Chapter 8: The First Mission
Copyright© 2018 by Duncan7
I awoke after a good night’s rest and made my way to the main bridge. I arrived to find Jem was there already, examining the tactical display. She smiled at me and invited me to sit with her. I sat down.
I still felt like it was surreal. I should have died in the pirate attack. I was the most junior crew and I should have been the last one to survive an attack. Not only that, somehow I had saved Koluna. We were rescued in deep space where it was highly unlikely to be found. We should have died out there. Too bad I had never been to a casino before, with this much good fortune, I might have become a wealthy being.
I also felt confused about Jem. I only recently developed any affinity to other beings, and Koluna in particular. Now I met Jem, and there is this instant feeling as if we were meant to be together. She looks so human to me, and she is so friendly, and trusting. Tians never prepared me for social interactions with other beings. Outwardly, I kept quiet, having no clue how to act. Fortunately Ship rescued me from what could have been an awkward moment.
“Brian,” said Ship, “I took the liberty of interfacing with the computer on board your escape pod, and then I projected the last known course of the escape pod. As you can see on the tactical display, I am following this course back to the site of the explosion. We should arrive there within the hour.”
Smart Ship. “No problem, I would have done the same if I were you,” I said.
Jem was looking at me with a smile, a similar look to how Koluna looked at me. Did she know something I didn’t?
“Captain...” I started to ask.
“You can call me Jem, especially when it is just us,” said Jem.
“Jem, what is going on?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” She replied.
“Since we met you’ve been looking at me strangely. I figure there is something I am missing.”
“Brian, as far as I know, I am the last of my species. Ship and I have been hiding out here in deep space. I expected to live my life in hiding, facing extinction. It has been many generations since the last recorded contact with another Baglogi vessel. Then suddenly, fortune sends you along.”
“Again, I’m very glad to be rescued, Jem,” I said.
“You’re missing the point. Ship, how close a genetic match is Brian to Baglogi?”
“Scans record less than 0.0001% deviation. I have compared to historical DNA scans. Brian would pass for Baglogi, were it not for his own admission,” said Ship.
“So...” I asked.
“The reason I was hiding was for my protection. I had no crew, and I am most likely the last of my species. It was more or less game over. I’m hiding in the middle of nowhere, and you just turn up. A near-perfect genetic match. The chance of this happening is infinitesimal,” said Jem, her eyes almost twinkling as she smiled at me.
“There is more,” I said. “I don’t know where Earth is, but I could not go there if I did. I would be alien to them. During my life on Tian Prime, I figured I’d never find someone else that was compatible in terms of physical or genetic compatibility. I always expected to be alone. Now I learn that you’re a near-perfect genetic match. That is quite amazing.” I hoped I did not go too over the top. After facing death, I no longer wanted to keep it to myself. Life is too short.
“Excuse me,” Koluna stepped into the main bridge, “I was on my way here, and I couldn’t help overhearing you. Might I join you?”
“Please do,” said Jem, “I would be glad of your thoughts.”
Koluna sat down with us, “It truly is amazing. I am very happy for both of you. In some cultures and belief systems, such an event would be considered a miracle. I perhaps it is some kind of message from the universe.”
This was getting complicated.
“I hope that things don’t get weird somehow,” I said. “I am new to all this. Koluna, you are the first being, the first female I have been physically close with. You mean a lot to me.”
Koluna smiled. Then I looked at Jem.
“Jem, although we have only just met, I felt a connection since we first met. You are the only being I have ever met who is remotely genetically compatible. It seems too incredible to believe we could meet by sheer chance. I feel overwhelmed.”
They were both looking at me. As if I had all the answers. If I wasn’t already sitting down, I would probably have fell over by now.
I continued “By Tian standards I have only just reached adulthood, and this is beyond my understanding. My education did not prepare me for this. In my whole lifetime, I never expected I might meet someone, or in this case two someones. I do not understand what to do next. You both are special to me. “ I’d ran out of what to say. I just stared back and forth at both.
They both smiled at me. It did nothing to improve my feeling of unease.
Koluna spoke first, “Bri-an, you saved my life. I owe you a life-debt. I want only the best for you. Jem, you also saved my life when you rescued us. The same goes for you too.”
“There is nothing weird here Brian. Your arrival saved my life too, both of you. We are starting something new, together. The three of us. Don’t fret over it, I think it will work itself out. We need to be patient,” Jem said. She pulled us both into a 3-way hug. We remained that way for some time. I felt both comforted and confused at the same time.
Later, ship arrived at the location of the attack on the Opolu Naa. We watched a view of the area on the tactical display. By now it had been about 20 days since the attack, and the debris field was widely dispersed.
Ship scanned the debris and found little of interest remaining. For such a large freighter, there was so little to show for it.
I think Koluna was shocked at the carnage too. I asked Ship to search the area for traces left by the pirate vessels. After some more time Ship managed to work out an approximate direction the pirates had left.
“Ship, please could you record the final location of the Opolu Naa, and the results of your scans in the log. When we get a chance, we can report the loss to the Ori Confederation and provide them with all the data,” said Jem.
It wasn’t long after, we left the attack site and proceeded in the direction the pirates had left. The star map of the area was projected on the tactical display. It showed an uninhabited star system, about 5 days ahead, so it was possible that the pirates made their base somewhere there.
So far things were going well, but what would happen when they find the pirates? I asked Ship “Ship, please could you summarize any precedence from Baglogi laws, for what to do with pirates.”
“Pirates exist outside the jurisdiction of any civilized systems. They rarely enter the space around any systems that would be capable of mounting a defence against them. Pirates do not obey the laws of any civilized systems, nor do they enjoy the protection of those systems. As pirates pose a nuisance to legitimate shipping in the area, they are to be neutralized when the opportunity arises,” said Ship.
Jem said “This mission is not about revenge, or even justice for those who suffered at the hands of the pirates. It is about removing the threat of future attacks on shipping in the area. To not take action would make us guilty of negligence when the pirates strike next.”
“So we need a way to neutralize an unknown number of pirates, with an unknown number of vessels. So far the data we have is limited, and the potential risk is high. Ship, we need more data on our targets. What can you do to help?” I asked.
“I suggest a cloaked probe, sent into the system ahead of us, in full stealth mode. We can task it to gather information, then exit the system and report back,” replied Ship.
“Please do that Ship, and keep us out far enough that they won’t detect our presence here,” said Jem.