Nonnie Jules is the founder and President of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, as well as interviewer of RRBC authors in the famed, “Who’s On The Shelf With Nonnie?” interviews. Her interviewing skills are legendary and she decided to accompany Author, John Fioravanti, through space and time to another galaxy 700 years into the future. Nonnie’s goal is to meet the key personalities on planet Genesis featured in Fioravanti’s series, The Genesis Saga, and utilize her formidable skills to find out something more about these characters. This scene is the tenth of many, which will follow.
Setting: John is a guest in Nonnie’s office at Rave Reviews Book Club. He just finished relating to her an interview between the Earther leader, General Beckett Lupus, and the Genesis Free Press reporters, Annie Pinto and Marie Brooklynn. From the look on her face, it looks like she has more questions about the Earthers…
Nonnie: “So these Earthers got mixed up in a bloody war for four years just to save the humans from these Krogg creatures? If they’re so darned saintly, John, why didn’t the Churchers on Genesis like them?”
John: “Good question! During the war, ArcGeneral Sarah Manchester led the Genesis Navy through countless battles, while her Commanding Officer, ArcGeneral Liz Hastings stayed on Genesis to coordinate the war effort. During Liz’s election campaign, Sarah testified on her behalf. One of the Churcher Congressmen challenged Liz’s friendship with Earthers. This was Sarah’s response…”
Sarah sat at a large table set before the raised dais where the committee of eight Members of Congress sat. The table was empty except for the microphone, a water glass and pitcher. As she sat in front of the microphone, Sarah noted that the selection panel comprised six men and two women. She surmised the women had to be Naval class since no self-respecting Churcher woman would be involved in politics. Next, she looked at each of the males to see if there were any obvious signs of his loyalties. Her gaze stopped at one youngish man, likely in his mid-thirties, who sported thin, sandy colored hair, eyeglasses, and a scowl. The man chairing the committee rapped his gavel, drawing her attention away. He wore a friendly smile that softened his sharp, angular face. His graying hair suggested he was in his fifties. His soothing voice put her at ease.
“Thank you for appearing before us today, ArcGeneral Manchester. We’re grateful for your courageous leadership during the war, and for the sacrifices those under your command made to keep Genesis safe.”
Seven Members of Congress smiled and applauded their agreement as Sarah bowed her head in acknowledgement. The eighth Member just scowled. Sarah smiled and ignored him.
“ArcGeneral,” the Chairman continued, “we have heard and considered the policy platform of candidate ArcGeneral Hastings. She has made very clear her economic, social, military, and foreign policy plans, so we feel confident we understand her position on these issues. We’re hoping you can give us insight about who the ArcGeneral is as a person.”
Sarah leaned forward and drank from her glass before she spoke, “Mister Chairman, I have known ArcGeneral Hastings since I was fifteen years old. She recruited me from the Genesis City Naval Cadets. Because of my family’s Naval history, I was drawn to this profession. Inspired by then ArcLieutenant Liz Hastings, I jumped at the chance to enroll in the Academy. She is a born leader. She is not only a gifted administrator, but she inspires those around her.”
The scowling congressman interrupted. “I’m Congressman Hawkins, ArcGeneral. What can you tell us concerning ArcGeneral Hastings’ sense of loyalty when she led the Naval mutiny which ended our Quest to conquer Earth?”
Sarah looked grim and paused a moment to compose herself, “ArcGeneral Hastings saved the lives of countless Navy crewmen that particular day. You see, Shappa Bactule’s plan was to massacre the crews of our Navy’s ships and replace them with hastily conditioned Crusaders. The ArcGeneral’s mutiny, as you call it, saved most of the Genesis fleet; and in so doing, she inspired the confidence and unswerving loyalty of those entrusted to her command.”
“And I suppose you approve of the fact that she allowed herself to become a lapdog to those heathen Earthers?”
Sarah’s eyebrow rose. Fortunately, she had prepared for hostility, because she was getting it.
“I find it fascinating that faithful people of the Church view the Earthers with such contempt and distrust, Mister Hawkins. They handily defeated the ships of our Navy under Crusader command. Their military superiority is obvious. Allow me to list the horrid things they did after that victory. First, they rescued the surviving crews in space and gave them life-saving medical treatment. Next, the Crusaders, defeated at Antarctica Base, were allowed to live among them – or return to Genesis. The Crusaders opted to stay! As well, they treated High Chancellor Bingham’s mortal wounds and saved his life. They offered him friendship, which he accepted gratefully. Now, did these bloodthirsty heathens make plans to conquer Genesis? On the contrary, ladies and gentlemen, they acceded to our request to help rid us of the Krogg overseers who had their own agendas! Did they take over Genesis after the ensuing war? Show me, Mister Congressman. Show me those cruel Earther masters who keep you in chains! They are not the enemy, sir. They give – even at the cost of their own lives – because their nature causes them to do so. Their gifts have no strings.”
Hawkins’ glared, trying to unsettle Sarah, but she smiled at his discomfort.
“The Earthers are a great people who have enormous respect for ArcGeneral Hastings,” she concluded. “They saved her ship and her life at Krogg ‘A’, when our ships were unable to reach her. I’ve been to their world, Mister Chairman. It is a utopian society. I lived there for eight months while Earther shipbuilding yards and Earther technicians put our fleet back together for the trip home. They offered me free access to whatever I wanted. It is hard to imagine, I know, but true. By the way, Congressman Hawkins, have you seen the bill for the repairs to our ships yet?” Every eye turned to Hawkins as his scowl deepened and his face turned red. “No? Well, sir, I guarantee they won’t be sending one.”
Sarah shifted in her chair, and refilled her glass, as most of the committee members laughed and applauded her response. She drank and placed the glass on the table as she looked askance at the Chairman.
The Chairman rapped the gavel for quiet and looked to his right and left for more questions. Hawkins was sitting back in his chair, his expression dark and stormy. No one moved to ask a question.
“Thank you, ArcGeneral, for your frankness and insights. You have provided us with much food for thought. You may be excused.” The Chairman rapped the gavel once more.
Nonnie: “Okay, John, what I got from that is that the Churchers are upset because the Earthers stopped their Quest to take over Earth.”
John: “That’s true, Nonnie, but it is also clear that the Churchers saw the Earthers as an abomination against nature.”
Nonnie: (Nonnie mulls that over in silence for a few moments.) “I don’t pretend to understand those fanatics! Are there any reasonable Churchers on Genesis? Never mind, John, just thinking about them gives me a headache.”
John: “Fair enough. Is there anything else you’d like to know about?”
Nonnie: “Yes! You know, I just adore Marco. I’d like to know more about him. And I’d love a cup of coffee… but don’t tell Marlena! Promise me, John…”
John: (John reaches out and touches Nonnie’s arm.) “As you wish…”