well, and that
our home remains more or less as I left it.

As regards the joint endeavor whose possibility you and I discussed
at length last week, it pleases me at last to report success in
convincing what passes for a government here on Titan to
participate. Accordingly, we depart later today aboard their "And
Yet It Moves" - an absurd name for a ship, especially such an
impressively capable one. Sadly, I was not consulted in the matter.

To be sure, I attribute this success in greatest measure to the
excellent work of our intelligence services, and in particular
Laporte's team debriefing the defector here. Had he failed to
recognize the import of her information and convey it directly to
me in person, I doubt I would have prevailed upon Branislav and her
government to consider our current project. As the matter stood, I
needed do little more than share with them the engineering drawings
and documents to demonstrate Earth's possession of a prototype FTL
capability. Blinkered as I've found their perception of
interplanetary affairs to be, even they found such a frightening
development impossible to ignore.

You'll forgive me, dear sister, if I say that I have found my time
here somewhat trying. For all their impressive technological
acumen, and despite even their past recognition and exploitation of
the potentialities inherent in a moment of crisis, they are still
so utterly naïve! As if their wonderful machines were alone enough
to insulate them from the realities of the present crisis. There
are those among them not so susceptible to such wishful thinking,
and such voices seem to be achieving the ascendant in recent
weeks. But there are still so many of them who wish simply to hide
behind the methane mists of this rather unpleasant planet of
theirs, ignoring the worlds and by the worlds ignored.

Had I known I would face such a trying task in convincing them that
Earth will not permit their comfortable isolation to continue, dear
sister...of course you know me too well to imagine that I'd have
sought to evade the assignment, for who else, after all, could you
have sent and hoped would do so well? But these people have taxed
my patience almost beyond imagination!

But, dear sister, I can see your face as if I stood before you now,
and I know too well that expression of yours which tells me I tax
your own patience. You will of course wish to know the details of
our project and the reasoning behind my decision, and I will of
course provide them.

You'll have received the same reports I have from our source on
Ganymede, regarding increased tempo of work in their experimental
systems yard. Combining that with the new information from the
Earth defector, my intelligence staff here believe with high
confidence that Earth intends an assault of some kind, within the
next twenty to forty days, on their own Ross 128 b colony. I concur
in this assessment, despite the lack of further corroboration from
our Ganymede source, from whom ForInt confirms we have received
nothing in the last several days.

In light of such a provocative development, Ross 128 b has
decisively eclipsed Gliese 581 g in my estimation of potential
intervention sites. Recent word from Ganymede has been that the
scope of Gliese's supply and medical problems has been considerably
overestimated, and while I remain confident in the success of an
eventual diplomatic mission to Gliese 581, the Ross 128 colony's
highly precarious situation, and apparent disfavor in the eyes of
its own sponsors and home government, argues conclusively in favor
of its selection for our pilot project.

Success in this endeavor requires, of course, that we outpace or at
least match Earth's own mission, lest we arrive to find a marine
division already in possession of the planet. From a purely
military perspective, this problem would be hardly insoluble, even
with the relatively small ground force we're bringing along; every
estimate agrees that Titan's ship is vastly better armed than
Earth's. However, I doubt our allies would face such action with
our own sangfroid. And even did I desire so to test our young
alliance, dear sister, you and I are of one mind in the criticality
of Earth not only initiating the coming war, but being seen by all
to have done so. Thus our hasty departure; though we may risk
leaving behind some person or element vital to the success of our
mission, I judge the risk of certain failure through delay far
greater.

Despite my earlier complaints about the Titans' isolationist ways
and adorable foolishness regarding interplanetary concerns, I must
admit I have found my opposite number refreshingly open to the idea
that we must act, and act now. Indeed, despite the ambassador's
apparent lack of enthusiasm for this enterprise - even she, even
now, not grasping the desperate importance to both our worlds of
developing a substantial position beyond Earth's direct influence -
her actions since our most recent conversation have been such as to
justify my considerable respect for her initiative and dispatch.

Draha may not yet fully understand the urgency of the actions we
now take, but she does understand the mutual benefit and sheer
necessity of our alliance, and she has acted with commendable
celerity to implement our decision to intervene. I have some hopes
that, by the time of our return, both the situation and I may have
succeeded in improving her grasp on the realities of interplanetary
affairs.

Dear sister, I am bringing almost my entire mission with me,
leaving only my third attaché, Olivia Arzel, and her assistant to
continue our local mission and address any matters which may
arise. Given Titan's relative isolation and the multiple
necessities currently dividing Earth's fleet, I doubt there will be
much for her to do, even if the war does begin while I am
out-system. In any case, I expect at no time save during FTL
travel, which I understand interrupts the signal somehow, to be
unreachable via QEC, and Olivia has the good sense to consult me
should she find herself in need. Our interests will be well
represented in my absence.

Of the Titans, in addition to their own diplomatic contingent under
Draha, we bring as full a medical and scientific establishment as
they are able to assemble in something less than a day, as well as
a few ground forces to supplement our diplomatic security
staffs. We have the reports of some sort of disease, native to the
planet, having somehow affected the colonists; I am assured that,
at minimum, we will be able to avoid either becoming ourselves
infected, or carrying some alien contagion back to Sol with us.

As I mentioned in opening, we depart Titan later today aboard And
Yet It Moves. The uncertainties of FTL travel, I am told, prohibit
too precise a determination of our arrival date, but I gather the
various projections suggest we can expect to arrive on or about
October 15. I will communicate with you as I can, dear sister, and
certainly no later than upon our date of arrival.

In the meantime - oh, you already know everything I'd say to you
now! I won't waste your time with flowery professions of philiary
love, or in imploring you to look after our people, as I know you
will.

With love, and for Luna, I remain, your dear brother—

Soon-kit.