Chapter 2-The Anaya
Date: June 1
Time: 12:03 am (Planet Grovon Time-Koogah)
Location: Starship Anaya
"Alister! Orders?" Sparks flew as the ship dropped out of subspace. "We need help! They are going to kill us!"
"Goddammit! Find me a habitable Planet! Land this thing!"
"Only seeing one sir, it's got three moons, meaning wacky tides and-"
"Do we really care about tides? Put us down there!"
"Careful folks! This'll be a rough landing!"
"Landings are smooth Calix, crashes are rough!"
"Fine then! It's a crash landing!"
Date: June 1
"I'm off! Need to find that meteor that fell last night!" Called Matiew, as he reached the front door to the house.
"Dad! Can I Please come with you today? Pleeease?"
"You know the answer to that Andy, same as all the other times you asked." Laughed Matiew.
"Yes Dad." Replied Andrew Glumly.
"Mat…" said Claire, emerging from her room in a nightgown, "Why? Today was going to be just us, brother and sister as it used to be."
"I know Claire, but we need to find out what it was."
"I thought you just said it was a meteor."
"It fell from the sky and made a crash comparable to an earthquake. That's all we really know, knocked out our outer sensors as well, so those need fixing."
"Let someone else do it, it doesn't have to be you. I have a bad feeling about this."
At this, Matiew stepped forward and embraced his sister.
"I'll be fine, you'll see. It probably was just a giant rock."
"Mum! Make him let me come!"
"Andy! Let us talk." Barked Claire.
"Fine." Came the sulking reply as Andy stomped to his room.
"Claire," Matiew began,
"Mat," Claire cut him off. "I have raised that boy like a mother since Sarah died giving birth. You can see how attached he is to us both, maybe, next time you go out, let him come with you, and bring Xene and Anette, to satisfy our sense of worry. He is a son to me, so I understand why you don't want him going with you, but please, just let the poor boy. His father is the most respected man in this town, let him see what it is you do."
"Alright, OK, fine I'll tell him before I leave today, but how is that relevant to the meteor?"
"It isn't directly, but since I have no chance of talking you out of it, I'm making sure you have a promise to keep. So don't do anything stupid if it does turn out to be dangerous. And don't forget, I need more Gazoids."
The Anaya was a Sedon model ship, espionage class. It had come with a stealth function; that worked by trapping the heat emissions most sensors use to track ships inside the hull, and was not equipped for a head-on fight, although against most ships, its speed and stealth systems provided adequate protection, and standard engagement protocols were to 'kill with bug bites'. When taken by surprise though, it stood no chance.
"Alistar," Calix limped into the bridge, his shattered glasses on his eyes. His leg had been broken during the crash, and the med-bay had been half destroyed, but they had still been able to augment the leg. It was healing, its bone was set, but it was weak, and no longer pretty. "Communications are beyond repair. We're officially MIA."
"Dammit. What is functioning? Or repairable?"
"Short range sensors are online, life support is unsalvageable, we only have auxiliary power, but that's stable at least. Our side turrets work, but targeting is fried, so we have to control them manually. Luckily they won't be firing blind, we have cameras attached that somehow survived the crash. It seems gravity is about twenty gees, no wonder we feel so much heavier, current temperature is about twenty degrees 'C', but it's only a couple of hours past sunrise."
"Any signs of life?"
"We landed in a forest sir, although if you mean intelligent life, I have no idea. We have weapons, and seventy-six survivors accounted for, including us. Engines are completely destroyed, as is the Sedon beacon. We cannot activate them, 'cause that beacon is their uplink to the brain."
"Yes Calix, we know what the beacon does." Sighed Pogniours. Alistar supressed a shudder, the augments that prevented his ageing were still being tested when he had received them, but Pogniours had volunteered for the testing. They had worked, but his body was hideous. A half machine face, his whole right arm and leg had been lost in the process, to be replaced by machinery. The skin was raw where it gave way to metal all over his body, and his right eye has suffered the same fate as his arm. What was important, Pogniours maintained, was that it worked, and his pain and discomfort were endured with the knowledge he had saved someone else from the same fate. "What's our small arms status?"
"Not good, our armoury is close to the engines, so when they blew… Well, we lost almost everything there."
"Almost," stated Alistar, "is not everything."
"You're right sir." Sighed Calix. "It isn't. We keep twelve plasma rifles and nineteen side-arms, along with seven edged blades. We shouldn't be in much danger if we go hunting, and with our supplies gone with the first shot; bastards somehow knew exactly where to hit us; we will need to."
"Any data on our attackers?" Barked Alistar, suddenly all-business.
"Just a hull outline sir, I'm putting it on screen." Spoke up Calix, tapping at the remains of his keyboard. The image that came up resembled a beetle, but Alistar could make out no significant feature. As he was about to dismiss it though, Pogniours spoke.
"That can't be a coincidence." He was quiet, and as Calix opened his mouth to ask a question, Alistar motioned him to be silent. Pogniours was staring at the image, what passed for a thoughtful look on his ravaged face. "As we left our own universe, Ashley inquired as to how they knew the pattern for the new ones gate." He explained. "They told us we had saved them from the void; the space between the universes, which could essentially be a universe in its own right, as they were fighting what they thought would be their last war. They were losing you see, and if not for us, they would have been wiped out. They were banished to the void by their creators, an insectoid race that built ships to resemble themselves. The Sedon warred with their creators, lost and were forced to retreat through a gate that they themselves had found. They had no idea what was through there, for the signal was lost the moment any Sedon passed through, not from destruction, but simply because the Sedon signal couldn't penetrate. Anyway, they fled through, but not before downloading the database of gate orientations that was stored in there. It is not known who built that particular gate, or why, but for now, that is irrelevant. We need to establish an uplink with the Sedon mind. Of course, while it will be a short while until they register our loss, their chances of finding us are slim, meaning we need to make our own way off this planet."
The bridge was silent, then Pogniours nodded, and started walking towards the door.
"And you think," said Alistar, "That our attacker is one of these creators?"
"I do. It would explain both how they knew where to hit us, and their ship design. However, they had no way of knowing the Sedon were back, so it was mere ill luck for us we stumbled onto each other. Back to the topic of knowing where to hit us, before the Sedonw modified the design to account for the survival of organic life on these ships, the cargo hold they hit, that held our supplies, was originally the home of the main power core."
With that, Pogniours left the bridge.
"Sir," spoke up Calix, "I have something on short range sensors. Readings say it's an organic life form, and it's armed. "
Matiew limped forward, gazing in awe at the crashed ship, the pain in his leg from the Gazoid attack temporarily forgotten and his rifle hanging limp from his hand. The small, two legged riptiles with the big heads and long, stinging tails would wait.
"What the hell?" He whispered. He gave a start as a hatch opened, still managing to seem a part of the hull. His jaw dropped when a pair of humans jumped out, before snapping it shut when they turned guns on him, guns obviously far more advanced than his magnetized bullet launcher.
"We sure he'll understand us?" The taller one said, dressed in a singed and torn uniform, obviously someone of notable rank.
"No idea." Replied the smaller one with broken glasses on his face. "If he doesn't, and tried to tell wherever he's from about us, we might have to kill him."
Matiew, who had been speechless until that point, dropped his rifle and threw his hands up.
"NO! No you don't have to kill me! I understand you, not sure how, as from that ship and those guns, you're obviously more advanced than anyone on this planet, meaning you must be from out of the system, and how we can have the same language in this case…" He trailed off, as his two captors stared at him, obviously just as amazed as he was that they shared a language.
"Pogniours," The officer spoke into a device on his wrist, presumably a communicator, said slowly. "This guy understands us, and from the sound of it, his entire planet speaks the same language."
"I'll be right out."
The creature that descended a minute later was ghastly, monstrous, an abomination. Flesh and metal patchworked his body, and half his face was technology, along with what he could see of its right arm, and judging from how it walked, one of its legs as well.
"What the hell are you?" He gasped.
"I am unique." Its voice was slurred, strangely robotic, yet somehow not quite robotic enough. "I am a halfway point in the evolution of cyborgs, such evolution has since been achieved."
"Who are you?"
"Enough. My turn. Who are you?"
"Where are you from?"
"Where is that?" Matiew swallowed, his mouth dry. "I'll make you a deal. For each question I ask, you get one of your own. Is that accepted?"
"I, um… Sure?"
"Excellent. Alistar, Calix, lower your weapons."
"Koogah is about an hour's walk North from here."
"I am from a different universe."
Matiew gaped. He shut his mouth, opened it to speak and then shut it again. A few times he was about to speak, a small sound escaped his mouth at one point, but he was speechless.
"Another universe?" he finally managed to gasp.
"Yes. As you are understandably shocked, and may have trouble believing this, I will not count that as a question. You may ask again, although I will not be so generous next time."
"How?" quavered Matiew.
"Essentially we just concentrated a huge amount of energy into a single point and punched through the fabric of reality. The thing is, with all that energy is the one place, something had to give, and with us pouring it in faster than it could leave, that thing that gave was the fabric of reality itself. We flew our ships through, heavily damaging them, how the Sedon managed two trips with no repairs never fails to astound me, despite the fact they ended up eighty-for percent of their ships, then again, they are machines, so they don't need to waste structural integrity or power with things like life support and supply storage. How many people are in Koogah?"
"About five hundred or so. How many of you survived the crash?"
"Seventy-Six, including us. How technologically advanced are you?"
"We generate electricity through dams and tidal power. Our moons ensure the water is always moving, and we have Geothermal power as well. We no longer use screens very much, instead we have headsets that intercept signals from our mind, and transmits it to our virtual self, although we still have a giant screen in the square. Weapon-wise, we have use magnetism to propel bullets at our targets. We haven't gone further from Grovon than our moons. Why are you here?"
"On the planet, or in the universe? We are on, Grovon was it? We are on Grovon because we crashed. We are in this universe because we are seeking help for our own. It's tearing itself apart through war, and whole galaxies are going dark. Why this particular universe? The Sedon haven't said, although I think I can guess, and that's all I'm saying on the subject. Now we have a decision to make Alistar." Alistar jerked himself away from where he was examining a small lizard-like creature, a Ranik.
"What do we do now Alistar? As I see it, we have a few choices. We could remain here, killing anyone who finds us, likely that will be at least twenty, we could initiate relations with the town, we could integrate with the town, we could leave and create a new small village, hiding from the world, and within a few generations I will be the only one left. Do you have anything to add?"
"Not immediately. As I see it, we the best course of action would be to integrate with the town. We may lift their technology, we can survive, we will have good relations and we will probably gain reliable allies. I cannot see a loss with that scenario."
"Alistar, there are always consequences." Pogniours paused, gazing down at his hand. "To any action."
There was silence as Matiew led the survivors up to the town, with people gathering on the border-walls, and staring through windows.
"I hereby call a council session regarding the object that crashed an hours walk North!" Called Matiew. "All council members are to join me on the gatehouse, along with Alistar; the commander of the crashed ship!" He motioned for Alistar to follow and proceeded to open the gates before climb the ladder to the top of the gatehouse. Three people were already waiting, with six more arriving at the bottom of the ladder.
"I have called this meeting-" Matiew began,
"Skip the formalities Mat." Interrupted Seala. "Explain what you found, a crashed ship presumably, with survivors it would seem, and you brought them here? Why? To what purpose? Do they even understand us?"
"They speak our language Seala. I don't know how, but somehow they do." Stated Matiew.
"Then let's see it." She looked expectantly at Alistar.
"Um, of course. Yes. Language, yes , we speak the same language."
"Remarkable…" Whispered Gregory; an overweight man who made his living as a judge, despite the almost non-existent crime rate.
"Yes? Right. Well, um, you will no doubt have questions, which I shall endeavour to answer to the best of my ability."
"So we shall see." Said Seala coldly, having recovered from her initial shock. "Do you carry any diseases?"
"No. We are all completely clean, and we do not worry about catching diseases from other planets, we have perfected disease-prevention as far as I can tell, not that we brought that technology with us we had no reason to assume we would need it."
"I will accept that, although we will still need blood samples. Where are you from?"
"Do you have any galaxy maps?" responded Alistar. "I had this problem with Matiew. Without galaxy maps it is impossible. We had some, but they were stored on the databases which were destroyed in the crash."
"Understandable. How do you speak our language?"
"I have no idea. Possibly we stem from the same background when we left earth, but that's all I can think of."
Alistar, and Matiew had discussed this, and decided it was best is Pogniours remained behind, and that it was best that their origins remained a secret.
"Which ship were you?"
"With what technology is your ship equipped?"
"We had faster-than-light technology, but no more. It was destroyed in the crash."
"Indeed. What caused the crash?"
"We don't know, we crashed before it could be determined."
"Very convenient, how everything we ask for was destroyed in the crash."
"By definition, crashes are usually messy, and don't much care what they break."
"True enough." Chuckled Seala. "I have decided I like you Captain Alistar"
"Right, uh, just Alistar, ma'am."
"Call me Seala. This meeting is adjourned. Should you need anything Alistar, Matiew can point you to my office, or I might stop by to ensure you're settling in."
"You didn't ask what the mission was." Observed Alistar. Seala paused, turning her head to face him at the top of the ladder.
"Either Mat already knows, in which case he would share his knowledge, or you would be forced to lie. And Mat has not shared anything with us. As for the blood samples, Mat can take you to Holfs office, but don't take too much of his time. He is very precious about that."
Alrighty! Thus ends chapter two or three! (Depending on how you view the prologue; I see this as chapter two)
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