Star Guardian
Chapter 10: Travel To The Ori Confederation

Copyright© 2018 by Duncan7

I awoke feeling rested. It must have been hours since we fell asleep. I pulled myself out of the bed and did my usual washroom activity. On the food dispenser, the screen thoughtfully showed the estimated time to the Ori border. There was lots to go yet.

I got a cup of hot beverage and took a seat at the table. My mind wandered as I sipped my drink and inhaled the vapours.

I don’t know how long I was like that, but then suddenly a pair of arms wrapped around me from behind. Jem’s voice said “Good Morning!”

“Good Morning Jem.” I said. I took a moment for something to sink in. She had greeted me in English, which was the Earth language my mother had used with me long ago. I turned in my chair, and her arms until I was facing my captain. She was smiling.

“You speak English?” I asked, in English. I hoped she was not too fluent as it was not my best. It had been many cycles since I spoke it.

She smiled and responded in Ori. “Only a little. I did some research, and Ship had recordings in the archives. I learned some greetings and a few phrases.”

“It was a nice surprise. Thank you. I have not heard that since before my mother died.” I said, in Ori.

“I’ll be right back.” She let go of me and dashed to the en-suite. I turned back around to take another sip of my drink, to find that it had gone cold. I took my cup back to the food dispenser, and got a fresh cup for myself, and a cup of whatever Jem usually drank. I put our drinks on the table.

Soon Jem returned and sat and took a sip from her cup. She nodded and smiled at me. I smiled back.

“You smile a lot.” I said.

“I do since I met you. I’d say we are all smiling a lot recently.” She said.

“Yes.” We both took a sip. It is funny how your life can change so quickly.

“When we both have time, I’d be glad to share with you the recordings I have. Earth is a closed world, too primitive. But, from time to time, other races have observed from a distance though.” She smiled at me. I felt she was trying hard to win me over. The thing was a little was ok, but she was in danger of going too far.

“You had me at good morning.” I said in Ori. “If I never hear any more, it would be fine with me. Earth is not my home. I am content to let it be.” I slid out my chair a bit and opened my arms, and she was in my lap. We hugged.

“Jem, if I am a genetic match to Baglogi, does that mean that Humans are connected to Baglogi?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Perhaps many thousands of cycles ago, some Baglogi settled on Earth.” She said.

“Or perhaps long ago, Earth had an advanced space-faring society. They had some terrible war, and the survivors regressed to a more primitive level. Meanwhile, some had escaped the war and moved on to become the Baglogi.” I suggested.

“I don’t have an answer. We can only speculate.” She said.

A while later, Koluna had got up. We all ended up in the main bridge to plan our visit to the Ori Confederation.

Koluna said “We need to tread carefully. This vessel is a warship, and it could trigger the wrong reaction if we are not careful.”

“I agree, we don’t want to get killed on the way to meet our future ally.” I said.

“What do you have in mind?” Asked Jem.

“In purchasing, when you deal with a vendor who is perhaps a little difficult, it is important to be on the same side of the table. If they see me at first contact, it should be enough to get them to listen. Then, at Ori High Command, I suggest just Bri-an and I meet with them. Our Ori citizenship credentials should offer us some protections you do not have. We cannot put the last Baglogi and our captain at risk.” Koluna said.

“Are they likely to want to board our vessel?” Asked Jem.

“Interstellar laws allow for allied and friendly vessels to be considered sovereign territory. We need to state we are friendly, and seek a formal alliance, and ask for safe passage. We must avoid any actions that could be interpreted as hostile. Then, we should be protected.” Koluna replied.

“Koluna, Ori is your home, so we will follow your lead. Work out any details you need and let us know what you need from us. Brian you will work with Koluna on this. I’ll be keeping out of view once we reach the border.” Said Jem.

“Yes captain.” I smiled. We had been fairly informal so far in our daily interactions, but I understood this to be an order. “Koluna, when you are ready to talk further on the plan, I will be ready.”

It seemed the important details had been worked out for now. I headed to a room where I could have a private talk with Ship.

“Ship, when I was aboard the Opolu Naa, there were various video training courses available to help crew learn skills needed. Do you have this capability? And am I authorized to take such training courses?” I asked.

“Confirmed. Please state the courses you would like to learn?” Ship answered.

“That’s the problem. I don’t know what I don’t know, or at least what courses you have available.” I said.

“Confirmed.” Said ship. Does it have a sense of humour? “Perhaps we can start with your learning objectives.”

“I would like to become more useful as a crew member. I expect I may need to perform multiple roles. So, please prioritize those roles that are needed the most, and would most fit my skills and experience.” I said. I figured Ship knew what courses I had completed on the freighter because such information is stored in my ID chip in my arm. On the screen, there was now a list of roles.

“Ship, that list is too long, please could you truncate it to the top 5. Then select training courses on those roles, together with pre-requisite courses.” I said. The screen now showed an impressive list of courses. “Excellent Ship! Are all these courses available in Ori?”

“Unless you would like to take them in the original Baglogi?” Said Ship.

“Oh no, Ori is fine!” I would need to learn Baglogi one day, if only to return the favour to Jem. “If you could assign me a training schedule, then I am ready to begin.” I said. I wanted to learn more, and we had some down time before we got to the border.

“Processing complete. You may begin when ready.” The screen now showed the starting page for the first course, so I sat down and began my studies. We started with some foundation courses. They were in Ori. There was a lot of testing to confirm how much I already understood. Based upon my current level, Ship would adjust the training. It worked out really well for me. I did not get bored, and I was learning a lot.

I was going over some training on Baglogi engineering methodology and I was so engrossed in the subject I did not hear someone come in. Suddenly I felt her hands on my shoulders.

“Hey Brian.” Said Jem. “Great idea! How is it going?”

“I have a lot to do, but Ship has been really helpful. These courses are really well designed. I’m enjoying the process, learning a lot.” I said.

“Did you know you have been at it since this morning? You missed a couple of meal times. I asked Ship where you had got to, and I decided not to disturb you. But it is time to sleep now.” Jem said, as she squeezed my shoulders in some kind of massage. I realized I had not got up from my seat for hours. I rolled my head about to try to release the tension in my neck.

“Ship save his place and end training for today.” Said Jem. “Come on Brian, time for rest.”

Grudgingly, I got up. My back ached from sitting for so long. Jem guided me back to my/our cabin. Koluna was already in bed, and we changed and joined her. I was in the middle and was out like a light as soon as my head hit the pillow.

The next day, we were still several days out from the border. After breakfast with Koluna and Jem, I returned to my training. Unlike the freighter, I did not have a work duty schedule. It seemed like this vessel ran itself. I was used to doing something each day, and until something came up, the training courses would be my work.

This day, I tried to pace myself, and even took a break for a lunch. I met with Koluna and Jem to share a meal together.

“How goes the training Brian?” Asked Jem.

“Going well thanks. Ship had me go over what I learned yesterday before progressing. Did you know there are lots of maintenance tasks that are not covered by the automated repair systems? I am looking forward to when I am ready, Ship will let me help with some tasks that are needed.” I said.

“Take your time, there is nothing too pressing at the moment. I don’t want you to overdo it.” She said.

“Yes, spend a little time with us.” Said Koluna. “Yesterday you did not even stop for meals, and Jem had to go fetch you or you might have continued through the night.”

“I am sorry, I got excited about all I was learning. Ship, please adjust my schedule to include additional rest times, exercise and time to spend together with Koluna and Jem.” I said.

“Confirmed, your schedule has been adjusted.” Said Ship.

“Brian, you don’t have to work so hard. You did great with the pirates, and you will have things to do when we reach the Ori Confederation.” Said Jem.

“It is how I am. I grew up as a primitive, in a space-faring world. I had to work twice as hard, to show I was every bit as good as everyone else.” I insisted. “Also, on Tian Prime, there is little socializing. I am used to throwing myself into my studies. It is hard to change my habits.”

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