Lush Part 2
-365 Days Later-
It was a murmur coming from the corner of the observation deck. At first i didn’t believe that I had heard it, yet there it was echoing off every wall. They leave me alone here, the observation deck that is, where once it was bustling with life and my comrades stood at the hundreds of computers that sprawled throughout the deck like a web. The glass polymers at the forefront was larger than life, the ceiling rose hundreds of meters, and if you walked up real close to the window that poured out into the stars, if felt as if you were drifting into the cosmos.
The panel that the humming was originating from was used so infrequently that the shipbuilders placed it on the opposite side from the observatory bridge. The deck seemed to go on forever, it’s easy to forget how many rows of computer panels stretches backwards. The observatory deck was made just for that reason, tearing down the concept of small secretive command areas and instead brings the administrative tasks to the front of the ship where the glass shell grasped the forward deck. The station terminal’s humming grew louder as I approached the back wall, it rose up continuously with a black hue that seemed to become darker and darker as it reached its hand up towards an endless void.
The screen on the humming machine sprang to life, photons and fields steamed before me as i approached the corner of the room. It was an area of the galactic disk that wasn’t monitored heavily, as such it fell into memory. It was so long ago that my shipmates manned these positions and watched over the Veil, it was a grand duty to do so. Now, I am one of only three people in all of the Crohn to watch over these stars.
The holo-fields brought my attention to the far side of the Veil, of all the emptiness this galaxy has, surprises are still aplenty. I placed my hand in the fields of light and stretched my arms out sending a wave of planets and debris behind me to show me a much closer view of the area. How could these humans have approached such an understanding of that station so quickly? The Crohn made sure to safeguard all research stations before abandoning the Veil.
I slammed my hands together that blinked the holo-field away and touched the display’s control base that brought into view a large violet crystal spinning above. I thought for a moment if I really wanted to the grab the crystal, it would mean setting a process in motion that will change things irrevocably. I brought my hand out in violet light and closed my hand to a fist, my duty must stand at the forefront of my mind.
The unending heights of the observatory deck lit up. Hundreds of terminals lit up all along the web with columns of holo-fields rising from the their bases. The seam along the back part of the wall separated and slid open with a series of uniformed soldiers. Their hair were held just like mind, parted all the way back into a tail that was held together by a broad oval titanium pendent that’s width was not much more than the length of our longest finger. It bore the crest of the Crohn, a ring that went around the edge with four orbs engraved along so that they would form a perpendicular, a second inner ring that has two orbs spread along that they’d for a a straight line with one another, and a nest of fourteen circular engravings in the center. They wore ivory cloaks that reached their copper hued boots, along with similarly colored copper belts that i always believed to be overbearingly large.
A tall woman walked through the doorway last, he long face glowed with a smile that was lit brighter than any light in the observatory deck. Her boots seemed to click on the deck louder than any other, her blond hair flowed gently backwards and held back with the a pendant like any other. She was the Vast Commandant.
My other comrades dispersed amongst the observatory deck, seven proud soldiers of the Crohn took posting along several of the stations. The hundreds of empty consoles made the room look as if a vast wasteland laid before us at every corner. Lighting up the deck only reminded us of how far we have come since the days when every console was manned, and the Crohn spread it’s arms amongst may galactic disks. Now our only presence in this galaxy is aboard the Astrum Sempiternal, one of the largest cluster ships in the fleet. Fourth thousand meters long and two hundred meters wide, an endless shooting cylinder amongst the stars.
Vast Commandant Krelinas walked only a couple meters into the observatory deck before she turned to look at me with a smile that showed her glistening white teeth and a dimple in her left cheek. I stood still, trying to decide if I my face was turning red and what to do if she noticed. She walked several steps towards me instead of joining the others in the command section at the front.
“Adjutant Tolias.” Her voice was soft but curt. “Take the station on my right?” She moved her hand towards the center of the isle several meters from where she came in.
“Yes Commandant.” I began to follow her. Taking the right station of the commander of ship was akin to being the right hand of her authority. The terminal immediately to the right of the commander’s chair was held the ability to override any of the helms’ communications, weapons, and engineering posts that were several meters in front of where the Commandant would be sitting. It was a great honor.
“Tell me Adjutant,” Krelinas looked to her right as we sat down facing the large observatory window to the stars. “where are we going?” She asked as if it were no difference to her, I could have told her that the issue was anywhere in the galactic disk and it would not have mattered.
“It’s the Lush star system, Commandant. There has been activity concerning the Ghothring Bridge, I believe something has activated the rings.”
“I understand.” She turned to look at me slightly from the corner of her eye and then held out her hand again waving at the stars in front of us. “Please, Tolias.”
“Helm.” I began, taking the signal clearly. “Cease the mag-fields and take us out of grandstation mode. Bring us into high Neural velocities to Lush system in the south Veil.”
“Right away Adjutant.” Yelled back one of the helmsman in front of me.
It always starts as if your eyes are playing tricks on you. The darkness from right outside the large wall of glass of the Observatory deck begins to shake. As if a shadow that’s just too cold began to beat on the glass, only we can’t hear anything and every time we think we see a ripple or a movement, it becomes just out of our range of vision. The conceived blur of someone we were just thinking about from our peripheral vision that we just missed, or maybe they really were there, just in another form of reality? The ripples began to have a fluorescent hue of all the colors in the spectrum, it was a thick texture that seemed to fold onto one anther faster and in waves. We were at full speed, bursting pass thousands of stars with each breath we took. The Astrum never let echo a groan, her hull never shook, and we never felt the force of her engines thrusting us into vast expanse before us.
“The Lush system, Vast Commandant.” I spoke intriguingly as the Astrum trained itself into a dead stop.
“Is the temporal blockades still in places around the gas giant’s moon?” Inquired the Commandant, as we all seemed awed at the vast orange hues surrounding the moon and large swaths of the system.
“They must have trigged the temporal fail safe Commandant, it’s been hundreds of days since they activated the Bridge. We only just received the distress alarms because of the time it took for the signal to leave the time dilation.”
“How long has passed for those inside the bubble?” Her kind voice passed through the air again, and she looked at me with the most concerned expression.
I looked down at my station’s panel, my hands moved through a few of the holo fields. “No more than a few seconds.”
“Prepare to shutdown the gates on the moon’s base and extinguish the Bridge, Adjutant.” Krelinas rose her left hand into the air and light shot down from the Observatory’s ceiling as a meteor storm. She brought down her hand level to her face and the light followed gracefully. The Commandant took both hands and began to move the light around and within seconds the orange hue dissipated. The time dilation had fallen.
I quickly placed my hands in the light fields in front of me and called up the proper protocols to shut down a Level 2 Ghothring Bridge. “It’s done Commandant.”
“Very well.” The holograms left her hands and broke apart into light. “How many people are down on the moon? “
“There are two. Humans. Males, I believe”
“Are there any humans on the sister base orbiting the star’s chromosphere?”
“No Commandant, just those on the sub-terrain base.”
A vessel rose from the moon’s atmosphere. A large silver colored pod that stretched back where some sort of propulsion rings were located. A small and insignificant craft compared to the Astrum. Our entire forward hull was an enormous two hundred meter glass fortress that stretched across the whole of the observatory deck. Looking from the outside of the Astrum back inwards must have appeared to be an endless mirror that only stood to reflect just how infinitesimal the silver pod was.
Krelinas stood up from her chair. “Helms, place my voice on all known communications frequencies.”
“You’re live Commandant.” Spoke back the same young and exuberant helmsman.
“This is Vast Commandant Krelinas Arcinilial, Supreme Commander of the Plaecentia Crohn fleet. State your purpose.” Her voice had changed to something far more demanding and authoritative.
The silver pod fired an energy weapon. The red laser made it within a few hundred meters of the starboard hull before dissipating at our shield perimeter. It fired another red beam directly center of the observatory deck, and it again suffered the same fate.
“Commandant, one of the humans must have taken one of the Bridge dials. I’m not able to secure the the Bridge network again.” I said vigorously moving my hands through the various light streams at my command terminal.
Krelinas looked my way quickly and then shot a glance back at the Observatory’s window at the silver pod. Her left hand flew back into the air where holo-fields met the tip of her fingers. She brought her hand down and twisted the holograms into a circular orb then threw the ball of light into the large open area in front of her. The orb fell to the floor and as it touched the metal deck plating it exploded. Within the light was a tall man with long dark robes, spiky hair, and a white clothed shirt that covered his neck. She transported one of the humans from the silver pod.
“What is the meaning of this?” Roared the human as he tried to step out of the force field only to be knocked backwards.
“What’s your name?” The Commandant returned to her soft voice and broad smile.
“I am Xv Sarium of the Asterran Federation. Assault against a Councilor member is an act of war.” This human’s face seemed red with fury.
“War? Plaecentia has spread its arms through this universe for several hundred millennia. We’ve seen war. Your little pod out there is an annoyance, not a threat. You have stolen something from the base on the moon below. I want it back.” She held out her hand expecting immediate delivery.
“You can transport me here so easily, get it yourself.” He scoffed back at the Commandant. The truth is that the very nature of the Bridge’s dial was that it could not be tracked or transported by ordinary means. It’s quantum makeup would have caused it to disintegrate.
“Commandant, the silver pod is starting to veer off.” I began to bring the Astrum forward to keep pace with it.
“Very well, the dial is not important to me. It’s important that you don’t have that technology in your possession. Adjutant Tolias, obliterate that ship!” Her anger seemed overly reactionary and misplaced.
“Commandant, there is…..”
“It’s Vast Commandant and I do not repeat my orders.”
I reached out my hand into the holo fields in front of me and several blueish beads burst out from the Astrum and slammed into the silver pod’s hull causing the ship to collapse with explosions. “The ship is eliminated.”
“Commandant!” Shouted the familiar young helmsman. “A smaller copper colored pod was hiding behind the silver one, the second human is inside it!”
“Tolias, fire!” She screamed with frustration.
I reached out my hands to deliver another volley and the pod jumped into a tachyon warp. “It’s too late Vast Commandant, the pod escaped.”
Ignoring Xv Sarium and his moaning over his destroyed ship, she sat back down in the chair. Now far calmer and collect, a grin slowly approached her face again. She turned to me and waved her right hand towards the stars. “Plot an intercept course.”