Which is why you haven’t heard from me for a long time.
Here’s an excerpt that sure to confuse and tantalize you. :-)
“Hydra to Janus, do you copy?” The voice on the other end this time was female. Teagan turned on the screen. It was a young woman, who had some middle-eastern features. He thought she might have been Nimet, the xenobiologist. He wondered why their communications officer – he couldn’t remember off hand who that was even though he was just reading the history file again yesterday, or even Carlos hadn’t called. He got a slight sink in his stomach and his senses became more acute. Something wasn’t quite right.
“Yes we copy Hydra. This is Janus. I’m Captain Teagan. Welcome to the end of the 22nd century. How was your sleep?” He wondered if she looked as beautiful in person.
“Well, it’s nice to know we made it this far. Although you must admit this is a surprise. Carlos tells me you have not set foot on Salacia yet?”
“That’s correct. You were the first out, took the most dangerous route, and had the longest journey. You’re all part legend, and part hero in our time. We figured you should get your names in the history books for not just being the first ones to leave, but land as well. Wouldn’t seem right otherwise.”
“Well we appreciate that. Of course Janus comes out looking a bit like a hero too. But I’m willing to share. I’m not here for history. I’m here for the future.”
“Amen to that.” Then Teagan followed up on his hunch about why Nimet was on the comm. “Is that a consensus on Hydra?”
There was a slight pause as Nimet searched for the right words. She became a xenobiologist to avoid uncomfortable situations with people, but her gift was so apparent and her intuition was so amazing that she was thrust into the spot-light anyway and learned how to deal with the messiness of humanity. It didn’t help that many considered her amazingly beautiful. She didn’t like it but she learned to play diplomat with the politics of science and at the same time turn down the advances of men (and some women) while trying not to hurt her career. Even after centuries of technology and education, some things never changed. But this human interaction stuff still reminded her of cleaning out the cat’s box when she was a child because her parents refused to get the auto-clean kind. Admittedly she preferred cat waste to conversation, which was probably a good indication that alien biology was in her future.
“Tentatively so, yes…but there are some who left because they wanted nothing to do with earth anymore, and here you are, inviting us to go back? And worse, for earth to come here! Frankly, I do understand their reservations.”
“I understand their reservations as well Nimet.” Teagan was a natural diplomat. “I can assure you at least, that there are not bus loads of people from your future earth knocking on the door to come here. The technology is still risky, and the expense is massive. Right now, my crew is the only one allowed to enter and leave the Salacian system – along with any of you, if you are willing. Hydra and Janus are the only two human carrying ships capable of interstellar travel and it’s going to stay that way for a while. And right now, were not leaving either, and for good reason. There’s something on the planets surface you need to know about – especially you. When we rendezvous I can share the details.” Suddenly, Nimet being on the com worked in his favor. She of all people would want to study Xue’s findings; especially with technology fifty years ahead of her time.
“We’ll you’ve peaked my curiosity. We’re docking with you at t-minus 5 hours. Let’s meet at t+2. Hydra out.” Nimet appreciated the olive branch and the reassurance although Teagan would have to do more of that if this whole complicated matter of Janus even being here was to go smoothly. Her honest feelings on the matter were quite conflicted but she surmised that having Janus was much better than not having her purely for scientific and exploration reasons. Right now, that’s all she cared about.
“See you soon. Janus out.” Teagan turned the com off.
“Well that sounded okay.” Brent said. But he was more intuitive than Teagan and his voice wasn’t too convincing.
“That’s what I’m afraid of. Okay, let’s get everyone together for debrief in the dining hall. We can eat there before we get prepped to do the oddest thing in the history of humanity.”
“Do you mean coming face to face with legends of the past or possibly finding extinct sentient life on the surface?”
“Yes.” And with that Teagan pushed his arms off and floated toward the exit. He wasn’t that hungry but he figured no one would eat a real meal again until they were on Hydra…if the Hydra crew even decided to keep custom and share a meal together – one space traveler to another. He figured the odds at the moment were fifty-fifty.