A Spring Storm is about to hit Tothan. And it's been doing it for six hundred years.
The First Day of Spring – Every Year
“We only got thirty-eight days until Spring gets here. That’s less than a month. Where is my update report?” Commander Pollice paced back and forth on the upper section in the Control Room on the spaceship in orbit around the planet of Tothan. Every few seconds she stopped and looked at the large monitor in front of her. Then at some sliding doors on the upper section too.
“Everything is going as planned. We will have all five million onboard within a week. That’s plenty of time for us to get everyone off Tothan before that storm arrives.” Second-in-Command Gordim had to look up at Pollice from the chair he sat in on the lower section of that Control Room.
Pollice continued his pacing, stopping, pacing, stopping… “I don’t like it. We had three problems on our way here from our home world of Hamnon. Yes, I know they were minor ones. But they were still problems. And I don’t like trouble.”
Gordim joined Pollice to pace next to him. “We were only delayed a week. And everything got fixed on the way here.”
“Whoever came up with the idea to colonized this planet must have gotten a lot of Units illegally. They did a survey of the planet for five years. And they noticed the Spring Storm, as we call them now, had come around every year. But they didn’t realize there was a pattern to them.”
“It’s been almost six hundred years since Hamnon colonized Tothan. And we have been coming here once a year almost from the beginning of their colonization to bring them all aboard this spaceship before that Spring Storm hits.”
“We come here about a month before it destroys their village. And we stay here around a month after it leaves before we colonize Tothan again.”
“You’re not telling me anything new. You have told me this story every year for the past thirty-five years. I’m happy this is my last year to be doing this.”
“What else am I supposed to do? I’m as bored as you are. You pace. And I tell.”
“There are plenty of things that you could be doing. You could help with the evacuation of Tothan. And what about the investigation into our problems on the way here. Manica is in need of help with her investigation. In fact, didn’t I put you in charge of that.”
“Manica doesn’t need my help. She says she thinks she knows who is behind it. What she doesn’t know is why - yet.”
Just then the doors to the Control Room slid open. And a fellow crewmember walked in. Everyone there did a sharp look at Wallian. Before Wallian could say anything Pollice did. “What’s wrong now?”
Wallian walked up to Pollice. And gave her what appeared to be a small hand-sized communicator. “How did you know there was a problem with the Space Shuttles?”
“I didn’t know what the trouble was. But I did know that there was going to be at least one more. What is the problem with the Space Shuttles?” Pollice had her face buried in whatever that was. Her lips moved. But she didn’t actually say anything.
Shaking and trembling Wallian spoke. “All the Space Shuttle have been damaged. Almost beyond repair. We can still use them. But it’s going to take a lot longer to get everyone onboard now.”
“Are we going to able to do it before the Spring Storm arrives?” Pollice looked more concerned, and worried, than mad.
“We should. But it’s going to be close. Very close.”
Pollice and Wallian headed down to the Shuttle Room. “I need to see just how bad this is.”
Gordim joined them. But on the way there he contacted Manica to meet them there. Only she wanted Gordim to come somewhere else. She had the ones behind all their trouble of that mission. Manica had security hidden all over that spaceship. All they had to do was wait for something like this to happen. Once it did they were there to catch them. And that’s exact what she did too.
When Gordim entered the Sleeping Room of a fellow crewmember Manica had already started questioning them. “You are both members of the Anit-Colonization Commitment – aren’t you?”
Boavoc and Stelli looked at each other. But they didn’t say anything. So Manica continued. “You might as well admit it. I checked you out when I realized you were behind what’s been going on. Pretty smart not doing it on your own. It did make it more difficult to figure out who did it.”
Manica didn’t seem to notice that Gordim had entered. But Boavoc and Stelli did. They stared at him as Manica spoke. “You might have gotten away with it if you had stopped en route. But you didn’t. And we caught you.”
Gordim stepped up to the sitting on the Sleeper Boavoc and Stelli. He punched Boavoc in the face with one hand. And Stelli across the face with the other one. First one cheek then the other.
“What are you doing?” Pollice stepped between Gordim and his victims.
“I’m getting them to talk. And the faster I do that the better.”
“You know I don’t like violence – unless it’s absolutely necessary. It’s not needed here. They will talk. We are going to be here for the next three months thanks to them. There’s plenty of time for them to admit what they did. If they don’t then I will let you get it anyway that you have to.”
It took almost those three months. But Boavoc and Stelli finally admitted to the troublemaking. After putting them into Detention Gordim stared at them day and night. He only slept a few hours a day. And he did it in Detention.
They admitted they were part of the Anti-Colonization Commitment. The Anti-Colonization Commitment thinks Hamnon should be using Units to better Hamnon first - and not other planets.