Authors: Thadd Evans
Tags: #Adventure, #Dark Fantasy, #Futuristic, #High Tech, #Science Fiction
Jason’s space transport ship reaches Icir, a crowded planet, a place no one aboard has been to before.
After a long trip through deep space, they need to find a safe planet to live on. Is this one at war?
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014 Thadd Evans
Cover art by Angela Waters
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
Published by Devine Destinies
An imprint of eXtasy Books
Look for us online at:
ST7 began decelerating. We would enter Icir’s outer atmosphere in a few hours.
Yar’s voice came out of my earplugs. “Jason, Greg, Nianda may need medical attention. She usually sleeps for eight hours. A moment ago, after noticing that ten hours have gone by since she went to bed, I tried to wake her by touching her shoulder, but she didn’t respond.”
I turned on autopilot, a device that would take over for a short time. “We’ll be there in a moment,” I promised.
Both of us entered the passenger compartment.
Yar, who was standing next to Nianda, turned toward us. “For the last nine days, Nianda has complained several times, saying she’s taken a lot of pills to get rid of headaches.
“Yesterday, I asked her if we could help. She said that only an RSS, a Robotics Surgical Specialist, could replace the frozen biopolymer tubes in her lungs. Then she told me she would search for one when we reached Icir.”
I scowled. “I just sent an email to a galactic air controller, asking him to help us find an RSS. The moment he responds, I’ll tell you.”
Yar nodded. “Thank you.”
As Greg and I headed for the bridge I thought about the RSS, medical professionals with difficult jobs. Every cable inside an HBE was different. Biopolymer tubes oxygenated blood along with other fluids.
Although Humans, Aito, and other races’ lungs made oxygenation seem easy, it wasn’t. For millions of years, red and white blood cells, telomeres, nerve endings, dendrites, and countless other cells had evolved to make maximum use of oxygen. As a result, Humans’ and other races’ bodies lived longer.
Humans, Aito, and other sentient races had created artificial lungs to extend their lifespans for over two centuries. Despite many successes, those lungs broke down and had to be replaced by a RSS. But if they inserted the wrong biopolymer tubes that obstructed cell regeneration, Nianda might die immediately—or she would pass away in several days, weeks or months.
There was another issue, an old one. Did Nianda have enough money to pay for her operation? I couldn’t afford it. I stuck my hand over my tablet, sending a text message to all the passengers.
Yeliv’s voice, a quick response, came out of my earplugs. “Jason, none of us has enough money to help Nianda with her medical bills. All of us are sorry.”
Greg shook his head. “Jason, I apologize, but I can’t afford to help Nianda either.”
Death by poverty—as I said, an old problem.
Later that day, an air controller called. An Imipor spaceport employee’s baritone voice came out of a wall-mounted speaker. “My name is Coumi. ST Seven has been designated as SP One-Point-Four. Land at runway D.”
“Thank you,” Greg replied for us.
I asked the air controller if any member of his staff had received my recent email mentioning Nianda’s medical emergency.
His translated voice came out of my earplugs. “They did. Paramedics will board your ship immediately after it docks.”
I thanked him and his voice was replaced by static, end of the call.
“One-Point-Four!” I blinked. “Greg, that’s rare!”
“Yes!” Greg ageed, astonished.
After passing several Aito space schooners, craft designated as such because many Aito liked the term, we flew over the gigantic Eaarting towers, part of downtown Wcip. It was late afternoon, and several domes cast long shadows on the huge Glemal pyramids.
ST7 touched down, a harsh bump. We reached the end of the airstrip and turned starboard.
Coumi announced, his voice coming out of our earplugs. “Welcome to Wcip.”
My intergalactic vessel stopped and docked close to the eight hundred foot long spacecraft that resembled manta rays, piloted by the Mlaan.
In the corner of the screen, not far from the starboard side of our ship, stood a huge crowd; Ontx, Aito, Etite, Glemal, and a combination of men, women, children and other beings, stretched to the horizon. Who were they waiting to see?
“Greg, that’s the largest crowd I’ve ever seen!” I opened my eyes wider, surprised.
“Maybe a million or so. Wow!”
Within moments, Greg and I entered the passenger compartment.
A small ambulance, an open-air emergency vehicle, flew inside and came to rest, next to Nianda. On the front and rear of it, Ontx paramedics hopped off their seats. At the same time, the back of Nianda’s seat lowered. Near the center of the ambulance, a panel slid out, and went under her back. Then the panel retracted, moving Nianda onto a bed in the middle of the vehicle. When she reached the bed its force field setting increased, preventing her from falling off.
After one of the paramedics examined her with a handheld CAT scanner, both of them spoke to each other, talking about her systolic and diastolic measurements. As their equipment whirred louder, they returned to their seats and the vehicle took off, leaving ST7.
Yar and I climbed down the steps, heading toward several Icir Representatives, Ontx men and women in burgundy suits. The enormous crowd still waited, rumbling softly.
Yar pointed at the Icir. “Jason, I need to speak with the Council Members. Thank you for your help.” She hugged me.
I grinned. “It was my pleasure.”
She bent her thumb, a Niil greeting saying that we would meet again, and walked away.
The crowd started cheering, “Ambassador Yar! Ambassador Yar!”
She waved at everyone, then shook each Member’s hand. Soon all of them, Yar and every Member, stepped inside a hovering convertible, and it went down a boulevard, flying toward the cone-shaped skyscrapers.
All around them, the crowd kept shouting, “Yar! Yar! Yar!”
An Aito man walked up to me, his upright palm aimed in my direction, a greeting. “Jason, I’m Agma, an office manager for Nafr, a Council Member. Please come this way. The Members would like all of you to attend Ambassador Yar’s reception.”
“I’ll go.” I glanced at Greg, Tia, and Yeliv, wondering if they wanted to attend.
Greg and Tia nodded. “We’ll come along.”
Yeliv rubbed his face, nervous. “I can spend a few minutes there, but I have to find a place to live.”
After all of us climbed inside a waiting spheroid vehicle, and it took off.
The vehicle touched down. We hopped out and walked, bound for a huge polyhedron, a building covered by glass facets. All around us, hundreds of spherical vehicles arrived and Aito, Glemal, Ontx, Etite and Ulthe climbed out, hurrying toward the building.
Agma pointed at the polyhedron. “Jason, this is Puha Hall. Every day of the week, the public comes here and speaks to the Members because they know that the Members will listen. Although it may take weeks, months or years, just about everyone gets a chance to talk about their concerns.”
“Amazing,” I said. We entered.
All around us, Turon, Ontx, Gdii, Aito, and others began conversing as the ceiling lights dimmed. In the center of giant ceiling-mounted screens, Ambassador Yar, who was at the opposite end of the room, stepped onto an illuminated platform and headed for the middle of a long narrow table.
On the opposite side of the table, all the Members stood.
She shook the tallest man’s hand.
Agma whispered, “Jason, Reama—the man Ambassador Yar just shook hands with—is Icir’s Prime Minister, the Ruler of our planet. Normally, he’s so busy he doesn’t come to Puha Hall. The only reason he showed up is because he must speak with Ambassador Yar face to face. If he didn’t, everyone on Icir would see it as an insult.”
Yar turned and looked at the crowd. After smiling, she placed her right hand on her left shoulder.
All around me, everyone else copied Yar’s gesture.
Agma grinned. “I’m impressed with her Yos greeting. She knows us well, almost as if she were an old friend.”
I nodded and put my right hand on my left shoulder.
Agma, a pleased expression on his face, paused. “Millions want to erect a thousand foot high statue of Yar because her students, pupils who learned how to speak at least one new language from her, warned us about the LN. As a result, we acted in time, and fought off the LN. If it weren’t for her, the robots would have killed all of us.”
Next to Agma, a Dseo girl climbed onto a man’s shoulder, and she grinned. “Daddy, I can see Ambassador Yar.”
Her father smiled. “Remember this day for the rest of your life. We have seen the legend. Ambassador Yar is with us.”
On screen, Yar announced, “Many of you want to erect a statue of me. Although I am honored, I hope that you will build more schools instead. The children are the future. Help them as best you can.”
The crowded began applauding, then lapsed into silence.
I whispered, “Agma, I must leave now. I want to visit a friend in the hospital.”
I pivoted and headed for the door.
Greg caught up to me, a nervous look on his face. “Jason, I’m going to remain on Icir because I love Tia. Both of us want to live here.”
“That’s fine,” I smiled. I’d guessed it days before. “Let me know if you have any concerns. I’m probably going to leave Icir soon.” I didn’t mention that I’d have a problem hiring more crew to replace them.
“I’ll do that,” he beamed.
We shook hands.
As I left the building, I began worrying. Replacing Greg, a good friend, a brilliant man, was going to be difficult. I was still worrying about that as I entered the hospital and raised my tablet.
A woman’s voice came out of it and told me how to find Nianda. I stepped inside the elevator.
To my left, a Turon man, a Nurse Practioner in scrubs, glanced at a Turon woman, a Registered Nurse. He smiled. “Ambassador Yar has just arrived at Puha Hall.”
The RN announced, “She’s amazing. We’ll go there in a few minutes!”
I paused, impressed by Yar’s outstanding reputation. I continued on, going down a busy corridor, and entered a small waiting room. Behind a huge window, inside the OR, Nianda was in lime green clothes, a patient outfit, lying face up on an operating table. I barely recognized her past the oxygen mask over her mouth.
On this side of the operating table, a surgeon kept studying a monitor. Near the center of the monitor, small indigo shapes that meant nothing to me crawled inside her rib cage.
Near the center of Nianda’s chest, a robotic hand made of titanium was holding a surgical hose, a narrow tube that was sticking out of her chest, allowing the doctors to pump out excess blood.
A recording, information imported from the hospital database, said that an ORA—an operating room android—had cut a one-eighth inch diameter hole in her chest, using a laser.
Close to the opposite side of the table, an Ulthe woman, a Nurse Practioner, examined a screen. Near the top of the screen, inside Nianda’s lungs, blood went inside the tube, not escaping.
To my right, a Dseo man in scrubs, a doctor, entered. “Are you Jason Six-Sixty Four?”
“At certain points, Dr. Goi and Nurse Helwo use nanites to repair Miss Qi’s lungs.”
I realized that the shapes were nanites. “Amazing. By the way, is Dr. Goi an RSS?”
I smiled, relieved by his response.
“There is a problem. During the voyage to Icir, she was exposed to many primary cosmic rays. They weakened her antigens.”