Outside - Story Twenty-Four
Matters of Importance
Unborn here, and this story begins with me in my office listening to the public broadcast as I filled out some paperwork. A pilot known as Fierce Lion was making regular runs along with the alien ship. He had already performed most tests that others had desired, and now simply maneuvered as he waited for the arrival of the military vessel.
The majority of those speaking on the public channel professed complete distrust in the motives of the military. While most out in space were not hostile to the military, they were vocal in their dissatisfaction with the Inside government. The military acting on their own were usually appreciated, but historically they performed extremely distasteful acts when under the orders of their superiors. Considering that it had been government officials that directed the Chavez toward the alien craft, all suspected that they had been given orders that no one Outside would approve.
I stopped counting how many times Fierce Lion asked, “Are you certain that you have no ETA on the Chavez?”
It caught my interest when I heard Red Dove reply, “It is close, Fierce Lion. Expect its presence very soon.”
“I bet they have timed it to arrive in the period I am having to readjust.”
I broke into the chatter to say, “You are only gone for a few minutes, Fierce Lion. The Chavez will have the same problems staying with that vessel that you do.”
“The military can do horrific things in a few minutes, Unborn. I am telling you, they are going to launch a nuke.”
Red Dove said, “You arrived to be a witness, Fierce Lion. Don’t think that you can challenge the Chavez.”
“No, but… DAMN! This thing needs to be made some type of historic place, which should not be touched in any way.”
Another voice, I believed it to be Hitchhiker, said, “You have done tests, Fierce Lion. The Menlo Park did what they did. If the military thinks they have a method of getting more data, we should let them.”
“There is no evidence that they are going to use nukes.”
Hitchhiker was not alone in his thoughts. Like I said, most Outsiders have some respect for the military. They might not like the government in charge of the military, but the military itself had proven itself as beneficial in a number of ways. A number thus spoke words to Fierce Lion to calm him down and have him wait for actual evidence of the military being destructive.
I lost myself in doing paperwork until I heard, “Whoa, there it is behind me. A rather large ship. Sending video.”
I was very interested in seeing the Chavez. I had heard stories about it, but no true image of the vessel had ever been gained. What I saw matched the reports. It was not in the usual corn kernel shape of most deep space vessels. The Chavez had an irregular set of angular hull sections with odd projections. Exactly how it created and maintained its egg-shaped Kert field was obviously in an abnormal fashion. Some had conjectured that the military had already figured out how to maneuver in space without the need for vectors, but I saw no evidence of that as it moved toward the alien along the same vector as Fierce Lion.
A new voice broke into the chatter of the public channel. “This is Captain Saing of the Chavez. Fierce Lion, your ship is identified. I have been listening to the broadcasts, and want all to recognize that my orders are not to use nukes. There are a few tests that we will announce and only perform after allowing clear debate. Our orders however are to determine the location of the Menlo Park and Zephyr, and follow them.”
“This is Ice Skater, Captain Saing. I believe that both of those you seek are along a vector flying eighty-six times the speed of light behind the alien craft.”
“This is Doctor Hui of the Hubble Space Array. If the vector is known, it should have been registered.”
“Yeah, go fuck yourself. Captain Saing, the vector however is a dead one. It goes nowhere.”
The voice of the captain replied, “Thank you for that information, Ice Skater. I have men verifying even as I speak. Doctor Hui, it will be sent to you when we confirm. Ice Skater, assuming that the Menlo Park and Zephyr are along that vector, what do you believe that they are hoping for?”
“More transmissions, possibly using the one transmission as a protocol of what to look for.”
“My people have been examining the data being transmitted, but they have not been able to make any sense of it.”
“Those of the Menlo Park have had years to plan. Exactly what they have figured out is unknown, but I suspect that they have more of a jump on us than just finding that vector.”
The view of the Chavez was lost as Fierce Lion had to drop out of tachy in order to fall back behind the alien ship. While he spoke again of his concern that the military would do something improper, the voice of Captain Saing stayed all business. That gave me hope, and I guess gave others some confidence that the military would act reasonably, as I heard Outsiders continue to speak.
“This is Red Dove, Captain Saing. What tests are you authorized to perform?”
“We want a piece of the parachute. The objective is to fire a laser and cut free a section of the parachute. We are not to harm the recent webbing, as the transmission its strands are providing is very valuable.”
No Nope, the official voice of Outside Control presently on duty, said, “That was the test that I wanted Fierce Lion to perform.”
“We appreciate his hesitation on fear of harming the special webbing. We will make a number of passes to choose the best location for performing that test. Video will be sent to gain approval of our chosen piece of the parachute and to show the performance of that test. The other test is to perform a photon accumulation measurement. Flying at that speed, the science says that a photon pressure wave should be present at the front of that craft.”
Before another could speak, Captain Saing added, “Just received verification of the vector. Note that Thor’s broadcast seemed to imply that retired Major Ezra Guiosky, known by the logname of Felix, first discovered that vector. However, due to him not properly registering it, and no one else properly registering it, it is being added to the database as just being a public vector.”
Ice Skater said, “It still goes nowhere.”
“We of the Chavez will however follow it after performing our tests.”
A rear view of the military vessel came to my screen as the voice of Fierce Lion said, “NO NUKES!”
“Upon this craft, we agree. What we discover in our journey behind the Menlo Park and Zephyr however might call for their use. They could well be in trouble upon our arrival. This ship does not appear to be built by friendlies.”
I now broke into the conversation to ask, “Do you truly have authorization for such a declaration of war, Captain Saing? If these aliens are indeed hostile, why don’t we just leave them alone?”
A number of voices spoke of agreeing with me, or offering their own opinions for a more reasonable course of action, to which Captain Saing replied. “I have the authorization to protect our own. That means the Menlo Park and Zephyr. It is understood that those of the Menlo Park are working to assure their credit in making the initial contact, but once they have achieved their objective they will again be public. That means that any action by the Chavez will be broadcast. Those of the United Inhabited Worlds will be watching, so authorization will be timely and informative.”
Sight of the Chavez was lost as they dropped to reset their position in relation to the alien vessel, but Fierce Lion spoke knowing that they could still hear. “Tell me, Captain Saing, that you have nukes on board.”
“Of course I have nukes on board. I however have no present authorization to use them.”
“Just how difficult do you believe that it would be for you to gain that authorization?”
“Upon this vessel? Very low. Upon an active and aggressive vessel, rather high.”
I almost stood in my chair as another voice broke into the conversation. “This is George Sanchez, President of the United Inhabited Worlds. Fierce Lion, what are your present plans?”
“I plan on watching the Chavez to record any infraction it performs under orders from you Insiders.”
“Well, the Chavez has, up to now, been a covert vessel. It has been working without government oversight. I however have no registered complaints of any of its actions. Since it is now no longer covert, I believe that it has need of active oversight. How would you like to be that agent?”
I actually expected Fierce Lion to tell the YOU president to go to Hell. I cannot speak for anyone else, although the broadcast channel stayed quiet waiting for his response. Finally, it came.
“Fig Leaf, Platypus, and Space Cowboy, are you still coming?” After hearing acknowledgements, Fierce Lion said, “Well, then, I am going to take that offer. Consider me turning Insider if you must, but I am going to become the conscience of the Chavez.”
President Sanchez replied, “Technically, the position needs approval, but I am going to trust your Outsider audacity to not care. Captain Saing, if Fierce Lion claims to speak for me, you are to consider that he is actually speaking for me.”
“Yes, Sir, President Sanchez. Fierce Lion, do you want to board this vessel?”
“Not at present, Captain Saing. I will provide a separate camera for recording your tests. Before you chase after the Menlo Park however, I would like to be taken aboard then.”
“That will be arranged.”
That is about all to this report. A piece of the parachute was cut away by laser, but it quickly disintegrated into photons when other acts were done to it. All those fearing further tests upon the alien craft raised their voices upon seeing the results. The Chavez did perform the photon test, but its results were as negligible as those that Fierce Lion had done earlier. All decided to leave any discussion of changes in theory to the scientists. Fierce Lion was taken on board the Chavez, then they left along the vector that all felt certain the Menlo Park and Zephyr had taken. Any further information will be provided in later reports.
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market. "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.