Council of three! Or four!


There were technically only three people at the meeting: Tobias himself, as senior USN officer and Acting Commandant of Heinlein station; Dr. Hu Mali, formerly head of South China’s Lunar base, and by now effectively in charge of all of the Chinese successor states’ based; and Lt. Colonel Lorenzo Bruno, who very possibly was the highest-ranking European Union Space Force officer still alive. They all had aides and assistants, but it was those three who actually talked. Well, and Asenath, too. Although the other two had a bad habit of only taking her information seriously after Tobias himself had confirmed it. It was annoying, but Asenath didn’t seem to care.

In deference to the American, all three of them spoke English. “We found another vein of subsurface ice,” Mali told them with her usual slight smile. Tobias had noticed how she always liked to start these meetings with as good news as possible, and more water certainly qualified. “After we fill our working tanks, we can extract enough for ten hopper loads, if you can supply the hoppers.”

Asenath was already whispering in his ear. Four hoppers would be most cost-effective for us. Let the Euros have the other six.