Written 10 months ago
Saga: Destiny's Call
It was an important day for Illandra. Before her sat the several hundred Senators of the Galactic Republic. Just because she wasn’t in the Republic space didn’t mean she didn’t have a responsibility to her position. She was, after all, elected by her constituents. She also had a promise to fulfill.
“Food. Shelter. Breathable air. Life-saving medicine. Even before the formation of the United Republic, it was determined these things were not privileges, but that they were fundamental rights every person was entitled to. Parents should not have to fear that their children will survive the night when the items they desperately need lay stockpiled in excess, unused in some warehoused.
“That’s why it was included during the very doctrines of our constitution that all citizens are entitled to these necessities. Many of you might be wondering why a discussion about such things is needed in the current era. We know these to be part of a functional society.”
“However, as is common in these scenarios, there were people that found a way to circumvent such ruling. In a recent trip to the outer colonies, a group of Marines were called to protect a privately-owned mining colony from the group of raiders. When they arrived, they found this.” Illandra tapped the controls in front of her to start the slideshow of images Race and his team had captured of the mining colonies. “The reason these “radicals” where stealing supplies was because their ability to survive depended on it. The owner of the facility had exploited a loophole in the law to withhold fundamental, life-saving resources from their workers. Because the individuals had refused citizenship, the owner had no obligation to ensure their employees were adequately cared for. They were not paid a living wage. They were not given nearly enough food to the point that many suffered from starvation. The atmosphere of the colony was toxic, yet she refused to provide them with clean air or basic medicine. When the marines arrived in their encampment, the children of the settlement were huddled in a small tent where the camp had pulled enough air filters to keep the children alive.” She had timed that comment to show Race giving his own oxygen to the kids while struggling to breathe. She gave him a mental apology as she continued, he did say whatever was needed.
“As a matter of fact, investigations are starting to show that the corporation purposely implemented unsafe practices in the hopes that some of their employees might suffer fatal accidents to prevent paying out what little salary they owe, even to the families.”
“It’s easy for us to make excuses. Why don’t they just accept citizenship, even if it’s not the Republic? Why stay? Even if they wanted to, there is no Republic Center for them to reapply for citizenship. Their wages are so minuscule, that choice may very well be the difference between breathing and eating. The price of a ticket or even a call could very well mean their life. The children haven’t even been given the opportunity to apply for citizenship. The truth of the matter is that the corporation has manufactured a situation where these people have no escape and are forced into a position to be exploited.”
“While it would be nice to put the sole blame on this one company, I’m afraid it’s not that simple. This is a common practice for many outer colonies. We, as consumers, sponsor many of these companies by purchasing their products. We fund their ability to continue these practices. Whether it be fuel or our gadgets, our purchases sponsor this behavior.”
“Fabricated Poverty is not a problem or responsibility of any one person, nor one government. It cannot be solved by restricting laws to apply only to citizens of our country. That is why I hope that you all will join me today in sponsoring my first legislation submitted to Congress. The purpose of this bill is to expand the Basic Humanities Act and force all businesses and corporations that wish to operate within the Republic to apply those rights to every human they employ, whether they’re a citizen of the Republic or not.” The slide ended with another picture of Race, this time carrying half a dozen children to safety.
There were waves of mixed emotions from the audience, but the many cheers drowned out what scowls she got. A blue-skinned woman stood out in front of the crowd. Illandra did her best to ignore it while she took a few quick questions from the congress. When she finished, she tapped the desk next to her to end the session. The Hall of Congress disappeared as the holo-projection ended, and she found herself back in her office of the embassy on Alpha Prime. Jasmin and Kaylee were applauding her while the blue figure remained at the back of the room, waiting to be acknowledged.
“Wonderful,” Jasmin complimented. “Simply wonderful.”
“You picked a hell of a bill for your first submission into congress, but you did a great job delivering it,” Kaylee bowed. “It makes me honored to be your aid.”
“Or body double,” Illandra smiled.
“That, too,” Kaylee winked. Her busted lip had nearly healed, but the small scar still reminded Illandra of the debt she owed her.
Illandra turned her attention to the blue ghost, still patiently waiting. “I’d really like to celebrate with you two some more, but an urgent matter has just been brought to my attention. To be continued?”
“Over drinks?” Jasmin asked.
Illandra nodded agreeably.
“Yes,” Jasmin claimed victory.
Kaylee rolled her eyes. “I’ll look to get some security escorts.”
Illandra took a seat at her desk as she enjoyed the trailing banter. She turned her attention to the blue spirit floating in the corner of the room. While still taller than the average human, the alien didn’t have the muscular bulk of the two males of her species that Illandra had seen. The gold and white gown of the creature wore spoke of her importance, but not nearly as much as the alien’s posture and poise. There was a regal beauty to the female standing before Illandra.
“I was wondering when your people would send another representative,” Illandra greeted.
The blue ghost curtsied as she proceeded out of the corner. “Allow me to apologize for the mistreatment from my predecessor. I hope that your first encounter with our kind has not been so terrible that you will forever be scorned.”
“While the actions of your comrade cannot be forgotten, I am willing to look past them for the time being. I hope that his actions are not a reflection of your people’s normal behavior, and you will work to truly show your race’s true persona.”
The spirit bowed once again. “You are a true credit to your race, Senator. Your session I just witnessed only proves that.”
“I was just keeping a promise to a friend,” Illandra smiled.
“I apologize for taking so long to make my appearance. I have tried many times to see you, but some force has been barring my ability to project myself here.”
That force had a previous engagement. She had kept Conner close for some time while she considered how to proceed with the aliens. He was calling in some personal favors this morning, which caused his void zone to be unusable.
“It’s not your fault,” Illandra said. “I had defenses in place while I considered our next step.”
The alien looked intently at Illandra, trying to read her level of honesty. “Your government has psychically developed farther than we expected, much more so than these Euro-Alliance.”
Illandra thought that to be a helpful slip. “What is it you wish to discuss?”
The alien put both of her hands on her upper chest, palms up to show she carried no weapons. Illandra had learned that it was a formal greeting of their people. “I am Meitralia, third daughter to the High Klargarian of my people.” There was no direct translation for the title, but the meaning put it somewhere between a king and a president. “I come here today on a mission to exchange information. It’s clear from your exchange with Larnofious that your Republic knows about us and the Cenari. We wish to know what you have discovered in your dealings with the Cenari and how you managed to defeat them in the battle in the Consortium. In return, I will educate you in the history of my people and our war with the Cenari and offer whatever information we can to help you defeat the Cenari.”
Illandra doubted there was much she didn’t already know about the first war, but there was a large section of history after the battle she was eager to fill in.
“There is one stipulation, however. You must keep the existence of our people a secret. If the Cenari knew we still survived, their need for vengeance would be relentless. For our safety, we must remain hidden.”
Illandra felt that would be the case. “I am willing to agree to your terms, under the condition that once the threat of the Cenari is eradicated, your people come forth and initiate First Contact proceedings with the three galactic governments.”
The alien hadn’t expected that. There was a pause as she considered the request, Illandra wondered if she was mentally seeking approval from others. “We agree.” She didn’t think the threat would ever be removed.
“Then I will share what information I can,” Illandra agreed. “There are a few details that I can not provide you with as they are classified, but what information I can share is yours.” It had been Illandra’s way of covering up Tranagra’s involvement. If Meitralia was going to pick up that Illandra was hiding something, why not admit that she had something to hide.
Meitralia frown showed her displeasure. “Very well.”
Illandra recounted the events from three and a half years ago to the alien. The incursions, the ghost ship, the infected, the obelisk, and the events leading to Race’s destruction of the Cenari forces. Illandra edited the parts about Tranagra’s involvement with Race’s powers or cunning behavior, she hoped that she didn’t make Race seem smarter than he really was, it would only go to his head if he found out.
After the extensive session of questioning, it was finally Illandra’s turn to get some answers. “We’ve managed to piece together much of the events up to the end of the war, but the biggest mystery we’re still trying to solve is how you found your way here. What happened after the final stand?”
The blue lips of the alien smiled. “It is not as big a mystery as it sounds. During the last stand, our bravest warrior took the ship you found. The ship had a weapon that made the mineral you call dendrite to deteriorate and break down. Much like your people today, our society was dependent on it. Even the Cenari and their hosts are composed of it. Before the weapon went off, our scientists discovered a way to shield our capital city from suffering the weapon’s ability.”
“Our planet was not as lucky, as much of our structures crumbled to dust, they polluted our soil and air. Our planet became uninhabitable in the process. Luckily, the Future Seers had foreseen such a problem and granted us with a prophecy. Our capitol, Alarion, was a ship. Thus, we resolved to take to the stars and find a new home. We chose this planet as it closely matched the conditions of our own, and it was far enough away from Jamballo for us to react in case the Cenari ever came back.”
Illandra couldn’t believe the tale was over so quick. “How long were you here before being discovered?”
“Unfortunately, we don’t know. The shield protected most of the ship. It took much to repair the city just to get it ready for the journey. Because of the distance and our limit of supplies, my people entered a cyro-sleep. We made the journey successfully, but it failed to wake any of us when we landed. It wasn’t until your people started exploring our city that it triggered the alarms to release us. We made an arrangement with the Euro-Alliance to keep our existence hidden. In return, we shared our technology with them, including our ability to manufacture dendrite.”
That explained how the Euro-Alliance had kept their technological edge over the years and filled in many of the gaps that Illandra was missing. There was one thing that Illandra was curious to know. “Why didn’t you ever try and go back to the nebula for the ship?”
“We never thought it survived,” Meittralia admitted. “We debated for some time if it was even worth investigating. In the end, my father made the decision to focus on saving our people and not wasting the resources on the lost hero. Just like his life, his death was surrounded in controversy. Part of my father felt it was best for our people if the Marker didn’t survive.” The alien looked away from Illandra to hide her shame. “Had I known Tranagra had survived, I would have tried harder to convince them not to give up.”
The alias puzzled Illandra. “The Marker?”
“Tranagra’s birth marked the start of the great conflict that would lead to our civilization’s end. I believe you would call it a nickname. I never much liked the name, neither did he.”
Illandra wondered how far she could probe without setting off an alarm. “I take it you were close?”
“My father took Tranagra as a ward to protect him from the people’s discontent. The Elders stated that Tranagra would be key in ending the Cenari, so my father feared that people might react on their resentment for him and would lead to us failing to stop the Cenari. Tranagra was one of the closest friends I had.”
Illandra mentally shrieked with delight. She did her best to keep from jumping up and down while mentally drooling for more details. What did she have to do to get them?
Seeming to sense Illandra’s desire, the alien leaned in closer as if sharing a secret. Her cheeks lightened to a white color, similar to how a human would blush. “Tranagra and I were secretly engaged. My father had even blessed our union, on the condition that Tranagra managed to end the plague once and for all.”
Illandra asked Annette if she could believe what she had just heard, but only got the mumblings of some dream from Annette’s subconscious.
“I’m sure that wasn’t something you needed to know,” the blue alien told her, curious why she felt the need to share such private details. “I do not know how my people may be of much more use to your war.”
“Our war?” Illandra snapped out of her plans to reunite the lost lovers. “The Cenari are your creation. They are out for your destruction more than any of ours.”
“Forgive me, I have misspoken,” the alien apologized. “Our people are worn and out of place and time, and the will to fight has left us some time ago. It seems from your encounters that this Allard has already proven himself capable of handling the Cenari. I do not know of what use my people can be to you. But you will have what support we can offer. Tomorrow, you will receive a communicator. You will be able to signal me any time you need. Drop your defenses, and I shall come.”
“I do not think your people will be whole again until you leave the shadows. You should join us in the fight.”
“Your people have failed to make the truth of the Cenari public. How would they react if all of this were to be exposed? I will bring the matter up for discussion, but I do not feel that our decision will change. Maybe if we were to meet this Protector of yours?”
“Larnofious stated you referred to him as the Run’hara, did you not? I’m curious, where did you hear that term?”
“I thought the Run’hara was the deliverer of vengeance?” Illandra tried to ignore the second question.
The alien squinted her black eyes at Illandra. Illandra felt the mental spikes of her psychic probe hit her defenses. Illandra shrugged them off with little difficulty.
“Forgive my curiosity,” the alien said, realizing she had exposed herself. “That is a rare misinterpretation of that title. The proper translation is closer to, ‘the one who protects from those that prey upon the weak by delivering justice.’ Only the military associates the Run’hara with vengeance. Where did you hear the term, again?”
“We found some references to it on your lost ship. Race noticed it put the Cenari off their guard, so he continued to use the title.”
“Oh,” the alien scowled, not buying Illandra’s lie.
“I will put in a request to see if I can have Race transferred for a visit.”
“Very well. Until next time, then.” With that, the blue spirit faded away.
This relationship was already off to a rocky start. “Fudge,” Illandra called out once she was alone.