Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 5


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5


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?”

Read Next (June)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 4.5

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Since I missed the update for April, here’s a bonus chapter.


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5


Chapter 4.5: All About Stars and Shapes

Seren

“I wanted to be a soldier not a repair-person,” Jan said, giving Mr. Plentyn a tool.

“Consider yourself part of the volunteer engineering corps,” her replied dryly.

Jan laughed and said, “I should be out there with the pilots.”

They stood in one of eight shield generating rooms. In theory, if one failed the others covered the difference. They should have been able to have minimal shields with only two functioning generators. None of them were working.

“Aern. We’ve lost control of the engines.” The commander’s voice was calm but barely controlled.

“If you just yell out everything that breaks, it distracts me from actually fixing anything.” There was no response from the commander.

After a few minutes of poking things with tools, he swore and said, “I can’t tell what’s going on.”

“What do you mean? You could re-build these systems from scratch.” Seren knew her father was an one of the best engineers in the fleet. He’d turned down multiple job offers in the station design corps for engineers. He said it was because he loved the challenge but she was fairly certain it was because he missed her mother and this reminded him of the time they used to do it together.

“Everything is working at peak performance, some of the systems are working better than they should. But those that are down aren’t broken. It’s like they just don’t understand what to do.”

Groaning, Jan said, “So it’s a code problem.”

“In that the hardware is fine, yes. I just don’t know how to get the station to do what I tell it.”

“Too bad you can’t bribe it. My little sister wouldn’t come out of her room in the morning if it wasn’t for her favourite cereal.”

“I suppose I could offer it some computer chips,” Mr. Plentyn said with a chuckle.

The three of them laughed and then he turned back to the computer with a sigh. He started tapping at the controls in a vain attempt to coax the station to function the way it was supposed to.

Seren couldn’t understand what was wrong. The AI seemed fine on the surface but what about the message they found? The message that was being transmitted through subspace modulations of the shields repeated, “fear, pain, death,” over and over.

“Dad. Can an AI feel pain?”

Looking weary and a little confused he said, “Not that I know of. You could have it programed to simulate pain but that would be cruel.”

“Is there any system that’s alive?”

“Not that I know of, except the bacteria that makes the memory banks.”

“Are there any old systems that were recycled?”

He stopped looked at her and his eyes went wide. “The micro-star. I haven’t been able to figure out how it was made or why it’s so efficient. Oh Black-of-Void.”

Jan looked between the two and asked, “Sorry for those of us that don’t speak techy?”

Feeling sick to her stomach, Seren said, “If an intelligent creature were used as a powersource they could create all of these issues. The Sun’s alive.”

Annie

It was another few hours before anything else happened. They stayed in position protecting the station from the mysterious star-shaped ships that weren’t moving. All Annie wanted was to go find out more about that planet. It looked lush and green from her viewport. The other side of the station from the planet was a small white dwarf star. It was as close to the planet as a typical moon.

Despite it draining her fuel, Annie activated her scanners. The planet was a typical class M with slightly higher gravity. The sun revolved around the planet. On the surface, there were signs of a long gone civilization.

The universe was an impossibly large place but the Children of the Stars had been travelling since they left their little planet. They’d catalogued hundreds of millions of planets and the preponderance of life was staggering. It seemed that despite being fragile and impossible to believe, life was incredibly common. Intelligent life sprung up everywhere.

Civilizations unfortunately had a habit of burning out before they’d taken to the stars. The Children were some of the handful of space-based lifeforms. It made that the Children had a fantastic amount of archaeologists, anthropologists, and diplomats. Beyond that, it meant that each citizen had a gluttonous curiosity about other civilizations.

The readings showed a civilization that had either died out or left a long time ago. The plant life from the planet had reclaimed every possible surface. It was under a massive mound of ancient trees that Annie’s scanners picked up a massive structure. It was the size of the station, made of an alloy that had resisted the elements and survived for millions of years.

When the computer showed her an image of the building she gasped. It was an eight point star, just like the ships outside. Why weren’t they moving to the planet, it must be their home world, or at least a world where their people had once been?

“Echo Leader. This is Echo 2. I’ve been scanning the planet. I know I shouldn’t waste the fuel. There’s a structure down there showing a minimal amount of power that’s shaped just like these ships.”

“Echo 2, conserve fuel and standby. Let the techs and archaeologists take care of the planet.”

To herself and off the coms she muttered, “Seren would have a field day down there.”

Settling down for a long wait, she concentrated on her thoughts and the data in front of her. She didn’t see Alpha 4 lose control until she heard his screams. “I’ve lost all power. My batteries are not responding. I’m going down.”

All the ships were equipped with grappling hooks and matter tracktor beams but she was too far to react. She watched helplessly as the ship fell towards the station. Just as it looked like he was going to destroy a large part of the rings, a Star-Ship (they obviously weren’t pirates) swooped passed the defendars and caught Alpha 4 in a beam of light.

Read Next Chapter


While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 4

Hello Dear Readers…

I completely forgot to write a serial story chapter in April. I’m extremely sorry and the usual punishment will apply. I will write an extra chapter for this year. As of now, my plan is to write 3 chapters for May.

Enjoy the belated Chapter 4


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5


Chapter 4: Ships Shaped like Stars

“Is there supposed to be a planet there?” Annie asked. She’d gotten to her second job just as the alarm went off. She’d run back and jumped into a fresh fighter and joined Echo squad as they were being deployed.

“Welcome, Echo 2,” Echo Leader said. Jason was a man in his late eighties and had been on clean and protect crews for most of his life.

“Glad to be here, Echo Leader. We dealing with the same pirates?” She couldn’t keep the smile from her voice. He’d been the one who recommended her for flight training.

As they deployed, tower replied for him. Annie’s brother said, “Echo team, you’re taking the stern and protecting the ship if they get through Alpha and Beta teams. We have no idea who these people are, but they’re not answering hails and are here in larger numbers than we’ve ever seen. Stay frosty.”

They arrived at their designated patrol area and tower said, “All teams ready, pirates are almost here.”

At first it looked like the stars themselves were moving towards them. There were thousands of ships, each shaped like tiny eight-point stars. They glowed brightly. “What in the black is that?” asked Echo Leader.

“Echo Leader and tower, this is Echo 2. Just so we all know, those are not the same pirate ships as last attack.”

“Copy, Echo 2.”

Nothing else was said on the coms as they watched the approach. The ships stopped just outside weapons range and sat there. Annie was going to say something, but Jason beat her to it. “Any idea what in the name of the great Mother they’re doing, Tower?” After a pause with no answer he said, “Tower, do you copy?” A few more seconds and he said, “Hokulua Station, do you read? Anyone?”

“Did we lose contact with tower? Is that even possible?” The voice didn’t sound familiar.

“Team Leaders, please sound off,” Echo Leader said. There was a series of sound offs as Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta Team Leaders sounded off and then each member of their teams did the same.

There were eight members per team and it took a long time to get through them. The ships didn’t move. Annie scanned the station and interrupted Delta team. “Sorry to cut in. My scans indicate that the station has lost shields, weapons, coms, and engines.”

The Team Leads swore. “Alpha 4 here. If the station has lost engines, why are we still moving at top speed?” The radio devolved into chaos as everyone checked their scans. They were still compensating for the station moving at top speeds.

“What do we do, Echo Leader?” Alpha Leader asked; the question from Alpha leader firmly appointed Echo Leader as the overall leader until the station came back.

“We do our jobs. Shut down any nonessential systems and get ready for a long standoff.” Their ships could hold position for almost twenty-four hours before needing to refuel. The gravity from the station’s micro-star made it so they were being pulled with the station instead of trying to keep up.

“Oh Mother-of-Stars… DO SOMETHING!” yelled a voice over the com after nearly two hours of waiting.

“Stay off the com or I’ll shoot you down myself.” Echo Leader sounded grumpy. “Have these things moved at all?”

Annie had been scanning them and killing her fuel while doing it, but wanted as much information as possible. She replied, “They have stayed at the exact same relative position since we started this. I also can’t find any signs of bio-life so either they’re AI or like nothing we’ve come across before.” Artificial intelligent life wasn’t common, but the Children-of-the-Stars had come across a few different species. “They’ve basically created a wall behind the station. I think they might be using it to coast the way we are.”

“So we don’t know what they are, but we’re fairly certain that they’re just hitching a ride?” Echo Leader sounded almost relieved.

Just as Annie was going to respond yes, the ships moved in towards the station. She said, “They’re moving closer. The only reason for that is…” she cursed. “Prepare for Voidspace.”

The space between galaxies was called Voidspace. It was filled with remnants of dead galaxies, crushed into fine dust. The result was an extremely bumpy ride and all sorts of radiation that could play havoc with any and all systems.

All the fighters did the same as the mysterious ships and got closer to the station. Voidspace was absolutely beautiful; with most stars too far away, the only light came from their ships and the station’s micro-star. The light danced and reflected off the galaxy dust in fantastic splashes of colours that put to shame any planet’s aurora-borealis.

The colours were so mesmerising that all ships were equipped with light dampening shields for travel. Even through the shields Annie found it hard not to lose herself to the beauty. It could have been seconds or hours that she stared out at the colours before the station appeared in a small clear area of space.

They were still in Voidspace, but the dust was being held back by something and the station had stopped moving. Thankfully their fighters were built to automatically compensate or they would have all crashed into the station. The dust was pushed back in a perfect sphere and it looked like they were in a giant soap bubble.

There was only one other thing inside the bubble.

“Is there supposed to be a planet there?”

Read Chapter 4.5


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