Chapter 5: Throwing Shade or Illuminating History
The blood drained from Mr. Plentyn’s face. “How… How…” he trailed off.
“It’s the only thing that fits all the facts,” Seren felt ill.
Looking from one to the other, Jan asked, “But how could a sun be alive? How would you even go about making a living sun?”
Hokulua Station was built along the principles of stations just like it that the Children of the Stars had used for near ten thousand years. The stories said that originally the stations were stuck in one small sector of space, taking generations to go from one system to the other. Inter-Galaxy travel was impossible.
Constant war with pirates and other clans had nearly wiped them out. They were, as a people, on the brink of extinction.
A great Techno-Mage changed all that by developing a sustained cold fusion technique that when applied to a solid, barren, planet would create a micro-star. They guarded the secret of creating stars greedily and only rarely sell micro-stars to other clans, rivals, or species.
The micro-stars allowed faster travel, bigger stations, faster computers, and more powerful weapons. The creation changed the Children from a dying clan into one of the most prolific explorers, scientists, and groups in the known universe.
“I don’t know, but I also don’t know how to go about making a stable non-sentient star either.”
“Dad. Do you think this is a special case or do you think all the stars are…” Seren trailed off unable to say the words.
Jan’s eye went wide at the implication that their entire society had been exploiting living creatures as a power source and asked, “What’s different about this station that would allow the star to communicate?”
They all paused and thought about what they knew about the systems. It was Mr. Plentyn who said, “The power couplings!”
Seren caught on and continued with, “They changed how the power from the star is used. Most stations had secondary generators that would convert the power from the star to a stable current. The new power couplings just use the raw energy and store some in case of fluctuations.”
“But not all the systems use this method.” Mr Plentyn tapped furiously at his computer.
Jan shook their head and jumped to the obvious conclusion, “Just the ones we’ve lost control of?”
“Warning: entering Voidspace. Brace yourselves.” The station alert was the mechanical voice of Hoku but sounded smoother than it should.
Jan cursed and closed their eyes. When the ship had settled down, the captain contacted Mr. Pletyn over the coms, “Whatever you did, good job. We have almost all systems back. Can you get Coms up? We need to get in contact with our ships.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
The moment they’d come out of Voidspace, Seren had started to look at what the affected systems were doing. “Dad,” she said “coms aren’t down. They’re in use. I’ve never seen such a large data exchange. All the nodes are in use.”
“Well, that I can fix. Come with me, kids.”
As they walked towards the docking bays, Jan asked, “Where was the signal going?”
Seren smiled, “It seems to be pointed at something close by. From the intensity and spread, I’m guessing a planet or other station.”
“Why are you smiling?”
“If it can talk to someone, then that means we can talk to it.”
“What are you planning?” Jan couldn’t help but smirk, Seren’s excitement was contagious.
“I want to know where that signal is going.”
Mr. Plentyn put them to work. They connected the internal coms to the transmitter on one of the larger transport ships in the docking bay. After they were done, he contacted the captain, “Captain. You don’t have data or coms based mapping, but you have voice.”
They listened to the chatter.
“Echo 2 and 3, go get Alpha four from our… guests? Sir, can we stand down?”
“This is the captain. Give me a full report Echo leader.”
“Yes sir. Nice to hear your voice.” Echo leader told the captain about the ships shaped like stars and the mysterious planet in Voidspace with its own star. How one of the ships saved one of their own and haven’t attacked. They just sat waiting. When he was finished he paused and said, “Wait a second. We have movement. The ships are leaving and taking orbit around the planet.”
“Come home fighters. Looks like we have a mystery to discover on that planet.”
The three of them walked away from the shuttle and sat in a corner of the docking bay. None of the fighters were docked in this bay. It was for transport ships only.
“We need to tell the captain.” Jan said, sounding like the military officer they were determined to be.
“We can’t do that,” Seren sounded sad and worried while still having an edge of excitement in her voice. “The captain would have to tell the Techno-Mage and we’re not sure if he knows.” The Techno-Mages gave up their names and identities when they joined the order. There was one on every station and in every ship. They kept the peace and kept things working, while creating wonders.
They argued between each other for a long while until finally Mr. Plentyn shrugged and said, “Plus this is all conjecture. There’s no way to prove what we’re saying. I need to do some investigating. Give me a day.” His eyes were sad and his head creased with worry. After they both agreed not to tell the captain he got up and left.
As Seren and Jan were walking out of the bay Seren saw a shadow move in a funny way. She turned and followed it to a small civilian transport. It was a short distance jumper that held four people.
They watched as the ship powered up and as the doors closed Seren pulled Jan on board.
Sitting in the pilot’s seat looking like she needed a nap and a bath was Annie.
“Annie what are you doing?” Seren smiled at the other girl.
“I’m going to see what’s on that planet. Want to come?”
While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories: