2. Eight Poles and One Axis
After they landed, Sergeant Kennedy let Irelan hold her gloves while shethe Sergeant led them to the mission Lieutenant’s office. A large room, shared by five “El-Tee’s” who rotated through. Never more than one Lieutenant in at any time, the large room only had one desk and rows of chairs for briefing mission teams.
She tapped on the clear glass door and waited to be invited in by her superior officer.
“Lieutenant, this is the first officer Espiosa of the Longbow sleeper ship from Terraq Parenti shipbase.” Riley said. “The navigator and the First Officer here, are from the lifeboat that we rescued in the Ironstone bog last night. She has some information that Colonel O’Malley would be interested in.”
“Thank you, Sergeant. Dismissed.” He didn’t even glance at Riley who quietly closed the door as she exited. He kept his eyes on the to officers of the lifeboat they had just rescued..
“So, you want to get close to the Colonel?”
“I don’t give two shakes of a wet wildflower. I want to know where the rest of the survivors from the attack are, and what the government here will do about it?”
“You piloted down into a combat zone for nothing. The Colonel’s not here. She’ll arrive sometime today to inspect the wreckage. It’s an odd configuration for troop carrier, no?”
“No, because it’s not a troopship, as it is a lifeboat.” Larsya shook her head. “You’re being overly assumptive. We’re not soldiers. We’re from Socrus Terrae of the Southern Islands where the super volcano blew up. Kepler-A was uninhabited and was considered a secondary colony. There were twenty-five Seraph class sleeper ships.”
“Seraph class?” The Lieutenant typed it into his pad. “Oh, yes. There have been seven others that have arrived at Kepler-B.”
“There have been others?”
“Not here. You’ve been in hibernation. Kepler-A has been in a conflict for the last two-hundred years.” The Lieutenant told the First Officer.
“That still doesn’t explain why we were fired on.”
“We don’t shoot at civilian ships. Nor, do we have the ability to do so.” A voice from the back of the room interrupted the question and answer meeting.
The sneaky man who was sitting in the back of the room, whispering with Ireland, stood up and instead a light-sensitive Rorschach camouflage uniform that constantly changed spots and stripes it. The new speaker wore a hunter-green and black armor plate.
The new man was of the Emerald Corps. In that second of recognition, he Lieutenant bowed his head and stepped backwards.
“Sire, this is the first officer of the ship that’s in polar orbit.” The Lieutenant read from his handheld computer.
“Pleased to meet you.” The green man held out his hand to Larsya. “Is this your little girl?”
Irelan smiled up at the man with the eyes that matched his armor.
“Yes, when did you come in?” Her mother’s protective side showing.
“I’ve been here a few minutes. I came in with a few of the other people. I had my stealth mode active.” The officer smiled.
“Wait, who are you?” Ensign Firston demanded.
“Stand down, Mr. Firston.” Larsya said softly. “We’re safe. If they wanted to do us any harm, they would have separated us.”
“Now, now. No harm is going to happen. First, we have to get everyone on the same page.” The green-eyed man frowned. His helmet had an arm with an emerald disk on the end of a mechanical arm that swung down over his eye like one-half of a pair of glasses.
“What’s the name of your ship, um… I’m sorry, I don’t know your title other than first officer. I assume ‘Commander’.” He said to Larsya.
“Yes, I’m a commander, thank you for asking. I’m not in uniform because I was off duty when we were hit. Ensign Firston was at the helm.” Larsya said.
“Ensign?” The green man turned his head.
“Second, we were introduced to you. But, you are still a stranger. I have instructions from the captain before the first officer came to our lifeboat. I am not to discuss anything except to someone named Ee-ann or something.” Ensign Firston was steadfast in following orders.
“What’s your Captain’s name, son?” The voice came out a bit lower.
He’s going to get in trouble with the green-eyed man. Irelan thought to herself.
“Our Captain is Bogs Scorpion.” The junior officer said.
“Bogs.” The leader of the group stroked his chin. “Tall man, mixed race, has heterochromatic eyes, and is super intelligent?”
“Yes, you know him?”
“I am Ian. Say it as one word.” The Green-Eye gave a soft smile. “He and I have a history.”
“Yes, sir. Can you prove it?” Ensign Firston asked. The entire room gasped.
“I’m going to put you in for a medal and put you on my team when I can.” Ian laughed. “I am the Emperor of the northern hemisphere. All this land is mine. I am Ian Quaysar, the Emerald Emperor.”
“S-s-sir! Your majesty…”
“Stop.” He raised his hand. “The Lieutenant over there overstepped the title. I’m not a majesty, I barely earned the title. I’m a working man, like you.” He smiled. “Now, what do you have to tell me?”
He moved the monocle from his eye to look at the Ensign.
“Sir, I have a ship’s sensor log in a cryptolinear chip. It’s safe inside a Faraday isolator case.” He held out an object that looked like a ring box, revealing a chip inside.
“Triton, scan the logs to the moment of impact. Send me the data stream.”
“Let me explain. The rest of your lifeboats have landed in different areas of the planet, most of which are in my domain. Your passengers will all be brought behind the lines to a safe location. You’re the first that has information that you were attacked. Your trajectory of the lifeboat leads me to believe you were over Union territory and, as of now, we didn’t think they had technology to shoot at anything outside of the atmosphere.” A tone sounded and he pulled his monocle down over his right eye. “Just a moment, I’m looking at the data.”
Several others with the same kind of helmets performed the same action, pulling their monocles down. The group went silent for several minutes.
“Triton, put what we are watching on the wall, please.” Ian said. He leaned against a table, more relaxed.
“Excuse our lack of communicating with you. We don’t have many folks without interlink helmets here.”
The data was displayed on a video projected from a small box put on the Lieutenant’s desk.
From the surface near the pole in the south, Ian paused the video.
“That area below, is the Federal Union of Resistance. From the burst of energy from this area, you can see it started above the ground, and corresponded with the speed and power of your ship as it moved through the magnetic poles.”
“Poles? Sir, we had navigated only through the edge of the magnetosphere to use it for braking, so we could insert into an orbit around Kepler-B.”
“This is where you have outdated information. First, this planet is in the middle of a civil war. It started about a century after you left your planet to come here. Originally, it was a disagreement on the use of technology. Eventually, it devolved into a shooting war for no good reason. Second, and most important, the planet currently has six to eight north poles, and the same number of south poles.”
“What?” Commander Espiosa turned away from the video.
Mom is going to get mad at him for talking like that. Irelan blinked and giggled as she spied between the seats from the back of the room.
“The planet is undergoing a flux, it’s flipping poles. When the problem started, it caused neurological problems in humans and enormous problems with electrical circuits. You flew through an uncharted pole that evolved in the last forty-hours.”
“Ian, can you elaborate? What do you mean a pole evolved?”
“Yes. Our north and south poles are mixed. We can develop a pole, much like a weather system. It’ll drive huge amounts of energy in and out of the planet. You flew through a south pole, an energy fountain of sorts. It overwhelmed your systems.” He pulled at the strap of his helmet. “It must have felt like being hit with a big rock.”
“Sir, new data.” A blond man took off his helmet and rubbed his ear. “They yelled too loud.”
“Thank you, Dana.” Ian said as Dana put his helmet back on.
“Your ship is in an axis orbit, it spends about half the time flying over each side of the planet. It’s still in orbit.” He turned and sat next to Irelan. “Well, good. We have solved two mysteries in one stroke. Who shot you down, and where your ship is. No one has new enough tech that we would have to complain about where your ship is. Now, we just need to find the missing lifeboats.”
Ian pulled off his helmet and made Irelan smile by putting his big helmet on her head.
“You three will do me the honor by joining me for dinner, in this room? Triton, make the orders,” Ian winked at Irelan. “And I’ll tell stories and ask questions of our guests.” He smiled. “Pizza sound good to you, young lady?”
Irelan smiled. She was wearing the important helmet proudly.
Later in her life, she would write the memory down in her journal. The day she met a man who owned a half a planet.