Chaos' Heir - Chapter 689
Of course, Khan didn't let his internal conflict freeze all his functions. Mister Cirvags had given him access to a goldmine, and reviews were in order.
After brainstorming, Khan picked himself up, drew a bottle from the desk's drawer, and put himself to work. He connected his phone to the office, and Mister Cirvags' file fused with the information he had gathered in the past weeks.
Admittedly, Khan didn't have much. Lord Vegner's report and the available information had created a vague map, but nothing that could truly help Khan find the Nak. However, things changed after inputting Mister Cirvags' file.
The file had classified and unofficial reports about the Nak, as well as a detailed history of what the Global Army found after interacting with many alien species. There was also a timeline, and Khan didn't hesitate to make the interactive desk absorb those pieces of information.
The desk worked quickly, sorting the new information according to Khan's inputs. Soon, the map grew more detailed, creating a vague pattern that kept Khan's eyes glued to the holograms.
According to the file, the Global Army didn't know where the Nak had come from or where they were now. Yet, the timeline showed their movements, hinting at multiple possible directions.
Those directions were still vague and too broad, but Khan had never gotten closer to a concrete clue. Theoretically, he could plan explorations toward certain parts of the universe instead of flying blindly and randomly.
Khan stared at the map for a while, reviewing all the details inside the file. Ideally, he wanted to narrow down the possible directions, but the effort seemed pointless. The universe was no two-dimensional street, so pursuing a single clue would require multiple parties.
'I can't afford so many teams,' Khan thought, noting down his conclusions. 'Well, I can, but it might be complicated.'
Khan could hire as many scouts as he wanted with his connections to the Harbor and Solodrey family. Still, relying on those powerful parties was always a gamble, especially since he didn't trust them. The chance that they might feed him misinformation was high.
Moreover, planning such a big mission was risky on multiple fronts. Khan wouldn't only expose himself more than necessary. He would also open himself up to public criticism that could go in the way of his career, which was required to obtain better information.
'I would go there myself, but,' Khan sighed. His hands were tied in the current period, and a single person couldn't explore so many directions. He would need longer than decades in that case.
Khan kept working, doing his best to isolate directions he could justify with something else. That wasn't possible in many cases, but a few locations popped out when he added lists of jobs and missions involving the Global Army.
The idea was to use authentic and official excuses to send teams in those directions, but Khan couldn't just pick anyone. After isolating a few locations, the issue moved to a different topic. He needed trustworthy soldiers loyal to him, but the situation looked grim.
'Francis could work,' Khan brainstormed. 'Joe Clayman should be fine, too, and I can also ask for the Lieutenant Colonel's help.'
More names popped out in Khan's mind, but he crossed them almost instantly. His social array was immense now, but the number of trustworthy people was small, especially when he wanted to avoid involving his true friends.
George wouldn't hesitate to do Khan a favor, but the latter wanted to keep his family away from that mess. The same went with Luke since Martha was involved, and all the other descendants met in the Harbor obviously couldn't work either.
'I should have spent more time building meaningful connections,' Khan cursed. 'The Colonel was right.'
Of course, Khan was aware of his limits. He wasn't the social type but had also exploited most of his opportunities. The lack of meaningful connections mostly came from his focus on his career and personal power, which put him in that position to begin with.
Still, the issue remained, and the only possible solution involved the Solodrey family. Khan could ask Monica to deal with Anastasia and come up with something nigh-trustworthy. That was the best compromise Khan could think of, but Monica wasn't there, and waiting didn't feel too good.
'A couple of teams should be fine in the meantime,' Khan concluded, preparing himself to contact the few trustworthy people he could find.
Nevertheless, Khan's phone rang before he could complete the task, and the name on the screen forced him to pick up.
"What is it, Jenny?" Khan asked.
"Sir, someone is trying to reach you," Jenny shortly explained. "It's the same strange contact as last time."
"Pass it through," Khan ordered.
"As you wish, sir," Jenny replied, closing the call to allow the other contact to reach for Khan.
Khan picked up as soon as the new call arrived, and his voice turned cold as he addressed the speaker. "Raymond, your timing is always troubling."
"You recalled to drop the formalities in private," Raymond responded. "Is this a sign that you are starting to trust me, Captain?"
"Far from it," Khan stated. "I'm merely tired of games."
"That's a pity," Raymond said. "I had a new one ready for you."
"Drop the bullshit," Khan scoffed. "Why did you call me now?"
The "now" was on purpose. Khan wanted Raymond to know that he was aware of the specific timing. It couldn't have been a random event. It had to be something connected to Mister Cirvags' file.
"I thought you'd feel grateful," Raymond uttered. "You are closer to your goal, aren't you?"
"I know it wasn't you," Khan exclaimed, "But seeing you trying to take the merit tells me a lot."
"Oh, how much you've grown," Raymond chuckled. "You were nothing more than a glorified guard only a few years ago."
"The glorified guard is getting closer," Khan declared. "It won't be long until he reaches you."
"I'm aware," Raymond replied. "Seventy-eight percent. Your growth is terrifying."
"You won't scare me with your knowledge anymore," Khan announced.
"I'd be disappointed if it did," Raymond said. "You are lucky Mister Cirvags is on your side. The Global Army would have made a formal offer for your techniques otherwise."
Khan wanted to play tough, but that statement still hit him hard. He couldn't understand what Mister Cirvags was thinking, but Raymond appeared convinced he was on his side.
"It seems I can still shock you," Raymond exclaimed. "Don't blame yourself. It's one of my talents."
"You still haven't said why you called," Khan uttered.
"Maybe I just wanted to congratulate you on your engagement," Raymond suggested. "Miss Solodrey is a fine woman. I wish you nothing but happiness."
Khan hated hearing Raymond speaking Monica's name, but his temper didn't flare. He remained calm enough to voice a chilling ultimatum. "I'm about to hang up."
"You don't know where to go, do you?" Raymond questioned. "Even with the new information, the universe is too big."
"Are you offering to make it smaller?" Khan asked.
"I would," Raymond replied, "But that would complicate things."
"Afraid of leaving tracks?" Khan teased.
"Fear never had any grip on my mind," Raymond declared, "And it never will."
"We'll see about that," Khan challenged.
"Threats are your strong suit now," Raymond chuckled. "How wonderful."
"Raymond, why did you call?" Khan asked, trying to bring the conversation back to the main topic.
"Are you trying to trace back the Nak's movements?" Raymond questioned.
"You know the answer," Khan stated.
"I wouldn't go about it like that," Raymond said. "The Nak's movements and attacks have been erratic at best. The Second Impact should have proven that to you."
Khan was aware that the idea of sending explorers was a long shot and probably the wrong way to tackle the issue. Yet, he didn't know what else to do. His search had to start somewhere in the end.
"Just tell me why you called," Khan sighed. "This is getting boring."
"I've never been called boring in my entire life," Raymond stated. "Very well. There is something I'd like you to see."
"Get to the point," Khan ordered.
"No questions?" Raymond wondered. "I thought you would have been warier after our last call."
"I've gotten stronger," Khan declared. "I'll deal with any trick you throw at me."
"Such confidence," Raymond praised. "Did it come from discovering your true lineage? Or is it part of the engagement?"
"Are teases all you have?" Khan asked.
"Not quite," Raymond uttered. "Do you know Xiotov? It should be worth a visit."
Khan hung up before Raymond could, and his fingers moved as soon as he stored the phone. He recognized that name. He had read it previously that day while going through the map, and only a second had to pass for details to appear in his vision.
Xiotov was a planet in the Empire's territory, but its location didn't fall under Lord Exr's rule. Lord Rsi was in charge of that area, but the place had already hosted interspecies missions. Khan could easily devise a fake reason to visit it, and his fingers were already working on that.