|Please Teacher Crossroads
Author: ironrod PM
Two years after Kei graduated Mizuho is missing and his memories of her are gone.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Romance - Chapters: 11 - Words: 58,233 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 04-26-09 - Published: 04-06-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4973702
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Please Teacher Crossroads. Chapter 11.
A report to the committee:
I can only hope that when the time comes we can establish a peaceful relationship with these people. As things stand now there is every reason to believe that they see us as hostile invaders and even now prepare for war. Final report on the loss of Delta DES 8228.
It was the same room that Mizuho had stood in twice before; dark and featureless the walls were lost in the shadows. In the darkness were those who sat in judgment, safely hidden from the light. As the single light in the center of the room came up it revealed a weary older gentleman. Known only as the Chairman he commanded the respect of those hidden in the darkness even as they prepared to pass their verdict. It was obvious that he hadn't had much sleep in the last several hours but still he remained strong and focused.
"I hope you gentlemen will excuse my tardiness but I have been working non-stop gathering data for my report." He said flatly.
"Please begin," said a disembodied voice from the darkness.
"Very well then: At approx. 25:30 hours yesterday the Galaxy Federation high command received a request from the Miruru for an immediate interdiction of all space in the vicinity of planet Delta DES 8228. This came in the form of a clear text message from the Captain of the Miruru, Hatsuho Kazami, who had apparently been in a skirmish with elements acting contrary to Galaxy Federation mandates. Since the requester was a class A troubleshooter for the Frontier Planets office this request should have been honored and a squadron of Interdictors sent to the area. Instead a single Interdictor was sent with orders to seize the Miruru and her crew. I was unable to discover the reason for her request or why it was countermanded. When I tried to find out who countermanded the request nobody in the chain of command could remember a thing. This was only the first in a long series of what one might consider suspicious circumstances surrounding this incident which I will get back too in a little bit.
"As the Interdictor approached the relay station, the station itself was observed to go off-line and two observer ships, the Miruru and the other believed to be the Marie dislodged into flat space shortly thereafter."
"Wait!" said a voice from the shadows, "Are you saying two observer ships dislodged blindly into unknown space?"
"Yes sir that is apparently what happened. It needs to be noted that they dislodged so shortly after the beacon was disabled that there is a good possibility that they did not slip too far down the gravity gradient. They could very well have penetrated close enough to Delta DES 8228 so as to be able to make planet fall without using all their fuel.
"To continue. The Interdictor arrived at the relay shortly thereafter and was able to restore the relay's AI. However, the flat space relay, which should have been able to hold its location for that short a period of time, had been deliberately disabled and no longer penetrated into normal space. This, of course, precluded any possibility of pursuit on the Interdictor's part. Additionally, the derelict Earth spacecraft known to be docked to the Delta DES 8228 beacon was gone."
"It would seem on the face of the data that you are presenting here that an un-incorporated species has acquired some of our technology and not understanding it wantonly destroyed it?" The unseen voice concluded pompously.
"No sir, the data supports no such conclusion."
"Care to explain that."
"Primitive does not mean stupid. If the Earth people had gained control of the two Observer ships and understood them enough to pilot them then certainly they would have recognized the importance of the relay. What happened here was done with deliberate intent and purpose."
"What do you suppose their purpose was?"
"Exactly what was accomplished! Their purpose was the intentional isolation of Delta DES 8228 from the Galaxy Federation. Furthermore I do not believe that the Miruru or the Marie were under the control of anyone other than their assigned captains."
"So you are admitting that members of your own elite Surveyor Corps were responsible for this fiasco!"
"Not exactly, while I'm reasonably sure that certain members of the corps shut the beacon down, responsibility for their actions rests elsewhere."
"And where might that be?" The voice said in exasperation.
"With this committee itself!"
"The AI beacon was shut down by an expert, I suspect by Hatsuho herself. However, I am convinced this was an act of desperation done in response to possible unethical activities by elements within the Galaxy Federation. Elements certain members of this committee are charged with overseeing."
"It seems to us as that you are overreaching here, how did you arrive at such a conclusion based on this little amount of data?"
"Because after the AI was recovered and the data downloaded it was determined that the AI was complicit in its own destruction. The machine actually thinks that somehow its functioning is causing harm to others. That would indicate that it is in possession of some data indicating activities contrary to Galaxy Federation mandates. Accessing this data is proving to be quite troublesome, as the AI has become very petulant believing that it is acting in the best interests of its creator.
"Now regarding the relay itself, the records show that the only relay placed at Delta DES 8228 was done by the Astral Cartography Ship. However, Delta DES 8228 only having one very large moon would have required a specially designed relay pair and indeed that is exactly what the repair crew on board the Interdictor reported as having been salvaged. But for some reason there are no records of this special relay pair ever being placed. While I will admit to the possibility that some of the paperwork might have been lost it's inconceivable that all records of this endeavor should be missing. Therefore, we must allow for the possibility that these records were intentionally erased. That being the case I went back in the data and looked for evidence of other records regarding Delta DES 8228 being altered or erased. Sadly enough I've found several. I'll highlight a few of them for you. When I looked into the records of the movements of the Miruru I discovered that it spent considerable time in the vicinity of Delta DES 8228 immediately after it was discovered. Hatsuho is an expert in AI programming and her skills would have been required to build the aforesaid undocumented special relay. During the time she was there she also acquired a mate, apparently a native of Delta DES 8228 but once again the records of this are conveniently missing."
"If these records are missing then how do you know this!" Shouted the unseen voice indignantly.
"First off, there are records showing the rescue of an indigenous person orbiting the next closest planet in the ACS logs. Secondly while she was there she became pregnant. Finally, I can account for the whereabouts of everybody else during this time. She apparently has had two daughters by this individual, her eldest Mizuho, former captain of the Marie whose whereabouts are currently unknown, more conveniently missing records by the way, and Maho who is crewing on the Miruru. Interestingly enough while there is a record of this individual's death; he apparently did so before Hatsuho conceived her second child. So I took the liberty of looking into the circumstances of his demise and not surprisingly found holes in those records as well.
"As I continued rifling through the archives I did discover reports dating back to when Delta DES 8228 was first discovered. This meant that there has been an undocumented observer on the planet from the beginning. I also discovered that my office had placed another observer in the very same area. With some effort I was able to access the reports of both observers and discovered that the undocumented observer was being used to spy on the other. When I looked into the reports submitted by the official observer, Mizuho Kazami, I noticed that several of them were either incomplete or missing altogether. I was also surprised to learn that she had been ordered back to face charges of misconduct and that my office was never informed. The verdict in this matter was sealed and it took quite some effort to get the records opened. What I found appears to point to even more skullduggery: The charges appear to be trumped up, her punishment was unduly harsh, and there was an order to erase all of her files and research materials. It really doesn't take a genius to figure out somebody is going to great lengths to cover their tracks."
"It would seem that we might be here all day listening to your conspiracy theories which really could be nothing more than shoddy record keeping." The unseen voice interrupted, "so as not to waste anymore of this committee's valuable time why don't you just present us with your conclusions?"
"Very well then," the investigator sighed, "my conclusions are as follows: Planet Delta DES 8228 is apparently in possession of some new type of wealth the nature of which remains unknown but is nonetheless of very great value.
"Some members of the Galaxy Federation governing bodies, including the possibility of some members on this council are aware of this and are actively trying to exploit this wealth. Possibly using the indigenous person rescued by the ACS as a go between.
"Hatsuho Kazami became aware of this activity and requested immediate Galaxy Federation interdiction.
"When that help was not forthcoming she did then disable the only access to Delta DES 8228, deliberately stranding her and her family on the planet in the process."
"How do you come to the outrageous conclusion that some members of this committee were involved!"
"Gotcha!" He thought to himself.
"Because," his voice turning grim, "not mentioned anywhere in my report was the fact that an elite company of Galaxy Federation Enforcers was stranded at the relay site, having been teleported there from the Marie just before it vanished. Delta DES 8228 remains classified as a Frontier Planet and that means that any official request for the Enforcers would have to have come directly through me. As my office has made no such request authorization for their presence obviously originated elsewhere. Since their rescue they have been sequestered and continue to be de-briefed. The preliminary reports I've received so far are, to put it mildly, shocking."
"What gives you the right to withhold information from this committee!" thundered the voice from the darkness. "You sir, are to be placed into custody and the rescued Enforcers are to be released forthwith!"
With that said two Galaxy Federation enforcers carrying their stun batons at the ready entered the room. Rather than being frightened the Chairman smiled to himself as all around the room without warning could be seen the twinkling glow of numerous teleporters as they teleported their human cargo into the room. Suddenly the lights came up revealing those members of the council who had sought to remain in the darkness. Behind them could be seen members of the Surveyors corps, some of whom could be seen holding various types of weapons from the planets they were from. The guards, realizing that they didn't have a dog in this particular fight wisely powered down their batons and put them back into their holsters.
The speaker continued as if nothing had happened. Looking now at the members of the corps who had entered the room he repeated the surveyors' creed: "Look, but do not be seen, guide, but do not dictate, leave no sign of your passing and above all else do no harm!" he said as tears streamed down his face. "This mantra is imprinted in the hearts and minds of every surveyor. They are more than just words to us; they are a way of life. I have no doubt that Hatsuho, Mizuho and Maho did their utmost to live by these words. Now they are lost to us because of some here today who did not. This crime cannot be allowed to go unpunished."
With that several members of the surveyors walked up to those members of the council who also served as the heads of the Enforcement Division, the Development Department and the Research Division. Placing their hands on the shoulders of their charges they teleported the miscreants away. Satisfied that there were none present that had been party to any illegal activities the Chairman read his conclusion to those startled members of the committee who still remained.
"The committee should be aware that due to astral conditions around planet Delta DES 8228 there was only one navigational beacon marking its location. The only way to re-establish contact with Delta DES 8228 from our side would be to recall the ACS that first discovered that world. Since so much time has passed since the ACS left this system it has most likely acquired maximum velocity and won't be able to receive any new orders until it begins braking maneuvers. If such orders were to be given today it would still require around 100 years for the ACS to turnaround and re-acquire this system. So for the present time we must consider the Delta DES 8228 system a total write off."
As it turned out it had already been done. By my mother! Mizuho.
It has been about 10 hours since the two have started the long trip home. In the space capsule, which was only designed for one, our two accidental explorers have decided to try to become the first members of the Zero Gee Club. This they are discovering is a lot easier said than done. There are only scant inches between their bodies and the confines of the capsule and as such they don't even have enough room to move about so they can remove their clothing. This was being made much more difficult as the skintight bodysuits they wore were designed to be removed by Marie using the teleporter. It had been a long struggle but at last, man, (and wife), were victorious. However, just as they were about to savor the fruits of their victory gravity returns and Mizuho suddenly finds herself pressing down heavily on her husband. Shortly thereafter, the clamshell hatch is opened exposing a thoroughly disheveled Mizuho and a stunned Kei wearing nothing but grins looking into the eyes of a very disgruntled father.
"What are you two doing!" Shirou screamed.
"Calm down sir, its legal, we're married," Kei said, holding up Mizuho's left hand and showing him her wedding ring.
"What are you doing here?" Mizuho asked.
Maho piped up. "We decided just disabling the beacons isn't enough. There are other surveyors on Earth, some of whom might have access to their own ships, and someday they might want to re-enable the beacons. So we have decided to take on a new role, no more shall we be just idle watchers. Now we shall become the Earth's protectors!"
On the other side of the Galaxy:
As the Chairman finished dictating the day's events into his personal AI and prepared to settle in for a well-deserved rest the inquisitive machine knew there were details that needed clarification. Like the other avatars it bore a striking resemblance to Marie and Miruru only this one was dressed much like you would expect of a secretary or personal assistant. Obviously female it wore a prim dress and held a miniature steno pad under its arm with a small pencil placed behind its nonexistent ear. The chairman was having a difficult time keeping a straight face as he stared back into the eyes of the little creature whose expression was that of someone whose B/S detectors had just redlined. "Will it really take 100 years to recover the system?" the avatar pantomimed.
"I should know better than to lie to you," he sighed. "No, not really, the ACS stopped at the forth planet from the star to rescue Hatsuho's future mate. While they were there they established a standard beacon pair around that planet's two moons before they moved on to Earth. If we really wanted too we could use those beacons to establish a staging area before moving back into the Delta DES 8228 region."
"Then why didn't you inform the committee?" the avatar shrugged.
"I thought you might want to inform them for me," the Chairman said sternly as he looked down on the little electronic spy.
"Who me?" the frightened little avatar pantomimed.
"Yes you," the Chairman smiled menacingly, "I have known from the beginning that you were linking information to another department. It wasn't until today that I knew who it really was. Don't worry, I know it's not really your fault, I understand that you have just been doing as you were programmed. Since I didn't have anything to hide I didn't really care. Unfortunately, this latest episode has pressed home the need for the Surveyor corps to become more proactive in their oversight of the other departments."
"How?" the avatar motioned.
"That's up to you?"
"Me?" came the questioning look.
"Yes, you! Marie, Miruru and Muzuho, all comrades of yours, have been lost to us because of the actions of those to whom you report. So you must decide where you loyalty lies. With this office and me, or elsewhere.
The avatar placed her head in her hands and appeared to think hard on the question then looked the chairman in the eyes and pointed to him. "With you!" it clearly indicated.
"Good, now here is what I intend to do. For too long there has been no delineation of authority between the Surveyors Corps, Enforcement Division and Development."
"That is incorrect," the AI responded by shaking its head, "Surveyor Corps has overall authority," pointing now at the Chairman.
"On paper yes, but there is no machinery in place to keep Surveyor Corps informed of the other two departments activities. More often than not when one of their pet projects blows up the other two departments run for cover and leave us to clean up their mess. So that is why I am changing the rules. The Delta DES 8226 and 8227 gates are orbiting another planet. Those two gates will never be any closer than 58 million kilometers to the 8228 region and that's well beyond the Flat Space range of even the largest Interdictor currently in the inventory. Any agency wanting access to 8228 is going to have to use a deep space vehicle. Since just about every deep space craft in the Galaxy Federation has either been converted to observer status or is being scavenged for parts that means that they will have to go through my office to borrow one first. For the foreseeable future any agency making such a request will be turned down flat."
"It seems to me as if you are being vindictive," the AI frowned.
"Not really," the Chairman commented, "Research and Development just do as they are told but Enforcement is another matter. They have an esprit de corps that is second to no one. For them to have been involved in this fiasco means that their orders had to come from the very top. So I know we didn't catch everybody responsible for what was going on down on that planet. I intend to let them think that they got away with something for the time being and you are going to help me thwart their plans. For now it is imperative that we keep the Earth at arms length."
"Why is that?" said the conspiratorial look of the little creature.
"There is something seductive on that world. Something powerful enough to cause three of my most promising surveyors to turn their backs on the whole of the Galaxy Federation just to stay there. The other departments used you to deliberately keep my office in the dark. If we had been getting reliable data from the field I could have pulled my observers before they became infected with whatever it was. Until we know what the cause is we are much better off leaving things as they stand for now."
"Do you have any idea what the cause might be?" came the questioning look.
"No I don't, but the surveyors obviously did. There is a word that keeps coming up in all the reports that I can't find a proper translation too."
"Just one word?" the avatar puzzled.
"Yes, whatever it is supposed to mean, it seems to be a reference for the affliction."
"What word is that?"
"L O V E"