by Samuel Orona
Strange encounter with a lost space colony
|The United Republic star cruiser Delaware entered Earth orbit, and docked with military space station Alpha-1. Captain Drake Driscoll disembarked and walked through an access tunnel that was temporarily connected to the Delaware, allowing the crew to leave the star cruiser and enter the space station. Workers entered and disembarked from the Delaware, as they refueled the ship and brought supplies onboard.
Captain Driscoll had a secret meeting to attend with Admiral Steve Cartwright, concerning his recent mission to the just discovered planet Quoris, colonized by a convoy that was declared lost in space over a hundred years prior. When he went to the meeting room, the admiral was already seated, waiting for him.
“Congratulations on finding those lost colonists, Drake, but there’s a problem.”
“Really?” Captain Driscoll replied. “We handled an unusual situation as best as we could, considering the variables.”
“When your engineer installed a hyperwave transceiver on Quoris, that enabled them to contact us instantly,” said the admiral. “That technology didn’t exist when their ancestors founded the colony. Their leaders have informed us that their top scientists have figured out how you beat that young girl at gambling using the temporal technology onboard the Delaware.”
“I used my best judgment in that situation,” said Captain Driscoll.
“I know you did, and I commend you for that, I would’ve done the same when I was a captain, given the information you had at the time,” said the admiral. “Though some of their technology is more primitive than ours, their neutrino dissimilator technology has progressed in a series of quantum leaps ahead of us.”
“What are you saying?” Captain Driscoll asked.
“If we got into a war with those colonists on Quoris, they could wipe us off the map! They have miniaturization technology that can shrink entire cities, and our technological expertise pales in comparison. Now that we’re sharing our propulsion technology with them, they will soon be unstoppable!”
“What would you suggest?” Captain Driscoll asked.
“You and Lieutenant Coronado need to return to Quoris and turn yourselves over to their government authorities,” said the admiral. “Their government recognizes that 13-year-old girl who temporarily owned your lieutenant as the rightful owner of both the lieutenant and yourself.”
“Can’t we just send duplicates of ourselves?” Captain Driscoll asked. “I know it’s unethical, but considering the strange circumstances, I’m sure the top brass could make an exception in my case and Lieutenant Coronado’s.”
“It won’t work,” the admiral replied. “the scientists of Quoris would be able to discern that they were dealing with copies, just by doing a simple scan; their technology in that regard is more advanced than ours, we could never pull it off. They want the original Captain Drake Driscoll and Lieutenant Coronado, and they’re prepared to go to war over it if they have to. They will be able to shrink most of Earth’s cities by the end of the week once they synthesize all of our tech.”
“Can’t we send a pair of condemned criminals instead?” Captain Driscoll asked.
“Let me explain it to you this way,” said the admiral. “When you signed up for space command, you pledged your life to the United Republic. If push came to shove, when you’re wearing that uniform, you’re willing to put your life on the line. How is this any different? If we sent you to war, you would gladly risk your life. All you’re being asked to do is to be some teenage girl’s slave toy for an indeterminate period of time. If you don’t do this, they will declare war on us.”
“If Lieutenant Coronado and I go through with this,” said Captain Driscoll, “Will you do whatever it takes to get us out of this situation?”
“As of right now, we don’t know of any way to get you out of this without creating an interplanetary incident,” said the admiral. “If we do figure out a solution, we’ll do our best to rescue you, but your current orders are to return to Quoris where you and Lieutenant Coronado will turn yourselves in, and Commander Thunberg will be interim Captain until she can be promoted.”
Admiral Cartwright handed an electronic tablet to Captain Driscoll. “These are your orders, you are to carry them out immediately, as soon as the Delaware is refueled, and ready to depart.”
Captain Driscoll walked to the nearest bar onboard the military space station, to have his last drink as a free man. He had some downtime before the Delaware would be ready to return to Quoris. The bartender and the others knew nothing of what would soon happen to Drake Driscoll and Chavo Coronado. He ordered a Saturn Sunrise, and watched the rings float around in his drink before taking a sip.
An attractive caucasian woman with a nice tan was seated nearby. She got up and sat next to Captain Driscoll.
“You look like your dog died,” said the woman. Captain Driscoll could see by the chevrons on her arm patch that she was a sergeant.
“I just got some bad news,” Captain Driscoll replied. He relayed to her briefly what had transpired, and the consequences of his actions.
“Just accept your fate,” said the sergeant. “There are civilians who would pay their life savings to take your place!” She got up and left a tip, then left Captain Driscoll by himself.
About an hour later, Captain Driscoll sat in the Captain’s seat, while Commander Tiffany Thunberg was seated next to him. The helmsman announced that they had arrived in orbit above the planet Quoris. Commander Thunberg and the captain both stood up, and the commander took Captain Driscoll’s seat.
“I do this with regret,” the commander announced. “As of 13:13 hours, I, Commander Tiffany Thunberg, am taking command of the star cruiser Delaware. Lieutenant Bratcher, hail the leaders of Quoris in their capitol city. Notify them that the prisoners will be transferred immediately.”
A shuttle craft was sent down to the surface, with Major Peterson escorting the captain and Lieutenant Coronado into custody. An armed garrison from Quoris met them when they landed.
“We’ll take it from here,” said one of the armed guards.
Captain Driscoll and Lieutenant Coronado were handcuffed and taken to the detention facility where the lieutenant had originally been miniaturized. There was a courtroom where they were quickly tried and found guilty, and sentenced to be shrunken captives indefinitely. They were then taken to the miniaturization chamber, where they were both simultaneously reduced to slightly less than two inches tall. An android picked them up and placed them in a plastic jar with air holes in the lid.
The android walked down a hallway to a room where 20-something Bethany and her younger cousin, the rightful owner of Lieutenant Coronado, and her mother were waiting. The family was surrounded by reporters, with cameras and microphones aimed at the shrunken captives and the family who would soon own them. The android handed the jar to the young girl, and she clutched it greedily. For Captain Driscoll and Lieutenant Coronado, there would be no escape.
One of the female reporters put a microphone in the face of the girl who now owned the two officers and asked, “How does it feel to own these two captives?”
“It’s the best!” the girl said. “Now I can pass them on to my daughters after I get married, and I can have two daughters now, instead of one!”
“What is your name?” the reporter asked.
“Acadia Corseris!” said the thirteen year old girl. “My first name means a magnetic, inescapable attraction!”
“Then it’s fitting that they ended up back in your hands,” said the reporter. “What is the first thing you’re going to do with them when you get them home?”
“I’m going to punish them for escaping!” said Acadia. “With the roll of one of my twenty sided dice, I’ll choose one of them, and send him crashing to the depths of my teenage belly!” She lifted her shirt slightly, revealing her belly button. There was a belly button ring with a large diamond attached to it.
Acadia began laughing, and to Captain Driscoll and Lieutenant Coronado, her voice was like thunder!
To Be Continued!