Red rays of a sun dipping below the Lambda Orbital Population Ring glinted off of the crystalline tumbler filled with amber liquid on an onyx-glass-clad desk. A complex harmony sung by young voices echoed across the room from the wireless speaker system, leaving mesmerizing pastel patterns in the Yggira Ferns where the sound waves passed through plant matter. Major Talisi L.S. Fab read voraciously through the day’s search & rescue report, hoping for some hint, some whisper, of her son.
“Damn it, Ji’Deon! Where are you,” escaped her lips as a tear rolled down the side of her sharp nose. A soft, hollow gong came through the speakers, lowering the volume of her music momentarily.
“Ma’am, the ‘Ell Tee’ is here to see you. He has a report.”
“Thank you, Ta’Nisha. Hold my further calls.” Talisi wiped her cheek hurriedly, gathering the mask so often worn during her long career. A man dressed in the softer-lined dress uniform of the National Security Corps walked through the temporarily permeable door-field.
“Major,” he said as he came to attention in front of her desk.
“At Ease,” she said, glancing to the indicator light at the corner of the door. It changed from solid green to an orange sine-waved pattern. “We’re private. What is it Hak?”
“The best we can find is the residue of a wild gate that most likely swallowed Chimera.” Talisi’s mask disintegrated word by word. “No indication of where it took them. No news of any ships or wrecks appearing in human space. It took a few weeks just to hear back from my contacts in ‘Relly’ territory. Jack’s checking with the scanners in known systems, but so far there haven’t been any other unregistered unstable wormholes in the last few weeks.” Lt. Col. Hakeem Che Fab touched the Biometrics button on her desk, and a fan of reports appeared in her desk display, the icon in the corner indicating that they were the originals, a block-chain available on click.
“Thank you, love.” The fatigue and battle-worn grimace on her face summoned Hakeem to her side. “We have to find him. He probably thinks we hate him. He doesn’t know the pos-”
“We’ll find him. We’ll hand him his pardon, and he’ll know we love him.”
As Talisi thought back through her son’s life in Kumba, several scenes drifted to the forefront.
A pre-teen hacking the food fabricator to color all the food blood red in the Academy;
The “Beaten Beagle” artwork appearing in every recruitment advert for the National Security Corps on the core-world – she still didn’t have any proof that one was his;
Out of character, a young man entering the Kumba Eternal Peace Corps;
Nearly-undetected copies made of military blueprints and patents;
The crash in the defense of Terminus Station that nearly took his life;
Burning with renewed life, a young man completing undergrad work at the Gama Orbital Population Ring Physician’s College;
And Finally, the pain of the greater good twisting his heart, he fled the Kumba System, contraband in tow.
“If there’s any hope at all, he’ll come back to us.”
JiDeon’s, or Dayan as he calls himself, remembered the life-long bureaucrat’s excuses, gut twisting with the bittersweet resignation he felt surveying the lower-than-expected casualties in the planetary capitol. ‘Oh, we’re in the middle of a fight for our way of life,’ and ‘Revolutionaries are trying to destroy our society,’ slapped the military brat in the face.
But he got his revenge, his justice for the oppressed people of the Njia Panda system.
The InAnna escaped the system of the opportunists, Eden, and passed through the Persistence system – though they didn’t know the name at that time. The Njia Pandans they came across seemed friendly. None of them demanded a military escort or asked too many questions about the strange ship. Given a landing berth in the starport, the group negotiated an appraisal by a local geologist for the precious metal bouillon in their hold.
That is where alarm bells started their cacophony within Dayan. Assurances they didn’t need military help, the bulk of the crew stayed within the ship. Captain Dayan and Cheif Programmer Geneva left to get more information on the ‘revolution.’ His worries not assuaged by the clueless populous, he returned (with the mysteriously blood-stained Geneva) to the InAnna. As work was completed on the Bioship Hydroponics System, Dayan hacked through the Governmental Databases of Njia Panda Prima.
Worms and Trojans are much more effective when you use a bioship to craft their spontaneous permutability.
Upon discussion with the crew, the decision was made to purchase a revolution with the millions of Edanian Credits they had gotten from their haul. Dayan recalled as much as he could from the blueprints he’d gathered as a young hacksman in his military days. The deadly weapons were not as common, as the Kumba Eternal Peace Corps prefers non-lethal, non-destructive neutralization methods.
But there was enough to awe those backwater bumpkins that thought Dayan and crew were all from some other backwater called Denver.
As the grateful new government bid farewell to the rag-tag saviors, Dayan got a map of all known systems and wormholes. Remembering the references to the (luckily) non-insect amphibian-reptilian creatures plaguing the fringes of human space, Patrick exclaimed he knew how to get them home.
They just have to make positive contact with a xenophobic alien race. No Problem.