Michael Corbad sat alone in his dark executive office suite. The expansive room was perched on the top floor of one of the highest corporate skyscraper headquarters in Moonhatten.
He tilted his champagne flute towards his mahogany desk and gazed upwards through the skylight of his office. Above him the blue marble known as planet New York hung still in space, its surface greyed and dirtied by its trademark ecumenopolis. He had never appreciated the sight when he had worked in Citygroup’s Holdings division back in G.R. 2012. People only appreciated what they had when it was taken away from them.
After the USS Donald Reagan fell towards New York, the AN*US forces lost their leadership and coordination. The Spirit of Ragnablok, flagship of the PAX Corps, mysteriously disappeared. Most assumed it was obliterated out of existence from the sheer firepower of the incoming Third Alliance fleet. Corbad had studied the combat recordings- out of the idle interest of a wealthy executive, of course- and was inclined to reach a different conclusion. He couldn’t quite word his suspicions, in any case. It was merely a thought.
Only a few capital and sub-capital class vessels on the pro-AN side were even spaceworthy by the end of it, and their captains quickly surrendered to the Third Alliance. The TA had sunk most of their casualties into mindless Briktoid drone ships, and still so many remained that it was Briktoid’s mass-produced frigates that herded the defeated ships to a designated jump point, where they disappeared to presumably some prisoner of war holding area.
Third Alliance ground forces had already destroyed the AN headquarters, and with space secured, further TA reinforcements poured in like rain from the sky. Resistance was easily routed with overwhelming force and wonder weapons, and what little remained was dealt with orbital bombardment. For weeks TA ships weaved amongst the wreckage in New York orbit and cluttered its space lanes. From the ground, one could truly have called it an iron sky.
A year passed. The Third Alliance had grown careless and complacent with the Allied Nations destroyed. A civil war erupted within the Third Alliance over pwnies and both sides recalled forces from the New York garrison to feed into it. By the time the Praetorians warped in with the Inexorable-class dreadnought to retake New York, the Joint Third Alliance New York Occupation Task Force had shrunk to a tiny fraction of its original size. The neu-AN’s supporters poured in ships as the TA had done a year earlier, and won back New York. And so the Second Battle of New York had ended in AN victory.
The Third Alliance was not yet brought into the fold, however, and work remained to be done. The neu-AN, high off of its victory in New York, grew arrogant and attacked the heart of Bavaria. Every military analyst and politician in the USA assured the country that the war would be over in a matter of months.
A year and a half later, boots on the ground in Bavaria had not progressed an inch. War was bad for business if you’re on the wrong side of it, and Corbad increasingly felt that way as the club of superpowers and veto powers struggled to subjugate the capital of one nation. He had been appointed CEO of Citygroup in the tumultuous economic times after the First Battle of New York, but the nation still had the unity that accompanies times of national crisis. People were determined to win back New York then. It had mattered to them then. Now as ZNN broadcasted NATO forces gunning down women and children in some far-off space, as American lives were extinguished in the name of an impotent international organization that had ceased to exist years ago, his investors grew unruly. The people grew unruly. Americans began to protest the AN-TA War in the streets and angrily reminded B’lack Obama of his campaign promise to pull American troops out of the foreign conflict.
The market grew uncertain. Investors panicked and sold stocks like mad, dumping the money into gold. Corbad weighed his decisions, and he decided that if he wanted to keep his job, he couldn’t let another 2004 happen. He deployed his lobbyists to Congress and the State Department.
Earlier today he had seen the signing of the Treaty of Planet Versailles on ZNN. He sipped his champagne glass. The AN was coming back. The alliance had never died after all.