Facet 9. Port Aquila
Captain Alexandra blinked and took a relaxing breath as the lights changed in intensity, indicating arrival after eighteen hours of travel at faster than light speeds. The deceleration into orbit was smooth and practiced by the hand of the pilot and the advanced systems. The ship Alexandra the Great was capable of pulling much greater loads than the combined mass of the Seraph and the Alexandra’s own cargo load. The orbiting port, that served as the upper end of an elevator to the surface of the planet Aquila, talented engineers tethered by way of a graphene ribbon and diamond-nanorod cable that served the elevator to the ground thirty-two thousand kilometers below.
The big ship pulled into the dock slowly while anchors and airlocks maneuvered in place. Disembarking from the cargo super carrier transporter, uniformed agents guided the crews to a clinic for entry to the planet Aquila. Lines were short with the efficiency of the clinic and the professional faces of nurses and doctors went from room to room as the teams they checked for exposure to biological agents and pressed specialized pneumatic injector guns against the visitors and then the guided the crew of Alexandra the Great out to a waiting room.
Phoenix stepped into her room and the nurse invited to her to sit before she needed to remove her clinic garment and dispose of it in the receptacle to her right.
A Doctor with kind eyes and wide smile stepped through the transparent glass door with a nurse carrying a single-use pneumatic injector.
With a press upon some keys on a flat panel at a terminal, the glass-walls became dark and opaque as he turned to the nurse and requested several items. As the nurse took her thermal and vital signs.
Phoenix watched as a nurse approached with a clear tablet that she could read her name backwards though the transparent device. As the efficient, unsmiling and harried young man tapped her information into the flat panel.
“My name is Skyy, how do you feel? Good? Good. Your blood pressure is a little high. This is your first time traveling this far out?” For the first time he smiled, the nurses pupils were slightly odd-shaped, as if there had been an injury in the past.
“Yes, it has been a stressful trip, investigating the damage to the ship.” Phoenix smiled back, “My first time at a crime scene of this magnitude. I have never been to the leftovers of a pirate attack.”
“Well,” he tapped a few more times on the flat panel, “you need a vaccine before you can go to the surface and that includes some DNA testing time.” he tapped again. “Every crew member that boarded that ship must have micro- graphic scan to see if there are any foreign nano-biologic material picked up that could determine the origin of the previous raiders. Many crew died, there is lots of evidence left by them that the investigators have requested for us to collect.”
“Vaccination?” she flipped open her own palm sized secretary. “That is not listed, we’ve requested to travel to the surface to meet with the incoming fleet from the High Council.”
“A common thing to overlook. It is in there.” The nurse chuckled, pressing a button and the walls became transparent once again. ”The doctor will explain it all, he’ll be in directly.”
Phoenix saw the doctor walk up to the clear wall stepped through the door, joining her. His smile was in bright contrast to his clothing and the eyes were sharp and missed little, taking all the world in. A deep voice with a wry sense of humor echoed in his greeting. The nurse handed the tablet to the doctor then tapped the panel on the wall that became opaque again.
“I’m Doctor Concord, pleased to meet someone from the boomer fleet. Is there any further findings on that ship? Anything about Captain Metrano? No? Pity, oh well.” He didn’t type, the clipboard he used transcribed their conversation as text. “No allergies to medications, I see.” His glasses seemed a little large for his face, but the well-practiced smile balanced it out.
“We will have to give you a vaccine that is unique to this planet to protect you from the ubiquitous single-celled little bug that a long ago by a wreck introduced. It mutated and now causes serious gastric distress to new visitors, the vaccine is your best prevention.”
Phoenix nodded and entered the subject to look up later. She had not expected any vaccinations from their contact and their towing a ship to the port. But the council wanted to meet with her at the capital on the planet.
“There is no bending fo the rules, this is part of the normal procedures. The collective governments of Aquila Nova also absorb the costs rather than have anyone spend their entire stay and tour of the outer rim in a sick-bed.” Explained Dr. Concord The nurse re-entered the room with a tray with a pistol shaped injector.
“Now you have had no adverse reactions to any medication at all? You have read the forms on possible reactions to the vaccine…” The Doctor broke off as Phoenix shook her head.
“I have not seen any forms.”
The nurse turned to a display and tapped on it. “She came from Durre Menthor.” He shook his head. “They have stopped giving the notices a month ago, and the admin suspended using forms yesterday.”
“The governments are not seeing eye to eye— again.” The Doctor sighed. “This time they have tried to sabotage interplanetary travel. Okay, we will get you a notice, a form and I will explain it to you.”
“It’s just a vaccine, right?” Phoenix was curious what the concerns were.
“Well, this is fifth generation vaccine, the first two generations had some, rather adverse, reactions that ran about one-third of those that received them. Most were minor. It is in the archives and taught around the systems as how the human DNA could be altered with vaccines.”
Phoenix nodded. In the past, from the first blood transfusions to the first allergic reactions to injections filled history books with first generation problems from medicine to technology.
“The first generations of the vaccine used other mammals that were not susceptible to the amoeba infection. Here is the notice, ” The Doctor smiled as the nurse came in and handed her a hard copy and code to download it to her personal system. “The reactions sometimes altered the looks of the humans. In the case of a feline based vaccination, some people took on cat-like appearances and in the extreme cases, physical agility. In the case of canine there are documented cases of wolf-like changes.”
Phoenix blinked. She recalled that, from school, the social studies that caused many to portray these altered humans as non-human. They needed to fight a war for their freedoms, to move and live between Durre Menthor and Aquila Nova.
She looked at the nurse nodded— she remembered his eyes! He had feline eyes, with almost slit pupils.
“My grandmother was a fur-covered and tailed beauty that was an accomplished dramatic actress on the planet for one example.” Nurse Skyy smiled. “My grandfather was full human, after she moved back to Terra-Dyo and my mother and father were never vaccinated. My mom had the recessive trait and my eyes I inherited from my grandmother.”
The Doctor nodded. “Some were avian based and although in clinical trials it passed, it was found that if the avian mutations developed, it was a critical medical problem and many died if they became avian altered. Some took on other features, but none have been a great problem since the third-generation of vaccines.”
Phoenix nodded and rolled up her sleeve. “Well, better to get it than go back where I came or spend time in the bathroom.”
The hiss of the injector was like a short spit from a cat while Phoenix sat on the chair. The Doctor smiled and looked at her as she felt a slight flush and asked if that happened often.
“That’s normal, although everyone reacts differently…” Dr. Concord broke off as the room shook and a loud boom resonated through the building.
“What the f…” Squawked the nurse as he took a curious cat-like pose on the shaken floor, then walked out with the Doctor into the middle of the hall.
The door closed and lights flickered as the opaque wall became clear, Phoenix could see the Doctor standing in the middle of the hall pointing his finger at a communication console. Power flickered over the central med-station and Phoenix could see other rooms were people were standing and looking around, the walls were clear everywhere. Several nurses and doctors ran to the rooms and opened doors, indicating for people to leave when the a burst of explosives in the waiting room shattered the security knocked everyone down.
Outside, the Buccaneer Cooperative ships, Thunderbolt, Lightning and Thunder Child sat in a parking orbit around the space station, at a distance, keeping the space-control officer on edge, when alerts in the shipping control center beeped to life and began to flash.
Multiple signatures of several huge warp bubbles. Large enough to carry several ships each. Sensors could pick them up several hundred AU’s away. These ships were carrying titanic energy signatures that pegged all read outs.
One Sub-commander running his fingers over his face as he viewed the displays, talking to the command officer over the microphone.
“This big of a signal, there might be over a hundred ships, sir, we don’t have enough room for them.” Sub-commander Taul spoke quietly into his microphone of his headset.
“Incoming transmission. Fleet commander wants to speak with the Ship control commander.” The communications officer called over the intercom.
Shimmering out in away that was never seen in the five-years in the traffic control, the outer markers shook and vibrated until they blurred from the energy bow-wave of the approaching fleet.
Suddenly, warning lights indicated high-velocity missiles passing through the lanes towards the disturbance. Three explosions bloomed brightly and silently in the dark sky of the interplanetary space and alarms echoed through out the station.
Huge battleships that had been hidden behind the blue gas-giant planet Scorpi, surged out in formation, filling the space of the arriving fleet with giant explosions. Huge detonations of the hyper-fast special explosives collapsed the stretched space fabric, call a Worm Hole, that the massive energy from the ships opened. Any and all ships in that tunnel would be destroyed or seriously damaged. On the side of the battleships, the Momo Empire flag stood out in stark relief.
The Thunderbolt fired. Lightning, in motion and charged weapons with a skeleton crew. Overcoming the lack of personnel who were on Port Aquila.
The flying gun of the fleet shattered the cover of four other Momo ships that had drifted with the dark cloud of small asteroids and dust, hiding in the debris as it orbited the home star or Nova Aquila.
Originally not part of the Pirate Confederation in years of the negotiations. They were not considered under the control of the united pirate agreements.
On the surface of Aquila, Leader of the High Council Peony summoned the Momo Empire Representative to demand the reason of the attack. The representative brought an answer. Looking like a kid caught stealing cookies, clearly not in line with the tone of the notice he carried in his tablet. The ambassador presented to his host the ultimatum.
The demand was to capitulate and all pirate fleets destroyed and the council surrender to the Admiral of the Momo Fleet at Port Aquila.
War had come to Port Aquila.
©2015 Dash McCallen