Chapter 19: More Foe?
Copyright© 2018 by Duncan7
Not enough time. Jem won’t give up this system, so we have to defend it. The problem is that another race believes it to be theirs. It has been in their possession for about one thousand years. They have more and bigger vessels, with superior weapons and a bad attitude. It is only a matter of time before they send more vessels.
We were three beings and one vessel against an unknown number of foe and vessels. The odds were against us, bordering on impossible. If only we had more time.
Later Ship announced the departure of the probe for the foe system. I watched it on the tactical display as it proceeded towards the edge of the system. Jem and Koluna were elsewhere at the time, probably in our cabin I figured.
“Ship, how is it going with the derelict vessels?” I asked.
“Proceeding to collect anything of value. One of the memory cores from the vessel has been recovered for analysis,” Ship replied.
“Tell me if you can, the bodies of the crews over there. Did you detect any Baglogi amongst them?”
There was a pause, as Ship queried the probe, “Negative. All bodies were of an alien race.” I breathed a sigh of relief. Considering the protocol to preserve the Baglogi species, I did not know what Ship would do if I had killed any Baglogi. I was also glad I asked this without Jem present.
“Ship, it is highly likely Jem is the last Baglogi. Even with my close genetic match, what is your assessment of the chances of restoring a population of Baglogi in this system?” I did not know if Ship could answer this.
“Chances are 0%. Starting population does not have enough genetic biodiversity. Current environment does not provide an opportunity for peaceful resettlement of the system,” Ship replied. I agreed with his assessment.
“OK, new topic. Ship, you said you could gather raw materials from within the system to manufacture probes. Could you reclaim materials from the destroyed extra node on the planetoid? And perhaps the derelict vessels?”
“Affirmative. The refined metals would be more efficient.”
“Ship, would you be able to establish a separate manufacturing facility on that planetoid? I’d like it to reclaim materials from the destroyed extra node to fabricate more probes. The probes are to gather more materials from within the system as needed. The facility can then fabricate adequate system defences, tailored to work against the foe. As we gain more data and improved weapons or defensive capabilities, we can pass them on to the facility.” I asked Ship. Some lights blinked.
“Affirmative. I can build a probe with construction bots and deploy it to the planetoid. The probe can deliver the construction bots to the surface of the planetoid then collect additional materials. The construction bots will consume materials from the former extra node and build the manufacturing facility.”
“Please do so.”
“Confirmed. Probe will be complete and deployed in 2 hours,” Ship replied.
“Thank you Ship. This manufacturing facility will create our system defences that will improve our security. We have to hold the system against invaders until that time,” I said.
I found Koluna and Jem in our cabin talking. They greeted me with hugs.
“Hello Brian, how are you doing?” said Koluna.
“I am good thanks. I thought I had been neglecting you two for long enough.” I said with a grin. I earned some smiles.
“Any news?” asked Jem.
“The probe has left for the foe system. I watched it on the tactical display for a while. How about you?” I replied.
“We were just talking, nothing important,” said Jem. Uh-huh? Like I believe that.
“I was working on a project with Ship to establish a permanent system defence. It is early days yet. If we don’t get interrupted by more foe vessels, we should see the improvements in a few days,” I shared.
“Excellent!” said Jem.
“Well I knew you are unlikely to concede this system to the foe after we just got it back. I hope you don’t mind.”
“No, I gave you command authorization because I trust you to use it wisely. When you have something interesting to share, please do,” she said while smiling at me.
“Of course,” I nodded my head.
“Have you eaten?” asked Koluna.
“Not yet,” I replied. She got up and wandered towards the food dispenser.
“How about some of my favourite Ori stew? I can dial down the spices for you,” said Koluna.
“Sure. Jem?” I asked.
“We’d actually been talking about getting some dinner together before you came in,” Jem said. Koluna placed a big bowl of stew on the middle of the table and was arranging some serving bowls. I took a seat and Koluna served me out a portion. I think she liked to share some of her culture with us. I liked it too.
We enjoyed a pleasant meal together. I tried to remain attentive to my partners although the discussion topics were not my first choice. These days I did not know when my last meal was. I would be present for each one until my last.
“Attention, multiple vessels arriving in the system,” said Ship. We had recently finished our meal and were sitting back at the table. Crap!
“Ship, we are on our way to the main bridge. Please have a more detailed report waiting for when we arrive,” said Jem. I wondered if that probe had left for the planetoid on the other side of the system yet.
We jumped up and quickly moved to the main bridge. The tactical display showed three more dots, at the edge of the system and moving towards Baglogi-4.
This was what I had expected. If the extra node had believed in our fake battle fleet and sent that information, then it made sense.
“Ship, do the vessels match the previous ones?” I asked.
“Confirmed. Three foe vessels, on course towards Baglogi-4.” The quiet was good while it lasted.