Eight names were displayed before him on his screen. Eight individuals who hadn’t been in service for years, but were now about to be recalled. They were third-rate, all of them. No, that was being too generous. Third-rate would be an improvement. If he and the others had more time perhaps another option would become available, but an existential threat demands immediate action, so here they were, summoning the prototypes. It was never supposed to be this way. The eight were only intended as a proof of concept prior to the creation of the genuine article. Circumstances, however, had nixed that plan, and now the eight were all they had. He sat there for a minute, staring at the screen. Eight names. He was banking the future on eight names. The message he was sending them had already been prepared and just needed a single click to send. He read each name one last time, and clicked the button. It was now in their hands. He just prayed some of them would agree to come back.

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