January 1, 2199
On that day, Earth was bustling with events to celebrate the new year. People in every country around the world took the day off to absorb themselves in carnivals and drinking at parties. But among them were dissatisfied individuals who looked askance at such pleasures and stuck to their work. One of them was Gil Somalia, a communications liaison for the Republic Federation headquarters at the Brazilia Center in South America.
The Federation member states were the body responsible for receiving emergency codes from each planetary base, and always had someone near a receiver, even on New Year’s Day. Drinking his coffee alone in the deserted communication room, Gil cursed the gods for the bad luck of having to be on duty.
Gil Somalia had served ten years as a superintendent of emergency codes, but had only received such contacts a total of eight times. Including Gil, ten communication liaisons were engaged in this work, for an activity that occurred roughly once a year.
Suppressing the desperate urge to bolt out of the room, Gil muttered, “Even if I went out on the town and had some fun, it really wouldn’t make much difference…”
That was the moment the planetary base receiver activated.
“…this is Pluto base…! Earth, Earth, respond…!!”
The transmission was from the Republic Federation base on Pluto. Gil rushed over to the receiver and took up the response posture.
“This is Earth, Federation headquarters! Go ahead, Pluto!”
“We’ve just come under fire from an unidentified enemy and are fighting back. We ask for reinforcements immediately, immediately!!”
“Pluto base! Explain the situation a bit more!”
“No time! The enemy is very powerful, enough to destroy the base! Send reinforcements immediately!”
“Pluto base! Pluto base! We need more information on the enemy! What is their number? What else can you tell us?”
“We don’t know! We don’t know anything! The enemy attack has already reached base headquarters! Earth, Earth! Reinforcements…!!”
“Pluto base! Pluto base! Pluto base, respond!!”
This was how news of Pluto base’s destruction reached Earth, on January 1, 2199, at 4:20pm Brazilia time. Pluto base, one of the solar system’s frontier monitoring stations, had been built with both the material and human resources of countries belonging to the Earth Republic Federation. In addition to the machinery for space observation and dozens of scientific staff members, a standard complement of fifty armed military personnel was stationed there.
It had been destroyed in less than twenty minutes, indicating a very strong enemy presence. Gil Somalia notified the leaders of the Republic Federation. They immediately called an emergency meeting at a large conference hall in Federation headquarters. Representatives of each country were urgently summoned.
In the Republic Federation meeting, pointless countermeasures were advanced. In other words, within this ten-minute period, the human race did not recognize the severity of the situation. Throughout the entire meeting, two major countries who were suspicious of each other, Nation A and Nation B, were preoccupied with blaming each other for the Pluto base invasion.
They had been in a state of cold conflict as planetary bases were constructed in the second half of the 21st century. The Neptune and Saturn bases belonged to Nation A while Uranus and Jupiter bases allied with Nation B; each base was kept secure with equal power respectively. Of course, many neutral countries criticized this cold conflict, suggesting the construction of the Pluto and Mars bases to ease tensions. With the Pluto and Mars bases in a configuration outside the four bases belonging to Nations A and B, they became watch stations, so to speak, for peace on Earth.
Pluto base had called in an SOS and broken off contact. If either Nation A or B proclaimed it the act of the other country and declared war, the balance of power would be destroyed and Earth would rush into oblivion.
Turmoil among the leaders at Federation headquarters meeting was intense. The meeting was to start with the relief of Pluto base as the primary agenda, but all too soon it turned into an opportunity for political maneuvering on both sides; a situation completely out of anyone’s control.
Already, the governments of Nations A and B were moving their countries into a state of battle readiness. It was at that time that the emergency SOS call was received from Pluto, and just fifty hours later a proposal was submitted by the Japanese representative to the Republic Federation.
“Even if we continue debating it like this, we’ll never reach a conclusion. First, the top priority of each cooperating country should be to pursue the truth of the matter. Our group in Japan proposes a mission to Pluto base.”
This proposal received the support of the majority and the chairman. Federation headquarters decided to organize an investigation group and launch the space warship Torrante for Pluto. Everyone would wait for the conclusions that group brought back.
Republic Federation Emergency Meeting
The sub-light speed space warship Torrante launched for Pluto, 5.9 billion kilometers away. It would be a journey of about seven hours. After about eight hours, the first report of what had happened at Pluto base should be received at Federation headquarters.
But the last contact from Torrante, “Entering Pluto space and…” was cut off. Earth tried desperately to reestablish contact, but no response was forthcoming. Twenty hours after Torrante‘s launch, representatives from each country again convened at Federation headquarters for an emergency meeting to determine the situation. A heavy pall hung over the assembly hall.
Representatives of Nations A and B, who until recently had still engaged in fierce debate, suddenly closed their mouths and fell silent, deeply embarrassed over this mysterious incident. Though they had doubted each other at first, both expressed their innocence under sworn testimony; they no longer had any choice but to consider the existence of a foreign enemy.
Their identity is unclear, but something terrible is approaching Earth. This thought filled the hearts of the delegates in the assembly hall, tightening their chests. Urging the proceedings forward, the chairman called upon the petite representative of Japan.
“Does the representative of Japan have an opinion?”
The Japanese representative rose slowly from his seat and began speaking with a pensive look.
“I believe the sworn testimony of the representatives from Nations A and B. In addition, I have no doubt that the other countries sincerely desire peace. In other words, in this case I do not think that any of our Earth brotherhood caused this event.”
Low murmurs echoed through the assembly hall. The words of the Japanese representative spoke for what each of the delegates was thinking.
“Indeed, this series of incidents implies the presence of invaders with malicious intent. Mr. Chairman, as the representative of Japan and a citizen of Earth, I wish to strengthen the defense of our planet with true cooperation between all countries. All cold conflicts between nations must end now!”
The Japan representative’s bold remarks convinced each of the delegates. A pained expression crossed the chairman’s face under a shadow of fatigue.
“Representative of Japan. All nations support your opinion. If you have a specific plan, I give you the floor.”
“I thank you. Chairman. We can spend no more valuable time on debate. Fortunately, the elite space command, the pride of Nations A and B, is stationed at both the Uranus and Neptune bases. I have already asked for the cooperation of both militaries, and I am convinced there is no better method for uncovering the identity of the invaders. We must first learn the nature of the enemy, and I propose that the following measures be considered…”
Under the authority of the Chairman of the Republic Federation, the plan was officially transferred to the representatives of Nations A and B, who immediately left the assembly hall to contact their countries. After one hour, they returned to announce that their governments had accepted the proposal submitted by Japan.
Shortly thereafter, the space command of both bases was placed under the jurisdiction of Republic Federation Headquarters: a combined total of 2,000 soldiers from the Uranus and Neptune bases, thirty small combat rockets, and three large space carriers. However, the situation had already worsened.
Just before Federation Headquarters attempted to make emergency contact with both bases, the communications network at headquarters command center received emergency codes from them.
“This is Neptune base. We’re under fire from unidentified spacecraft, being attacked by about one hundred planes! Blocks 1 and 2 are already destroyed, and the entire army is focusing on the remaining control block!”
“This is Uranus base! We’re under surprise attack by an enemy that came out of nowhere and destroyed the carrier Ramanda that was docked at space block A. The enemy is attacking in waves from the sky above the base!”
Communication with both bases lasted about two hours. Then, finally, “Neptune base here…our military function is already paralyzed! But we’re moving to counterattack with residual units…this will probably be our last battle…! Earth headquarters…farewell to you. Farewell…”
“Earth headquarters, this is Uranus base! The enemy attack is intensifying! The base is on the verge of collapse…further transmission is impossible…Earth headquarters…!”
With that, communication with both bases was cut off. Following Pluto base, it was clear that Neptune and Uranus bases were destroyed. The A and B governments were both bewildered. Their elite units, the pride of their nations, had been wiped out in less than two hours. They were forced to admit that the enemy forces were far more powerful than expected.
But the leaders of these countries were bullish. Even if they were a little emotional, their prestige was at stake, and it was only natural that they couldn’t easily accept such an awkward defeat. In the fleeting moment of harmony brought about by the efforts of Japan’s representative, Nations A and B rose from their unexpected defeat to run off and flex their muscles independently.
First, ignoring the recommendations of Republic Federation Headquarters, the two governments moved to reinforce their Jupiter and Saturn bases one after the other. It was their judgment that Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus bases had been invaded as stepping stones, and the enemy’s next goal would naturally be Saturn base, followed by Jupiter base.
The disarray of Nations A and B caused a major panic situation all over the globe. The emergency meeting was forcibly suspended as national representatives rushed to and fro in the disorder of Federation headquarters. In the midst of this chaos, the Chairman and the Japanese representative met in a secret conference. A slip of paper lay on the table between them.
On it, the words were written: Integration, Earth Defense Force.
The hot gaze of the two men focused on those letters.