Jenquai meet the Abh
Note: EnB [Earth and Beyond] original creation/copyright of Westwood/EA. Seikai no Senki [Banner of the Stars] (c) Hiroyuki Morioka / Hayakawa/Sunrise/Bandai/TokyoPop. This is strictly artistic fun and inspiration. All other characters that might be mentioned are (c) their creators or myself [Ex: Doctor Tlyzr]. Ok, bold/italic/underline is location words between `and ' are thoughts. italicized quotes with words are computer spoken whereas italicized words within regular quotes are toward the computer.
S E P A R A T E R
Somewhere between Galaxies
A beeping from the communications console woke Sethris from his unscheduled nap, "Huh? What is it Sister?" Sethris sat back in his pilot seat and stretched out his lower limbs before noticing just how black space looked to be.
"We are in an unknown galaxy dear Brother. You have the tools to scan for navigation points." Quahedria replied from her own ship, which was to the right of his.
Sethris looked up at the vidcom display. His sister looked nearly out of it as he felt. "Where are the others?"
Quahedria shrugged, "I tried scanning for them earlier, but there seems to be no trace of them here."
Sethris nodded as he started scanning for any possible points, the wormhole they had survived the trip through was not an option. This was an escape mission for the last remnants of known humankind from the Vrix onslaught. A tone indicated the scanning had finished. Sethris barked out a grim snort as he saw the results, causing Quahedria to stare at him through the vidlink, wanting an answer.
"What is it Brother?"
"The scan is done." Sethris sighed a bit, "We only have one option 'Hedria," He shared the target information with her, causing her eyebrows to shoot into her hairline, "its about 70 billion kilometers away, but its our only focal point. I know, it looks a lot like a weft did back home, but I don't trust any wormhole due to the one we just came through. Let's form up and engage warp. By the way, to correct you, we aren't even inside a galaxy at the moment. Here."
Quahedria looked at her scan screen again, switching the range to the widest possible. She frowned as the black void only appeared with the words "No known navigation points exist." at the bottom of the sensor map. "Yes," She replied quietly as she looked around at the outside of her ship at the view of various galaxies way and far. "We are very far from any known point in the universe that we came from." She checked her radar again and tilted her head at it. "Hold on a moment Seth," She queried, "Can you slip in your extended scanner range and do an active scan? Something keeps tickling the Empress' sensor edges."
In the P3 as Seth called it, the Grandmaster sighed and nodded, "Alright Sister," He made the necessary changes and waited for the complete sign, softly muttering to himself. "I hope it's not her." He had been hoping to avoid the investigation of debris in the distant area, but thanks to his sister, that could not be put off any longer. "Initiate active scan." He intoned to the computer and watched as the high powered scan revealed what he both hoped and feared. Having targeted the distant derelict, he contacted his sister again. "Form up, let's check the ship over yonder."
Quahedria nodded as she adjusted her ship and let it slide into the formatiion lock that Sethris provided. "So we aren't going toward the light just yet Brother?"
Sethris nodded as the two ships moved into formation and then he moved them slowly through the void to get a better look at the debris. Both siblings were silent as the debris finally got into visual range after several minutes.
Quahedria's eyes widened in shock and recognition, "Seth! That's!-"
"-The Journey, I know." Came the quiet answer from the bridge of the Paragon.
Indeed, it was clear to both of them that the gleaming golden shine of The Journey's chassis was obvious in the blackened twisted wings and tail... And next to The Journey....
"Jolenar..." Quahedria quietly muttered. It was readily apparent to both of them that they had some spacewalking in their future. She remembered Jolenar as she surveyed the blackened and pitted hull of the fellow Defender's ship. How her general tagalong had always been rather timid to try better ways or places to hunt. Jolenar had also been rather shy to getting the best weapons possible. Quahedria shook her head a bit. "Hey Seth, are you gonna try to jumpstart them?"
Her brother worked on his controlpads while he answered in a grim tone. "I don't know 'Hedria. Paragons can't reach Journey's core, but he does say that Journey herself is still alive and functioning, but barely even that." He went silent as he thought to his ship, "Come on 3P." He was frustrated with the circumstances.
"I'm trying to get through to Journey Seth, but it is as you would put it "irritatingly slow". Journey is just barely capable of telling that we're friendly ships. I'm querying her as to the feasibility of a jumpstart and she seems hesitant to go that route..." Seth frowned and gazed through the void to the Journey a few meters away, before being interrupted by his ship again. "Wait, she said to do it."
"Great!" Sethris grinned to his sister over the comm, "Journey is agreeable to a jumpstart."
Quahedria smiled and nudged her ship closer to the seemingly dead ship of her longtime friend, peering over the hull critically with her external ship lights. "Empress, can you contact the Seeker's Star?"
"Like 3P said with the Journey Q, Seeker's Star is only a bit better off than the Journey was, 3P has jumpstarted the Journey by the way. Trying to contact Seeker's Star again."
On the Paragons of Pride & Power, Seth listened to the report grimly. "-ey estimates that Beth will need better medical attention than just Journey's cryotube. I'm contacting Empress now to begin repairing the Journey's systems... Apparently the Seeker's Star can hear me and does request a jumpstart as well, but warns that her pilot is in the cryotube. Jolenar's status is similar to Beth's I'm afraid..."
Seth nodded slowly and did what he needed to do. It was clear that they needed to get medical help in short order and that a ships cryogenics could only do so much. In the hours that were spent in repairing the ships' systems, Seth had conversations with both other ships and it was clear that they both were wanting to get closer to that weft like spot just for an easier reference point. "Paragons, make sure that Journey and Seeker's Star know of our intent-"
"They wish to be brought along Seth, at least within 1000k of the weft-like object."
"I had been thinking that they would. Inquire of the Seeker's Star if she would like me to escort her to the light, then Journey can be escorted by 'Hedria."
"Seeker's Star is honored to be escorted by her pilot's father."
Sethris sighed, "Can't really hide that information can I 3P? What can I say? I had an affair with Beth at one time, that ultimately came to rear its head. I still love Beth, but I doubt she does me."
"Indeed, Journey indeed remembers you, but she is a bit wary of you and her pilot. Shall I send them what we plan to do?"
"Go ahead." Sethris watched the former gloriously crafted ships move and shift around belying their current derelict appearance. He rolled into a formation with Seeker's Star and watched as his Sister did the same. "Ready over there 'Hedria?"
"I'm ready Seth." Her brother nodded and pushed the warp button. Both sets of ships vanished into the void of intergalactic space.
Now, there was a difference in the warp speed that they were used to compared to the speed they were now able to achieve, which was double the old value of 5km per second. Even then, over 70 billion km took some time to traverse. Sethris began calculating travel time and frowned, "Sister, I think we better start measuring distance by light seconds from now on." He frowned at the numbers he came up with, "That and the fact its going to take us 2 months to get there."
"Can we survive replicated food that long Seth?" Quahedria checked her replicator's supplies and frowned. "Mine has supplies for another 45 days, if I am careful. Also, what about the Journey and Seeker's Star?"
On that note, the Empress answered after a nanosecond, "Both Journey and Seeker's Star will have 4 to 6 more weeks of supplies after estimated arrival at the pseudo-weft, but again, you two need to move quickly. That means speed."
Quahedria nodded at her ship and looked to Seth, "Well, that answered that question. What about your own food stores Brother?"
Sethris looked at his to doublecheck and sure enough, "Forty-five days here too." Seth sat back with a sigh.
After some rest and sleep, the siblings woke up and discussed a new idea, "Hey 'Hedria, why don't we turn off the safety locks on our warp drives and try for at least 15000 warp?"
In her ship, Quahedria widened her eyes, "Seth! Are sure you want to do that? I know we could put in those special warp engines but we'd be a lighthouse for the entire sector of the galaxy!" She had to take a moment to realize, by Seth's expression that they obviously were not in a galaxy at the moment. "Um, well, you know.. I'm concerned if any hostiles will see us."
Sethris nodded his head slowly, "Its a possibility," He said, stroking his gotee chin lightly, "I'll tell you what. Unless we see anyone near this fuzzy light ball that we're headed towards, when we are half a light second from it. We will exit warp and change back to the sails that we have the Bogs to thank for." Sethris gazed into his Sisters cabin peacefully from his own ship, his sister gave a drawn out sigh and gave in.
"Alright, I just hope there's something to blow up somewhere along the line. I will be so bored this time. Ready to form up and go?" Her brother nodded and cut the link.
Outside, the blue and metallic silver of the Jenquai explorer ship "Paragons of Pride & Power" shifted forward of the red and blue Jenquai Defender vessel "Empress of Extinction". As the two pairs of ships locked into place, they also started compacting their wings as though they were birds of prey in preparation for a speed dive. A tunnel formed around the four vessels as they were suddenly catapulted into high speed travel forming blurs and streaks as they moved through the dark emptiness. The humming of the warp engines only existed within the cabins. It was going to be a long journey until the warp drive could be turned off.
At the academy, Lafiel sighed, trying to push the previous week out of her mind. She needed to focus her thoughts for the final flight before she got her pilot's license. 'Now, if enemy is coming at you all guns blazing, yell warning to Jin-NO! Argh! What will it take to get him out of my head?!' She frowned, thinking of the past week again, then again vanquished it from her mind in preparation for her final proof flight.
It was the 40th day after the two Jenquai siblings started their travel toward a new way with their unconscious friends in tow. Aboard the EoE, as Quahedria called it, she was idly playing with the sensors when she noticed they were closer to the anomaly then previously thought. The red highlight that symbolized her as a Red Dragon danced while she checked various other ship readings, then stilled when Quahedria leaned back in her seat. The younger sibling mused to herself, idly playing with her sky blue hair, staring into the vast blackness at the steadily growing light of the anomaly. She decided that she would wake her brother on the 44th day, unless he awakened himself.
Quahedria reflected on days gone by. Merjan Kathedra's failed attempt to transcend, her subsequent death. It was all quite a blur really, considering just how much was going on then. The vrix still working on the Eye of God weapon, as far as she had heard, the structure was regretably just about ready to be moved. The Red Dragons could not have stopped it by themselves, she realized. The problem lay with the people of the other factions, who seemed too cowardly to really accept Shou Tzu's idea of bomb after bomb into the Vrix weapon. She'd also had heard of where the vrix were supposed to take their weapon after its completion. A place where no one should have been able to stomach its going. The Vrix were intent on extinguishing Planet Earth.
She stood and walked back into the innards of her ship, still remembering those stressed filled days. The Jenquai, as they called themselves now, had secretly gathered small groups of willing pilots to go Beyond using the wormholes in Blackbeard's Wake, the Mazzaroth Rift, and the Mondara Shear. It was unknown how many of those other groups made it out alive however. All the wiling pilots were top of the class Warriors, Magister Magnas, Privateers, Seekers, Explorers, Defenders, Enforcers, Tradespeople, and Scouts. It had been quite a collection, Quahedria recalled, then realized there was a comlight blinking for her attention.
"Yes?" Sethris appeared, a worried look on his face that disappeared after she answered,
"Finally! Ok, we are approaching the anomaly now. I'm going to cut warp shortly so we can switch to the sails. Then we reform, reapply the psi-shield and enviroment shield and finally investigate this anomaly." Quahedria nodded and entered the cargo bay as her brother's voice followed her, "Is your sail ready Sister?"
Quahedria watched the mover droid vanish into the engine room, "In a minute it will be, let me get back up to the bridge and I'll reapply the psi." Amidst her brother's acknowledgement, she went back to the very bright bridge and seated herself while activating the view dimmer. "Hey Seth, let's hold here and check over the other ships."
After Journey and Seeker's Star had given their permission for them to board. The duo slowly made their way through the foul stench of exploded items and noxious toxic stuff that still had not been cleaned up from the tumultuous time in the wormhole. "Ick." The sister commented, her brother nodding in silent agreement. Then the Journey spoke quietly.
"Yes, regrettably the main cargo door seems welded shut, so I usually have to seal this section out of the ventilation circuit. In other words, please step lively."
Quickly and gladly they stepped over to the pole and the circle of light that shown from above and the ship pulled them up into the living quarters. It was immediately apparently that, to an extent, things had also been messed up as well, just to a lesser extent. The cryotube chamber was to the right of the bedchamber entrance. Again, the ship cautioned them.
"Seth, Q, just to warn you that Beth's appearance might be upsetting, but it actually is better than it looks. Not by much mind you, but she will last another 45 days or so tops. If nothing goes wrong in the meantime."
The cryo glass had cleared up so they could see the comatose pilot within the tube. Seth was silent, but his heart had caught in his throat at the sight of his former girlfriend frozen in stasis.
Quahedria didn't fare any better, save for the fact that she'd seen people near death before and knew with likely certainty, that Beth was very likely to not leave this ship alive. Finally turning her eyes away from the grisly looking pilot in a coma, she found her voice. "Journey, can you transport us to Seeker's LQ?"
A pause was heard before the computer spoke, "Seeker's Star will transport the both of you over to her bridge."
The siblings felt the familiar blue light wash over them as they were nearly instantly transported over to the Seeker's Star. It wasn't much different from the Journey, one side the command chair fused with skin, as was obvious from the dried blood on the chair and subsequent trail of blood leading to the back of the living deck. The two followed the trail as they took in the simple setup before the ship spoke.
"Please, see her. It is taxing my system to keep air circulation going outside of the cryochamber."
Both siblings frowned at that as they obligued the ship and entered the chamber. What they saw there was horrible. "How in Vinda did she survive?" Quahedria inquired, curious. The ship's answer surprised them both.
"It is unknown how much longer she will survive without much need medical attention that is beyond my means to give. Yes, it means you must leave right away and find help for both me and Journey before it truly is too late for our pilots. Please go and get help. I will watch over Journey and my own pilot as best I can, all I ask of you is that you return with help. Please!"
With that two found themselves back on their ships and staring at each other in shock.
Sethris strapped himself in, "Form up Sister. We've gotta do what we can to help save Jolene."
His Sister raised a brow, "That's Jolene then?"
Sethris nodded as he selected a formation, "Yes, that was her given name."
Quahedria slid into the formation, "Locked in."
The two ships slid into warp configuration as a familiar tunnel formed around them and they vanished into the surrounding void. Leaving two ships together in a sea of vast nothingness. About 250kilometers away from where they had been, Sethris suddenly killed the warp and contacted his sister. "Look! In the distance, bout a hundred-fifty kay away..." As Quahedria looked, Sethris finally targetted it and share the picture with her. "Doesn't this tower here seem rather similar to Net7 broadcast towers Sister?"
"Yes it does, but let's slowly go over there, after all, we dont know mat be in our way or in await for us. I'd suggest that we go over there using regular speed, with all the speed turbo we can get."
Meanwhile, really far away from the current main focus of the action, a meeting was taking place.
A hologram faded into view, "I am sorry for intruding upon fellow members of the Former Emporers' Congress, but there is a matter of great importantance to be discussed."
Several holograms appeared at that point, followed by several others. "What is this matter important enough to be brought before-"
The most senior hologram raised a hand to quiet the outburst, speaking to override at the same time. "Enough. Let us hear of this matter before we decided whether or not it is "too trivial" for our discussion." The appaarition gestured toward the central holographic figure, "Speak."
The messenger nodded and began her presentation, "This concerns what we call the 12th ring of sords on the outer edges of the galaxy." Another holograph appeared, this of the galaxy with a small box around a section of the edge, which with the operator's command, zoomed in to highlight a small cluster of sords.
"Specifically, the Sord 1173 in the 1150 Sord Cluster." The presenter continued speaking as the other image aid zoomed in closer. "Our sensor tower that we placed in the void that 1173 connects to has picked up some anomalies the past few days." The view shifted to somewhere in between galaxies to be restructured into a "system map" of where Sensor pack 1173 was. "Are you with me so far?"
Most nodded, but the senior official had a question, "What kind of anomalies are we talking about here?"
"We think they are intelligent anomalies, for as the following will show, there was a massive anomaly that barely tickled the sensor pack because it was so far away, over 60 billion wesdaj from the sensor pack." The holo changed to a radar image as the presenter continued to speak, "That signicant anomaly appeared to expell what we now think are four small ships due to the following actions."
The radar map changed as she spoke, "One: After about 40-48 hours, two ships started to move toward the other two. Initially, we reguarded them as anomalies, but why we refer to them as ships I will elaborate a bit later. After twelve hours give or take five hours, all the ships began to join into a formation. After that, the anomaly blurred."
"Yes. It blurred, because the sensor pack could only track objects at a certain velocity, and these ships were moving on par with Old Technology missiles. This is the entire reason we have this information, because this collection of blips was headed in the general direction of the sensor pack. Two: These ships stopped roughly 1000 wesdaj away from the sord." The image became much clearer as the unknown entities were close by. The presenter paused, "I apologize for this affrontancy on your time Your Excellencies, but there is new data coming as we speak."
The senior Offical, known as Dugath, raised an apparitioned hand. "You may view the new data yourself and make a decision on what to do yourself. I forward that all possible speed should be given to a greeting party for them, or, if we can translate what they are saying, at least send someone to deal with them. That is all."
The presenter nodded and turned off the holographic projector communicator as she mentally went through the list of names, Then stopped, there was only one name for this kind of work that really stood out. She commed Central Fleet Command, "I'd like to speak to Admiral Spaurh please."
"At once Your Grace!" The communication officer paused, "Your Highness, she appears to be in arrangements for transferring ships."
"Override that order by my direction. There is a special task Spaurh is suited for with the Futune. Inform Admiral Unyuush that the Futune is on Special Imperial Business and her scheduled transfer of commands will not take place for at least two weeks."
The communication officer acknowledged and proceeded with the order, a few seconds later he looked up." Routing you as requested Your Grace."
It was another few seconds before a link to the Futune and Admiral Spaurh's face appeared. "Well, Your Grace, this is a pleasant suprise."
The Spunej smiled slightly and nodded, "Indeed Lady Spaurh. However, this is not merely a social call, can you assure me that what will be discussed next will stay with you only?"
Spaurh's eyebrow's raised before she touched a button and nodded. "Yes Your Highness." As the Spunej spoke of the possible alien contact, the Admiral crossed her legs in her usual manner and toyed with her hairbraid listening. "So what would be the fastest route?"
The Spunej outlined the mission, along with the routes to take, then added one more thing. "Due to the situation currently, I'm afraid that only the Futune will be under your command for this mission." The Empress held up a hand to forestall comment, "I remind you again of the security of this mission, you have the data from 1173's sensor pack. The Futune is all you need."
In the area of 1173, Quahedria frowned. Seth had been wrong. They had been almost 300 kays from the tower when they'd dropped out of warp. Since then, she'd kept her eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary. "Seth, how much longer till we get there?"
"Another twenty minutes or so."
The ex-pirate scowled at her clock. The had only been utilizing their thrusters for about 20 minutes, and apparently they had 20 more minutes on top of that. She sighed and decided to focus on mental lessons from long ago and far away.
With the Futune being in transit between Sords, Spaurh recalled that conversation. `All possible Speed.' She thought to herself and shifted, resting her chin on her cleunoed hand and sighed slightly.
At the sound of his superior's quiet sigh, Kufadis looked up to glance over at her. "Ma'am?"
"I'm bored. How close are we to 1170?"
"Only a couple hours Ma'am."
Time droned on for the Futune as it sped through the vastness of space, thrusters flaring brightly at ten percent over official maximum speed.
A last minute stipulation by the Spunej imposed on Admiral Spaurh was grimmacing over study books that she'd brought along to keep up with her classes. The elven eared bluehead had been aboard the Futune before and it brought with the recollection a sea of memories that she was currently trying to fight off so she could focus on the task at hand. Diligently she kept at it. studying and noting everything possible down for later perusal. All too soon, a buzz came from her cleuno. "Yes?"
"Dear Viscountess," Lafiel's lips tightened slightly, it was Spaurh. "Would you like to be present for the information from 1173 playback?"
That was her mission after all aboard the Futune. "Yes, I would like to be there."
"Then you wouldn't mind taking a break from your studies to view it with us?"
Lafiel wanted to say that she did mind, she really wanted to say that, but she couldn't. Not in front of Admiral Spaurh. "It wouldn't be a problem. I'll be there."
Lafiel made it to the bridge in time to hear Spaurh say, "-unications, since it appears we will not enough time to watch in real time, download all that you can to my command console and we can watch it during the transit. Why hello Officer Trainee Abriel, please have a seat."
Lafiel saluted and took the vacated chair on Spaurh's right, but did not get the chance to speak as the Admiral asked her a question.
"You look like you needed a break from that studying." The red eyes turned towards Lafiel, "I'm having the data compiled so we can watch it in transit to where Sensor Pack 1173 is."
The trainee nodded her head in acknowledgement as Spaurh continued. "I'm sure you remember your first time aboard this ship." The trainee cringed as memories came flooding back, memories she'd done so well supressing only a few minutes ago. She nodded uncomfortably as the Admiral chuckled quietly at her reaction. Communications interrupted the conversation.
"We have reached Sord 1173 Admiral. Data has been compiled and saved to your console."
Spaurh turned and nodded to the general bridge, "Very well, Navigation, enter the Sord."
Generally the theory of Planespace and Sord travel was sound, but there were uncertainties. Like say, if the particular Sord's other end was more then 100,000 light years away, how long would the travel take? There were guesses of anywhere from 5 seconds to 5 hours, in this case, five minutes was all it took. Obviously, Spaurh had thought it would take longer.
"Navigation," Spaurh growled, mostly upset at natural physics. "Please hold this position inside the Sord unless I tell you otherwise, but please tell me if there is a UM fleet approach. Understand?"
"Officer Trainee, let's bring you up to speed on what's going on...."
Speaking of things going on, the Siblings were now orbiting the tower at very close range, inspecting it. The small ships nimbly edged as far into what seemed to be a mass of communications and sensing equipment. Aboard the Paragons of Pride & Power, Sethris looked at what appeared to be a camera lense thru the view of the bridge. "Well Sis, it's certainly not what we expected to find." With a touch of thruster power, Sethris moved his ship to within a scant meter of the protruding device and did something that few people ever do with these sort of cameras.
He waved at the camera, earning a curious glance from Quahedria. "What are you doing?"
"There's a camera over here, should be more than one of them."
"Found one." Quahedria moved the Empress of Extinction as close as she could and with deft touches of her fingers, put her own bridge viewports within a meter on the camera lense as well. Being the ex-pirate that she was, and not finding herself on camera a lot. She made faces at the camera.
Aboard the Futune, Communications was flummoxed by what he was recieving. While he had no wish to be on his commanding officer's bad side for any amount of time, he also knew that it was a case of "This Must Be Reported". With a sigh and a mental farewell to his life, he spoke. "Admiral, we are recieving live video from the Sensor pack."
Spaurh's head snapped up at that, "Repeat that again."
"The sensor pack started transmitting live video images to us starting a minute ago."
The Admiral stood and gazed out toward the projected view of the blackness before them. "I want to see it." She was rewarded with a splitscreen view of human-like beings, seemingly having fun with the sensorpack cameras. She slowly looked accross her bridge to Intelligence... Who looked just as flabbergasted as the rest of her bridge, and she herself, felt.
Beside her Lafiel shivered with a strange kind of excitement. `Wow, there really are aliens out there.' Out loud, she spoke. "I wonder if we can get footage of the ships they're in?"
Around that same time by the sensor pack, Quahedria had grown tired of making camera faces and slowly backed her ship away before actually hailing the sensor pack with audio because she was bored. "Hello out there, whoever you are. I hope you like my ship." She crooned in a purring tone as she slowly let the ship turn on its stern. "It has lots of neat things about it." She continued, slowly moving the underbelly accross the camera's view, which also exposed the respectable firepower that her ship currently had installed. "Where I came from, this ship meant business, for you see-" The ship slowly rotated so that the topside was in view, and most importantly, the ships name. "-that I'm dangerous. The Empress of Extinction is my ship alone..." The ex-pirate trailed off as she realized that she was not in any struggle,yet, and that she had friends in very dire need.
With seemingly startling speed, the Ken'shiao flipped her ship facing the screen and finally allowed a video transmission. "Please excuse my behavior, this is likely a first contact situation-"
Sethris commed his sister, interrupting. "'Hedria, we have company emanating from the Weft anomaly... What are you doing?" On his target screen, he had some big red monstrousity of a ship and was confused by his sister's weird actions.
"-Huh? Seth? I'm talking to this sensor pack. I figure that.... Wait, we have company you say?!"
The Futune command deck was silent as they watched and listened to the many attempts of Intelligence to translate the audio properly. "....I will eat your marbles? No thats not right... That I'm dangerous? There we go!" Intelligence checked the sensor reports and raised an eyebrow. "Admiral, we have the size estimations on the....alien ships."
Admiral Spaurh looked at the secondary screen that now showed the information about the ships. "Their ships are that small? How can they expect to survive out here?" She quieted as the correct translated audio joined the video transmission. Slowly, she smiled and Kufadis shivered momentarily. "Navigation," Her voice rang out as she went to lounge her command chair. "Let's make an entrance, Full speed ahead toward the sensor pack!"
Quahedria continued to talk and keep the vidlink open with the tower even as she prepared for who knows what. Activating her general combat sequence of skills and items, not only on herself but her brother as well. "I'm sure that whoever you are who made this tower of sensors, you realize that only a short distance from here, we have badly injured friends with damaged ships that need help that we cannot provide ourselves. How can you expect us to not prepare to defend ourselves when we're essentially stranded in no man's land with two very ill, probably dying friends that need medical help that is beyond our capacity to give."
The ex-pirate took a breath and visually verified her status. "We have a big red ship approaching us and we really don't have much of a choice except to stand our ground and defend our friends with our own lives. Beams armed, foldspace check, Summon check, psi check." She frowned as she looked at the transmitting sensor, her eyes full of determination. "Big red is closing in, 25 klicks away... I don't know who I'm speaking to, but we ask for medical help for the benefit of our friends lives. We come in peace, but will defend ourselves as necessary. EoE out."
Sethris decided to also broadcast to the tower, "Hello out there, whoever you are. My sister likely has been chatty with you, but in case it hasn't been made clear already, we are willing to die if it protects our friends lives. We plead with you out there to come to the aid of our friends in dire need, one of them is my daughter, who also happens to be the worst off. We are far away from the galaxy we came frome. We know that much at least, not that we know how to get back, if at all. If you were able to see us earlier, we dropped off the injured about 500 kilometers away. All of us are Jenquai, born in space. We strove for knowledge and knew, We learned much and it has possibly cost us our lives. Let it be known that we come in peace and in search of a new home. We're frightened and scared because we are out of the familiar and in the scary. In another sense, we're just trying to defend our injured friends. Please hear us out and provide help."
He looked over at the target screen again and blinked, "Wow." It was suprising really, for only 3 klicks from the sensor tower and them, there now was what 'Hedria referred to as "Big Red".
"Brother, we're being hailed by the ship."
Sethris accepted the call, "Let's see what they want Sis."
"Right." A few seconds later confirmed Seth's first feeling, "They don't seem like Terrans or Progens... This only proves that we are indeed well the hell away from our own galaxy."
To the Abh within the Futune, these beings shown on the split screen view seemed look haughty without even trying. The male had royal midnight blue hair and glasses that seemed opaque. He appeared to be wearing a tunic that had a blue torso color with metallic red shoulders. What little they could see of his expression was grim.
In contrast, the female had blue hair very similar in shade to the male's hair, but also had a tuff of red curls in the very front of her hair.. She wore really narrow black glasses with nearly opaque lenses that shielded her aqua blue eyes. She also sported some ear wear that looked like the lower half of the ears were hooked to her upper ears. Her tunic had a red torso with blue shoulders, and her expression was very similar to the male's.
"Greetings. Are you Terran or Progen?"
"Are you affiliated with a group called the Jenquai?..... Sorry, we have no clue who you mean, we are in fact the Abh."
"Ahhh, so you're the guys who own that tower over yonder. And yes we are as you surmised from what we said to the tower. We are the Jenquai." The male replied briefly.
"We have a couple pilots injured, not here, but about 300 kilometers further away from the weft." The female added.
Spaurh's eyes narrowed, "This better not be a trap-"
The female snorted, "It's no trap, trust us." Her eyes hardened slightly, "One of my best friends is only hours possibly from dying because her ship has sustained a greater amount of damage than what my brother or myself can repair. We cannot go back into a black hole-"
Spaurh interrupted, "Wait, you came here through a black hole?!"
The female chuckled humorlessly. "We were on the run, escaping from a corrupt system of government that was in process of forming as we left. We thought we were entering a wormhole, but 3 ships we were also with at the time are assumed as lost. We only made it out because my brother hit his own wormhole drive which spat us and two others here." She looked at Spaurh directly, "Our copilots need medical attention or they will die. Who am I speaking with?"
Lafiel stepped forward this time, perhaps a bit ineptuously, but the Abriel felt she had to speak. "The one whom you've spoken with so far is Admiral Spaurh. I am Officer Trainee Abriel. We are of the Abh empire and offer our assistances in what you request." She continued on, despite the Admiral's sound of indignation. "Disreguarding military rank, I am also Viscountess Parynu while the Admiral is also Grand Duchess Spaurh."
The female inclined her head in a gesture of respect as did the male. "Nobility that actually holds conversations with mere pilots Seth, what a concept!" She smiled slightly and continued her reply, "I am Quahedria Sey'run, Ken'Shiao of the Jenquai Defender division."
The male replied to his sister's small joke first, "Indeed 'Hedria, it is certainly a refreshing concept for nobles to talk to mere pilots." He nodded briefly, "I am Sethris Sey'run, GrandMaster of the Jenquai Explorer division." He looked to Admiral Spaurh, "So you command the red ship?"
Spaurh nodded, "Yes, but it does have a name too!"
Sethris nodded approvingly, "Good, I hope its called something better than "Big Red", because that's what we've been calling it till now." Sethris frowned, "Moving pleasantries aside for the moment, there are urgencies to deal with." Sethris looked at the Admiral seriously, "M'Lady Admiral, time is short for my daughter and friend. I need you to follow me with your ship to where the injured are. After that is done, we will come aboard as immigrants and we can figure out what to do from here on out."
Spaurh paused, almost for too long of time in Lafiel's opinion. "Very well, the Futune will assist you in this matter."
Quahedria stepped in, "Hey Seth, we'd better step on it Empress is saying that Seeker's Star only has about an hours worth of time before her pilot-"
The Paragons of Pride whipped around as though on a top and began moving at top sub-warp speed.
"-dies... Let's get moving!"
On the Futune, Spaurh issued commands. "Helm! You heard them, follow! Intelligence, monitor all sensors."
The three ships cruised through the void of No mans land, Sethris leading the way. He talked to his ship. "Paragons, is Journey available?"
"Yes, she is. Very concerned about Jolena for the sake of Beth's health. She does ask how far away we are, I told her less then 100 kays away."
"Can you contact the Seeker's Star?"
"Yes, her reserve system is fading fast. The pilot will not survive without an outside faculty. Estimated survival time is under an hour. Seeker's Star herself needs to be hooked up to a external power source."
"Very well." Within 20 more minutes the ships were on site and Seth hailed the Futune. "Ok, Admiral Spaurh, do you have a cargo bay suitable for four ships, or even two bays for two ships?"
The Admiral winced and turned to Kufadis, "Do we have enough room Chief?"
Kufadis plugged in the query to his console and frowned, "Its difficult to know, but I believe its possible to be done."
"Well, one of these will need a power conduit, so one could fit in a smaller bay." Quahedria added.
"Wait, which ship needs the power access?" Spaurh inquired, and got an unexpected suprise of an image of a semi- empty command chair. The contents of said chair however, caused some of the bridge to go pale, as one armrest contained body tissue that had fused to the armrest.
"Greetings, this is the Seeker's Star. I apologize that my captain's chair is empty, but that is due to her serious injuries. Please have a small bay available with a power conduit ready for me when I arrive."
The Futune's bridge went still with shock, had a ship just talked to them? the Officer Trainee started to speak. "Wh-"
Before being cut off in mid word by Quahedria. "Yes the ships talk! There is no time to waste Admiral! Get that bay ready now! The Seeker's Star is already headed toward you."
"Tell the....ship, that it can occupy Bay 4 when ready." Admiral Spaurh commed the medical section, "Have a med team down to Bay Four on the double!"
The Seeker's Star approached the big red ship and, guided by Sethris remotely, entered Bay Four. After the Ship was landed and the power connection established, the pilot was evacuated to the medical room. The two siblings visibly relaxed after seeing that the pilot was in medical care.
Then, they made landing approaches, Quahedria being first, landed in the large bay safely. She then summoned the Journey into the bay entrance, from which Sethris nudged the Pilotless ship in beside his Sister. After the Journey was secure, Sethris landed.
A small greeting party consissting of Admiral Spaurh, her Chief of Staff, and Lafiel Abriel stood outside the airlock connecting to the #2 hangar bay waiting for the pressure to equalize. The grand Duchess stood beside Lafiel, "Tell me, Officer Trainee, what do you think about our assignment?"
Lafiel tilted her head as she gazed at the plane space map, "What exactly is our assignment?"
"Did the Spunej forget to tell you?" Spaurh smiled and looked over at the young Abriel. "The Empress wishes to know more about the unknown anomalies and anything that we find here. As for why my ship is here alone, Imperial Intelligence and the Empress both feel that one spacecraft is less of a security risk then multiple ships." She then glanced at the airlock that was signalling pressurization had been complete and spoke to Kufadis, "Chief, kindly open the door for us."
Spaurh's subordinate blinked and nodded, "As you wish Ma'am." `Why can't she get the door herself like she usually does?' Hitting the command to open the door, he then stepped back to allow them entrance.
Meanwhile, after landing in the bay, Sethris spoke again to Paragons of Pride & Power, "How is Beth doing?" The unexpected answer came from Journey.
"Both of you meet at the walkway door to my cargo bay please, these beings may walk through at any moment."
Both Seth and Quahedria had burning questions but the latter part of the statement energized them to action.
Beth Gi'ril had come out of her coma and was being very loosely updated with what happened. The Journey then ordered her into a special mobile chair that Seth had juryrigged in case Beth ever did recover from the coma she was induced into after the travel accident. Now Beth had the opportunity to use this chair which had been a cargo service droid before. All Beth knew was that she was meeting aliens along with her long time friends. She watched from the deck lift as the light from outside creeped into the cargo deck as the gangway slowly opened.
Lafiel felt encouraged to look back to the time she first laid eyes on the Gosroth, remembering the feelings that went through her. Recalling the pride in the Abh design and technology. Now, just barely seven weeks later, she was confronted by alien ships that rivaled her instilled-since-birth worldview. She stood beside Spaurh and Kufadis, looking at ships that had beauty and grace.
She tilted her head as gangways on all three ships began lowering, but her eyes drank the ships in themselves. The furthest to the right looked to be completely silver metallic in color, and very prone to reflecting the enviroment it was in. She noticed that the front of the wings and top of the hull housed what she realized had to be weapons of some type. The only color difference was the ship's name, written in blue capital letters, PARAGONS of PRIDE & POWER IT READ.
Her eyes shifted to the ship in the middle, which really wasn't difficult, considering the shiny metallic gold color this particular ship had. It too looked to be very reflective and had a similar shape and size to the silver ship, but the ship name read JOURNEY in similar letterhead.
The third and final ship was what then held the young Princess Abriel's attention, for it was very different in everything but the flowing design style. The shape of the tail was different, the engines looked to be mounted directly to the hull, and the wing shape was far different. The pose of its landing reminded Lafiel of a bird ready to take off at anytime. The ship was sleek in its blue and red colors, she wondered why there was a green band on the wings. Another thing caught her attention, the weapons on this ship looked nasty and intimidating. `One of those would be cool.' She thought as she found the ship name in dark blue lettering, EMPRESS of EXTINCTION.
Spaurh smiled looking at the young Ahb beside her. The princess might believe she was being prudent and careful with her observations, but to someone like Paniach who knew her fairly well, she was rather obvious in her admirations. She turned her attention to the descending beings and blinked, "Three pilots?"
Lafiel blinked and noticed the beings coming from the gangways, mostly her attention was on the center person who seemed to be in a mobile chair. `Odd, but they did say that this pilot was not in as bad of shape as the other.'
GrandMaster Beth slowly descended down from the relative darkness of the cargo hold on the gangway, she was reassured by actions from the corners of her eyes on either side that she wasn't alone in this. The three at the bottom next to the wall were unknown to her, she decided to let her friends do most of the talking like they always had done.
To the Journey's left, Sethris had opted to use the automated step in the gangway and was descending at the same rate as the others. He could see a fairly tall woman standingly regally with a slightly shorter man at her right shoulder and a young woman on the left, who appearred to be looking at his sister's ship rather thoroughly.
On the far side of just about everyone but the ship she had landed in, Quahedria was transported slowly down the sloping gangway towards the trio waiting off to the center. One of them seemed to be staring at her ship, The ex-pirate smiled slightly to herself as she looked the group over, focusing mostly on the young attentive woman. `Pointed ears? Wierd, wonder if she's an elf?' She was lucky to not have asked that thought out loud while studying the group more. There was a tall woman who carried herself as the leader of the group standing to the elf girl's right, and beyond that was a man that might've been the woman's assistant. A motion caught her eye after she'd stepped onto the deck and she turned to look at a mobile chair carrying her friend. "Beth! Good to see you're alive!"
The older woman in the mobile chair smiled and nodded, speaking softly, "Its great to be among the living again Q." She turned her head to acknowledge Sethris, "Hi Seth. You guys can talk about stuff, I'm going to go talk to my daughter-" Her composure suddenly turned for the worst, and Quahedria snapped her head up to look at the alien Admiral with urgency.
The Grand Duchess frowned, and keyed her cleuno. "Medical, we need an orderly to the large cargo bay immediately." After the acknowledgement, she closed the link and looked up. "Help is on the way for your friend." The Admiral nodded to the ships, "I must say, your civilization is quite advanced in building starships, they are quite eye catching."
Sethris nodded and turned to admire his own ship, "Indeed they are...." He continued his monologue as an orderly came and took the mobile chair containing the sedated form of the other grandmaster to the medical area.
After the mobile chair left, the siblings stepped clower to the three Abhs, to whom it became clear that the two of them were really tall and kind of skinny looking. This time, the female spoke up, "I suspect there's some sort of questioning that we have to go through?" She asked the Admiral who then nodded with a suprised smile gracing her lips.
"My, how insightful you two are. Yes there will be questions asked and more than likely, tests given." Spaurh paused to look at the Princess, "I think we could get to most of the question asking while we're all here really..."
Lafiel looked up to meet the Admiral's eyes on her where she had been in the middle of looking at the female's ship and drooped her head guiltily. "Um... Yes, that would be the most efficient method I guess."
Quahedria smirked at the elven eared female while she thought-commed her ship. "Empress, can you contact Seeker's Star and see if she's open to having a meeting aboard her?"
Sethris nodded slowly at Spaurh's offer, "Yes, it would be most effective to get the bothersome questions out of the way. As for where to hold this meeting, I believe my sister is trying to shoot two ships with one beam if you'll pardon the saying. Your Officer Trainee seems quite interested in my sister's ship-"
The EoE replied after a minute of silence [which for an AI of ship caliber, is an extraordinarily long time], "Seeker's Star is agreeable to hosting this meeting if it is of a peaceful nature."
"-the reason why 'Hedria is arranging a meeting on the ship that nearly resembles her own." Sethris finished before the ex-pirate looked up and nodded.
Quahedria hoped she had the right mode of her translator working, "For peaceful purposes, the ship has given permission." An aqua eyed gaze caught the Admiral's scarlet eyes, "Can you take us to Bay Four please Admiral?"
The long haired woman nodded, "This way please."
Sethris held a hand up, "First however..." He turned to his ship, "Security." He intoned, and to the three Abh's bewildered looks, the silver ship retracted the gangway and its landing feet only to remain hovering in mid air.
Quahedria had nodded frowning at herself, "..How could I forget.... Empress, QueequegQueztel SecStat Q One." And her ship underwent a similar ritual, consequently further increasing the Abriel's interest and prompting the other two with brief but alike thoughts of envy.
Sethris gestured and nodded toward the three skyheads, "Everything's fine now, we can go."
A few minutes later, the group of five arrived outside the fourth cargo bay entrance and waited while it pressurized. The Admiral opened the airlock and the others stepped through behind the Admiral, who stopped in near disbelief at the sight before her.
Small droids hovered over weapons and other areas of the blackened and scorched outer hull. The two tone blue Defender ship looked as it had been put through a grinder and ejected on the other side. A closer look with a practiced eye however, revealed that much of the damage would easily be repaired for spaceworthy flight.
Seth indicated that they should follow him, "Its not as bad it looks, I assure you. The main reason for the emergency landing was the pilot was in very critical condition and the ships life support had been damaged. Also the reactor's regenerative ability was also damaged severely, and no we did not know this until after our trek toward the weft like anomaly. The ship needed the external power in order to started being able to repair it's own equipment." He started up the gangway, "Anyway, come in for the tour."
Lafiel's black eyes widened in amazement at the ship. It was certainly like the other one in the larger hangar bay, but this was something completely new for her mind to wrap around. A subject that tied in remarkably well to the subject she was currently delayed in studying, ship design. As a possible future Spunej, she had to learn as much as possible, not only in command and political sectors, but engineering and construction as well. This was a opportunity to see what she could have never possibly imagined before.
Even as she followed the others, her eyes craned to look upward along the gentle curves of the ship's front. She noted the weapons beneath the wings and envied the female ahead of her military superior. She wondered what it must've been like to fly in these sort of ships, mentally comparing this with the communications shuttle she flew sometime ago.... She sure missed Jinto... Pausing and closing her eyes to refocus herself, she took a deep breath that in the relative narrow gangway, ended up being a bit loud.
The Admiral looked back at her with a knowing smile, her eyes twinkling in mischief.
At the front, Sethris paused and reguarded the currently frozen members. "What's the hold up?"
Behind him, Quahedria frowned at her brother's back before she glanced behind her at the pointy eared anomaly. "Female semantics Seth. You wouldn't understand." To those behind her, she baited the onyx eyed young woman, "The cargo bay is just ahead Officer Trainee, You can look around there if you like."
Just as the ex-pirate had hoped, those words seemed to shake Lafiel awake. "Oh! I'm sorry for my lapse of attention. I was thinking about something-"
`SomeOne rather.' The Admiral silently corrected within her own mind.
"-else entirely. I'll be glad to look at the cargo bay area if I could Ken'shiao."
Quahedria's lips tightened but said nothing as the group resumed it's trek into the cargo area, once they'd all entered, she addressed the young trainee. "Feel free to look around, just don't touch too much."
Lafiel wandered down a side aisle, looking at what appeared to be weapons that seemed to be interchangable. She looked at the contents of the aisle and decided that they were mostly weapons, then approached where the Admiral and Chief of Staff were discussing something with the two Jenquai.
"So, why do you have what appears to be an animal skull here?" Spaurh asked, curiously as Lafiel joined the group.
Quahedria frowned slightly, "I really don't know, as I've never thought about the particular design of this item. All I know is that it turbo-charges my weapon reload so I fire faster. Perhaps some mystic embued it with magical energy or something." The ex-pirate rolled her eyes at the thought, "I didn't spefically want it put into an animal head, as I understand it, what you see is how it was first discovered. I have frequently used it as well, apparently hers never saw much use." The female Jenquai turned to her brother, "Let's go up to the living quarters, too many memories reside here brother."
Sethris nodded and backoned the group over to the lift. It was a simple kind of lift really. When one wanted to go up, a portion of the floor would lift the load to the second deck. Then when someone wanted to go down, they could just grab the pole and slide down if they were in a hurry. It was around this pole that Sethris stood and waited for everyone to congregate before using the universal command for lifts. "Up."
The Grand Duchess was relieved that most of the damage that she had seen before was not visible from where they were. In fact, the room was entirely different from what she'd ever expect from an alien ship to look like. There was a door that bore signs of blood on it, likely hiding the gory mess of what the Jenquai referred to as a cryochamber. To the right of that was likely a door to a lavatory, but it didn't quite fit as it had what appeared to be a security measure device next to the barrier.
Lafiel looked to her left, liking what she saw. The room was simple in design, yet tasteful in art. Decorations of many battles lined the walls, she moved toward a particular one that showed three ships in a formation on an unknown planet. Suprise came when she stepped within two feet of the scene and the ship spoke, her translator correcting words as best it could.
"Would you like to view this battle?"
The Abriel blinked and looked around searching for the source of the voice, "Huh? Who?"
Quahedria approached and smiled softly at her reaction, "That's Seeker's Star talking to you." She stood a bit displaced from the young Abriel and nodded to the scene. "Yes, play the highlights please."
Lafiel blinked when the entire scene snapped into focus with the female alien's voice summarizing the action as it played out on the wall. "That was one of the few planets which us pilots were allowed to land on. At the time I went there with the pilot of this ship and another friend, the V'rix had taken the planet over. At the time, we were just goofing off, three pilots, three ships."
The ex-pirate pointed at the center ship, "This ship is mine here, nearly got destroyed at the time, but I barely lived through it..."
While the female Jenquai talked about the wall scenes, Kufadis had taken in the furnishings of the room. A table which by the looks of things rose from the floor, complimented by similar seats that extended from the wall on one side, a bench-like couch on the other. The chief of Staff for Admiral Spaurh was impressed as he approached the couch to take a seat and was suprised when the Admiral decided to join him. "Ma'am, what's your feeling on this situation?" He asked, then grimaced for sounding so tense.
The Admiral leaned back looking at him through irritated half-closed eyes, "Chief, please relax. I need you to relax so I can feel relaxed."
Whatever she had been about to say was cut off as the pilot room door hissed aside and Sethris came out holding a good portion of fused chair arm and nearly unidentifiable body tissue. He held the offending stenched items with no small amount of disgust and dropped it into an incinerator chute. "Icky." He grumbled as he went passed them to the lavatory sterilizer. "I'll be right with you."
All the Abh's noses had flared at the impact the odor had on the room. Quahedria frowned and went with the quick method, "Refresh air." A second later, the offending air swam away in a very slight breeze as new air from the ship hangar was injected, filtered and then distributed in the living spaces. It wasn't long after that before the ex-pirate joined the two Ahbs with the third one at the table. "My brother will be along shortly," The Jenquai woman said as she settled into her seat.
It was less than a minute before Sethris rejoined them and the meat of the matter began.
A brief note: I am sad to see that FFN is still being very obstinate with general line breaks. What is wrong with blank multiple line space between paragraphs? Honestly! Anyways, this is the first draft of the rewritten stuff. Next chapter will feature more of the Abhs, apologies for mispellings of "abh". In my defense, I like to spell it like it sounds which is "Ahb". Do read and review and I will fix the abh mis-spells.