While the Haul consider their losses, the Rabit Government plans its next steps.




Silent Victory

«The new prototype delivered what was promised,» the project manager Freddy Cones reported to Minister Dansy Dreick. «Mass production has started. There are a couple of design improvements left to implement but nothing major.»

Dansy nodded with a satisfied impression. «Excellent. Finally, we're ear to ear with the Haul

«Yes.» Freddy didn't seem very happy.

«Such is war.» Her face never betrayed what she felt. «About that vacation which you applied for ...» His face lightened up. «Since the project is now finished, I can grant your request.» She rose to shake his paw. «Thank you very much for your dedication and effort. Without you, this wouldn't have been possible.»

«Why, thank you,» he beamed and shook her paw enthusiastically. «Having to work under so strict discretion caused some problems but I had a fantastic team.»

«Only the best for our race,» Dansy smiled. «I'm sure you understand that you must not talk to anyone about this.»

«Sure,» he agreed, his mind already on the white beaches of Vera Cura.

«Good. Well, goodbye and enjoy your holidays. They're well-deserved.»

«Thank you, Ma'am.»

After he had left, Dansy called the security officer in charge. «Project Manager Freddy Cones has just completed his assignment.»

The Dexter on the other side of the screen took the notice without batting an eyelid. «The usual procedure?»

«Yes.» After the connection was cut, she rose and went to the big screen on the wall which created the illusion of living in a natural cave full of dripstones and crystals. Her mind was on the first generation of Dexters, though. 'Keep them or get rid of them? They are useful but too easy to notice and giving them orders is always such an effort.' A call from her friend Leane ripped her out of her thoughts.

«Madam President,» she greeted her friend formally.

«Don't call me that!» Leane laughed and raised a warning finger. «Not in private or I'll start calling you Minister Dreick

«Tar forbid,» Dansy grinned. «The new prototype has been a huge success.»

Leane's face darkened visibly. «Yes, I heard. I just wish there was another way.»

«Not after Pantero

«No,» the Rabit president sighed, «I guess not. Mark broadcasted the news as planned and it was well received. People are dancing on the street, they finally have hope that we can win this war.»

«That's good news.»

«And ... the other project?» the president asked cautiously.

«Is progressing as planned. The schedule hasn't changed. In a few days, it'll be over.»

«Finally.» Leane allowed to show how exhausted she felt. «Dansy, honestly, I don't know how much longer I could have stood this pressure. We must put an end to this.»

«We will.» Dansy smiled encouragingly. «Just a few more days.»

«Yes. Just a few more days.» Leane tried to smile back but it was forced.

When the video window closed, Dansy leaned back. 'She is becoming a problem, too. I just hope she makes till the end of the war.' The minister shook her head. There were more urgent matters. 'The Dexters. Who am I kidding? They are walking time bombs. I'm just hesitating because they were so expensive to create.' With the decision made, she started to give orders without hesitation.


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