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Keith,

By the time you read this I should, hopefully, no longer be around. If my calculations are correct you now have about four hours before the world media frenzy begins. I have sent comprehensive accounts of Shado’s existence, operations and current  activities to all the global news networks and press, as well as internet pages timed to activate in 5 hours. Don’t try to stop them. I am pretty good at security as you know and the codes are unbreakable. Please forgive me.

I had no other option. The IAC have decided that, in this world of international  terrorism, it is no longer viable to support Shado  to the extent that they have been doing for the past 30 years. In four months time all but one of the Moonbases will be retired, and the Skydiver fleet will be halved.   This cannot be allowed to happen, so after much painful deliberation I decided that the world needs to know what is happening. It is the only way I can ensure that the work we have done is not wasted. The worldwide outrage at what has been happening should ensure sufficient support for Shado  for the foreseeable future.

You will no doubt consider me a traitor. I really don’t care any more. The cancer has returned and I only have a few months. I was going to spend my days on a beach somewhere, safe in the knowledge that you were the next in line for the post of Commander. But things have changed. I have a flight booked, my painkillers are in my pocket and I will spend my last hours now still on that beach, but watching the tide come in for the last time. If I have planned this correctly my body will never be found.

On my way to the airport I visited Alec Freeman for the last time. I don’t think he has had many visitors in the last year. I turned off the alarms and switched off his life support. The last gift I could give an old friend. He deserved better than to be left like that.

You will make an excellent Commander. I was tough on you over the years, partly because you needed toughening up, but also because I saw the potential in you. You never let me down. You have a very difficult time ahead of you, but I know that you will be able to ride it out.

Look after my people. I don’t think many will be able to pardon me for what I have done, but I have given everything to Shado, my family, my friends, my health and finally the  only things I have left to give are my life and my reputation. 

I hope you understand.

Goodbye Commander Ford, and may God go with you.

Commander E. Straker
Ed.

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