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 Outside - Up the Chain of Command

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PostSubject: Outside - Up the Chain of Command   March 1st 2011, 8:02 am

Outside - Story Twenty-Nine
Up the Chain of Command

Part One

A lot has happened between a number of people, so I have been given the task of putting the events on record. This is Harley. I am working with the various records of events, and the chronological order puts Castle first. I feel that I should start with him anyway, so it’s all good. Let me get to work.

By the time that Castle was approaching the Chavez, most communications with him had ceased. Those interested in Jane knew to wait for him to perform some tests after shutting the engine down. Those interested in the animals listened to the regular reports while wondering what type of conclusions those with actual knowledge of animals would form. I thus tracked his arrival at the Chavez without any interference from others.

What got our attention was that communications with Castle became blocked. It did not bother me that much, although did cause a number of Outsiders to log official complaints. The military procedures were however rather well known, so had not bothered me. I made some adjustments, and found the expected signal from Castle. The military might be good, but nothing could be perfect.

The soldiers had been quick to unload the animals, but then left him alone. Castle had not displayed any connection to the alien animals, and actually appeared glad to no longer have them on board his boat. Some mentioned the lack of similar ecological backgrounds preventing him from forming any attachment. I had to agree with him that the animals appeared as simply large bugs, and not things one would want to have as pets. There were bug people, but neither he nor I was one of them, nor did it seem were most of those that spoke on the network. Castle was thus left alone while he worked on doing a physical check of his engine.

I put most of my attention upon our rush toward the alien civilization. We were still quite a ways from the planet, but had become aware of a space station. What we had learned was that the reason for a lack of communications from the aliens was that in using electromagnetic, they could direct their signals. Tachyon communications could also be directed, but over the vast distances they still spread so that others could intercept. Tachyon signals also tended to keep their strength, while electromagnetic signals had to overcome a number of other energetic particles, which caused them to dampen to zero over the grand distances between places in space. As we neared the space stations, we were able to catch more and more of the alien transmissions, so my attention had been put upon those.

A signal from Castle however did cause me to switch my focus. What he sent was a message that Fierce Lion desired to enter. Castle had never met the man, and wondered about his arrival now. It could have been a simple greeting, but having been isolated for a number of hours caused Castle to be suspicious. I did my job and set things up to be a secondary level of verification of what occurred.

Fierce Lion stepped into the Stallion not appearing very tall, but rather massive with very red hair. Only knowing the man as a voice of extreme passivity, I expected him leaner with a normally quiet demeanor. He however entered the boat with a strong presence and spoke with the same tone of voice that I heard over the speakers.

“Uh, hi, Castle, uh, I wanted to say, uh… What are you doing?”

Castle was eating. To be specific, he had dropped a panel to form a table and had set himself with a thick steak that he had cooked with seasonings over a hot plate wired to provide a searing heat. He had spoken with me about ways to prepare it, but had ignored my suggestions to compliment the meat with other dishes. He only fixed a steak with the only compliment to his diet being a very red champagne. While he paused in moving another piece of the steak on a fork to his mouth, I heard him speak without giving any impression that he intended to share.

“Celebrating. I have some work to do, but I felt that a good meal with a good nap had been earned. Say what you want, then leave me in peace.”

Fierce Lion moved in to lean against the panel behind which were the spacesuits as he said, “I had come to apologize for the military silencing you.”

“Well, I appreciated it. I have had enough contact with those wanting to invest in Jane. I figure that I have enough work here checking on the engine and simply relaxing after transporting those alien animals.”

“Insiders. Damn. They get you so caught up in their petty problems. Captain Chavez was so worried that you would be wanting to inspect his ship, and here you are with bigger secrets all your own.”

“I can tell you how his ship works right now. I don’t need to inspect his gas dispersion units. The only problem with this design is efficiency.”

Fierce Lion took advantage of Castle dropping his fork to sip some champagne to reach out his hand. Castle was not rude, but lifted himself off his seat enough to officially make a greeting. As he returned to eating, Fierce Lion returned to speaking.

“It really is not that efficient. The true benefit of this ship is that it gives some cloaking. The plasma field being maintained above the actual hull allows for other tricks to be performed.”

“I am sure that it has the standard problems with cloaking – once your opponent knows what you are doing, they can detect you.”

“Yes, well, anyway, that is why they put you in silence.”

“Well, I know that Outside is screaming their hearts out.”

Castle had tried to drop a hint to Fierce Lion, but he spoke with no indication that he got the message. “They are. Captain Saing wanted you to know that he will allow you access to communication, but it has to be through his channels.”

“Bull. I have communications now. The Menlo Park has two of the best people in communications on board.” To prove his statement, he said, “Harley, did you hear that?”

I allowed that I was listening in by replying, “Got it. Darlene wants to broadcast it, but Thor said to wait.”

“Yes, we don’t reveal our cards until the proper time.”

I heard Thor blurt out, “You got it.”

Fierce Lion then said, “Damn. I really need to get away from the military. Still, anyway, I had come to speak some official apology.”

“Well, coming from you it is not from the military. Tell the captain that he needs to make the apology himself.”

“What else do you want me to tell him?”

The voice of Thor said, “It is not Captain Saing that we are worried about, Fierce Lion. It is you.”

“Me? What have I done to you guys?”

“You are presently the voice of Inside authority. You have the confidence of the president. What has President Sanchez told you?”

“He wants to be somehow included in whatever happens when you meet a major representation of the aliens.”

“That will occur in approximately four days.”

Fierce Lion began to fidget, looking as if he was scratching his back on the designs on the panels covering compartments in my boat, as he asked, “Are you certain that the military cannot hear you?”

Thor replied, “What if they can? There is nothing that they can do about it. We let President Sanchez have his little speech when we met Clyde and Theta. Why would he think that we not give him time in the next meeting? Instead he schemed with the military and silenced Castle. Well, we are silencing him.”

“Do you want me to stay silent about this?”

“I don’t care what you do. You have to make up your own mind, Fierce Lion. Still, let me speak for all Outsiders when I say that I am the one that is supposed to take the risk. I am the one that has to put up the money. I am the one that has to spend the time. I thus should be the one to gain the honor, the reward, the notation in the history books. President Sanchez and the rest of the damn Insiders that think that they deserve some of what is coming to me are very wrong.”

I actually found myself recognizing Fierce Lion as he said, “All that I have wanted was peace. I know the crap that we humans have done, and I am so scared that we will repeat it upon encountering another group of people. Tell me that you are not advocating war.”

“What about our mission makes you think that I want war? I have worked with the Inside government. I have worked with the military. I have not blown those stupid saucer people to smithereens. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I AM GOING TO SUDDENLY ATTACK?”

Fierce Lion stood straight as he asked, “Okay, Thor, what do you want me to do?”

“Do what you are supposed to do, Fierce Lion. Be a voice of reason. A lot of things can happen, but I would like for you to be a damn Outsider and not allow yourself to be swayed by what those Insiders tell you. Look at the evidence. Watch what I do, what I am trying to do, and do the same for the aliens. If I make a mistake… okay, it happens and I deserve to be made a fool of. If however it is the aliens that make the move – and they are a race as capable of war as we are – then make certain that the blame is not placed upon me. I have enough on my mind right now, and having to put up with stupid Insiders attempting to promote their own stupid agendas by twisting the truth I do not need.”

“Uh, yeah, Thor. I can do that.”

Castle now spoke, “Okay, Fierce Lion, how about a real report on what they are doing to the animals.”

“What?”

“I kept a constant camera on the animals since the day I met up with that alien escape pod. I don’t believe the military has released any information about the animals since bringing them on board.”

“Well, they are just doing the usual tests… You know, you are right.”

Thor said, “You might be representing the Inside government, Fierce Lion, but that does not mean that you have to think like those idiots.”

I kept myself from chuckling as I saw Fierce Lion almost salute as he replied, “You got it, Thor.”

Castle said, “Oh, and if Inside thinks that it can limit my communications, so as to have control over what investors I get to speak to concerning the future of Jane, they might as well consider me firing a nuke into the middle of this damn spaceship. I mean, come on, they have not even allowed me to have access to the public Outside channel.”

“Supposedly, that was an accident. I was told that it had been switched off accidentally.”

“Oh? Sounds to me like the other channels were switched off on purpose. Don’t tell me that them doing it to you, Fierce Lion, would not piss you off.”

“Yes, it would.”

Thor said, “It sounds to me like the military are the ones preparing for war, Fierce Lion.”

“Well, I can say that they are worried about the situation that you are going into.”

“I am worried about it as well. I really don’t know what to expect. I however do know what foolishness us humans can do, and I really don’t want it happening.”

“That is my concern as well, Thor. Listen, I will go check on things.”

He turned to the door, then looked back to Castle to ask, “Anything you would like for me to check on?”

“Yes. I am going to start taking Jane apart and doing a full inspection of her internals. I doubt that I will bother to cook anything else. If the military is fixing anything seafood, I would like a plate.”

He smiled as he said, “The food is rather good. I will send word to the chefs.”

As Fierce Lion left, I noticed a change of signals on my board. Thor did have a level of priority, even with the communication channels. I thus did not try to override, but waited for his words.

“That went well. Keep doing what you are doing, Harley.”

“Sure thing, Thor. We have a lot going on however. Forgive me if I need to sleep.”

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PostSubject: Part Two   March 6th 2011, 8:07 am

Outside - Story Twenty-Nine
Up the Chain of Command

Part Two

The military did open up channels. I don’t know what Fierce Lion actually did, but not only did Castle suddenly have clear access to all frequencies, but an open link was established to the cameras showing the alien animals. The military doctors really did not appreciate having their actions questioned, but after a time they came to recognize the quality of some of those that gave suggestions. Captain Saing had been a presence on the common Outside broadcast, but he allowed access to a microphone on the bridge allowing for everyone to hear normal operations on board his vessel. Overall we stopped worrying about the military.

Clover and Castle worked with me to gain private channels to speak about Jane. The two were friends, and Clover kept his promise of only requiring that Castle secured a contract with Stirgam Enterprises to use their gravity plates. Other than that, Clover only spoke his opinions while providing Castle with top legal representation. He however also understood that a great amount of capital was available, thus he did not have to consider the government proposal. Castle found himself able to listen to less attractive deals that spoke of major control and higher profits in the long run. Since I was the one that established most of the private communications, I found myself listening to an important conversation between the friends.

“What do you think, Clover? I like the Orange Asteroid proposal.”

“They are good guys, Castle, but I believe things will blow up in their face. Sorry, but Jane is too good of an engine. Production will skyrocket. I would thus go with a more established company.”

Luckily, I had my microphone off, as I could not help but laugh as Castle said, “I don’t want my engine being a Ford.”

“They will get it out to the people, and make it affordable where they can buy it. Also, Stirgam already has contracts with them. That is why I am against Ferrari, as their contract is with a competitor.”

“How about Honda and Toyota?”

I really had not kept up with all the conversations, but Clover seemed to imply that almost everyone had made offers to Castle by asking, “How about Chevy?”

“I believe Ford to be the best offer.”

“Okay, how about the diamonds?”

As they two discussed the complete specifications of what was required to make Jane work, I switched over to playing with the electromagnetic frequencies. Nearing a space station, we were beginning to pick up a lot of alien chatter. Watson and those working with him were now having the problem of dealing with a multitude of communications. Clyde and Theta willingly helped our people translate the messages. While our air was not proper for them, Terry and Sandra had worked up some masks that supplemented our atmosphere to help make them comfortable. They thus stayed on the bridge helping Watson keep track of messages from their society.

This scene started as Kangaroo said, “What was that? Something about shut down?”

Clyde replied, “*The war is over.*”

Neither we nor our alien guests actually tried to use each other’s language. Both sides would try certain phrases at times, but our different methods of producing sounds just did not allow for either of us to actually speak the other language. While Watson felt confident enough to work a translation from simply listening to the aliens, most of us began walking around with an earpiece that would tell us what was said.

Captain Saing said, “The war is not over. They ceased hostilities to worry about us.”

“Yeah,” Clyde admitted.

Malcolm said, “I don’t see any ships in range.”

Captain Saing shot back, “I see a number in range.” He then lectured our helmsman. “They don’t have to be close. Yes, their base might presently be free from attack vessels, assuming that none are docked where we cannot see them, but there are a number relatively close.”

Thor added, “And a couple are coming our way.”

Malcolm voiced his own opinion. “I still consider us to have the first move.”

Captain Saing said, “Yes, and with apologies to Clyde and Theta, and Mr. No-Nukes, we need to decide upon our action.”

Thor returned, “No. We KNOW what our action is to be. What we need to decide is HOW to make that action.”

Fierce Lion voiced, “Well said.”

“Any suggestions?”

I don’t believe that I was the only one shocked to hear Clover say, “Sure. We wait.”

Captain Saing replied, “I would agree.”

If it had been the military leader that suggested that, the idea would have been challenged. Truthfully, Captain Saing had been putting forth that idea, and someone had always been quick to shout it down. Coming from Clover, everyone took the tactic in a different light. All that came in response was a question from who I believe to have been Blue Angel.

“How long do you wait?”

Clover returned, “The only reason that you do not wait, is because you want the advantage of first strike. We are not here to seek war however, so we wait.”

“I asked how long.”

“I’m in no rush. Do you want me to set up a board for handling wagers on how long the aliens will make us wait?”

The chittering sound that follows was Clyde laughing. They did have a sense of humor. They preferred dry humor, usually along relational topic. Gambling was considered a social activity by our aliens, so Clover’s reference did touch the proper cords for Clyde to laugh.

I believe it was Bouncing Ball that said, “I suggest that you make some action before the Chavez gets close.”

Thor replied, “We will make some action before the saucers have their own meeting.”

That response seemed to satisfy everyone. At least, no one replied with another suggestion. Thor thus took over the helm enough to set a course for a light-minute from the space station. With that done, everyone went back to their various methods of making use of the time.

The silence caused me to react slightly surprised when I heard the voice of Doug ask, “Uh, could I launch a drone?”

Thor returned, “Sure, Doug. There is one already set up for you.”

“Yes, but that one is set up with long range cameras for my solar system shots. I would prefer some fly-by shots in this case.”

A conversation occurred concerning the cameras. Some offered that they were digital, so could be changed using the software. Sandra let them know that special lenses were required for the clarity of the shots Doug required, so would demand that a change of lenses be performed. I lost interest as various voices spoke of their knowledge and opinions of camera equipment.

What I switched over to was a question from Clyde to Watson about what the others were discussing. I had to bring up his board as his words worked referred to some graphic. I saw a sales demo video of our drones while listening to Watson speak to Clyde.

“We actually have the computers to handle the complexities of space travel, but not the visual acuity to deal with the data. It thus usually takes human oversight to keep a drone from getting lost.”

“*We cannot depend on machines to handle the stresses of breaking light speed. It takes a lot of work after breaking light speed to repair the ship so we can perform our work as well as assure that we can break back below light speed.*”

“That is possibly what happened to that ship we first met?”

“Yeah.”

The aliens actually could handle words without hard consonant sounds. Strangely, they were not good with Ss either. Thus, they said ‘Yeah’ instead of ‘Yes.’ ‘No’ came out as [click]Ooh.

Watson replied, “Well, our method of space travel is rather efficient and safe. We still have our troubles as well.”

“*I like your method better than ours. Still, they will think that your drone is a potential enemy.*”

“Well, we can configure them to be dangerous.”

“*Can it defend itself?*”

“Not without making it dangerous.”

“*Oh, yes, that would be the same with us.*”

Voices now chimed in asking Watson if the drone had any defenses. He verified that it did not, but had been set with a number of cameras along with some fine maneuvering jets to assure that Doug could get the specific shot that he desired. Everyone agreed that it was a good design.

The voice of Captain Saing suddenly asked, “Uh, Menlo Park, could you have that drone move ahead of you?”

Thor replied, “And how do you suggest that we do that?”

“Usual method. Stop. Launch the drone. Wait about twenty minutes, then return to your vector.”

“Damn, I don’t have Castle. I still have good people. Sandra, let us build a basic drone. I don’t want to waste Doug’s.”

The voice of our mechanic replied, “Can do, Thor. Will be setting things up. Will need somebody to help me with certain steps.”

Clover was put to work assuring a basic computer system. Since no one wanted to lose anything important should the drone be targeted, only old parts were allocated. Diamond put up a vocal complaint when it was mentioned that his old computer would be used to navigate the drone, but he then offered to help Clover work with any code.

When I came back to my desk after taking some hours off, I heard them laughing at what had been built. Sandra and Felix had constructed a device that would wave a flag, but that was about all the drone would do. It had been painted bright yellow. The intent was to assure that the little vehicle could be easily seen, and that it could not be claimed to have anything aggressive about it. I worked with Clover and Black Dove as they stayed shut down while Thor took over the helm from Malcolm to assure the proper launching of the drone.

We returned to tachy after giving the little vehicle about a twenty-six minute lead. I have to say that I feel most of us forgot about the little thing. We put our concentration upon our concern about how to handle our meeting with more important officials of the United-Ids. While I am certain that Darlene and Malcolm had its presence showing on their board, the rest of us forgot that it moved ahead of us.

I was speaking with Clover and Watson about our arrival at the space station when the lights in my room shifted to red. I noticed the panels on my board open up for when we shut down, and my hands flew as I heard the voice of Thor shouting for me to retrieve the point pilots. I saw a panel come up stating that a change of vectors would be started waiting upon the return of the boats. I spoke of my wonder about what happened as I talked to our point pilots, and it was Clover that supplied the answer.

“The space station blew up our drone.”

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PostSubject: Re: Outside - Up the Chain of Command   March 10th 2011, 11:22 pm

How do you come up with your story lines? Most writers have a book full of ideas, do you have yours written down somewhere?
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PostSubject: Part Three   March 11th 2011, 8:06 am

To Sketch: No, book of ideas, but a hard drive full of files. I just keep my mind open, and I have a regular time in my day set aside for writing (early in the morning with a pot of coffee). If something seems to click, I write whatever my mind has conceived down in what I call a 'toss-out' and ends up being a file on my hard drive. Sometimes these toss-outs begin blossoming right there into full stories. Most of the time they sit on my hard drive with me looking at them when I am low on ideas. During my inspections, I try to add something (the only cure for Writer's Block is to write), and a number have eventually caught hold of my mind. Thanks for asking.

Outside - Story Twenty-Nine
Up the Chain of Command

Part Three

No sooner had the words come from Clover, than my speaker set to the common Outside channel erupted into conversation about the attack. I suddenly set another speaker to the bridge microphone, only to notice that it was set to private. What that meant was that we were not being listened to by others. Generally, the Menlo Park kept an active presence on the common Outside channel, but I worked the internal codes to hear what was not being broadcast to others.

Captain Saing strongly said, “Menlo Park, wait for us.”

That response caused me to widen my search. Knowing what to look for, I found where a specific channel had been authorized. The frequency was outside the usual range available for broadcast equipment, which meant that it was a special military channel. Thor had not paid for some of the equipment on his ship, but acquired it from various sources. While we did not announce just how much our communication equipment could handle, my search revealed that Thor did not mind showing off when it could be to his advantage.

Thor did not reply to the military officer, but spoke to another. “Damn, I have my best computer man and my best translator at point. Hurry up and get to the bridge, you two.”

Watson replied, “I can handle translation from here, and I have been, even as I did my job. It doesn’t matter if I were here or on the bridge.”

“We need to talk to that space station.”

I broke into the chatter to give some wisdom. “We can’t. They use only electromagnetic communication, and we are still too far out.”

“Damn! Suggestions people.”

Clover said, “Terry! How about using my retransmitter in an opposite manner?”

The voice of our chemist returned, “What’s that?”

“Can we set up my chemical retransmitter to work within a blast? We fire a blast at the space station. It does not do any real damage, but it sticks my retransmitter to the side of the ship.”

Captain Saing said, “That is pure science-fiction, Clover.”

Terry replied, “Damn, Clover. Give me a heads up on an idea like that. Even if it was possible, it would take time to set up.”

Thor clearly stated that he was open to any suggestions as he asked, “How much time?”

As Terry said, “Hours,” Captain Saing declared, “It is impossible.”

Clover replied, “No, it’s not. Our blasters are generic – powerful, but generic. You guys are known for using blasters, and you do have specific internals to your charges. It helps you verify which attacks were yours after any action. All that I am proposing is leaving behind a chemical signature that will act as retransmitter to convert a certain frequency of tachyons to electromagnetic wavelengths.”

I now heard the voice of Diamond. “Why go to the trouble? Give me the device, and I will deliver it. I can go in, drop it, and get back out before their computers can register that I was even there.”

Clover replied, “They will shoot it. I want it stuck to the space station to keep it safe.”

“Put a magnet on it, and I can come in with momentum. When I release it, it will travel to the space station and stick.”

Thor asked, “How fast?”

“Fast enough, but not so fast that it shatters upon impact.”

Sandra said, “That can be done, and relatively quickly. We are not talking about any special chemical concoction there.”

I interjected, “Points are docked.”

Thor said, “Good. Malcolm keep us moving at tachy. There should be enough vectors to somehow work an orbit of that space station. Everyone else, we have a plan to put together.”

I was given the task of soothing those Outside and Inside who wanted to know what we were up to. Since our situation was public knowledge, and no money was involved, everyone wanted access to our chatter. I assured everyone that we were not being rude, but simply did not want the annoyance of others questioning our decisions. I did provide updates. Everyone however spoke of waiting for Darlene to come on duty in the belief she would be more open with information. She was more entertaining, which did help soothe most personalities, but really did nothing more than I had been doing.

What my shipmates actually came up with was a really simple device placed in a goop then set inside an aluminum shell. Darlene was given the task of finding a rock at which Diamond fired one of the bullets. Hearing our signals returning from the rock, the conversation shifted to Diamond and Darlene discussing vectors to determine the proper flight path to fire the other bullet.

Felix flew one mission to the space station simply to lock in its position. To assure the safety of our person firing the shot, we needed to know exactly where the alien base was located. We were well versed in mapping objects in space, although up to now we had the time to take careful measurements. What Felix had to do however was get an accurate reading quickly and on the first try. It helped that Doctor Hui with the Hubble Space Array made himself available as a distant reference to provide an immediate established secondary source of verification. While Felix did his maneuver perfectly, the military wanted another fly-by to check the readings. When everything matched, Diamond was given the green light to perform his mission.

With the same accuracy as when he released the parachute, the old man delivered the missile to the chosen bare plate on the space station. The aliens had built their base in the shape of a thin cylinder with the insides pushed in. I cannot say donut, because the outside was not rounded and there was no hole in the center. It spun on the central axis in order to create gravity on the outer edge. The outer walls were all metal. While the spaceships tended to be relatively smooth on the outside, the base was covered in receiving dishes, various instruments, and sections that gave every impression of being docks for a variety of vehicles. The visuals that Felix brought back were studied by everyone to find an appropriate spot for Diamond to aim his shot. He returned to the Menlo Park with everyone congratulating him on having hit the bullseye.

We were bombarded with communications as soon as the device became active. While the aliens needed large parabolic dishes, we had the technology to pick up transmissions with very small devices. The large receivers did have an advantage with very faint signals, but we gained enough broadcasts to satisfy us.

Watson worked with Clyde and Theta to immensely broaden our understanding of their language. While they had been speaking with our aliens, it tended to be more of relationships and normal daily life. What we began receiving was military chatter with technical terms, codes, and direct orders. We had some knowledge of those from our first receptions of the alien broadcasts, but now gained them concerning a much larger variety of topics.

Everyone went quiet when the messages clearly stated our presence and that we had made an attack. Some asked if it had been the Tuxtepecs, and the response went out that it was not their enemies. I saw from my panel showing a view of the bridge that they turned with alarm after Clyde and Theta reacted in shock.

It was Darlene that asked, “What was that?”

Theta replied, “*The message was from our President. It asked about how much damage was incurred.*”

Watson added data. “They admitted that we did no damage, but are now going out to inspect our device.”

The voice of Captain Saing said, “That is what we are waiting for. Let us see their reaction.”

What I, and I am certain most others, found exciting was being able to hear the transmissions from the ones sent out to check our device. They were initially afraid that it was a bomb that simply did not explode. Those sent out however quickly identified it as not being explosive in nature. The splatter of the special gelatin caused them to think of it as being caustic, and they did take samples of the material to test back inside the space station. While one soldier went back with the container, the others continued to examine the mess we made. After some discussion, we heard the conclusion we hoped would be made.

Diamond was given the order to deliver another package. The United Ids understood that we were now listening directly to their communications. They however did not act to remove the device. While it could be used to determine an attack strategy, removing it could also be considered an indication of aggressive intent. When the command from the planet returned to leave it in place and wait for further contact, Diamond was authorized to make another shot.

This device was not simply a retransmitter to give us signals from the other side of the space station, but it also had the capabilities of retransmitting our signals. We gave those in the space station time to react to the second device, and they did send out an exploratory team. When they replied that it was a similar device, Clyde was signaled to make a broadcast.

He simply spoke to the space station to tell them his name, rank, and make a report on the spaceship he served upon along with events after its destruction. Doug had made a video to go along with the speech. It did a poor job of matching the Clyde’s words, but it showed images that we had intercepted of the alien’s maneuvers, the explosion recorded by Felix and Indigo, along with footage of our aliens adjusting to life on board our vessel. Only silence came in response. Those on the bridge spoke with others about possibly having to wait for our message to travel to the planet. That suspicion was verified when a return signal commanded the leader of the space station to ask Clyde a very basic question.

“*Gunnery Assistant Clyde, are those that rescued you capable of war?*”

“*Yes. They are very capable of war. They however state that they are also very capable of being friends.*”

“*I am sorry, but we must consider that if they are capable of war, then they do not intend to be friends.*”

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PostSubject: Part Four   March 16th 2011, 12:35 pm

Outside - Story Twenty-Nine
Up the Chain of Command

Part Four

I felt anxiety in hearing the alien space station mention no intent to be friends. Those on the bridge displayed their own concern for the situation. While our activities were now being broadcast for others, their signals were not being listened to on the bridge. I thus heard a number state their disagreement with the response, but those on the bridge made their decision without consulting with others besides the military.

Clyde spoke into the microphone. “*They have told me, ‘Okay.’*”\

We again waited. I saw Thor pace about the bridge while Clover drummed his fingers on a panel and others displayed their own nervousness. Finally, a reply came.

“*Gunnery Assistant Clyde, is there any way that they could prove their benevolent intentions?*”

Captain Saing said, “I can provide that.”

Thor’s face displayed complete disbelief as he asked, “Really?”

“Really.”

Fierce Lion spoke of his approval. “Really, Thor. I believe what the captain had his men put together will work.”

I saw the transmission that the Chavez sent for us to transmit to the aliens. A number asked for me to make the transmission public as they heard my reaction to what I saw. I told them that they would have to wait for it to be approved, but that I expected Thor to quickly authorize it. As I predicted, my captain actually thanked those of the Chavez for supplying a method of securing peace.

What had been sent was a history of the animals. They actually gave our pilot credit for the rescue. Most of the video however was of soldiers taking care of the alien creatures. They were not only shown supplying food, but playing with the strange insect-like beings. Attempts to train the animals were mixed with the military showing various emotions at what they got in response. While the translation droned on, the images of our people forming positive relationships with the creatures were quite expressive.

Again we waited. We truthfully had many periods of anxiety as information had to be sent to the planet and a response to come back. Clyde and Theta had to give reports of their treatment. They then had to speak about our technology. When finally a message came to speak to our leader, Darlene provided some information that I knew as well.

“President Sanchez is waiting to speak.”

“To Hell with him,” Thor replied. “This is my show, and I am the leader of this expedition. I will have the credit. His time will come, but I get to go first.”

While I did notice a message of acceptance from the president, Thor went to the microphone being used for the contact and spoke. He identified himself, then simply said that he had his own presentation. What was then transmitted was the broadcast we made announcing the discovery of the alien vessel. After that video, another one was played showing a very edited version of our journey to find the original alien world. Once that one was finished, Thor said that he was willing to answer any further questions.

The response that finally came was a simple question. “*Do you intend to advance upon our planet?*”

Thor replied, “I believe that you have already been given our response to that. We said, ‘Okay.’ We are making contact, but you have the right, the authority, and the freedom to make your own first impression. If you want it to be hostile, or completely open and friendly, is up to you to decide.”

One must understand that we were responding as quickly as we got a message, although the aliens’ transmissions took time to travel to the planet and back. “*What about the future?*”

“What about the future? Don’t think that we can predict it. I however want the history books to record that I did make a sign of friendship. I also have the intention of having those same history books state that it was your people that opened up hostilities.”

“*What about the Tuxtepecs?*”

“There is a ship moving to make contact with them as well.”

“*Will you help us fight them?*”

“No, but we won’t help them fight you either. If you decide to continue your war, we will watch and wait.”

I actually expected a message from the Chavez or President Sanchez. Neither frequency showed any activity. Both were allowing Thor to have his moment.

“*We desire friendship as well. What do you desire?*”

“Truthfully, just a meeting. Nothing more. To be honest, after that we will be waiting to see how contact goes with the Tuxtepecs.”

“*That sounds agreeable. Truthfully, we are interested in how the Tuxtepecs respond to your presence as well.*”

The United Ids asked us to wait for some of their ships to arrive. That request was easily granted, as we wanted to watch them come back into normal space from traveling at tachy velocities. The amount of energy that erupted was enormous. Calculations worked by several groups all gave differing figures, although everyone agreed that the aliens were capable of producing amounts of power that we did not consider possible. All thus accepted that the aliens were not behind us on technology, just reflecting a completely different line of development. While we watched the ships arrive, Thor received comments about what to look for when he was finally allowed to meet with the leaders of the United Ids.

The first meeting occurred between Thor and Rachel and the captain of the Chitchat. A boat first came to us to deliver alien leader. They, of course, did not have a field drive, but they handled their propulsion system expertly and matched our position with precision. I had to laugh when they did not have a universal seal, but we had to use ours to assure a safe transfer of personnel. Just the captain came on board, although the portal stayed open allowing a camera to catch the presence of armed personnel ready to make a move.

I did not need to switch cameras to continue watching the alien as he visited our ship. Doug handled the views, although would comment with Darlene and me about which camera gave the better image at times. The alien captain was larger than Clyde or Theta, but not by enough to be a problem. He made a number of comments similar to those spoken by our previous alien couple, although spoke with alarm when allowed into our engine room.

“*Is this it?*”

Sandra replied, “What were you expecting?”

The alien stayed quiet for a moment, then cautiously asked, “*Is it really so simple?*”

“No. It is really that complex. We have to trust the computers to handle the adjustments to the gas to get it to stay as a plasma and produce the forces we need. I work to assure that everything holds within certain parameters. If there is any problem, I have to shut the engine down and work to resolve the problem before we can begin moving through space again.”

“*So, the problem that troubled the ship you found would not trouble you?*”

“No. We could be stranded in space, but not at tachy velocities.”

“*Interesting. How did you discover this? Did your computer tell you?*”

“No. We truthfully did not believe the method of propulsion that you are using to be possible. We thus looked to other methods. Plasma did have some properties that interested us, although it took large amounts of energy to produce. We thus did not consider it feasible either, although some continued to look and this answer was found.”

“*Some are calling your method of moving to be magic.*”

“I want them to hear my appreciation for their words. It is not magic however, just as what you do is not magic either.”

The captain gave the impression of being more relaxed after that conversation. He rested in the room for our aliens while speaking privately with Clyde and Theta. I did have access to the cameras in the room, but none of the signals were released to others until the visit was finished.

Thor had a camera set into his uniform for his visit to the alien ship. What I saw matched the things that Clyde and Theta had said, although being able to see for myself helped to truly understand some of their words. There was no elegance to the other craft. Large volumes were present with everything being massive in size. They mentioned needing it sturdy to handle the rigors of moving beyond light speed and then coming back into normal space. I saw large globules of some odd substance that was said to hold the personnel during the great accelerations and decelerations. The engine room appeared more as a factory than a place for producing power. Thor moved upon metal walkways around large metal ducts with sturdy circular handles for regulating the flow of certain fuels. Just as with our engine, the true magic was done where those working would not be affected by the forces, but the room itself was definitely more than some gauges set into a wall. If I had not seen for myself, I probably would not have believed some of the things Thor spoke about later.

President Sanchez eventually got to speak, but not until Thor and Rachel had a similar visit with those of the space station. On that visit they got to try some of the alien recipes. While the food that Clyde and Theta had in their life pod was slightly disgusting, my captains actually spoke well of some dishes they tried. The aliens had learned some of the same lessons about bringing supplies into space as had we, although they had further problems with their ships moving into tachy. Finally, after the meal, President Sanchez got to speak to the alien leader.

A number of others wanted access to the aliens’ frequencies, but those had to be denied. It was not us being rude, but only that they did not have the computer technology to handle our multitude of signals. Their method of moving through space had them develop methods of extracting amounts of energy from substances that we could not equal, but they also had to build equipment and structures that could handle the stresses that such power could produce. The precision of our efficient designs gave us advantages, but many saw benefits to the aliens’ technology as well.

Well, that is it for this report. We are now moving to the home world of the aliens. Thor is determined to make contact before the saucer people reach the Tuxtepecs, and the United Ids want to be the first fully contacted of their race as well. Another report will thus be coming, but probably by someone else.

_________________
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.
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