Brightness from a beam of light shown behind her, the air
stirred and she whirled around. Five individuals shimmered and then
materialized in the small space between the view window and the chief
navigator’s console. They appeared to be heavily armed and seemed to be all
coated in the same blue haze. Individual body shields? Even her people
didn’t have that.
Weapons rose on both sides and her two security agents in
the command post pressed near her. The blue haze followed each body
movement. Definitely a shield. Would the empire’s weapons pierce it? This
could become serious,
She had yanked the crystal laser from its resting place at
her waist and pointed it to the middle and most forward-placed man in the
group. His appearance made her gasp. He had white, wavy hair like the family
Ominar but was dressed in a black tunic and tight black pants, fit into knee
high black shiny boots--a style similar to a fashion of forty or fifty years
ago. He certainly was an impressive, massive figure of a man, clearly as
large as Daamic or Ralf and just as muscularly built. He had straps across
his torso to hold weapons and/or gear. He looked like... Well, she wasn’t
sure what he looked like. These garments resembled no military issue she’d
ever seen but then this was another planet, another galaxy. He seemed more
a... She couldn’t think of a word. A space pirate perhaps? If they were
pirates, they wouldn’t have any luck here. The
Eager Explorer carried no special
cargo, except for the research equipment, supplies, scientists and their
families. These five weren’t enough to overcome an entire starship, much
less a fleet.
The accompanying men and a woman wore un-matching uniforms
of all black and appeared heavily armed, each carrying a large weapon in
each hand. Two men had black hair, and the other two, one a man and the
woman, had white hair--all cut around the neck and ears like the central
figure. The intruders seemed to watching her people as much as hers
scrutinized them. No one moved.
Until she did. She took one step toward the central figure
and her security agents moved in tandem. Anyone who knew anything about
safeguarding would be able to tell that they literally fortified her every
step. “You are the one with whom I am communicating?” She spoke aloud so
that her crew could hear. She didn’t want to take the time to relay her
thoughts to anyone.
The man in the middle, no more than two units away from
her, fixed his gaze on her. The brilliant blue of his eyes flashed in one of
the overhead lights. Ominar eyes! The black, elongated pupil centered in the
brilliant blue iris. Even with the external haze surrounding his head, she
could tell the color. How could this be? Her appearance must have surprised
him, too, because he continued to stare.
“I am Captain of the warship you see before you.” He
finally spoke. The baritone voice coming from his throat was not at all
surprising for the size of him. Something spoke person-in-charge just from
looking at him, even though the other white-haired male could have portrayed
as much importance if he had been front and center and spoken first. The
other two males were of smaller stature, but not small--much thicker through
the body but not fat. The pronounced, sharper-boned features of their faces
told her these people were not of the same genus as the leader and his two
white-haired companions. These two must be from the planet below.
“Impressive, Captain. I am Commander Shamarka of the
Euphratorian Starship Fleet. Our warships do not have cloaking abilities,
although we are working on it at the larger scale.” She lowered her weapon
to the same level as his.
His expression never changed as he continued to stare her
down. “You are the leader of these intruders?”
She forced back a shiver from his direct accusation that
she and her people were interlopers. This wasn’t the way she had expected
first contact. In fact, she hadn’t expected to make first contact at all
this time--at least not before they had learned more about the planet, the
people and the language. She would have anticipated the planet’s inhabitants
to be more frightened and less formidable--maybe like Earthlings if they
learned of Euphratorians. “Yes, I am the commander, although we don’t
consider ourselves as intruders in the term you use. We are just visitors,
on a peaceful mission to explore new worlds and discover life beyond our
galaxy. It seems we have found humanoid species like ourselves. The planets
vary, but Jaho certainly has placed more of our kind around the universe.”
The captain moved no more than half a step away from his
armed associates. He lowered his weapons a little more, but none of the
others did. He seemed to be examining the command post--studying the panels
and equipment, the clothing, the weapons. Moving up and down, his gaze swept
the room like a fine-tuned sensor, marking everything, recording everything.
Her security and crew members, like her, kept weapons trained on him. A
couple of the other trespassers seemed to study their surroundings, no doubt
assessing what they were up against. It had been a brave move, or overly
ambitious, to board an unknown starship and have only five people. No other
reports had come in of intruders from other parts of the
Eager Explorer, so she could
assume only these five had come aboard even with weapons and body shields.
What did these people hope to gain by coming armed on her starship and
without permission? Any visitor should have been on alert and less reckless.
The captain lifted his gaze to hers again and tapped a
communicator device, like hers, on his wrist. “Target with nearest bio,
She fingered the stun button on her weapon even though she
didn’t raise it again. He would be the first one shot, if it came to that,
if nothing more than by her personal guards. “That’s not necessary, Captain.
We do not wish to fire upon you and we are far more than six. You can’t hope
to win against our number.”
No doubt trained in the similar self-discipline of
emotional control as she, he didn’t seem disturbed at her proclamation. “Who
are you that you know our native tongue?” he asked.
He held the same curiosity. Interesting. Communication had
to be the choice of weapons to bring this issue to a peaceful ending. Maybe
he could be appeased through her answers.
“That would be my question, too. I did not know Venixen
was spoken outside the Euphratorian Galaxy. We’ve not been to any planet
that spoke the languages of the Trio-Worlds.”
His gaze stayed cool, put pointedly focused on her.
“Trio-Worlds? You mentioned empire before. How big is this empire?”
Why did he need that information? What difference would it
make if it were small or large? It was an empire. “Does it matter?
Discussing the size of the empire is not the purpose of our visit here. As I
said, our mission is to study new worlds.”
“Understandable, but it doesn’t matter if you answer or
Didn’t matter? Why had he asked it? “Then we will learn of
you as you discover us. Tell your companions to lower their weapons and we
will lower ours at the same time. Let us not begin these introductions with
“Lowering our weapons is not an option. You are coming
with us, Commander.”
A chill ran up her spine. “I’m not going anywhere.
Remember that you are on my starship, Captain.” She tried to sound much
braver than she felt. Rarely did anyone make her nervous. If he could
communicate with telepathy, could he pick up on her emotions with empathy,
Her heart nearly stopped when she knew
he had heard her thoughts. ::Very, well. You’ve more than made your point that you have
technology we do not but I’m sure we have technology
you do not. Let us leave your planet’s orbit and there will be no
::Would there be an
::I’m afraid so.::
::You are someone of
::I did not say
implies that the empire would react if something happens here.::
::The empire is
concerned with all its citizens, especially its explorers to unknown worlds
outside the empire. Any aggression would bring down the might of the empire
on this planet.::
::On the whole
::What would be
::Are you looking
for an encounter? That’s a strange question.::
::We shall see.::
The man glanced to his side and nodded to one of his companions. Then he
looked as if he were putting one of his weapons onto his utility belt, but
hit his communicator again. “Now!”
In the next second, a bright light flooded the room and
all around her. The room shimmered and began to fade. Her guards, her people
disappeared. Another place dimly began to take place where she stood. She
was being beamed somewhere else?