Peacemaker Ocean Base, somewhere near the Eastern Peacekeeper Coast
"Unity II is ready for launch, Pacifist Nehred. All supplies have been loaded onboard, and it seems that we even have room for some more people even with the whole base population in. We just need you and the high committee, ma'am." "Roger that -"
The door of her office was forced open. Her security guards were thrown in to the room.
Nehred stared at the guards and asked: "What is the meaning of this?"
A person in a Spartan Navy officer's uniform stepped in with an armed escort. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Captain Jebediah Skipp of the Federation Navy Submarine, Glory of Sparta. I have heard that you have a colony ship at your disposal."
Nehred looked at the guns and thought. She was the only one with the code that would unlock the ship drive system. Unity II wouldn't work if she would be dead. She explained this. Skipp had his men lower their weapons and said: "I hear that you have empty space in the colony pod. Now, if you will hand over the other colonization pod when we are at Aldebaran, we will spare you and your people. Will you accept?"
"Do I have a choice?" Shera Nehred asked.
University Base, HSA control room
"Engage!" the Provost ordered. The lights of the base dimmed for a split second as the generators' power was drained to the weapon. The control computer gave a simple "OK"-signal and then shut down.
"It isn't supposed to shut down", the operator said, confused.
Suddenly a bolt of energy shooted from the operating console. The consoles started to shortcircuit, and a loud explosion echoed from the other section of the base. Zakharov looked as the two operators were "attacked" by the electronic pulses. Zakharov panicked and tried to escape the room with the two convulsing bodies, but suddenly he felt a strong burn in his back and fell unconscius.
Sidney and Brionin were the chief researchers of the University's only Planetmind-regarded project. They were in a Planetpark inside University Planet Institute, near the HSA Control Room, when the shockwave of an explosion awoken them and a couple of hundred others, volunteers of the project Telepathic Matrix, from self-enduced hypnotic trance. They rose from their seats at the Planetpark, and Sidney and Brionin wandered to the base corridors. They were filled with bodies that had seemed of just dropped dead. Suddenly, the Planet Buster alarm was set.
"Brionin, we must evacuate to the colony ship!"
"Yes Sidney, but I'm going nowhere without Zakharov... or his body."
Gaian Embassy, University Base
A moment ago, the whole three-hundred sized staff of the embassy had meditated with Planetmind in the Planetpark. Then a strange noise and a shcokwave had woken them up. Suddenly the personal commlink of Lord Richard informed him that Lady Deirdre wanted to speak to him.
"Planet Busters are coming your way", Deirdre said calmly.
"For Planet's sake..."
"I have a final task for you, Richard. Take the Planetmind specimen back to the container and... the University has a colony ship, try to get onboard. That is all I ask, and i understand if you can't... But do not use violence, Richard. Everyone has the right to survive..." Deirdre terminated the connection.
In a few moments, Lord Richard Brighton and all of his staff were making their way to the Aerospace Complex.
"I found him!" a shout in the corridors. Brionin and Sidney found the source of the sound and saw Zakharov. The shouter had kneeled over him and was checking his pulse. "He is alive!" "Wonderful!"
"He lookes like he has a serious internal hemorage."
"Damn!" Brionin cursed. "We don't have an MD in our team!"
"What can we do?"
"Let's take him to the colony ship, get the ship ready... and think."
Lord Richard ran to the closing hatch. He yelled: "Stop!"
The hatch's movement halted. A sound came: "Who are you?"
"Gaian ambassador. Do you have space for us, there are three hundred of us." "i don't think -"
"Wait Sidney", came another voice. "Lord, do you have a doctor of medical sciences?"
"I have four doctors in our staff."
"Ahem, Lord, if you give us two MD's we can have a deal."
"Very well, two MD's will become University citizens, and in exchange we get a ticket to Aldebaran."
"Accepted. Welcome on board, lord..."
"Richard Eugene Brighton, thank you very much."
That day, three streaks of light appeared and disappeared to the near-space of Chiron, and a moment after that huge shockwaves shattered the surface of the Planet, and a dust cloud shrouded it. It became, like Earth, a dead piece of rock. Or so it was thought.
UNS Unity II, MY 2399, Deck 6
One of the computer screens of the command centre came to life. It blinked, and warmed up from the freezing temperature it had fell to after the ship had entered hyperspace.
Tertiary ship computer system reinitialised -
UNS Unity II, ship log:
MY 2392, 0 days 1 hrs - Transfer to hyperspace
MY 2392, 2 days 23 hrs - course fix alpha
MY 2395, 167 days 16 hrs - course fix beta
MY 2397, 98 days 11 hrs - Subroutine alpha engaged
MY 2397, 100 days 4 hrs - Subroutine alpha completed
MY 2398, 302 days 19 hrs - Retro-rockets activated, program entered
MY 2399, 12 days 1 hrs - System boot, primary computer system initialised
MY 2399, 12 days 2 hrs - System diagnostics complete, ship status normal
MY 2399, 12 days 2 hrs - Subroutines beta to gamma engaged
MY 2399, 12 days 3 hrs - Subroutines beta to gamma completed. Results:
- Warning - Two known, two unknown objects detected. Jump starting wakeup sequence in thirty seconds... Sequence One engaged... waiting for further commands.
The ship computer specialist Troy Heights read the last lines, told the computer to make a print of the log and brandished it to the captain. Captain Julie Mikalova took and read it. "I need you to tell me two things. The first is, is Pacifist Nehred included in sequence one?"
"No ma'am. She is with the chief civilian officers in sequence two."
"Secondly, how about the Spartans?"
"They actually removed the civilian officers from sequence one and included themselves in it. We had no chance to alter the commands before going to cryosleep. That 'captain', umm..."
"Skipp, Mr. Heights."
"Well, Skipp woke up with the first ones. They got out the rest of their people manually, and now they have fortified themselves in cargo bay two, the one with the other Landing Unit."
"Could we try to remove them?"
"They have a large amount of handguns, brought from that sub back in Chiron. Actually, commander Hoynes took the liberty to seal that section of the ship off so that they can't take over the other LAU too."
"Hoynes is awake? Was he here before I was?"
"Yes ma'am. It seems that he was accidentally moved from the second sequence to the first in the mess before launch. We might have a Spartan in sequence two, however."
"Oh well, things could be worse. Order Doctor Woods to wake up Nehred." It wouldn't be pleasant having that 'leader' marching around giving orders to my crew, captain Mikalova thought, but I guess if I'd try to take control the people would just get mad and have my head brought to Nehred on a silver platter.
She examined further the log print and asked: "What are these "unknown" objects, Mister Heights?"
"I already asked the chief science officer to activate the rest of the scanner systems and take a good look at them. Also, Mister Girdeaux is preparing the landing probes."
"How about the ship itself?"
"The chief engineer reports that excluding some minor structural faults and problems the ship is in perfect condition."
"So everything seems to be fine, apart from those gun enthusiastists in the cargo bay, strange objects hovering near Aldebaran and a pompous civilian politician waiting to be waken up in the cryo bay?"
"Well, to be honest ma'am, it wasn't such a good idea to name this ship Unity II."
HSS Shimoda, command bridge
"How is this ship equipped?" The newly-appointed Primus Matsumura asked the commander of the ship, who Matsumura had persuaded to follow him.
"We have only the colony pod at the aft cargo bay and supply tanks with nutrients and lots of energy. And of course, a hefty armoury. Only necessary computer systems, no scanners."
"Excuse me, sir, but the Hive is known of it's ascetism, don't you agree?" "True. Guns and bread, if you want more then hook up with Morgan." Matsumura laughed. "I'm glad I didn't do that on Chiron. The poor fellow never thought of investing in a space ship."
UPCV Marie Curie
"How is Zakharov doing?" Sidney asked doctor Hayworth.
"He seems fine, but there is no change in his condition. We used a rather innovative program on him. We didn't put him in cryostasis, and we set an alarm to him so that if he would wake up from the coma I and my colleagues would be woken up and sent here. We were also afraid that he would be damaged by the freexing process. But, there's no change."
"What happened to him?" Brionin asked.
The surgeon, doctor Stenbach, answered: "The operation we did before launch helped us a lot. That and the medical equipment, and we have a pretty accurate diagnosis. A very powerful source of neuroelectrical stimulii have affected his brain."
"They did use the HSA-weapon system after all", Sidney exclaimed.
"Amazing", Brionin said and then asked: "Can you give any prediction of his state?"
"There isn't an operational way to cure him... but, I and your biologists have determined that Planetmind is in a very close connection too our survival. Maybe Zakharov could be cured by it too."
"You have Planetmind with you, don't you?" Sidney asked with a hopeful impression.
"Yes we have, and we are planning on a way to use it on Zakharov. But we need time. I don't think he could survive Planetfall in this condition. Id you want to land know, you are going to have to do it without him."