"What's going on, I thought it wasn't supposed to end for a while yet?" Kiral managed to ask Kheersi as they were led down a passageway.
Before Kheersi could answer, one of the civil servants interrupted.
"Madame Empress, the ceremony is over, shall we not dismiss your Guard before discussing such sensitive matters?"
Kheersi gave him a withering stare of disapproval that caused the timid male to shrink from her gaze.
"Every one of these people has saved my life on numerous occasions. I trust them implicitly." Her tone was icy.
Kiral grinned. Kheersi had always hated paper-pushers. Ironic, given that she'd been the one to make General and disappear into the bottomless pit of military administration.
"I'm not sure yet, Kiral. We're about to be briefed." Kheersi explained as they reached a door held open for them by a civil servant.
They entered a small, darkened auditorium, like a classroom at an education center. Dust filtered through the air, illuminated by the bulb of a projector. Everyone waited until Kheersi had taken her seat at the center-rear of the room before sitting down themselves. There were others already in the room, civil servants and officials from the Imperial Science and Defense Councils.
"Madame Empress, ladies and gentlemen, please direct your attention to the screen." One of the Councilmen said, clearing his throat and picking up a pointing stick as the projector hummed and clicked. "These pictures were taken using telescopes at one of our astronomical facilities in City 79, at the Kelko Institute for Extra-Planetary Science, last night."
"What am I looking at, Councilman?" Kheersi asked, leaning forward to stare at the screen.
"Well, we're not exactly sure. The researchers at the institute assumed they were meteors at first. But if you look here..." The projector clicked, displaying a new image. "We observed several of these unknown flying objects change trajectory in a manner that has never been observed in meteors."