Somewhere In Space
Coordinates 22.05.30 | 22.07.08
‘Hyperspace fold closed. Reducing speed, Captain Kaelum.’
“Do you see this view, Adi?”
‘I shouldn’t have to remind you that I am merely a digital presence that exists within the ship's systems, Captain.’
“Don’t say merely, but point made.”
Across a serene, pitch black view, distant suns twinkle in the distance. Perfectly centered on the viewport is a dim yellow-orange glow that stands out in contrast to the darkness surrounding it.
“There’s something familiar about that. The way it dances in the distance. I’ve heard about this somewhere.”
‘Navigation didn’t show anything in this sector when we mapped the fold. There shouldn’t be anything here.’
“This must be it. I’ve heard about this place. A long time ago, in a restover on Kantiisk.”
‘And what is it?’
“A place that doesn’t exist according to most. A place that the wealthiest of the rich and the poorest of the poor speak of when they are too intoxicated to care what anyone will think. When their head is full of dreams worth dreaming and their hearts are bleeding too much for anyone to stop. It’s a place of legend, of myth, of lore; of both what was and what can be.
And that dancing orange thing at the center?
That is a source of power unknown for centuries, if not longer. It’s called fire, and when it exists in a remote location it has the power to extract secrets from people with enough will and reason to keep them. Truth, honesty, and vulnerability exist in the presence of something so magical as...”
A bright light flashes in the distance for an instant and fades away to reveal a ship.
‘A ship just exited fold. Coordinates 22.723.13 | 22.445.68 at 3.67 ƒAu’s.’
“Yea, I see it. Definitely not the Hoomta Banshee class frigates that were after us.”
‘Detecting another fold at 22.010.24 | 22.67—’
Another flash twinkles to the right of the orange ball in the center of the viewport. Followed by intermittent flashes all around the sector.
Each time a ship appears it starts to slowly drift toward the object of interest. The glow seems to be intensifying slowly but surely, the flickering and dancing becoming more erratic and bold.
“Anything on the comms, Adi?”
‘No communications signals detected. None of the ships are registered to the Hoomta Corporation. No known allegiances to them either.’
As the space crafts approach the glowing orb they shift sideways and dock against the side.
“Let’s go see what all the hubbub is about.”
‘That’s not a good idea, Captain. We don’t know what this place is, or who is going there. We should stay where we are until we can get more information. Or even better, we should fold out of here before we get caught.’
“Where is your sense of adventure, Adi? No great story starts with “I chose to sit around and not investigate an interesting thing happening right in front of me.””
‘You know plenty of stories start like that, Captain.’
“You're missing the point. This is a place of legend. How can we not go?”
‘Because dead men tell no tales.’
“For merely a digital presence you sure are pessimistic.”
‘I thought we weren’t using that word.’
“I’m glad you’re in agreement. I knew you would come around.”
Kaelum taps a few buttons and flips some switches as the console in front of him lights up. He reaches forward and grips the thruster controls.
“I’ll take us up to the docks. You take over docking protocols once we are within range.”
‘That’s not what I was agreeing with. We should not go. We weren’t invited.’
“They say that if you see a campfire it is an open invitation to gather around, warm your toes, and commune until it burns out.”
‘Hearsay. Those restovers are full of scum and scoundrels hoping you will one day fall for one of their traps.’
Kaelum pushes the throttle bars forward as the ship glides into motion.
“Then they know me well and their traps are well laid. Let’s go see if the legends are true.”