A Simple Mechanic

The starship roared to life as Allen flipped the ignition switch. The mechanic sat back to admire his handy work and listened to the hum of the reactor. The new power module was working perfectly.

A buzzer rang out through the repair hangers. Time for lunch. Satisfied with his work, Allen turned off the ignition and disembarked the starship. He went to the nearest holoreader and quickly updated the status of the starship to "complete", then made a b-line for the cafeteria. Employees only had a half hour for lunch, and Allen did not want to miss taco day.

His destination was two miles away in the central cortex. So, as was the usual routine, Allen boarded the hovertram. As he flew along to the homosapiens' designated food court, the mechanic tried to see how many alien species he could recognize down below. He had made a habit of this during his everyday commute.

Allen spotted several thin, slimy figures that he easily identified as Rothgols. He despised repairing their ships. They were always disgustingly filthy.

For a split second he caught the iconic shape of a "sackhead", or as they were properly called, Vuulax. Allen smiled at the thought of the Vuulax's incredibly large head. He met one once, and needless to say he could not focus with such an abnormally bulbous head in view.

Allen jumped at the sight of a tall, slender life form that strode below him. It was a Martian. They were the first to reveal themselves to the primitive humans of what people now called "Old Earth". The mechanic reveled at what life on Earth must have been like back then, before the aliens, before the Great Expansion.

Allen's thoughts were cut short as the hovertram slowed to a stop and the doors opened. The mechanic quickly rushed through the line of hungry patrons, and took his usual place by a large window, tacos in hand.

He looked out the window he sat beside. This was Allen's favorite part of the day. Before him stretched the grand expanse that was the Terra Starport. Terra was one of the largest ports on that side of the galaxy. Thousands of ships from hundreds of different alien races went about their business, docking and departing in almost rhythmic succession. The port hung in orbit directly above Earth, which had become a flourishing galactic landmark in recent centuries. Allen could see the planet in all of its glory below him. He stared in awe at the whole spectacle, as he did every day, and began to day dream about exploring the stars in a ship of his own. He was so entranced, Allen didn't see the man that sat down across from him.

"Hey Allen", he said. The interruption tore Allen from his thoughts and he focused on the man in front of him. "Oh. Hey Ben." Ben, another starship mechanic like Allen, was already scarfing down his tacos. "Busy day today?" he asked, mouth full.

Allen shrugged. "Just a few system-jumpers and a high end Rynoak starship," he replied, taking a bite of his own taco. "Sweet," said Ben. "I got stuck repairing the landing gears on a Rothgol cruiser all day." Allen shuddered. "I'm so sorry," he said. Ben shrugged. "It is what it is."

The two let silence settle in as they ate their meals, and Allen looked out the window once more, longing to be out among the stars. He sighed and hunched over his plate to finish his taco. The sound of several cruisers dropping out of warp speed could be heard outside. Allen paid no attention to it, as he heard the sound all the time. "I've never seen ships like that before," said Ben, now looking out the window himself.

Curious, Allen turned to get a look at the new arrivals, and the blood drained from his face. Above the port hovered a fleet of incredibly massive warships. Alarms began to sound and lasers began to fly.

Allen watched in horror as his workplace was obliterated. The Quasar Federation had come.