Chapter 18: What Next?
Copyright© 2018 by Duncan7
I awoke several hours later. This time no-one had disturbed my sleep or woke me up prematurely. Ship had not alerted us with any news.
I was not alone. Koluna and Jem were still asleep. I hoped I was back in their good books by now. They looked so peaceful. I thought about how a few hours ago we were facing extinction by three foe vessels. We prevailed, and the foe did not. But how many more vessels would turn up, ready to wipe us out?
I had not had many quiet mornings to myself. We were frequently rushing here or there being chased or chasing other beings. Fighting for survival consumed much of my waking moments. Perhaps once this thing was over, I could visit somewhere quiet and secluded to meditate alone. Something I missed from Tian Prime was I had lots of time to myself.
I did my visit to the en-suite and went to the food dispenser to get a beverage. On a whim I quietly asked the food dispenser “Display list of beverages commonly consumed on Earth in the morning.”
I selected something called ‘Café au lait’. It tasted different, but as I sat at the table and sipped the mug of brown liquid it kind of grew on me. I wondered if this was something my mother ever consumed. I could feel a mild stimulant effect of the beverage. The other effect was the odour disturbed Koluna and Jem. Soon everyone was up, and both were sampling my beverage. I saw that it would not be enough, so I walked over to the food dispenser and got two more mugs of the beverage. This was another new thing I was adapting to, sharing food and beverages. On Tian Prime you kept to yourself.
Finally Jem was awake enough. “Ship, status report.”
“No new vessels have arrived in the system. The probe has arrived at the derelict vessels and is examining the wreckage and collecting items of value,” said Ship.
“Thank you Ship. Brian, Koluna, what next?” she asked.
I held back a bit. I’d been going first a lot recently. Koluna thought for a while and finally spoke, “What is your final goal? We came out here to see your home world. You have seen it. Your people are gone. It is a hostile place, and now we are hiding behind a moon. What do you want to achieve?”
“Originally I was hoping for a homecoming, to meet with other Baglogi. I found out there was an injustice done here, a long time ago. I’d like to punish the foe for what they did. I want to stop them doing it to others,” Jem answered.
“Was destroying those three vessels enough punishment?” asked Koluna.
“The foe that wiped out the Baglogi died a long time ago. The crews aboard those three vessels were their descendants. They did not kill your ancestors. I admit they came here with hostile intent, and we defended ourselves. But can we justify genocide of another space-faring race? And doesn’t that make us as bad as them?” Koluna was asking some tough questions. I was glad I had not jumped in. I was thinking simpler things like survival and breakfast. Uh-oh Jem was looking at me for input.
“I’m not clear on the ethics here. I’m better at coming up with ways how to do something,” I answered.
“We took out the pirates together,” Jem was getting worked up.
“Are they pirates?” I asked, “Because if they are then the answer is clear.”
“Perhaps the probe will find some answers that will help clarify things. We don’t even know how many more there are,” Koluna offered.
“We took out three vessels. If there are only three more, we have a chance. If there are another three thousand vessels, we have no chance. I think we need to prepare carefully. How about we finish breakfast and continue this in the main bridge?” I offered.
Jem shrugged her agreement.
We finished breakfast, got ready and made our way to the main bridge. I looked at the tactical display and I had an idea.
“Captain, may I?” I asked as I pointed to the display.
“Be my guest,” said Jem.
“Ship, please highlight the line from the derelict vessels to where they entered the system. Now extrapolate that line out. If they came in a more or less straight course, this could point back to their home system,” I said. The display zoomed out until this system was tiny. Adjacent systems appeared at the edges.
“Along that line, can you locate any inhabited or inhabitable systems?” I asked Ship.
“Confirmed. The line travels close to an inhabitable system, about 4 days at hyperdrive,” said Ship.
“Great! Now Ship, tell me you have capacity to make another probe, that is equipped with hyperdrive and cloak?” I asked.
“Confirmed, there are sufficient materials to fabricate a probe aboard. If more probes are needed than existing capacity, I can gather raw materials from within the system,” replied Ship. I smiled.
“I’d like you to create and deploy a probe to the extreme edge of that system, and have it gather intel, then return to us. This part is just like with the pirates. We need intel to base our decisions on,” I said.
“Confirmed. Probe will be complete and deployed in 2 hours,” replied Ship.
I turned to Jem, “Captain, the data from their system, combined with what we learn from the derelict vessels should be enough to give us a better picture of what we are dealing with. Then you can make an informed decision on what to do.”
“Thank you commander,” she smiled at me. Oh gosh, her smile made me feel so much better than earlier.