Well this is how the whole mess got started. At first the Council was happy with the response they were getting to one of their recent offers. But you know how these things go; a friend tells his friends and then they tell their friends and so on. Soon everyone wants a piece of the action. What would start as a simple business transaction would turn into complete anarchy. Either some serious groundwork would have to be laid out, or they were just going to put everything into the melting pot and hope the situation sorted itself out. But the ‘powers that be’ couldn’t honestly be that inept, could they?
“All Ambassadorial personal, please report to area twelve for registration.”
“Zee hujuvee, nanak zoi kurston.”
“Ti’chun sonosti’karoon minosfitari, lycos ssi zrysto mniji.”
“Zututrutmutzut terutzutkutvut le mutgutnutrut re vlut schmutqut yut Wales.”
The voices boomed over the loud speaker of the lobby. For those wearing universal translators, ‘All Ambassadorial personal, please report to area twelve for registration’ repeating over and over again was getting kind of annoying. Most of the creatures remember seeing the translators advertised across the various technological mediums available to their species showing perfect translations and perfect lip sync. The reality unfortunately was that spending time in an alien orbital facility was like living in a Chinese action movie.
“Name?” The alien behind the counter asked in a tired voice.
“David Chells.” The human gleefully responded. The alien sighed. This wasn’t the first biped to provide an unsatisfactory answer and probably wouldn’t be the last.
“The name of the empire you represent?” It asked, clearly irritated.
“Empire, group, confederacy, militia, state, nation, republic, PICK ONE.” The alien slammed two of its tentacles down on the desk in frustration. It wondered if all the species it was going to encounter today would be as inept as this one.
“Do you treat all the diplomats this rudely?” The human asked, folding his arms in an unconscious display of defensive body language.
“Listen whatever you are,” the alien started to explain, “I’ve had to deal with over two hundred ambassadors since this morning and that’s nothing compared to the daily throughput we had last week. If you expect me to be nice to every single ambassador from some piss-head hick galaxy at the rear end of some backward super cluster at the end of whatever known universe your pathetic species happens to hail from then the least you can do is answer the GOD DAMN QUESTION!” Unless there was an error in the translation, this alien was sounding quite hostile.
Chells was taken aback, but his diplomatic experience taught him that sometimes it was best just to go take whatever action was necessary to avoid conflict rather then get dragged into an argument. In this case, answering the question would be appropriate. Chells smiled the way a skilled diplomat would, given the circumstances. The alien just glared back, awaiting the answer.
“I represent the United Federation of Planets, the protectors of peace and harmony for all living beings. It’s a Utopian society.”
“Thank you. Here’s your card, go wait in line for an access terminal and fill in the online form. Next!”
Chells walked away with the card handed too him by the less then courteous alien and joined the queue leading to the access terminals. Some cultures had a strange way of dealing with foreign dignitaries, he thought to himself. This was Chells’ first extragalactic assignment. In a way he was proud of the fact that history would remember him as one of the first people with the responsibility of representing his government in their first intergalactic peace mission. At least that’s what he thought he was there for. It seemed a little unusual to have to fill out orientation forms and personal liability papers. What was even more concerning was that the rest of the diplomatic staff was currently preoccupied with ‘other duties’. It was almost as if Chells was on a need to know basis. There was definitely something strange going on.
Oh great, another one. The alien thought to itself as another human approached the counter.
“Galactic Empire.” He announced.
“Which galaxy?” The alien responded in a surly tone of voice.
“Oh just take your damn card!” The alien shouted while shoving the small metallic card through the slot.
“Thank you.” The man collected his card and joined the next queue.
A woman, human in appearance, was standing on the balcony overlooking the lobby. Creatures of every description were waiting in line. Another creature, a humanoid wearing some strange environment suit, approached her. A series of seemingly random noises emanated from a speaker on the suit’s collar.
“I don’t know.” the woman responded, “I was hoping the council was just going to let us take over the operation. But now that the Miner’s Guild has gone out of business it looks like they’re just going to let these losers fight over it all.”
The creature responded with a series of low pitch tones, meaningless to anyone that didn’t know what to listen for.
“I’m sure they have their reasons. But that doesn’t make it right.”
The creature replied, again with incomprehensible tones and clicks.
“More good news I assume?” The woman sarcastically asked.
Again the creature responded in its incomprehensible language.
“What? They can’t! How the hell do they expect us to deliver nebula gas without our collectors? Who did they sell them to?”
The alien responded with more gibberish.
“Well that’s just great!” She shouted. “So what are we going to do now?”
There’s only so many ways to describe the unintelligible noises that that the speaker on the creature’s collar makes, needless to say it made more of them in response to the woman’s question.
“No, that’ll never work.” The woman paused for a moment. “But I have a better idea. Come with me, we’ve got work to do.”
It was interesting to note that out of the thousands of governments that have signed up to the Council’s scheme, two hundred and thirty three of which were run by humans and two hundred and thirty two of these factions claimed to have originated from Earth. To make matters worse, almost all of the Human governments claimed to be from the Milky Way. This made for some seriously infuriating bookwork. The only theory that anyone had regarding the origin off all these humans, or at least most of them, were that they were from multiple realities generated by historical interference. It was almost as if some divine force was purposefully disrupting continuity for the entire human race.
The worker scrubbed the bulkhead like he had a purpose. The corridor was quite badly lit and this particular section of the ship didn’t see a lot of people pass through it. Yet strangely enough it still seemed to attract a lot of grime. The Worker was actually quite pleased with himself as he’d nearly much finished and, for once, was well ahead of schedule. He prided himself on his work ethic and decided that he’d reward himself with extra break time for his hard work.
After cleaning off the last stubborn greasy build up he put down the vibrosponge (a name given to an electronic grease remover) stood up and carefully examined his surroundings. Content that no one was within earshot he proudly announced, “I think it’s time I made a Captain’s ‘log’ entry.” He quietly laughed at his joke before wandering off to find the nearest head. Extra break time and having what he deemed to be a good humour day put him in a good mood.
Other people on the ship were less preoccupied with actually following orders. This was due to the fact that the vessel wasn’t military, but was a ship privately owned and run by ExaCom, a company based in the Sol system (Sol system number 87 on Council records). It was essentially a mobile office, travelling from site to site, overseeing company operations, delivering supplies, and acting as a place where middle management can process the information coming through without the risk of rival corporations intercepting subspace data streams.
In their reality, the UN had given up trying to sort out differences between all the warring nations and decided to put Humanity’s intergalactic business interests in the hands of private contractors. They decided that multinational corporations were about the closest thing they were going to get to any form of unity.
“So, I hear Cuba has its own planet now.” The men were sitting at a table in the ship’s cafeteria. While the ship was in transit there were only two jobs outside of bridge work that needed doing; occasionally glancing at a monitor to make sure no alerts were going off and scrubbing off the grease in the maintenance passages. The later wasn’t really necessary, but it kept the guys at the table from having to listen to the inane jokes that the previously mentioned worker was infamous for.
“Yeah, second planet in the Aegis system, they just finished terraforming it.” One of the men responded.
“I thought that one was habitable to begin with.”
“Well yeah it was, but you know what a misfired salvo of five hundred gigaton nukes does to a planet.” He said before finishing his drink.
“Damn, did those guys actually look at what they were shooting at during the war or do they just push the button and hope they didn’t hit something friendly?” One of them asked rhetorically.
“Well look on the bright side. Those five or six alien races that were wiped out in the cross fire wont need their planets anymore.”
The mechanism controlling the door to the cafeteria hissed into operation and the door slide open. The man that was cleaning the passageways entered the room smiling.
“Hello bums.” He proudly announced, “You’ll be pleased to note that I, unlike you, have finished my duties and are now entitled to a well deserved ham and mustard sandwich.”
“We don’t have any duties when this ship isn’t onsite Tranny, and neither do you.” One of the group responded.
“Stop calling me Tranny! My legal name is Transcend and that’s what I expect to be called. We’ll just see what the Captain says about those neglected duties, and I’m tempted to throw in a complaint about your name calling.” He said with a look on his face that was as smug as ever.
“We don’t have a captain.” Came the response.
Transcend growled in frustration. This conversation was obviously going downhill. He walked over to the vending machine looking for his sandwich. “Where’s the ham?” He demanded.
“Oh sorry, I got the last one.” One of the men said, showing his half eaten sandwich. A normal person would simply get a different sandwich. Transcend, on the other hand, would take this as a personal insult. He stormed towards the cafeteria door and turned to face the men at the table.
“You’re all the weakest link!” he declared before storming out of the room and off to his quarters.
Meanwhile in a secluded area elsewhere in the galaxy, inside a dense nebula, small Imperial construction craft were busy hovering around a cylindrical mass of plating, wiring, tubing, and various technological constructs. A star destroyer was nearby overseeing the operation. Obviously this operation was of some importance.
“You sent for me, father?” The young officer said after entering the bridge and approaching the Captain.
“Indeed,” The old man acknowledged, “Son look out the window and tell me what you see?”
“I see heavy lifters building a gas mining station to collect the valuable gases in the nebula, as requested.” The officer reported.
“Son, when I look out there, do you want to know what I see?”
“We had this conversation back at Coruscant, you see the fu...”
“The future,” The captain said, looking out the window, ignoring what his son was saying, “it is the future and we’re charged with the responsibility of gripping it with both hands. The future of the Empire, of the entire human race will be decided by what happens here.” The Captain had given this speech before, but once he got started it was impossible to stop him without the use of a variety of blunt objects. “You see son, the group known only as ‘The Council’,”
“Dad, I was at the briefing,”
“Now this galaxy is filled with nebulas like the one we’re looking at here,”
“I know, I’m the one that requested that we oversee,”
“Don’t interrupt boy. You’ll never make Captain with that attitude. Now where was I?” The Captain paused for a moment to remember his place before continuing with the lecture. “Those nebulas contain a gas that the Council have labelled ‘Irenisan’, after the scientist that discovered it, so they say. The gas is useless to us and frankly I have no idea what the Council want with it but they’re paying top dollar for it, and are willing to part with some very valuable territory to ensure that they get it.”
“Are you really my father? It just occurred to me that you don’t look a thing like me.”
“...and that suits us just fine.” He continued, oblivious to the fact that his son was no longer listening, “the Rebels are keep getting better equipped, and are proving to be much more dangerous then we realised. It is for that reason that the Emperor isn’t willing to commit warships,”
“I’m going now,”
“For a full-scale invasion of another galaxy. However, if someone is willing to simply give us territory, we’ll be able to increase our industrial capacity ten fold, and soon we’ll be able to spread the glory of the Empire throughout the entire universe! Starting with the Milky Way, the one those Federation types are from.”
The Captain stopped talking and noticed that his son and already left the bridge and returned to his station.
“I really have to wonder about that boy.” He said to himself, senility was starting to catch up with him.
The terminal in Chells’ quarters chimed, alerting the ambassador to the Federation that a call was coming through. He walked over and hit the answer button. A woman dressed in formal attire appeared on the screen.
“Hello Ambassador Chells, I’m calling on behalf of The Council’s first contact administration service. I’m calling to advise you that The Council has approved the United Federation of Planet’s application for nebula mining and colony rights in our galaxy. I’m sending a list of all approved sectors now.”
Mining rights? Chells thought to himself. There’s obviously been some form of error.
“Ah, I think there’s been some mistake. I’m here to open diplomatic relations with the ruling council of this galaxy, I’m not here to ask for mining rights.”
“Oh, you must not have been properly informed. I have the application right here, signed by one Admiral Janeway.”
“Did you say ‘Admiral’ Janeway?” Chells asked, emphasising the word admiral.
Earth, 6 months previously:
The admirals of the Federation were gathered in a conference room discussing Starfleet affairs of the highest importance.
“I firmly believe that having an admiral present would ensure that our little collecting operation ran smoothly.” One of them said, addressing the issue at hand.
“Count me out” the one sitting on the other side of the table responded.
“Oh come on people, this is our first extra galactic contact, likely to lead to more of them finally allowing us to take our place in the intergalactic community.” another replied.
“So why don’t you go then?”
“Oh hell no! I’ve got better things to do then sit around in deep space for hours on end watching over gas collectors.”
Suddenly Captain Janeway barged into the room, completely oblivious to the fact that the higher ups were in the middle of something undeniably more important then anything she had to say.
“Admiral Paris, I demand that you recommission Voyager immediately! She’s a good ship!”
“Hey, you can’t just barge in here!” One of the Admirals shouted.
“Hang on a minute,” Admiral Paris turned to the irate Captain, “you know something Captain, I think you’re right.”
“Que?” One of the Admirals said during a brief malfunction in the translator.
“I am?” Janeway responded. Although when she thought about it, it was hardly a surprise that the Admiral had succumb so easily to her superior negotiating power. Admiral Paris continued,
“Voyager should be put back into active service, and you know what else?”
“Uh...” Janeway uh’d, her mind racing with blankness.
“I think you’re due for a promotion.” Admiral Paris smiled.
“You’re kidding.” One of the other Admirals commented.
“Wow, I don’t know what to say,” Janeway said, completely dumbfounded by what the Admiral was telling her.
“Congratulations ‘Admiral’ Janeway,” Admiral Ross shook her had with both of his in a congratulatory gesture, “we’re proud to have you among us. So proud in fact, that we’ve already prepared your first assignment. We’re loath to send good Admirals abroad when they could clearly be of much more use close to home, but our loss will surely be The Council’s gain...”
“Yes, Admiral Janeway. Her ship is due to arrive in three days, the Federation authorities did inform you of this?”
“Oh well, it’s not really any of my business. Good day sir.”
The image disappeared and Chells was left alone in his thoughts.
A bunch of guys were sitting around a table playing a game, as guys on spaceships with nothing else going on are often known to do.
“Spyderious, you have encountered a large half-orc named Bolsca.”
“Actually, I’d like to change my name to Zathrog.” Dalton interrupts.
“Fine, whatever, Spyderious, you have encountered a large half-orc named Zathrog. He has brown hair and green eyes.”
“Grey eyes.” Dalton interrupts again.
“No more changes!” Strowbridge shouts, clearly agitated.
“Hello Zathrog, I am Spyderious. You smell like old cheese, would you like to join with me in a quest to save the scarlet monkey?” Mark says to Rob.
“Hello Spyderious, the odour of old cheese that you sense is not from myself, but is in the air because the master of these lands has just cut one,”
“I’m penalising both of you for acting out of character,” Strowbridge briefly interrupts, “and it was Deimos.”
“Was not!” Deimos shouts in his defence.
“No arguing with the Dungeon Master!” Strowbridge declares, “Zathrog, you may continue.”
“I cannot join you in your quest as I have already found the scarlet monkey in Beverly Hills, it has joined the cult of scientology in an evil plan to take over the world. The monkey must die!”
“No Zathrog! It is a good monkey that has just fallen into the false promises abound in the forsaken land of Beverly Hills!”
“Hey guys,” Deimos started, “why don’t we play games that normal starship crews play? The ones on TV are always playing poker or something.”
“It’s more of a history lesson then a game,” Strowbridge answered. “Amidst all the mythology there are a lot of important lessons about our past.”
“Yeah,” Mark added, “Beverly Hills is obviously a mythical place that never really existed but you never know about the rest of it. These ‘trolls’ could very well have been real once upon a time.”
Deimos snickered as he picked up the dice. The other guys noticed that he’d been in a good mood all evening.
“Deimos,” Strowbridge said, looking at Deimos as if he feared something horrible either has or was going to happen,
“Why are you in such a good mood?” He morbidly asked.
“Oh I was just thinking of the time I put that stuff in Tranny’s sandwich, he was vomiting for a week.”
“Heh, yeah that was funny.” Rob smirked.
“Yeah, and last week,” Deimos started laughing uncontrollably, “when I rigged the suction on the head to trigger early he nearly got sucked into space ass first. Oh god, the look on his face was priceless you should have seen it!”
Everyone at that point started laughing.
“Yeah, that was pretty damn funny.” Colin commented.
Strowbridge took a moment to consider exactly how was it that Deimos was able to see Transcend’s face while he was sitting on the head. Perhaps some questions were better left unanswered.
“Oh and this morning, after Tranny got up to do his rounds, I snuck into his room and planted that fifty megaton nuke under his bunk!.........what?”
Strowbridge came running down the corridor to where Transcend was scrubbing the bulkheads.
“Tranny! Get to the life pods! There’s a fifty megaton nuke on board and we have to abandon ship!”
“One, stop calling me Tranny. Two, I doubt that we’re in any danger. These ‘bomb’ incidents happen all the time.” Transcend answered, continuing his work.
“Are you mentally retarded? WE’RE GOING TO DIE!”
“Hey! Do mentally retarded people know Perl? You just think about that.”
“Perl hasn’t been used in over a thousand,” Strowbridge paused to consider his situation, “you know what? Hold that thought.” Strowbridge called out as he ran the other way towards the life pods.
“Simpleton.” Transcend said, shaking his head.
Then his ship exploded.
“Simpleton.” Transcend said, moments before detonation.
On a nearby planet, two aliens were looking up at the night sky. The images of two of the planet’s moons were reflected in their large black eyes. The aliens’ green skin blended in with the local flora.
“Look Daddy!” One of them said in their own language. “A shooting star!”
“So it is,” The older one said to his daughter, “want to make a wish?”
“I wish that someday I could travel across the stars and meet a real alien!”
“Ha, ha, don’t be silly little one, there’s no intelligent life up there.”
A lone life pod emerged from hyperspace. The computer of the now obliterated vessel that the life pod was attached to had a simple procedure to perform when it came to the life pods. In the event that something goes wrong and the order is given to abandon ship, start flinging the pods into hyperspace in random directions as a means of escaping the ensuing blast. A subroutine to make sure the pods had people in them before launch was added in the first patch release. A second patch release was due out the next month to introduce pre programmed coordinates so that there was a greater then a one in a thousand chance that the pods would ever be recovered.
“Any idea where we are?” Stuart asked.
Strowbridge managed to get to the nearest available pod where Stuart Mackey and Rob Dalton were waiting. None of them knew what happened to the rest of the crew, they could only hope that they had survived, even though most of them were jerks. They didn’t know how or why Deimos brought a nuke onto the ship, but that didn’t matter anymore. The ‘EXC Evening Star’ was destroyed, and the crew scattered all over the galaxy.
“Looks like we’re in the mid section of the second spiral arm.” Dalton said, prodding away at the navigational computer.
“Whose territory?” Strowbridge asked.
“Unknown.” Rob answered. “We’re well outside the company mining zone though, I wouldn’t expect to be picked up anytime soon.”
“Are the coolant units working?” Stuart asked.
“Yes... why?” Rob responded, a little unsure of the question.
“Excellent, we may need to freeze you for food during the coming months.”
“Hey!” Rob shouted, “If anyone’s getting eaten it’s you buddy!”
“No way! The person with the most meat is dinner, that’s the rule. Besides, I’m iron deficient, I wouldn’t be good for you.”
“And you think I’d make a healthy snack?”
“Guys.” Strowbridge attempted to interrupt.
“Why wouldn’t you, you haven’t taken growth hormones have you?”
“Oh bite me.”
“I plan to.”
“Guys!” Strowbridge shouts.
“What?” They both respond in unison.
“There is a replicator on board with enough power to supply us with food for the next 6 months. Nobody is eating anyone. And look at this,” Strowbridge points to the navigation screen, “you’ll notice that there is nebula nearby with high concentrations of Irenisan gas, which means that somebody is likely to be mining it. All we have to do is hitch a ride with whoever’s there back to the council administration center.”
“Centre.” Stuart corrected.
Dalton tapped away at the navigation console. “It’ll take us about two days to get there as long as the pod’s thrusters are still working.”
“Well as long you two can avoid resorting to cannibalism for the next two days, let’s get on our way.”
Rob tapped away at the console, “We’re all good to go.”
“Do you think we’ll meet up with any other survivors?” Stuart asked.
“Unlikely,” said Strowbridge, “but ours wasn’t the first pod to launch. There have to be more survivors out there somewhere.”
Meanwhile on the other side of the galaxy:
There was a flash of light in the skies of whatever the hell planet it was. A streak of fire cut through the night as the small pod came hurtling towards the ground.
“We’re going to die!”
“Yes, and you know who’s fault it is?”
“YOURS you useless hatfucker!” Kynes yelled only inches away from Deimos’ face, “you and your god damn prank!”
“Come on Kynes,” Deimos cringed, “you guys all loved the other ones.”
“There is a subtle difference between shutting down the gravity plating in someone’s quarters and planting a sixty megaton nuke in them!”
“Jesus Kynes, I’m not that stupid. The one I used was only fifty...”
“Five seconds to impact!” The third occupant of the pod announced in his overbearing accent.
The pod came crashing into the planets surface throwing up a wall of dust with tremendous force. The pod continued to travel forward after it hit the ground, partially burying itself. Dust clouds expanded outwards from the crash site before gradually starting to settle. The pods white surface was still hot from friction. The front section was completely crushed, the demolished hull and the smoke rising from the red-hot engines was a good indication that this pod will never fly again.
A clanging sound was heard from within the pod, followed by another. Suddenly the twisted metallic slab that was the pod’s hatch dropped to the ground with a thud, shoved away from it’s broken surroundings by the pressure applied with Kynes’ foot.
Kynes exited the pod, followed by the other two occupants.
“Well this sucks.”
The trio stepped away from the pod and surveyed the landscape. They had apparently crashed onto an arid and dry planet, filled with dust and rocky mesa, a harsh uninhabited world with very little indigenous life, if any at all. Or they could have landed on a completely ordinary planet and just be somewhere near the equator.
A shallow trench was carved into the ground started where the pod first made contact at the end of its descent, finishing with the pods final resting place. There was a deep canyon that ran near were the pod had crashed. Had the pod came down one hundred meters further ahead they would be at the bottom of it. Rock formations jutted out of the ground all over the landscape. Something glimmered far off on the horizon, perhaps a settlement of some kind.
“Did anyone see the navcomp before we crashed?” Deimos asked.
“Sorry, I was too busy having an end-of-life crisis.” came Kynes’ response.
“We came out o’ hyperspace roughly twenty thousand light years west o’ the core.” The third guy said. “Though our hyperdrives be powerful, they sure as hell suck without proper navigation.”
“Well at least we came out of there in one piece.” Deimos commented. Kynes continued to glare at him, wondering if Deimos was testing him by seeing how many inane comments it would take to provoke Kynes into beating Deimos to death with the nearest blunt object.
“The first thing we need to do is find food shelter.” The man with the accent said.
“No shit?” Kynes said.
Suddenly, and conveniently, a small flying vehicle of some sort emerged from the canyon. The silence was broken by the sound of engine noise as the craft descended onto the rocky shelf where the three of them were standing, a somewhat more graceful landing then the one they made.
The craft resembled a form of sand speeder commonly found in the outer reaches of the Imperial galaxy, obviously a flying model rather then a hovering one. Kynes remembered some strange little creature with glowing eyes and a brown cape was trying to hock one off last time they were all at the administration centre.
The canopy door opened and the pilot climbed out.
“You boys look like you’re having some problems.” The pilot was a human male, looked as though he was in his late 30s, early 40s. He had short brown hair and was of an average build.
“Yer could say that.” Said the third guy.
“Any day our ship doesn’t explode and we don’t end up stranded on a strange planet is a good day. Today is not a good day.” Kynes added.
Deimos just stared blankly.
“Well, I could give you guys a lift back to the settlement, might be able to call for help from there.”
“Sounds like a good idea to me.” Deimos said, just so he wasn’t remaining silent for the conversation.
“Well let’s go then. Oh by the way, the name’s Barry.” The man introduced himself, holding out his hand for the millennia old tradition known as the handshake.
“I’m Kynes, the intellectual here is Deimos, and this guy’s”
“Von Lowe, Baron Kenneth Von Lowe, right pleased to meet ya.”
The father/offspring relationship seems to be a reoccurring theme in this universe:
“Obi Wan never told you what happened to your father.”
Luke hung on for his life. At present it looked as though he had the choice between having more body parts by the Sith Lord standing before him or falling to certain death. If only he had listened to his master, he wouldn’t be in this mess.
“He told me enough, he told you killed him!” He shouted, nearly overcome with pain.
“Luke...I am your father.”
“...No... NO it’s not true, that’s impossible!” Luke cried.
“Search your feelings, you know it be true.”
Luke paused for a moment in deep thought.
“There, now stop being an idiot and get up here!”
“Like hell!” Luke yelled, right before he released his grip and plummeted to certain death.
“Typical, no discipline. I must make a note to slaughter the Lars family if I haven’t already.”
“Luke...I am your father.”
“...No... NO it’s not true, that’s impossible!” Luke cried.
“Search your feelings, you know it be true.”
Luke paused for a moment in deep thought.
USS Voyager, a ship that had seen more then its fair share of problems had just arrived in the Federation’s Council assigned frontier territory. Most of the bridge crew were now Captains, even the known terrorists and criminals, the Federation is after all an equal opportunity employer. However, when presented with the opportunity to be representing the Federation in this new galaxy they all quickly signed on.
“Captain Chakotay, we’ve cleared the wormhole and have safely arrived at the Council’s administration centre.”
“Thank you Captain Paris. Captain Of-Nine?”
“Captain Seven of Nine here Captain.” Seven’s voice echoed through the intercom.
“You may commence your scans.”
“I have already begun scanning the outlying area Captain.”
“Excellent, thank you Captain. Let me know if you find anything. Captain Tuvok, how’s things on your end?”
“Nothing to report here Captain.”
“Do you people have to do this every fucking time?” Harry said under his breath.
“Ensign Kim!” Chakotay ordered, “Take this to Admiral Janeway. She should be in her quarters.” he said, handing the Ensign a pad.
“Rot in hell.” Harry responded.
“What was that Ensign?”
“Oh, sure, I’ll go now.” Harry replied, a little louder this time.
Harry made his way to Janeway’s quarters, he couldn’t stop thinking about how miserable his life had become. “God damn intergalactic retard. What the hell does he think I am, his secretary?”
He came to the door to Janeway’s quarters and pressed the chime, alerting the Admiral to his presence. The door opened and there stood Harry’s former captain. Harry noticed the rank insignia on her collar denoting her admiral status. He’d seen it on her before, but each time it crossed his field of vision was another reminder of how he’d been passed over for promotion by Starfleet every single time.
“Captain Chakotay ordered me to give this to you.” He said, sounding as surly as ever.
“Oh wonderful.” The Admiral said as Harry handed over the pad. “HA! Oh God that’s funny, listen to this. ‘What can you tell me about current affairs?’ ‘Not a lot,’ said the blonde, ‘I’ve never had an affair with a current.’”
Harry just stood there while the Admiral cackled to herself in her hideous horse-like laugh.
“And this one, ‘What can you tell me about Kipling?’ ‘Not a lot,’ said the blonde, ‘I’ve never kipled.’ Ha ha ha! Oh, that will be all Ensign.” Janeway said before the door closed in Harry’s face.
The terminal on the Admiral’s desk chimed, signalling an incoming call. Janeway sat down at her desk and tapped the control. Chells appeared on the screen.
“Ambassador Chells I presume.”
“Admiral Janeway, I’m pleased to see that you made it here safely.” Chells responded.
“The mining operation looks very impressive, I look forward to meeting this Council personally.”
“I’d love to shoot the breeze Admiral, but I’m afraid I have some questions that need answering.” Chells cut straight to the point, the information he was given was vastly insufficient there was no way he could fulfil his duty without getting some answers, or at least being told why he was there.
“I’m all ears.” Janeway responded with a true to character cliché.
“Admiral, I was under the impression that I was here to establish diplomatic relations. But ever since I got here I’ve been bombarded with paperwork dealing with mining rates, territorial declarations, settlement notifications, the list goes on. Just what exactly is it there I’m here to do?” Chells’ diplomatic training was the only thing preventing him from screaming at the Admiral in language that hasn’t been used in the Federation since Harry left the bridge.
“Ambassador, you are here to establish diplomatic relations. The terms however are slightly different then normal.”
“Admiral, you are aware that it is against Federation Policy to establish settlements outside our own quadrants?” Chells asked, clearly displeased.
“You don’t need to lecture me on Federation policy ambassador. As I said, the situation is different this time. Our goal here is to establish the Federation as a member of the intergalactic community. And as I’m sure you’re aware, that’s not exactly that easy.”
“I know all that, but why do we need to engage in this utterly time wasting competition? What the hell does gas mining have to do with diplomacy?”
“Ambassador,” Janeway paused to consider her response, “you would have seen the thousands, if not millions of species passing through the commons station. The Council has its connections numbering in the millions. We’re all used to simply having to deal with Romulans, or Klingons, or maybe Cardassians. This is a whole different ball game. Ambassador, most of these races aren’t even monocultural! If we manage to,” she paused briefly to carefully select her next word, “ingratiate ourselves with the Council, then we’ll be able to establish relations with almost any race in the known universe. Think about it, new allies to help our fight against the Borg, new technologies, trading partners,”
“Trading partners?” Chells interrupted, “Since when has the Federation been in need of trading partners?”
“Ambassador, it’s a new era and the Federation is going to need to make some changes if we hope to survive. In the meantime, why don’t you do a little exploring? Try and get to know the locals.”
“Very well,” Chells sighed, “but I’m still going to need more information. I need to know exactly what the Federation plans on bringing into this arena, how many collectors, how many support ships, what it plans to build, all details on settlement construction, everything.”
“I’ll transmit everything you need to know and when we arrive I will personally give you a full briefing on everything.” Janeway said, reassuringly.
“Very well, I look forward to your arrival,” sometimes outright lying was necessary in diplomacy, “Chells out.”
Meanwhile, Ensign Harry Kim was fuming with anger as he returned to the bridge.
“Blonde jokes,” he said to himself, “God damn blonde jokes!”
He was absolutely furious. He’d been given some pretty demeaning tasks in his time, but being made to deliver a list of blonde jokes from Chakotay to the Admiral was a new low for him. “Why? Am I getting assigned jobs that he thinks are too low for the COM system to handle now? Is Chakotay messing with me? Is he doing this on purpose? Am I just some kind of joke now?” Harry shut his mouth just as he realised that he was talking to himself quite loudly. ‘Am I going insane?’ he thought to himself.
Something flashed through Harry’s mind. Before he realised what he was doing he raised his hand, collecting a small spherical object that appeared from around the corner. The item that flew into his hand was metallic, with a red blinking light facing away from his palm.
“Oh Ensign Kim,” Neelix emerged from the same direction as the object first appeared, “you found it. I’ve been looking everywhere for it!”
“What is it? Harry asked.
“I picked it up from a merchant on our last away mission. He said it was some form of meat tenderiser, but when I turned it on it flew out of my hand, bounced of one of my pans and took off out the door. It wrecked a perfectly good frying pan. How did you find it?” Neelix plucked the device from Harry’s grasp and pressed the red light, turning it off.
“I caught it.” Harry answered.
“Wow, I’m surprised it didn’t break your hand! It was going mighty fast.” Neelix said, checking Harry’s hand for injury. “You must have really good reflexes.”
“Yeah,” Harry said, “I’m quite surprised myself.”
“Attention all you space ladies out there, this is Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Mad Ando coming at you, LIVE, from life pod five! We’re in some serious trouble here. The ship’s idiot blew up the ship and now we’re stranded in the middle of nowhere! And with news, it’s the master of all things cheesy, Lord Edam!”
“What are you doing?” Edam asked.
“I’ve never had my own show before. And we should be calling for help anyway shouldn’t we?”
“No one’s in range Mr ‘WeeMadAndo’, by the time your message reaches anyone we wont even be rotting anymore.”
“Not a very positive guy, are you Edam?” WeeMadAndo notices Phong mucking around with the navigational computer. “Something up?” He asked.
“I had the Evening Star’s computer transmit the pod launch data up until the point of detonation. It looks as though all 30 pods were launched. It’s likely that everyone got out safely.” Phong reported.
“Great,” Edam said, “if they’re ever recovered ExaCom can bill them for the missing pods.”
“Hey, what do you guys think of the name ‘Howling Mad Ando’?”
“Oh shut up.”
“Great,” Edam said, “if they’re ever recovered ExaCom can bill them for the missing pods.”
“Hey, what do you guys think of the name ‘Howling Mad Ando’?”
“Oh shut up.”
“We’re coming into range now.” Stuart reported. Outside the pod’s window they could see the mining station. A large platform built around a cylindrical construct made up of docking arms for the collectors and long tubes where the gas is pumping into containers on the platform. The design was quite common. A lot of the participants in the Council’s challenge had little experience with nebula gas mining and so built their facilities based on Council specifications.
“Attention mining station, this is Christopher Scott Strowbridge of Evening Star Life Pod Twenty Three. We request permission to dock.”
“This is Pyre Station,” the reply blared through the Pod’s COM system, “state your intent.”
“An idiot blew up our ship and we were hoping that someone on your station might be able to give us a ride back to the administration center on the commons station.” Strowbridge responded.
“Is the idiot with you?”
“Then proceed to docking bay three. Pyre station out.”
“Well that was easy.” Stuart remarked.
“Yeah,” said Dalton, “Now we’ve just got to hope that there’s someone here willing to give us a ride.”
The pod touched down in the station’s docking bay without incident, probably making the most successful pod landing in company history. At least it would have had they not already been beaten to it. The trio exited the pod.
“Oh fresh air! Fresh, artificially produced, slightly foul smelling air!” Dalton exclaimed after taking in a deep breath.
The docking bay was reasonably large, with enough room for ten small craft as well as refueling and maintenance equipment.
“Hey guys, look!” Stuart was pointing at the vehicle parked next to theirs.
It was none other then life pod seventeen. Obviously other survivors from the Evening Star had made it to the station.
“Who do you think was,” Dalton started.
“Hi guys.” Came a familiar voice from behind them.
“Chris, Wilson!” Dalton called out.
Standing behind them was Chris O’Farrell and Rob Wilson, two more of the Evening Star’s crewmembers.
“What the hell are you guys doing here?” Stuart asked.
“We got here just before you did.” Wilson replied, “We were hoping that someone here might be able to help us out.”
“The life pods suck.” Chris announced. “Powerful fast hyperdrives only no motivators and no hyperspace navigation system, short range distress beacons, no supplies for dealing with hostile environments, it can’t even make planetary landings without crashing down! Who the hell designed these things?”
“We know Chris,” Strowbridge started, “but look on the bright side, think of all the money we’re going to make when we sue ExaCom.” Strowbridge looked at O’Farrell and Wilson, something seemed missing. “Is there just the two of you?”
“Spyder was coming with us but he went back to get something just before the pod launched. We don’t know if he made it out.” Chris replied.
“I was the last one out and I didn’t see him around,” Strowbridge said, “it’s likely that he made it out.”
“Well either way, we have to get back to the commons station. The central promenade is through there,” Wilson said, pointing at the passageway leading out from the docking bay. “It looks like they’ve set up a small township on this station. There are a lot of merchants around, I’m guessing this place isn’t just a mining station.”
“Ok then,” Strowbridge said to everyone, “let’s split up and meet back here in an hour. Try to find someone with a reasonably fast ship and remember, if they want to be paid we can charge it to the company account when we get back to the commons station.”
“This should be fun.” Dalton remarked.
On the other side of the galaxy:
“Welcome to New Espa fellas.” Barry said as he escorted Kynes, Deimos, and the Baron through the settlement’s main street, a wide dirt road surrounded by dusty prefabricated shops and small dwellings. The settlement was roughly three or four kilometers wide, reasonably large for a newly established colony.
“This town is mostly made up of people working for the Corellian Industries’ precious minerals division. It’s a company back from where I come from that’s mainly into shipbuilding.”
“So who’s running this place?” Kynes asked.
“We have a Prime Minister in charge, so essentially we’re self governing. Although for the meantime we are acting under Imperial jurisdiction.”
“Imperials? I take it yer mean the ones with the soldiers in the white garb with the helmets that look like big,”
“Yep,” Barry answered before the Baron finished his question, “that’s them. We don’t have anything to do with the gas mining if that’s what you’re wondering. To tell the truth, we don’t really get on with them all that well.”
“Why’s that?” Deimos asked.
“We have our reasons.”
“Are we likely to see any Imperials here?” Kynes asked. Imperial soldiers probably wouldn’t take too kindly to workers from a rival faction intruding on their territory.
“No,” Barry answered, “they have been known to drop by every now and then but it’s unlikely you guys will see any of them while you’re here. Wait, how long are you guys planning on staying anyway?”
“Until we can get a transport back to the core.” The Baron replied.
“I think that can be arranged.” Barry smiled and continued the tour of New Espa.
Meanwhile, at the crash site, a small group of Imperial Storm Troopers were inspecting the pod’s wreckage.
“There was someone in the pod. The hatch has been kicked open from the inside.” One of them reported.
“The dust here’s been blown outward, looks like a speeder’s been through here.” Said another.
Amidst the wreckage, one of them managed to recover a small scrap of paper. It looked like a character sheer for a role playing game of some sort. The words ‘Super Deimos, Lawful Good, Paladin’ were written. The trooper immediately presented the paper to his superior.
“Look sir, geeks!”
Meanwhile, back at Pyre station.
“No, no, no!” Said the obese alien merchant, his whiskers quivering each time he spoke.”
“Look, we can pay your for your trouble,” Wilson reminded the creature, “it’s just that we can’t access the company account from here, but when we get back to the commons station...”
“Cash upfront or no transport!” The alien yelled.
“Oh forget it.” Rob stormed off back to the docking bay, unsuccessful in all attempts to convince someone to help them out.
“Any luck?” Strowbridge asked Dalton.
“No, I’ve never met a bigger bunch of tight-asses in my life. How about you?”
“Complete and utter nothingness.” Said Stuart. “Here comes Rob.”
“No luck I’m afraid guys.” Rob said as he approached. “Maybe Chris has got...”
“Hey guys!” Chris yelled from across the docking bay. He was leaning against a strange looking, oval shaped ship. It appeared to be lying on it’s back. “The owner of this Fire-Spray said we could use it.” The others briskly walked over to the ship. Obviously they were in luck. “Wow, this thing?” Stuart asked.
“Are you sure?” Strowbridge enquired.
“Yeah, he gave me the key and everything.” O’Farrell took the curved metal rod he was holding behind his back and slid it into the gap where the hatch was, prodding the mechanism behind it. “See, I just slide this in here like so,”
“Chris, is that a crowbar?” Dalton asked, not sure if he wanted to hear the answer.
“No, no, it’s just that these aliens have funny looking keys. And... Get in there!” Chris forced the ‘key’ deeper into the gap and the hatch slid open. “See, what did I tell you?”
“Well, all aboard, ...I guess.” Strowbridge says.
The guys all enter and take their seats. Wilson takes the pilot seat while Stuart climbs into the co-pilot chair. The others sit in the back.
“This feels different.” Wilson says as he finds himself looking at the ceiling of the docking bay.
Rob fires up the engines and the ship gracefully lifts off the floor and clears the docking bay. The Fire-Spray’s internal gravity returns to normal and suddenly they find themselves sitting upright. “Ah, that’s better.” Dalton says, paying little attention to the lack of space that the other passengers are silently suffering from.
Suddenly a pair of Z-95 fighters appear on the screen, sortied by station security. “Attention stolen craft, return to the station immediately or we will open fire.” Comes the voice through the Com system.
“Chris!” The other two passengers, and the pilot yell in unison.
“Aw come on, you guys knew what I was doing. Besides, they need this ship back in one piece, they’re not going to shoot.”
“Shit!” Wilson yells as he pushed the flight-stick forward, evading a stream of gunfire from the lead Z-95. The other fighter opens fire and the Fire-Spray dodges and weaves frantically to avoid them. “You were saying?”
“I’ve laid in a course back to the commons station.” Stuart announces.
“How the hell do you activate the hyper drive in this thing?” Rob asked, frantically searching the control panel for the hyperdrive controls. He pulled back on the flight-stick, evading more gunfire from the Z-65s.
“I think it might be this one.” Strowbridge says as he reaches over to the control panel.
Suddenly a back panel on the Fire-Spray opened up and a small metallic device drifted away. The fighters swerved to avoid it. As they cleared the object it quietly exploded into a small blue cloud.
“Well that was unimpressive.” Dalton said.
Suddenly a wall of energy leapt of from the cloud and the fighters were caught in the blast. The shockwave tore the fighters apart leaving nothing but debris.
“Maybe it was the other one.” Strowbridge said. “Let’s get out of here before they call in reinforcements.”
“Yeah, we might just do that.” Wilson said as he pulled the switch.
The Fire-Spray’s engines revved up to full power then, with a flash, the small craft jetted off into the unknown.
“You know Ensign, you should really learn to lighten up.” Paris said.
Harry and Tom were on an away mission, surveying a planet for potential future colonisation. The landscape was lush and green and trees were everywhere, of course you get that when you’re standing in the middle of a forest.
He never calls me Harry anymore, Harry thought to himself. Paris was once his best friend, now he treats him like dirt just like everyone else that shot ahead of him in the chain of command.
“You know if you work hard and apply yourself, there’s a good chance you might make lieutenant someday.”
The words ‘Just stop talking’ went through Harry’s mind. He’d say exactly what he was thinking if it wasn’t for the fact that nearly the entire crew of Voyager had the power to send him to the brig.
“Starfleet rewards hard work and determination. Look at me, even though I was thrown in prison for helping the Maquis, Starfleet saw that I was one of the best they had and, not only was I reinstated, but I was promoted too.”
“And I’m sure the fact that Daddy was an Admiral had nothing to do with it.” Harry commented under his breath.
“You see, if you want to get anywhere in life,” Paris continued, “you have to be prepared to show everyone that you’re a winner. You have to give it everything you’ve got. One time, I was on Earth and this old man walks up to me and...”
Harry wondered if there was something wrong with the translator, because all he was hearing was “Blah, blah, blah, blah blah, blah, I’m the greatest in the universe, blah, blah.”
“...But then of course he wouldn’t believe I was the greatest, so I went to that weekend training seminar and made captain...” Paris prattled on and on.
Harry stood there and thought for a minute. Tom’s back was turned and Harry was carrying a hand phaser. One blast at full power would surely vaporise the body. He just had to push that button and then he could make up whatever story he liked when he got back to Voyager.
“…Man, that was fun. I was so drunk for the captaincy exam, you wouldn’t believe it.”
Harry reached for his phaser.
“...Come to think of it, it wasn’t so much as hard work that got me through the academy, so much as hard liquor.”
Before Harry could figure out what was going on, his right arm was constricted behind him. A gloved hand covered his mouth, preventing him from getting Tom’s attention. He struggled to get free.
“...I wonder how long it’ll take for me to make Admiral.” Paris continued on, oblivious as Harry was dragged down into the bush.
“Man it stinks in here.” WeeMadAndo, as well as Phong and Edam were having their own problems. They’d been drifting through space for days, cramped inside the tiny life pod.
“When we get back I’m going to see what I can do about getting tacos taken off the life pod replicator menu.” Edam said, much to the agreement of the other occupants of the pod.
The navigational system beeped and, for a moment, a small dot appeared on the screen.
“What the hell was that?” Asked Ando.
“Probably nothing,” Phong said in response, “sensor interference perhaps.”
“Hey wait a minute.” Edam get up and climbed toward the computer. The small green digits at the bottom of the screen were changing rapidly, five digit numbers quickly rising and falling. Before the changes were relatively slow. Edam tapped the controls, bringing up the sensor readout. “Looks like there’s some ionisation where that blip appeared. I think there’s a ship out there.”
Ando immediately switched on the COM link. “Mayday, this is life pod five from the EXC Evening Star. If anyone’s out there we’d really appreciate it if you’d pick us up.”
The three of them sat and waited, but there was no response.
“Aw come on man! Three guys, one toilet and nothing to eat but tacos. Have a heart!”
Still no response.
“Well that sucks.” Edam announced. “So who’s up for some tacos?”
The computer beeped and the small green dot appeared on the screen again.
“I think someone’s coming.” WeeMadAndo said, eyes glued to the monitor.
As the dot came closer to the centre of the display, it seemed to separate into small dots.
“Looks like there’s more then one.” WeeMadAndo concluded. The sensors were much more accurate at close range. It was highly likely that a group of ships at long range would show up as a single object.
“Something’s wrong,” Phong watched as the blips got closer and closer, “those are way to small to be shuttles, they look more like fighters.”
“What the hell would fighters be doing here?” Edam asked.
“Yeah, we’re out in the middle of nowhere.” Ando added.
“We’re about to find out,” Phong answered, “they’re coming into visual range.”
As the ships got closer the occupants of the pod were able to make out their forms. Two black solar panels, hexagon shaped, with a spherical cockpit mounted between them.
“We’re screwed.” Edam concludes.
The TIEs screamed towards their target, accelerating to attack speed. The high-pitched whine of their engines was deafening, at least to the pilots anyway. The three onboard the pod could only watch in silence as the Imperial fighters closed in for the kill.
Suddenly, another fighter group emerged from hyperspace. These new fighters had a more conventional look to them with their long fuselages and X shaped wings.
“Rogue Squadron, lock S-foils in attack position and engage hostiles.” The leader ordered.
The TIEs broke formation and engaged the X-Wings. Green and Red streams of canon fire crossed each other as the fighters ducked and weaved. A flash of light followed by expanding TIE fighter debris signalled the demise of one of the Imperial fighters.
One by one the TIEs went down in flames.
“The Imperials look like they’re getting their arses kicked.” Ando said as he watched the X-Wings make short work of their opponents. The X-Wing pilots were clearly more experienced then the men inside the TIE fighter cockpits.
A barrage of red gunfire connected with its target and the last TIE was reduced to scrap.
“Heh, heh, heh, who’s your daddy, Imperials?” Ando called out.
“What makes you so sure the other fighters aren’t going to fire on us?” Phong asked, still remembering that they had no idea what the other fighters wanted.
“You’re somewhat of a pessimist aren’t you Phong?”
“Pessimism and realism aren’t mutually exclusive.”
“Attention escape pod,” a voice echoed through the pod’s COM system, “please state your situation.”
Edam climbed over to the console and tapped one of the buttons, securing the channel. “We’re ok but we need transport back to the Council’s commons station in the galactic core. Can you help us out?”
“Negative, there are Imperial patrols all around this area. We will however call a transport and have you taken back to base.”
“That would be much appreciated.” Edam responds.
“Back to base?” Phong asked, “He doesn’t even know who we are.”
“Who cares,” Ando replied, “at least it means getting out of this pod.”
“...And that’s about it. I hope you were paying attention Ensign because if you want to get anywhere, I’m the one you should be listening to.” Paris turned around to find no one standing behind him. “Ensign? ...Ensign Kim? ...Hello?”
The hatch of the Fire-Spray opened and the five of them piled out onto the floor of the docking bay clutching sore ribs and various sore mussels. They had arrived safely back at the commons station and were more then eager to get back to their home galaxy.
"Owwww, cramp." Strowbridge groaned. "Chris, next time you steel a ship, do you think you could pick something bigger?"
"Yeah I'll bear that in mind...ow" Chris said, nursing the spot on his arm that spent the entire flight under pressure from Dalton's elbow.
"Well guys, the hard part's over." Said Wilson, himself and Stuart being the only ones to have seats to themselves and thus avoiding the cramp the other passengers had to ensure. "All we have to do now is book ourselves on the next ExaCom transport back home and it'll be nothing but smooth sailing from here on."
"As you're all aware," Strowbridge started, "under article 3.22 of the contract we all signed, in the event of a disaster such as the destruction of the ship, all survivors are automatically granted the remaining duration of their contracts on paid leave."
"This is going to be so sweet!" Stuart said as he grinned like a mad man. "No work for three whole years!"
"I could ask for the money in bulk and go into business for myself." Dalton mused. "My own donut parlor...at last I will reveal myself to the Krispy Kreme Empire, at last I shall have my revenge..."
'Legitimate earnings? That's just unAustralian.' Chris thought to himself.
"Yes guys," said Strowbridge, "nothing could stop us now."
"Dead!? What do you mean dead!?" Strowbridge shouted at the woman behind the counter.
"I'm sorry sir, but ExaCom has officially declared all crew and passengers aboard the EXC Evening Star killed in action. I'm afraid I can't issue your group's boarding passes."
"How the hell could I possibly be dead?" Strowbridge fumed. "I'm standing right in here!"
"I'm very sorry, but the system simply wont process individuals that are not currently living."
"But we are currently living!"
"I'm terribly sorry, but not according to my records. If you wish for your remains to be transported back to your home planet I may be able to slot you in on the next outbound cargo freighter."
"You expect us to travel in an unpressurised cargo hold?"
"Well if you forgive me for saying sir, it's not as if any of you will get any deader."
Strowbridge stormed off back to the main lobby and explained the situation to the others.
"Oh great," Dalton said in response, "so now what are we going to do?"
"This has to be illegal, can't the UN do anything about it?" Stuart asked.
"We need to contact someone back home and try and get us declared not dead." Strowbridge responded.
"But who do we know with enough influence to do that?" Chris asked in response.
"I have an idea." Wilson Declared.
The terminal in her office chimed and the image of the local operator appeared on the screen.
"Excuse me ma'am, but I have a collect call from the galactic core in the Council galaxy for you from Rob Wilson, Chris Strowbridge, Chris O'Farrell, Rob Dalton, and Stuart Mackey. Do you accept the charges?"
"They're alive? Yeah sure, put them through. Just charge it to the company account."
The image flicks over to that of the guys on the commons station.
"Raven! Thank God, we seriously need your help." Wilson said, the tone of his voice sounding clearly distressed.
"Hi guys, thought you were all dead..."
"Yeah, we get that a lot." Strowbridge said. "Listen, ExaCom's declared us dead and we can't get transport back home. Is there anything you can do?"
"Absolutely, I can get an executive order demanding that you guys get declared as being alive and full of health, and have the status of the other survivors changed to missing instead of killed, and ensure that you guys are aptly compensated for the mix up..."
"Raven, you are an absolute Goddess." Stuart remarked in appreciation.
"...as soon as you guys get back here in one piece to prove that you're not dead." Raven finished.
"God damn it." Dalton responded.
"Exactly how the hell are we supposed to do that?" Strowbridge enquired.
"You're aboard an intergalactic commons station aren't you? There has to be someone there that can help."
"We haven't exactly had a lot of luck in that department." Said Chris.
"Well anyway, the first thing you guys have got to do is recover the other survivors. The Evening Star's flight recorder should have the hyperspace vectors of all the pods still recorded. I suggest you guys go back and search the wreckage."
"Raven, we are SO not packing five people into that Fire-Spray again." Stuart announced.
"Who said anything about a Fire-Spray? There's an executive shuttle parked in the docking bay, just take that." Raven said, "I've got to go now guys, you can call me anytime from the shuttle. Bye!"
The image on the terminal became blank.
"Alrighty then," Wilson started, "any idea where we could secure an intergalactic transport?"
"If I recall correctly, one of the Federations from a parallel Earth has access to wormhole generating technology." Chris stated. The others immediately started scanning the surrounding area, looking for black spandex-like uniforms.
"I know the one you mean Chris," Strowbridge said, "But it doesn't look like any of them are around."
As Dalton glanced around he noticed a human male talking to the woman behind the counter.
"Excuse me, can you tell me if the starship USS Voyager has arrived yet?"
"I'm sorry Mr Chells, but we haven't heard from them in days."
"Damn, they're already overdue. What the hell could be keeping them?" Chells asked rhetorically. "For an Admiral of the Federation you'd think she'd learn to be a little more punctual. Could you please let me know when the ship arrives?"
"Certainly Mr Chells."
"Guys," said Dalton, "I think we're in luck."
Meanwhile on Voyager, there was a small gathering in the mess hall.
"Friends, honoured Captains," Admiral Janeway started her speech, "we are gathered here today to honour the memory of Ensign Harry Kim. A man who lost his life in service to the Federation and for that there is no higher..."
"Excuse me," Seven interrupted, "but is this going to take long? I'm needed in astrometrics."
"I'd say about five minutes." Janeway responded.
"Admiral, I believe this is an inefficient use of our time. If we had simply scanned the planet and beamed Harry up, it would have only taken one person less then a minute to complete the task and we would not be here today. Instead five minutes is being wasted out of the lives of every single person in this room."
"You know something Seven?" Janeway asked, "You're absolutely right. Well, there's no point in wasting any more time, thanks for coming everybody. Captain Paris, you may resume course."
Meanwhile Kynes, Deimos, and The Baron were having their own problems, Storm Troopers were swarming all over New Espa. It wouldn't be long before they were discovered.
The door to the shelter opened and Barry entered.
"You guys are in some serious trouble, Imperial Storm troopers are swarming all over the town."
"Damn," Deimos exclaimed, "wait, why are they here again?"
Kynes immediately got up and whacked Deimos across his face leaving a visible red mark.
"Ow! What was that for?"
"I'm mean and bored, and you're a useless hatfucker."
"But I don't even have a hat...OWW!" Deimos yelled as the second strike impacted against his face. "Ok, I'll be quiet."
"Aye laddie, we are in a bit o' trouble." The Baron said, ignoring the antics of the other two. "But wot are we goin' to do?"
"There's a ship parked near the edge of town. If we sneak out there at nightfall I should be able to get you guys off-world."
"That would be a tremendous help lad!"
"It sure would," Deimos said, "but before we leave, do you think we could ask the Storm Troopers where they get those uniforms? They'd go really well on casual friday..................OWWW!"
Space; quiet, peaceful, serene and full of stars, just like the great monoliths in Milky Way galaxy number thirty eight on the Council’s list. The limitless blackness can be at times overwhelming for even the most experienced space traveller. The endless void, the drifting gasses of the nebula, the burning suns, the unexplained astral phenomenon sucking in helpless alien starships every five parsecs, the universe was a truly wondrous place.
“Space; quiet, peaceful, serene...”
“I know what space is Dad. Why did you call me up here?” The young Imperial Captain asked impatiently. His father had called him away from his duties again, his son didn’t mind that so much as the often inane reasons he would give for doing so. After all, the son had his own Star Destroyer to take care of. What he couldn’t understand was what exactly his father did all day. Being in charge of the entire Imperial operation in the Council’s galaxy wasn’t obviously taking up much of his time.
“Actually son, this time it’s important.” The Admiral said. “There’s someone you need to meet that should be arriving soon.”
The quiet tranquillity of space was suddenly interrupted as one behemoth of a Star Destroyer jumped into the area from h