How they managed to become a space-faring civilization was a mystery. Glarkans were a blend of reptile and crustacean with a hefty helping of aggression. I had read the dossiers. I gulped as I stepped off the transport into the musty space station. The first human here. The second through 30th humans were my security detail.
The noise level was that of a souk. A normal one, not like that of Baghdad in the early 2000s.
“No bombs here. Yet.” Chuckling to myself to forget my nervousness. I ate way too much Indian food too.
What did I get myself into?
The noise level dropped as my detail fanned out, flanking my stroll onto their promenade. Strange beasts in the midst of arguments stopped and stared. They whispered. Clicked mandibles. Something not unlike a laugh. Shops closed their windows with a familiar urgency, as familiar as the feeling of rubbing my sidearm.
A large, obviously mature Glarkan towered into view. Ducking to get through a 12 foot doorway, he bellowed an alien laugh through drooping antennae. My detail flicked their safeties off and raised their rifles, and I hissed at them with a hand, palm down.
“Put those away!” I turned away, knowing they obeyed. The creature was already before us, and the others had vanished. Plates of organic armor were covered in scars and paint, clashing red and yellow and black. It crouched to speak, and we held out our translators to record it’s patterns of clicks and whistles. Similar to insect trills. A grunt thrown in for who knows what reason.
And we waited. It was impatient, and began stomping away the translators finally blooped at us.
“Be-gin. I wonder how you found us in this nebula. Are all of you so small? Why should we listen to you?” [[LAUGHING]] “What technology do you offer?”
I sent a mathematical algorithm in response to this first diplomatic exchange. They just managed to get space flight, so protocol dictates first contact. Easy diplomatic job for the practiced man.
“It’s a science.” I smiled inwardly. The being opened a data pad it had tucked somewhere between exoskeleton and hair. It’s 8 eyes flicked about slightly. The mandible mouth opened and closed, as if about to speak. But the response has to be careful.
“Congratulations for gaining a foothold into space. It is a major step for a civilization to get beyond their gravity well. You are now required to submit to Galactic Law. You are under the protection of the Consortium of Planets. We will be deploying a detachment of the Navy to protect you from possible pirate raids, and to prevent domestic disturbances.
We are also willing to share cultural information about our races, their poetry, art, history and characters. You may submit yours if you wish. Technology will be shared after a grace period of – 134,342 – of your home world’s solar days.
Failure to submit to the law will yield a disciplinary embargo of your planet. Our technology so outmatches yours, we do not need to take aggressive action. You will not be permitted to explore past your own solar system.”
It worked, as usual. I left vast amounts of data for them to peruse. Bylaws, and all the fun details of life within the Consortium. Taxes.
I kind of missed the days when they tried to fight back. But the only display that is needed is to steal their sun. A massive blockade of solar panels suffices to kill a world. Fairly nonviolent.
The large creature seemed to cower a bit. Then as it began to sign the line it shrieked and coiled up, appearing to pounce. The first squad shot their net grenades at the creature and the electricity has no effect on it.
The force pushed it back into the corridor and the smaller versions began to pile out of the closed up shops. Thunder of assault rifles echoed, and my earbuds muffled the sound to protect my hearing. With a thought I relayed to CENTCOM that shit had, indeed, hit the fan.
The high powered assault rifles tore into the creatures. They fell falling forward. Reaching.
The nets on the large one toggled to high heat mode as it regained its footing. Bright orange patchwork sizzled hungrily and brought screams from the alien.
I stepped up to it as the last Glarkan died bleeding green blood and my men reloaded. I placed a stasis field around it. A fine specimen. I plugged into its field a computer program that matched the beings neural waves. So to implant suggestions into it. And time could be manipulated with the stasis field. A minute could be a hundred years of whispers in the darkness.
The blue shield vanished as I stuffed the device stuffed back into my pocket. The 8 eyes of the ancient creature shuddered and were followed by a low hum with a click.
An alien “OK”.
I smiled and turned to my nervous entourage.
“Let’s head back to the shuttle, guys and gals.”
As we walked away, the mature Glarkan began to sputter into an organic comms device in his ear.
I always enjoyed pulling up to a planet in the Geneva – class cruiser. Sitting in the Combat Information Center provided a massive wealth of (you guessed it) information. Holographic special maps could be summoned at each terminal covered with flashing greens and oranges.
One race we absorbed into the Consortium from our own solar system. Well… “harvested” is the more appropriate verb. They lived in the seas beneath the ice of Europa. Using selective breeding and genetic accelerators, they became perfect to use at consoles. Multiple tentacles whip over the glass surface, accessing three-dimensional holographic file storage menus with remarkable speed. Completely compliant with any verbal command.
“Fleuon Five, what’s next on our honey-do list?”
“Sir,” it replied with a programmed British accent. “the Council calls for us to put down a dispute on one of the colonies.”
“Humph. Probably the Outer Rim again.”
“Incorrect, sir.” The voice had a sprinkle of sarcasm. Programmed? “One of those in the Helios Core have had riots. Persephone.”
“Really? And the Praetorians can’t handle this?” I played with a piece of lint I found on my uniform, kneading it between my fingers. “There’s something interesting happening in the center of the Milky Way. Set a course and engage. Set up an interspace link with Admiral Nechayevin in my office.”
I had several questions that I knew I wasn’t going to like the answers to.
A low rumbling began spreading throughout the ship, the sound of the FTL drives spinning up. What luck we had, finding those ruins on that asteroid belt relic. A hidden ship was found by a mining expedition, a ship whose origins are unknown to this day. The technology left a purple streak that sparkled behind the cruiser. Sparkled and vanished.
Humanity’s luck had begun to run out. His request for a conference call went ignored. Extremely unusual for the brass to pass up a chance to give him their opinion. And on all of the holographic maps, a flurry of red dots materialized. They were clustered around the system they were heading to. And more were appearing. Popping into existence.
“Open a visual screen of the system. What are those vessels?”
“Unknown, sir.” The Fleuons spoke in unison. “But definitely hostile.”
“What was their approach vector — where did they come from!?” The force was massive. No other force in the galaxy had ever before matched the Consortium’s.
“Outside… of the Milky Way.”
Impossible. Something from another galaxy? Their technology must be —
“Sir,” A Fleuon broke his train of thought. “We are detecting strange readings from our long-distance sensors. Oscillating frequencies on radio and sub-space bands. They seem to be working to mimic neural patterns.”
“What?” I whispered. Suddenly a voice came from all around, echoing within the CIC.
“Please submit. We do not wish to rule over another dead galaxy.” The voice was deep, and resonated in such a way that shook his bones.
“Get the marines ready. Make sure all torpedo tubes are loaded to bear, and get anything that is space-worthy into the launch bay. Are communications down?”
“Yes, sir.” They all chimed in.
“Naturally.” I spat into the air.
Suddenly the Fleuons all convulsed violently, some sprayed out green fluid onto their consoles and shook so hard that their tentacles dented metal. After several moments, they were all slumped over and dead. I ran to the nearest, and felt that its normally soft body was now stiff. Definitely dead.
The voice chided him. “We have destroyed your methods of control and communications by attacking the brain waves of those beings that run your ships. Please do not make us alter the wavelengths of our weapons to your neural frequency.”
I collapsed in my chair, silent. Alarms flashed on consoles.
“Prepare to be boarded.”
I was as ready as I ever would be.
Thanks for reading, friend!
Should I write more about this character?