Oct 14th Contest Round "Antagonist Background Story"
Antagonist Background Story
Freeship Arkham’s Delight
Alfred sighed as he dropped several news data flimsies onto the coffee table. He looked out the port window and stared at the planet slowly spinning below him. Venus was a beautiful planet, but it held no joy for Alfred. The Colony there was thriving with an influx of new colonists and engineers. They were already ahead of schedule and the upgrade to Venus’ only space station should be completed by the end of the month.
Alfred contemplated the news he had just read from Earth. The political attempt for Mars to break away and become a free colony had failed, barely. There was already a schism in the leading council on Mars. The divide would now only grow larger. The thought of an Independence war sickened him. Although a proponent of the Articles of Confederation and Colonization, he was a strict pacifist. Already there were reports of some protests and strikes occurring. It was rumored that there were a few Earth Federation Patrol ships manned by Mars crews that had gone Rogue and were now considered Pirate vessels.
In all likelihood Earth would already be forming a small fleet of warships and troops to come and blockade the Mars System. They would land troops to assist in controlling the swelling unrest. His fear was that this Rebel spirit would spread to Venus. Not just that, but that Earth would preemptively blockade and increase its presence on Venus.
Behind him he heard the door to his bedroom open and almost smiled when he heard his wife humming a song from an old Earth tune that she had learned in her youth. He turned from the port and sat down on the cabins couch. He reached for the flimsies and settled back to re-read them.
His wife stepped behind him and lightly began to massage his shoulders. “You are so tense Al, you should really try to relax.” She murmured in his ear.
“I can’t relax.” He replied as he felt the tension flee from his wife’s touch. “This jeopardizes everything we’ve been working for. The Articles of Confederation work. The Corporation sponsors work with the planets, the governing councils oversee the local issues and all report to Earth oversight. Any attempt at free rule just won’t work.”
“This will pass,” she reassured him. “These are just difficult times. We know that the Mars Colony cannot survive without direct support from Earth. It will blow over and everything will return to normal, after all they will listen to reason,” she increased the pressure of her massage and smiled, “They will listen to you.”
“I wish I could share in your optimism. I think there will be violence and bloodshed before this is all over.” He allowed his mind to wander as he thought about his upcoming meeting on Mars. It would not be easy bringing both sides together.
His wife started humming again and walked to the small kitchenette. “Coffee?” she asked as she punched in the code to the servitor for coffee for herself.
“Yes, please.” He muttered as he continued to re-read the notification calling him to Mars on behalf of the Galactic Colonization and Sciences Bureau.
His wife placed his coffee on the table, careful not to disturb his papers and sat back on the couch opposite him and sipped from her steaming cup.
“How will this affect the project? She asked.
He sighed heavily and lifted his cup, taking in the aroma. “It will delay it. Always a delay!” he exclaimed, setting the cup down without taking a sip. “The project is our one chance to prove colonization outside of our solar system is not only feasible but necessary. The Precursor project will be the beginning of our expansion into the stars, outside of our system, our first real chance at finding intelligent life!”
His wife smiled at him. She loved his passion and loved to push his ‘buttons’ to get him fired up. While a lot of people were put off by Al’s personality, she was drawn to this tall thin austere looking man. He appeared to be very cold and lacking in emotion, but she felt privileged to be one of the few who was actually able to experience his passion and love. Many of his detractors would be surprised at the depth and width of his passion for whatever he focused it on. Besides her, the Project was it. He had spent years drafting, plotting and researching the perfect program to expand mankind across the stars. Not to mention getting his name immortalized in history.
The door indicator rang and Alfred frowned at the interruption.
“Come!” he bellowed.
The door slid open revealing the ships steward in his crew uniform.
“Good afternoon Doctor, Ma’am,” said the Steward nodding to them both. “With the Captains respects, we will be underway shortly, we expect to be in Mars orbit by the end of the week. The Captain would like to invite you to dine with him this evening if that is acceptable?”
Alfred thought about declining the invitation, but he saw his wife’s face light up at the thought of eating a fine meal at the Captains table.
“Tell the Captain that anything he can do to get us to Mars earlier would be greatly appreciated. We will accept his invitation to dine.”
The steward nodded again and smiled broadly, “Very good sir, if there is anything we can do to ease your trip, please let me know.” He turned from the door as it closed quickly behind him.
“I must get ready!” Exclaimed his wife as she quickly got up, kissed him on the forehead. “Thank you dear, I know how you hate formal dinners! But I so enjoy them.” She quickly headed to the bedroom to find something to wear.
He followed her with his eyes, thinking how lucky he was to have such a beautiful woman love him. He wasn’t used to kindness of any kind from people, but he knew there was only one for him, only one that mattered.
He muttered to himself as he re-scanned the news from Mars and shook his head. “This is not going to end well.”