Autor Thema: Loyal to Humanity  (Gelesen 2316 mal)

Beschreibung: Jean Levi's Prologue (completed)

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Jean Levi Biton

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Loyal to Humanity
« am: 08.06.2011, 14:16:20 »
13th of April 2011


- "Francois Juliet Seven-Three, Francois Juliet Seven-Three, this is Echo Seine Niner-Zero. Request granted for rendezvous at 36 degrees 70.8N, 68 degrees 80.0E. Read back for check. Over."
- "Echo Seine Niner-Zero, Echo Seine Niner-Zero, this is Francois Juliet Seven-Three. I read back: three six degrees seven zero decimal eight North, six eight degrees eight zero decimal zero East. Over."
 - "Francois Juliet Seven-Three, Francois Juliet Seven-Three, this is Echo Seine Niner-Zero. Correct. We await your arrival. Out."

Jean Levi put the microfon back and the radio on standby. He slightly nodded to his communications officer and tapped him on the shoulder as he headed for the wide open exit. His tent was one of the largest in camp Renfort close to the city of Kunduz, but nevertheless he had to share it with the radio station due to the lack of space and equipment. The commander stepped outside and left his officer behind to look after any incoming signal. The hot morning sun burned down mercilessly and Jean Levi had to put back on his sunglasses.

What a farce, Jean Levi thought. If this is, what his career had come to, he could as well sink into the dry and burning sand under his feet. His position in this post was as meaningless as the laughable picture of a proud and authoritarian soldier standing upright and strong before his men, projecting empty phrases of duty and assistance. Which was exactly the picture of Jean Levi at this point in his life. He removed his glasses in disgust and put them away. He would rather stare into bare sunlight than help supporting military clichés. It was only a matter of time, until he would be removed from his post and and sent to another untruthful mission. Right after his enlistment into the UN forces he had been despised of because of his supposedly lack of allegiance, held only as a figurehead for the morale of the soldiers engaging in the very little meaningful missions and supporting the people of Afghanistan, while he was exiled to a small communcations camp, only waiting for time to pass, living in dissatisfaction.

Who knows, he said to himself, maybe it is our new incoming guests, who finally end our misery and close this operation. Let the freedom commence.
« Letzte Änderung: 24.06.2011, 15:23:26 von List »
On ne saurait empêcher l'équilibre de produire ses effets. On peut braver les lois humaines, mais non résister aux lois naturelles.
 ~ Jules Verne

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« Antwort #1 am: 11.06.2011, 14:50:10 »
For a while, Jean Levi stood outside his tent absorbed in thoughts. He was in constant struggle between meaning and duty and incable of making a final decision. Soldiers passed by, greeting. He wasn't seen as a brother-in-arms but nevertheless respected for his deeds on SSColumbia. Perhaps, there was also some sort of sympathy, as they understood why he had fallen apart from spaceflight after the nearly-disaster.

Jean Levi slightly shook his head and was about to re-enter the tent as he saw one of the military jeeps approaching. Two man were sitting in it - one of them was camp-leader General France. The other one was unknown to Jean Leavi but he was sure that the man didn't belong to the camp nor to military, as he wore a suit instead of battle dress. They stopped right in front of Jean Levi and got off.

General France saluted. "Commander Biton, I want to introduce Mr. Sommerset to you. He is an agent in service of US Department of Homeland Security[1] and wants to submit you an offer. Perhaps we go to some place where we can talk without perturbance." General France pointed to the chart tent and Mr. Sommerset smiled. Jean Levi disliked him at once. Sommerset reminded him of the pigs in George Orwell's novell Animal Farm[2]: a rational and cold fish, glancing at him in expectance of his opportunity.

They changed location and Sommerset started bespeaking his issue. "Commander Biton, I'm pleased to meet you. As the General already said, I speak on the authority of US. D.H.S. and I will get straight to the point." For some reason he nodded. "Some days ago, an observatory identificated a huge asteroid in earth's orbit. We calculated that the probability of collision is about 99% and it will have enough power to devastate an area of size of the USA. At the moment, our agencies are planing a mission to avert the catastrophe and it seems possible to push the asteroid aside by means of nuclear powers. He stealed a glance with the general. "We are deliberating the composition of the team, too. And we came to agreement that you are the right one for the possition of the cammander. We want you to depart this afternoon.", he added smiling coldly.
 1. United States Department of Homeland Secutity: Ministery responsible of protection from terrorrist attacks and natural disasters in US territory
 2. Animal Farm: The animals start a revolution against the farmers just to get in some other domination by the pigs
« Letzte Änderung: 11.06.2011, 15:39:14 von List »
"Man muss auch das Allgemeinste persönlich darstellen."
- Hokusai

Jean Levi Biton

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« Antwort #2 am: 11.06.2011, 18:32:16 »
For a brief moment Jean Levi couldn't decide whether he should express his surprise or his scepticism, but his trained bearing took care of that dilemma. Not a single wince was recognisable in Jean Levi's face as Mr. Sommerset had ended his proposal. Jean Levi held his arms behind his back and kept silent as he let the information sink in. His look quickly changed between the D.H.S. Agent and General France, looking for a hint in their reactions, stretching the silence further than necessary. It was the self-content and smug appearance of the agent that led to Jean Levi doubting the circumstances of the news. Although he recognized that such an occurance was nothing to joke about he could not help himself questoning the intentions of these men.[1]

"The case strikes me as improbably unlucky. I understand your concerns." Jean Levi spoke slowly and calmly, but his choice of words alone showed his distance to the two men. Although he stayed friendly he dared to push his counterside to try and find a hold of the situation. He paused for a second. Position of commander, Sommerset declared. That did not sound right. What kind of position was it that they could want him to really play in this mission?

"But I would like to remind you," Jean Levi continued, "that you are merely talking to a head of a communication outpost. Are you thinking about commandeering the information exchange post of the mission, Mr. Sommerset? If so, then I might as well refuse and suggest a more experienced appointee, as I understand this as an offer and not an order, Sir."

His look switched to the General again but Jean Levi's firm expression remained. It was not even an hour ago when the Commander wished for an exit out of his duty in Renfort, but this sudden proposal seemed to require a commitment to an equally overseen operation. But then again, Jean Levi thought, if his departure could provide his men in this redundant desert outpost the chance of being ordered to a more meaningful operation, it was a small matter in exchanging one ill with another. Jean Levi's tension relaxed only a little but enough to show that he could eventually be convinced, if only with the right conditions.

"I understand you have a mission briefing, Mr. Sommerset?"
 1. Hunch (General France): 26 vs. DC 20
Hunch (Agent Sommerset): 18 vs. DC 20
On ne saurait empêcher l'équilibre de produire ses effets. On peut braver les lois humaines, mais non résister aux lois naturelles.
 ~ Jules Verne

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« Antwort #3 am: 12.06.2011, 16:05:55 »
The two men nodded to each other. General France smiled and Mr. Sommerset seemed to be satisfied and twinkled. Again, it strenghtens the picture of a pig, Jean Levi thought. The General appears to be taken in by the agent. Probably he's proud that someone important lost himself in this camp as well as that he can serve with one of his men. Maybe he don't even know the details of the mission the agent wants me for, thought Jean Levi. Then he examined the other man. I've met a lot of people, some of them were trustworthy and some were not. He's one of these guys who get their will by any means. His words are charming but his intentions are merciless. His stomache puckered - feelings seldom lied.

He noticed that Mr Sommerset also studied him coolly. "No, it's not actually an order but it is not an offer either...", he said meaningfully. "... because we cannot imagine someone better suited for this mission", he added with a pause that was one moment too long. Did the General also perceived the hint or was he too absorbed by the agent? Or did he intentionally ignore it? "We chose you because we remember SSColumbia and how you accomplished to save the shuttle and the team. Really, no one else would have succeeded. And because the mission is already complicated enough, we would be comfortable to know someone in team with your experience and skills. Someone, we can rely on."

"As things are now, the mission will be carried out by Atlas VI which launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida. As you know, this is no mission, the shuttle was designed for, but it'll do entirely. We're in consultations with Russia who possesses the sort of nuclear drive systems we need for the mission. It is not the intention to blow the asteroid up, you must know, but to push it aside. Russia asserted, that the systems can easily be handled by someone who has some experience with explosives." He searched for and produced a slim dossier he put on table. The label read Attila 02. "The technical details are explained in the file. The question of the team is not answered, yet. But we are sure, that Ken Borden[1] will assisst. You know him from SSColumbia. What do you say?"
 1. experienced pilot and payload specialist
« Letzte Änderung: 12.06.2011, 17:29:34 von List »
"Man muss auch das Allgemeinste persönlich darstellen."
- Hokusai

Jean Levi Biton

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« Antwort #4 am: 20.06.2011, 00:43:56 »
It was not a simple task for Jean Levi to hide his baffled look. His first assumption proved to be wrong. They were not meaning for him to work as a communications commander. They wanted him to board the shuttle.
Jean Levi's expression remained firm. Had he been a man of lesser self control this would be one of the moments one could start stuttering and lose focus. But the soldier held himself together and let the necessary time pass, to take the proposition into account. He skimmed through the portfolio that had the insignia from the DHS on its cover. So many questions.

"With all due respect, Sir, you do realize that it has been eightteen years now since I boarded a space shuttle? Moreover, my knowledge and training in space engineering and sciences has always been rudimentary. I realize that it might have been Mr Borden who imputed the reentry of Shuttle Columbia to me, but I assure you, my qualifications were merely a lucky presence in a miserable situation."

There had to be more, Jean Levi thought, why this mission was proposed to him. The behaviour of the agent didn't allow Jean Levi to trust his intentions yet, as the American seemed so proud and generous while explaining the mission.

"Don't get me wrong, Agent, I am interested indeed. But I fail to see the trail of thought of your agency, my department and whoever might be in charge of this world-shaking operation, in proposing the command of this mission to a man, who is not only known for his lack of allegiance, but also hasn't participated in a significant operation for the last five years."

Jean Levi shared a quick glare with the general. Although the Frenchman was clearly speaking to the agent, his critisism was an obvious nod to his superiors. But nothing new in fact. For the last ten months Jean Levi had been sending letters and reports about the waste of resources, time and men in Camp Renfort, kindly asking for a consideration to break camp in the early days, and lately even openly demanding to find a better use for his men. But the response from above had been little to nothing, while the commander's frustration grew.

"I try not to be too quick, to accept your offer - or order, as it may be, Mr Sommerset," Jean Levi continued and remained calm and considerate, "but I see the urgency you are working under. An imminent collision within three weeks seems to be a very short time for planning, so your hurry is understandable. Although one might raise the question, how no one noticed the asteroid earlier, but let's not dwell on scientific circumstantialities."

There it was, the sceptical undertone which made Jean Levi an unlikable underling for every authority he had worked for in his life. Jean Levi's eyes glared to the agent while the soldier tried to get a grip of Sommerset's behaviour.

"For our hurry's sake I will try to simplify my doubts into a single question, as I will keep asking it myself as well as every superior I will encounter anyway. You want me to lead a mission in order to save the earth, in order to save all of humanity. Why me?"[1]

And Jean Levi lightly flashed his ambiguous smile, an unbefitting motion in the otherwise closed and serious expression of the Frenchman.
 1. Diplomacy: 21
« Letzte Änderung: 20.06.2011, 00:57:49 von Jean Levi Biton »
On ne saurait empêcher l'équilibre de produire ses effets. On peut braver les lois humaines, mais non résister aux lois naturelles.
 ~ Jules Verne

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« Antwort #5 am: 21.06.2011, 00:33:10 »
General France laughed and Mr. Sommerset was irritated for a moment. But he quickly returned to the self-rightenous smile. "We are convinced that you will hold allegiance. You're a military man, that means that you were drilled to be obedient and disciplined." He walked toward the entry of the tent and took theatrically a look around. "Or what is otherwise the reason for you to shrivel away in this soulless place?" He walked back to the table and studied Biton's face as he continued to speak. "It is your military experience we want. There will be astronauts from different countries, perhaps even from non-western countries. You know, how to unify unequal men under your command, whom is to trust and whom not and how to improvise. You're not that kind of proud but wimpy astronaut, we have enough of. You're the moral backbone of the team." He hesitated again for one moment, than he added, "At least for Ken Borden. Maybe it was him who was leading the recovery action on SSColumbia but you aided him in this critical moment. It was him, who insisted on you..."
« Letzte Änderung: 21.06.2011, 09:11:21 von List »
"Man muss auch das Allgemeinste persönlich darstellen."
- Hokusai

Jean Levi Biton

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« Antwort #6 am: 21.06.2011, 18:31:56 »
"I see..."

Jean Levi held his smile, but there was a brief glance of disappointment in his eyes. The fact that the agent was taken aback for even a very small moment gave the commander the impression he needed to decide how to respond to this man. Although Sommerset's behaviour was constantly arrogant and confident he seemed to be little more than a mere messenger, a conveyer of news, as important they might be anyway.

"Spare me the flattering, agent Sommerset," Jean Levi responded, and his smile vanished. There was a sudden change in the voice of the commander, a slight notion of command, as if he were not speaking to a representative of one of the world's most influential agencies but rather to a recruit in his old school, where he was used to teaching pretentious und complacent students, who soon learned to swallow their pride and presumption.

"I am well aware of my own capabilities. And I assure you, if you want to assemble an international team within only a few days, as I assume that the NASA will use every single remaining day to train and instruct the participants by the most thorough of all means, then yes, it is my experience that you want."

Although Jean Levi's words drifted into a dangerous teritory of arrogance on their own, he managed to remain calm und diplomatic. He realized very well that his following response would be nothing that Sommerset would like to hear, but if he was to accept the mission, he also wanted to hold his strings in his own hands.

"The report does not tell me where the calculated impact would occur, but due to the fact that you are standing here and not an agent from the MPS[1] or the EMERCOM[2], I suppose it will not be the beautiful continent of Asia we are currently standing on that will have to cope with the immediate consequences. Let me tell you this, agent Sommerset. I have not only worked for, but even fought for three Organisations in my whole life. But when you have devestated the al-Qaeda for the French and murdered Hamas for the Israeli and are always faced with the arbitrariness and ignorance of your commanding institutions, you start wondering if it is worth partaking in seemingly coordinated but rather random acts of violence against human beings, against whole peoples, while your side revels over their superiority, pride and winnings. I know your country is not any different. You are right, agent Sommerset, there is a reason for why I shrivel away in this soulless place. But your presumptions are utterly wrong."

Bitterness filled Jean Levi's words. But determination did so too.

"I accept the mission. The way I see it, it is fair enough for a nation like yours to be threatened by a disaster of this magnitude. But I am not only willing but firmly determined to participate in any action to avert any disaster that might befall this very world."

The dark and fascinatingly misty eyes glimmered as the commander revealed his thoughts and intentions, and his body was tense and stressed. In all those years of service and war it was the first time that Jean Levi was confronted with a mission which he unexceptionally approved.
 1. Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China
 2. Ministry of the Russian Federation for Affairs for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters
« Letzte Änderung: 21.06.2011, 18:35:23 von Jean Levi Biton »
On ne saurait empêcher l'équilibre de produire ses effets. On peut braver les lois humaines, mais non résister aux lois naturelles.
 ~ Jules Verne

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« Antwort #7 am: 22.06.2011, 16:59:26 »
Jean Levi saw in the face of the agent that his words were not to his liking. But he was clever enough not to engage in any discussion about Jean Levi's blame. Instead he made a step towards Jean Levi. "I'm glad that we could win you over for the mission. As I said earlier, we want you to depart this afternoon. You'll be taken up at 5 o'clock pm in Kabul. Any questions left?", said the agent. But it was obvious that this was some kind of rhetorical  question .

This moment General France awakened from his stasis and came towards Jean Levi, taking his hand. "I'm glad, you're  acceding  to. Finally you're requests for relocation have been met - and I guess, you should better go packing. There's little time left. Let me just say one more thing: I'm very proud of you. And I wish you good luck and the blessing of god. We all rely on you!"
« Letzte Änderung: 22.06.2011, 17:00:03 von List »
"Man muss auch das Allgemeinste persönlich darstellen."
- Hokusai

Jean Levi Biton

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« Antwort #8 am: 22.06.2011, 19:06:36 »
"Sir."

Jean Levi firmly held the general's hand and responded with a solemn look. It was a look of sincere acceptance, as Jean Levi trusted the words of general France to be of a well-intentioned truth und and upright honesty. After all, the general had given permission for his commander to not only leave the camp, but even the United Nation Troops to strive for a major and significant task. Jean Levi released the general's grip and shared a last salute with his superior, with whom he had so many disagreements and disputes in the past. But this final moment was symbol of mutual respect and trust. Jean Levi smiled, but rather than his usual fiendish smirk his eyes marked an appreciative sincerity.

"I will try not to hold a too deep grudge, Sir. Thank you, General. And good luck with your mission to you too."

A calm motion of relief passed through the soldier as he finally found his chains unlocked and purpose restored. Although he admitted to himself that his new mission was by no means a simple one - after all, he was assigned to coordinate an incredibly diverse team of non-military specialists of distinct and different fields to smoothly operate in an alien environment with absolutely no room for failure in little to no time - Jean Levi felt a confident satisfaction and healthy excitement at the thought of his near future.
On ne saurait empêcher l'équilibre de produire ses effets. On peut braver les lois humaines, mais non résister aux lois naturelles.
 ~ Jules Verne

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« Antwort #9 am: 24.06.2011, 15:21:42 »
For now, there was nothing left to be discussed. Everything else would be revealed, when time was ripe. So Jean Levi left the two men in order to make his preparations. As Jean Levi was out of sight, General France sighted with relief. "All's well that ends well. I'm glad that you didn't had to use any force over him."

The agent took out his sunglasses and noded to the General. "Even for me, governmental force is a nasty thing." he said reserved. "Anyway, thanks a lot for your help.", he said and left the tent.
« Letzte Änderung: 24.06.2011, 15:23:02 von List »
"Man muss auch das Allgemeinste persönlich darstellen."
- Hokusai