The Atlantean Federation - Cover

The Atlantean Federation

Copyright© 2024 by KKindle

Chapter 56

The next morning Mark woke up and went through his daily reports as he drank his coffee. At the end were the dossiers of the two test pilots for the hyperspace gates.

They chose two candidates from all that applied, Lieutenant Ramón López, currently stationed on the Poseidon, and Captain Derek Jones currently stationed at Atlanterra as an instructor for the Elite Security Training Program or ESTP, that Mark had commissioned shortly after becoming the King.

Mark pulled up the information for Lieutenant Ramón López, originally from Geminus.

Seeing the planet name reminded Mark that there were still several planets in the Federation that he hadn’t visited yet ... Caprica, Geminus, Tauron, Librus, Olympia and Arias, but then he also hadn’t actually visited Maaku either. Once the hyperspace gates are operational, visiting the rest of the planets would be high on his to-do list, as they could schedule it without all the FTL travel time.

He didn’t want those planets to feel that they weren’t important enough for him to visit.

Getting back to the pilot’s file, the Lieutenant was a veteran security officer, 52-years-old, 1.64 metres, 78 kilograms. He had been in the service for 33 years already and was one of the top pilot training instructors in the entire Federation. He has a wife, Reyna, back on Geminus and both his son and daughter are in the security service, with his son currently enrolled in the ESTP.

The other pilot chosen was Captain Derek Jones. This was a name that Mark recognized. He was the first graduate of the ESTP and someone that Gaderius had mentioned once or twice, since they had gone through security training together.

The ESTP was a 3-yahren program, but he was so far ahead of even the instructors, that they ended up graduating him after one yahren and offered him a position as an instructor, which he had accepted.

He was also the youngest person to make the rank of Captain ... a real go-getter!

Derek was a farm boy from Caprica, 24-years-old, 1.79 metres, 84 kilograms. Both his parents died in a freak chemical accident when he was a teenager. He lived with grandparents until he graduated high school at the top of his class. He entered the security service directly after graduation, and finished basic training at the top of his class. Then he was one of the first people to sign up for the new Elite Security Training Program, and he was the first graduate of the ESTP and now an instructor. His marital status also showed he was single.

Upon seeing Derek’s marital status, Mark had immediately decided that Derek would go from Atlanterra to Earth first, then Ramón could join in for the rest of the tests. It wasn’t quite a repeat of all the tests from yesterday, but a good portion of them. Not to say that Derek was expendable, but he had fewer family ties in case something went wrong.

After his review, Mark sent his proposed plan to everyone involved and went downstairs for breakfast. The plan was to meet in the Poseidon ready room at 10:00 and bring Kaleb, Brian and Derek in on a conference call before the first test, Ramón would be on the Poseidon and Derek would be in his fighter out near the Atlanterra gate.

Annabelle and Liyana both indicated they wanted to be present for the tests. Annabelle because she wanted to be by Mark’s side for such a momentous occasion and Liyana because she wanted to do a press release for AFNN.

Mark even flew the shuttle so Maren could stay and go golfing with Rayven, Ra’ki and Luna and he had them landing on the Poseidon within centons.

Upon reaching the bridge, Adam introduced Mark to Lieutenant Ramón López and then directed everyone to the ready room. The images of Kaleb and Derek were already on the call, and Brian Hawker was just connecting.

Adam took it upon himself to introduce Derek, Ramón and Brian to Mark, Annabelle and Kaleb and with introductions done, he waved for Mark to take over.

Mark stood up. “Gentlemen, today marks a momentous day. We will record your names in the history books, along with Mr. Hawker. Brian here has designed us a device we are currently calling a Hyperspace Gate; these devices make travel between gates almost instantaneous, thus allowing us to shuffle resources around without having to spend days, sectons or even sectares travelling in FTL.

We have successfully had autonomous ships ranging from small asteroid harvesters to Sentinels, transiting between Earth, Atlanterra and Thulark over one hundred times without incident. The way the system works is the gates make a connection, then you travel through the departures gate and 42 microns later, you emerge from the arrivals gate.

Captain Jones, we have chosen you for the very first human test. The first test we are going to perform is for Captain Jones to transit from the Atlanterra gate to the Earth gate, where the Poseidon is waiting nearby. When Captain Jones exits the gate here, he will dock with the Poseidon and head straight to medical to get checked out.

If he passes medical, both of you will perform a variety of tests as you transit between the 3 gates. If all the tests are successful today, we will begin constructing these gates at all Federated planets. Soon with the reduced travel time, ships will become streamlined as they won’t need to have as many amenities, you literally can be at any planet in the Federation within a few centons.

Does anyone have questions about the tests, the technology, or any comments about what I’ve said?”

After a few microns, Kaleb spoke up, “Gentlemen, for this unprecedented act of bravery, a bonus package for you or your families will transfer into your accounts. We will also entertain requests for re-assignment.”

Derek smiled when he heard that, but he said nothing. Obviously he was a man with a plan.

Since it looked like no one else was going to say anything, Mark asked, “Shall we let this horse run? Is everything ready with the gates Mr. Hawker?”

Brian nodded and said, “All systems are good!”

Cricket then had the Atlanterra gate dial the Earth gate and then instructed Derek to fly into the ring.

Derek saluted and said, “See you guys in a centon!”, just as he entered the event horizon and his ship disappeared into the blackness.

Everyone’s attention was on the Earth arrivals gate, and 42 microns later his ship emerged from the blackness.

They restored his comm as he had a huge grin on his face, “Wow! What a rush! Coming in for my checkup!”

Adam said, “Welcome to Earth, Captain Jones. Proceed to the starboard landing bay!”, as everyone in the room and on the conference call cheered.

A centon later, Derek was landing in the starboard landing bay. Deltar was there to greet him and escort him to the medibay and, after he cleared medical, to the bridge.

Within 15 centons, Deltar led Derek into the ready room and then took his leave.

Mark told Cricket, “Start developing the gates at all the other planets and remember, I want them defended.

Sure thing, but now that we’ve got completed, working plans, I can program them into a construx, which will expedite future builds, I would estimate around a 2 secton build time.

Mark stood up and shook Derek’s hand. “Welcome to the Poseidon, Captain!”

Derek just smiled. “This is incredible, I woke up this morning on Atlanterra and now I’m on a ship near Earth! How far is that?”

Adam smiled. “That trip used to take us 4 days in light drive ... you just made the trip in 42 microns! What was it like?”

“It’s a little intimidating as you approach the ring, it’s just a void of nothingness, no stars, no light, no anything. Then once you enter it, you just see streaks of light that turn back into stars as you exit the other gate. This is going to revolutionize space travel! Where are we off to next?”

Mark laughed, “The next destination for you both is Thulark!”

Ramón smiled, “When we were at Thulkark for so long, my wife looked into travelling to Thulkark to meet me. The tour companies told her that Geminus to Thulark was 45 days in light drive, which isn’t very practical for most people. With this technology, we could now do a round trip within a day ... I can tell you my wife and I will do a lot more travelling!”

Mark said, “Yes, I can see these gates being very popular when we launch them. This is going to be huge for all tourist and freight traffic. Does anyone else need to say anything or should we get on with the tests?”

With no one saying anything, Derek and Ramón went off to the starboard landing bay, while Adam, Mark, Kaleb and Brian discussed the tests for the day.

Mark started off. “Well, Brian, it looks like you’ve hit the jackpot. When the gates go into use, we’ll discuss your sentence. So how does it feel now that you’re going to go down in all the history books as the man who invented hyperspace travel and made FTL obsolete?”

Brian said, “FTL won’t be obsolete, it’s still needed for places that don’t have gates, but not required for commercial travel anymore. I’m still kind of in a state of euphoria that you actually let me keep working while I’m in prison. In fact, I almost want to say this cell makes a perfect office.”

Mark said, “Well, we don’t have to commute your sentence, you’re welcome to stay there.”

Brian laughed. “It makes a pleasant office, but the leisure activities are a bit lacking. I’ll gladly accept whatever time you deduct off my sentence.”

The pilots then checked in as they were just about to depart for Thulark. Cricket handled running all the gates and communications with the pilots. Both pilots exited at the Thulark gate, then to the Atlanterra gate, then from that Atlanterra gate to the other two gates consecutively, and so on.

They then did some tests going through the gates along with a Sentinel and then as they were in the landing bays, but not yet touched down, etc. The tests all appeared to be going well, and Brian disconnected so he could monitor the tests from Thulark. Eventually it was just Mark, Adam and Kaleb in the ready room.

Kaleb said, “Well, my King, again you have progressed the Federation forward into a new era. This will revolutionize all space traffic in the Federation. Like Ramón said, suddenly every planet in the Federation is a day trip away! We may have to do some upgrades to the space stations to handle the increased commercial traffic.”

Mark just said, “I agree. The current design is quite limiting to the number of ships that can port at one time. I’ll look at some alternative designs.”

Kaleb said, “Yes, things are going to change quick! So when are you going to build out the rest of the gate network?”

Mark smiled, “It’s already started!”

Kaleb just shook his head, “I figured as much! When did you do it, as soon as it looked like Derek was OK?”

“Nope, I waited until he came into the ready room after medical checked him out! So, within a few sectons we’ll soon be able to travel to any planet on a whim. Plus hopefully within a couple of sectares the Sentinel will reach Norn space and then we can set up a gate there as well.”

Kaleb said, “That would be huge, establishing good relations with one of the ancient space faring civilizations that knew the Mazjik!”

Adam then said, “With instant space travel and the space stations and everything staffed from the local populations, we really don’t need Defenders anymore. We could probably get away with just using Explorers! It makes little sense to have 250 people on a Defender, when we can have Explorers or Sentinels pretty much anywhere within a centar.”

Mark said, “I was thinking about that too. Maybe we need to move the Defenders back into their original use, which is deep space exploration. The network is still expanding, so if we find new planets, I think Defenders are the ones we should send out to explore.”

Adam smiled. “That would then be my cue to announce my retirement. With these gates, my wife and I plan to do a lot of travelling to other planets now.”

Kaleb looked contemplative. “Yeah, I guess that is part of being so revolutionary. It’s not like the old days when you would spend sectons travelling between planets.”

“Exactly! If I need to go to Atlanterra for a meeting or event, why would I need to go to the Poseidon? Maren could just fly our shuttle through the gate. I’m not saying we should open up the gates to shuttle traffic, as that would get abused too much, and I’d be too worried about making it too easy for smugglers.”

Kaleb said, “I agree! We should keep it limited to commercial traffic, but for security and the ease of transit, I think we should step up inspections.”

Mark nodded. “I agree! We’re going to need to make a few changes to deal with our new reality.”

Kaleb laughed. “If you don’t watch it, you may just end up in the history books yourself!”

Mark laughed. “Nah, I’m just an old cowboy from a simple planet called Earth.”

Kaleb laughed. “Right! And you’re only the greatest king we’ve ever had! You’ve restored our place on our ancestral world, you’ve almost doubled the size of the Federation, we now have instant communications everywhere, and we will soon have near instant travel anywhere ... and that’s what I can think of just off the top of my head.”

Mark said, “Enough already! I’m going to let you go, so I can get back to being lazy.”

They all laughed as they ended the call.

“Are you upset with the decision to revert Defenders back to their original roles?” Mark asked Adam since he announced his retirement almost immediately.

Adam shook his head. “Not at all actually! It makes sense and then I realized this would be the perfect time to retire, plus with the new gate network, my wife and I can do a lot of travelling.”

Then after a moment of silence, Adam said, “You’re going to have to overhaul the spaceports again. They’re already busy, but they’re going to get exponentially busier when the gates are active.”

“Yeah, I know! That’s why I’m tempted to not upgrade the existing spaceports. I’m thinking whatever we build will be all new, and then once it’s ready we can transition to it.”

“You should probably get back to your wife, I need to go talk to mine and tell her to make plans. It looks like I’ll be retiring in about 3 sectons when the gates become active?”

Mark smiled as they shook hands. “Roughly! Be safe, my friend! Enjoy your retirement.”

Mark met up with Annabelle and Liyana and made their way back to the ranch.

Cricket informed him that all the tests were successful, just before suppertime and everyone celebrated with fajitas made by Ra’ki and Luna and then a night of games on the patio.

The gate network wouldn’t be live for another couple of sectons, but Adam asked if it would be OK to take the Poseidon through to Thulark and then Atlanterra.

Mark gave him permission and he recorded the trip to Thulark, then dialled the Atlanterra gate and then repeated the process to return to Earth. He recorded the trips is a single video file and the entire video was less than five centons long, which he sent to both Mark and Kaleb.

After seeing the video and not much going on that needed their attention, Mark decided to take everyone on a bit of a vacation. They docked with the Poseidon and decided to spend some time on Thulark before they had to be back for the announcements.

Everyone was happy to spend a secton and a half between Rifterville, Elavon and some of the other communities, until Cricket announced that the gate network would be going live tomorrow. Then they finally returned to Atlantis for the announcement.

The source of this story is SciFi-Stories

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