The first of these planets (from the sun outwards) was a molten world with little in value hidden away inside it. It was, however, rich in iron and similarly common metals. Though naturally these things could be found in abundance upon this world and were easily harvested, such planets were typically not kind to biological lifeforms and thusly they did not settle this world. They did however name it Ignis.
The second planet was better but not particularly promising. The planet was a desert world and upon its Roche limit was a moon steadily decaying and shredding itself. It too was rich in mineral and metal resources however a nearly constant rain of fragments from the moon's destruction left it far undesirable for colonization even if its impact on industry would have been immense. Thusly, they did not settle this world either... but they did name it Impulsum.
The third world was barren and without atmosphere. Its surface was rife with fertile ground and it had frozen rivers and lakes upon its surface. Many abandoned cities lay all around and dotted its surface with ruins that were undoubtedly a source of alien cultural riches, treasure and perhaps even technological dreams for scientists that wanted to find out xenotechnology even if it wasn't advanced. To them, even an alien toaster was considered a treasure trove just to see how another species had solved a problem. Though this world was not the one they settled they named it Rarus.
The fourth planet was a gem in space. Her resources were plentiful enough to maintain a steady infrastructure and had enough metals and minerals to begin the foundations of a space station. Her grounds were fertile enough for farmers to feed the population and best of all; the planet could support life. Endless seas of blue stretched on over endless seas of green that made up her oceans, forests, hills, valleys and mountains. Though she was slightly larger than Earth she mimicked her almost perfectly. They named her Terra Nova and settled this world though they did survey the entire system just to be safe.
The fifth planet in the solar system was technically a pair of planets close enough together that their gravitational forces worked in tandem as they orbited one another. There was a thin band between them that could, quite easily, be leapt crossed with aircraft not normally suited to going into space. To put it simply a helicopter could have crossed from planet to planet. These twin worlds were fairly rife with anomalies to study and physics questions begging to be solved but little in the way of resources or fertile lands due to the unstable climates and terrain. They named these planets Gemini for their nature as twins.
The sixth planet turned out to be a gas giant. Primarily composed of methane and hydrogen, the settlers were swift to set up mining operations. Though these operations were small (with most stations only having a maximum crew of approximately twenty people) they were extremely efficient. The fuel from this gas giant is used to power small generators, the combustion engines and afterburners of small fighters and shuttles as well as used to make other compounds. They named this world Cibus.
The seventh planet was a frozen wasteland with no resources to speak of. Though the planet was small and barren of anything useful it could have later proved useful as living space or even simply for scientific research. Perhaps more importantly was that its orbit specifically kept it out of the path of other planets so that no more than one planet was ever between it and any spot in the solar system; making it an excellent location to place an interstellar missile site if the colony ever built one… or a black site if they needed one. Perhaps even more peculiar was that this world had a moon between it and its sun which prevented any light from ever reaching it on any side given the position and size of the moon as well as since both were tidally locked to their sun. They named this world Tenebris.
The eight planet of the star system featured an extremely cold surface but little water content. Thusly, the planet was barren in terms of plant life upon its surface and had very little to offer in the way of mineral or metal content. However, underneath its surface were fungi that were both bioluminescent and also found to be extremely useful in making medicines. While the mushrooms themselves didn’t make anything spectacular they did prove to be a ready replacement for common herbs and plants that their people lacked; providing a steady supply of medicine when the fungi were transplanted into hydroponic bays in the colony. They named this world Vita.
And finally? They named the sun Sol Novum.
“Mommy! Mommy!” shouted a little girl as she ran across Charlie’s path and zipped past a small group of people. The little furred girl was immediately scooped up by her mother as Charlie walked by and suppressed a smile at the sight. This was what he had fought so hard for. This was what he had lost his leg for. This is what his brothers and sisters had died for…
“This is a four kilogram slug of tungsten and depleted uranium! Now privates, let me inform you of the baddest mother fucker in space! Sir Isaac Newton! Why is he the baddest mother fucker in space?! Why don’t you fucking tell us Private Yarn! What is Newton’s first law?!”
“In an inertial frame of reference, an object either remains at rest or continues to move at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by a force, sir!” shouted the private that the drill instructor had been shouting at and getting nose to nose with.
“You are God damn fucking right you son of a bitch! When you fire this slug into the ether, somewhere, sometime, you are ruining SOME MOTHER FUCKER’S DAY! It might be a year, two years or two billion years but you are killing SOMEONE! We do not simply fire these things from the hip! You are accountable for every single shell you fire every single time! Now each of you fucking drop and do pushups until I get tired! We will make you accurate in space or you will…” the Drill Sergeant continued as Charlie walked past him and onto greener pastures.
“I love you…” a pair of new lovers whispered to one another outside the command center of the settlement as Charlie walked indoors and gestured to the nearby personnel.
“Alrighty. You. How’s it lookin’ in here? We still doing alright?” he questioned the Anubian that sat behind the desk. The Anubian was missing both legs… but he still continued to serve his country as a desk jockey now that infantry was out of the question.
“The Sojourner is being packed to the brim with supplies and she’ll be launching in less than a minute. When she comes back we’ll have enough hydrogen and methane to power almost twenty percent of Earth, sir. I’d say that if we found someone to trade with we could probably make more than a pretty penny off of just what we have here.” The grey muzzled creature spoke as Charlie leaned over to inspect the screen himself. What he saw was exactly what the Anubian spoke of; a solid place to found a colony.
“Good work Ensign. Make sure it stays that way for me. I’m headed out towards the outer edges of the colony to do some inspections on the flak guns they’re building. Our first encounter nearly went south when we got here so I’d like to have the biggest gun to make sure that no one encroaches upon our peace. I’ll be out and about after that mapping new areas so be sure to let the others know I’ll be gone for a while. I’m taking a truck and I’ll find someone to take with me. Maybe a pretty girl if I’m lucky.” He stated before clapping the worker on the shoulder and making his way back out into the beautiful landscape. War had not yet touched its surface… but Charlie knew that would eventually change. It was merely a matter of when rather than if.
He did as he said. The soldier turned commercial captain turned advisor made his way along and inspected each and every gun until it was done. Progress was swift here. And Charlie made his way to the local watering hole (bar) to pick up someone willing to go along with him to make some extra cash. “Which one of you grease monkeys is looking for work? I’m taking a truck out into the wilds to do some scouting. Might be able to find some new resources out there and I’m sure any of you would love to have the mining rights to them.”
And then some son of a bitch landed a ship... "My work is just... never done." he grumbled to himself as he made his way out of the bar and walked across the settlement. Ships took a while to get from orbit to the ground. Even falling at maximum speed, a human being wouldn't even kiss the soil until fifteen minutes later. So? Charlie made his way over to the landing pad and stood there as he waited for the starship to land properly so that he could greet the newcomers.
"I take it I am to speak with you?" She asked, her voice low and silvery. Her green eyes looked over Charlie deliberately, unashamed of the fact she was likely sizing him up. "My employer has taken a mild interest in you. I am here to represent that interest," She smiled. "I wish to speak to the one in charge of this little colony..."
For some of whom walked the arteries of this ship, her heart had become like a second home (well, third really), and they strode through her halls with a flare of confidence. But for those who hadn’t toured through Eimyrja for months at a time, the warship was sickeningly foreign.
Although as a whole the Zahkarien was designed in a much later time, the engineers worked throughout her drifts to gradually update her without losing the oblong, tapered shape of her structure. With a length between 1,600 to 1,900 metres, and a width of 600 metres, her bow was triangular, and her body featured ridges that flared from her nose and to her back. The Zahkarien was equipped with twenty hammers, ten per side, resting along her top like the points of a crown, each equipped with long heads that split into three armored magnetic rails.
And so for months the Zahkarien pulled herself across the star’s, her gravity anchors slowly rotating around her frame and her deflector shields engaged at a low level. Here, the warship was tasked with delivering resources to Sol Novum, and perhaps making allies with their neighboring star system. But until they’d arrive, the aviators worked day by day at gradually upgrading her insides. Tiers of engineers who were getting more familiar with her internal structure if they weren’t already.
By the time the Zahkarien emerged among Sol Novum, the crew aboard the ship seemed a bit anxious as well as in awe. Each member gazed upon the binary pair of planets known as Gemini, quietly speculating the bridge between the two with wonder. But finally, after such a long journey, the Zahkarien came to orbit Terra Nova, each individual of the crew was as equally anxious as the next to finally set foot off of the warship, that the air seemed to buzz with it. Unfortunately only a small collection of people would partake in breathing the fresh air of a planet and not the lungs of the ship. Among this collective, was Adri Siglei.
The aviator was selected for greeting the colonists mostly for his knowledge in speaking the common English, where the rest of the crew were more inclined to speak the elden way. However, the dravin was hardly the most friendly of his people. Upon landing, the crew gazed about Terra Nova and it’s people a silent crowd, the edges of their minds wondering when Jotunheim would blossom in such a way.
She’d more than likely, given her level of alertness, know that there were blades hidden in the wrists that would envelop themselves in plasma if he extended them. Their total length? A full foot past the wrist for each collapsible wrist blade. She’d probably know about the hidden holdout weapon in the forearm of his right arm… a total of ten rounds of five-five-six millimeter NATO for him to use in an emergency. She’d probably see the thrusters on all sides of his armor capable of being used as a weapon in a pinch if he ‘hugged’ her and set them to superheat. She’d probably see the grappling hook in his left arm; useful for maneuvering but capable of being used as a weapon… and there was so much more that he was armed with that could be used as a weapon…
And perhaps even more terrifying was that judging by the way he was standing he wasn’t shy to use even improvised weapons against her if it came to a fight.
Oh. And the Dravin arrived. Charlie pointed towards them and then to the nearby bar where he knew he’d be able to get a quiet and isolated table away from the hum-drum of normal society where things could be discussed without the common man hearing. Sometimes information was sensitive after all…
“Alright. You’re a guest here so I’m telling, not asking. You’re coming over there into that bar and we’ll discuss whatever offer it is you’ve come to make there. Joining us will be a business partner of mine. They’re here to pick up resources but either we’re late or they’re early. I haven’t decided yet.” He told Lilith as he stepped away and ignored the pistol hidden underneath her arm. “Come along. I don’t bite… usually.”
"I represent a woman named Chloe Writa, a businesswoman who has her hands in quite a few people based industries," She explained, looking over her Datapad. "And we are always interested in new opportunities to help support people. While are methods to some are considered extreme, our goal is philanthropy," She smiled. "By the looks of it, your colony is rather new. So, we would like to make something of a... Funding deal..." She offered. "We can help with trade, we can direct supplies to your colony, we can help you with anything you may possibly need or desire..." She added.
"Of course, in return, we would like to secure industry and resources on your planet. The workers would be yours, you can tax them however you wish, We would just like it if..." She thought, tapping a finger to her chin. "Your colony could be something of a subsidiary of our enterprise. We are generally hands off, we just wish to have something of a say to if you decide to start any fights unnecessarily..." She explained, crossing her arms. "And if you agree, we would give you any and all support we would be capable of..."
With the direction that the final gesture pointed to, Adri followed the hand and motioned over to the bar, airlines detached from his helmet so that his lungs could bask in the natural air of a planet, even if not his own. His wings hung low behind him, his tail slithering amongst his shadow. This place was peaceful even if it was bustling, and upon crossing the landing pad and moving to the bar, the dravin’s pinkish eyes observed the lush green foliage that swept all around the area, and the empty blue skies full of sunlight and life. If he didn’t know any better he might’ve mistaken this planet for his own.
When the trio had gathered at the bar, Adri was surprised to find that the cat-girl spoke first, and still not the ambassador. But rather then budge in, or even argue, the dravin just leaned by something and patiently waited until the conversation moved to him, his long tail swishing slowly like a curious cat’s might.
“I have a few counter offers.” Charlie started as he went through negotiations (which took a while). Eventually however they settled on an arrangement.
“Alright. Five thousand credits per month every month to maintain your rights to singularly own a space station above Terra Nova. This will not extend to the planet’s moons or any other celestial bodies in this starsystem. Your stations are to be solely for manufacturing and logistics; not military stations. Any ship passing through your station or docking will of course be required to adhere to your company policy provided that policy is neither immoral nor unjust. We don’t do slavery or indentured servitude, obviously. Furthermore; any Alliance military ship has the rights to dock with your station to receive repairs and refitting as well as refueling freely. By that I am referring to service charges, not the costs of the fuel itself. The Alliance will happily pay for resources at market rate. Any ship not landing or docking at your station of course is not subject to this as this airspace, as far as travel itself is concerned, is a free space.” Charlie spoke as he held a drink in his hand and swirled it slightly. “Oh, and furthermore if you screw me in this deal in the long term I reserve the right to put my size twelve and a half boot in your cornhole before turning you inside out… which’ll be sweet, sweet mercy compared to what this guy here will probably do to you.” He stated as he leaned back and kicked his feet upon the table. “Oh yeah… and we need a cargo ship so we can stop using the Sojourner.”
“Do we have a deal? This will of course be put into writing. I don’t expect anyone to merely take me at my word.” Charlie said. “Oh and as for you there big guy…” he added as he tapped Adri on the shoulder. “You wanna stick around a bit instead of headin’ back for your home system? It’ll take a few days to load all the cargo onto your ship anyways so you’ll have time to think it over.”
"Either your estimates are too high, your airspace allowances are too narrow, giving people ample ability to circumvent us. Especially given someone can just place a station in one of your planets moons, and easily shuttle material back and forth from there. It would be a walk in the park, actually. Especially given we would have to post defence to keep you safe anyway," She shrugged. "No. With your limitations, this is just not financially sound. You are a population of 2000 people. Ms Writa has individual clubs that currently employs more people than that, if my ships sensors are correct," She said with a frown. "If nothing better can be concluded, my employer will simply have to rethink how she will do business with you," Lilith shrugged.
"I don't think you fully understand how space station economy works in this sector of space, so let me give you this," She said, her kind tone slipping for a far sterner one, her face stone cold. "No other space stations in this system. Our facilities act as your customs from outside systems. We can give priority access to Alliance ships in urgent situations, but mundane? No. The station won't be particularly large in the beginning anyway, we have to build it." She finished. "A Cargo Ship can be provided if you provide us the benefit of being able to make the money for our station back," She finished.
Before the dravin formed verbal words, there was a series of sounds that emitted from within the aviator suit, first being that of like feathers ruffling slowly, and then low chittering. And with how his tail seemed to move now suggested that the dravin was contemplating.
“My stay must be accepted by the captain.” The dravin said quietly, a low growl in his voice. His speech was burdened by a heavy north Germanic accent, and as he spoke there seemed to be a bit of hesitance in every vague word, suggesting that perhaps he wasn’t yet familiar with the common tongue of these people.
Adri seemed to recognize the tension building in the air amidst this conversation, no matter how subtle. He must’ve considered this a good time to retreat back to the drop ship, before the heat between these two got any more immense. And so with that, Adri quietly slipped away from the bar without even a goodbye- the usual way Adri exits.
The small team of aviators worked to load cargo up to the Zahkarien, and drops from the warship traded between the landing pads, rising and falling back to back. And for a little while, Adri worked among these teams, stacking cargo onto the drops and sending them back up to the warship’s loading bay, until finally, he was summoned to the Zahkarien’s deck.
“You want me to what?” Adri asked quite sternly, obvious doubt dressing his face as he felt his fur bristling with frustration. He might’ve even had a twitchy eyebrow.
Standing before him was a live-stream hologram of one of the most powerful hands in the dravin militia; Superior Mon’arc Aldrnari. Even though captured in many hundreds of pixels, they rendered together to picture his sleek golden sash that fell from his right shoulder, and the polish-like glow of the golden trim of his crimson armor, a collar of brown fur resting among his round-plated shoulders. The holographic technology even went as far as to reveal his sword hitched to his hip. Even with it’s finer details blurred, Adri recognized the whitish-tan braided hilt of the Eimuria, and the tattered, scorched entrails that fell from around the pommel, shaped into a chess piece-styled dragon head.
“I want you to stay here as an ambassador for our people.” Mon’arc replied, with one hand resting gingerly among the pommel of his blade. “Consider it a vacation. You might have full access to the technologies of these colonists, and could delve into the next level of engineering.”
“What of Nidavellir?” Adri asked, a touch of like panic creeping into his voice.
“You act like you’re the only one that works on that ring...” Mon’arc replied, obviously not swayed.
“The same warship that outlived your father, and may very well outlive me and you?”
Adri then fell quiet, seeming slightly tilted and not in the sense of aggression. He sort of stood there, wondering if it was time to throw himself out the hangar for good.
“What, your worried about homesickness now?” Mon’arc asked, his other available hand stroking its armored knuckles along the indistinct jawline of his helmet. “Spacial turbulence?”
“Fine.” Adri sighed. “I guess I’ll stay...”
“Technically, as superior, I wasn’t asking you.”
“I still hate you sometimes, but we don’t talk about it.”
“This is true. But that’s just an occupational hazard...” Mon’arc admitted a bit too casually.
And with that, the hologram fell apart as the stream ended, leaving Adri to still debate on the matter of throwing himself out the airlock. It’s not too late...
“So… having the station as a customs house or weighing station is agreed upon. Manufacturing anything legal on the station is agreed upon. Shipbuilding is also agreed upon. Naturally, we’ll have our own people here to inspect ships should they be built for the purposes of military. However as far as civilian aircraft go, you’re in the clear. Mind you this doesn’t prevent someone from manufacturing them on the surface but for a long time you’ll have the market cornered on large ships like frigates and above.” He stated as he stood up and extended his hand. “I presume we have a deal then?” he asked her as he kept his hand extended.
Once the shake was accepted Charlie again took a seat and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “The cargo ship will be sold to someone to own privately. I don’t know quite what you people use for measurement here but we require a ship capable of carrying roughly one hundred tons of cargo for solids and I wish I could tell you what the gasses require but I honestly don’t know.” He added as he rubbed his eyes. “Feel free to stick around here if you’d like. I can’t imagine too many people will turn their heads at a cat-woman running around.”
The fact that this could very well be the last time that he walked amidst all that he found familiar, that he called home even if it was a warship. Not to mention the burden he now would have to carry on his shoulders, being the voice of his people, and carrying their opinions. One thing was certain though:
His father would’ve been proud.
In a way, Adri was walking in his father’s footsteps, indirectly chasing the shadow of a man he never did truly know. And in not mentioning this fact of reality to Adri, that meant Mon’arc knew it too, if not having given the dravin the push to do so. No, more like passively-aggressively forcing Adri to do so, by using his place in power. How typical.
And so Adri gathered what things he did have aboard the Zahkarien, preparing himself for an entirely different chapter towards his future. And within the belly of a drop ship, feeling the bird shiver against Terra Nova’s atmosphere, the dravin felt himself quaver in uncertainty of what was to come next. For once, he actually felt the claws of fear groping him, afraid to let go quite literally every physical thing that he knew, hearing Mon’arc’s voice quietly whisper in the back of his mind, ”This, is an order.”
“This contains a lot of our culture and history. It contains copies of our constitution and many other things. I know not what the government here will eventually turn into. However it will follow this constitution to the letter.” He told her as he let her read through the document to the end.
We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United Systems Alliance.
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested into the Congress of the United Systems, which shall consist of a Senate consisting of at least one Representative per planetary body. Planets or systems may represent their governments with a singular person, affording the population of their domain a single vote. Systems with senates or congressional governments may be represented by a chairman or by their senators operating under the authority of their people.
Section I: A representative's vote is to be weighed in proportion to the population they represent.
Section II: All votes with regards to a forcible change of government must be unanimous excepting the government in question to be changed.
Section III: All representatives retain all trading rights afforded by their government and people. Planetary and System trading rights as well as taxation upon the trade, individual property and trading rights are afforded to the state.
Amendment I: Right to Freedom of Expression
The Senate shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II: Right to Keep and Bear Arms
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the individual to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
Amendment III: Freedom from Quartering
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in upon private land or starship or station, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Amendment IV: Freedom from illegal search and seizure
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment V: Protection from Double Jeopardy and Right to a Fair Trial
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without the consent of the owner as stated in a legally binding contract. All citizens have a right to a fair trial in a court of law and a right to a lawyer afforded by the state.
Amendment VI: Right to Fair Punishment
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Amendment VII: Citizen Supremacy
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
This Constitution, of the United Systems which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United Systems Alliance, shall be the supreme Law of All Land; and the Judges in every State and System shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
“There are far, far more documents than this too.” Charlie spoke as he set his helmet on the table. “I am of course willing to train your people in the ways of war, share technology and blueprints of certain things. Something like the Sojourner would be strictly off-limits until we get to know one another better but it’s not entirely off the table.” He continued before looking up into her eyes. “And entertainment and luxury aren’t our concern. Well… not primarily. Primarily right now we need population and to get our industry up and running.”
“As far as the commission of your station… how does ten percent sound? By that I mean the value of any cargo passing through the station will be multiplied by point one and that number shall be paid to the station as a surcharge of sorts.” Charlie suggested as he looked up as Adri came in and gave him a slight incline of his head in greeting. “I’ll have someone draft the paperwork for all this of course. My helmet records conversations. Well, can anyways. At the moment, it is.”
Adri decided to take a seat for once in this bar somewhere nearby, and listened as a few more words were exchanged before the woman finally left, the dravin passed the time by sifting through some documents on a holographic display laid out onto the table. He... might’ve been studying on how to be a proper ambassador...
“Sorry miss. This is the first date. I’m not that easy. Assuming I’m correct in reading that as an invitation.” Charlie stated as he stood, placed a hand on her shoulder and wheeled her around to face a nearby window instead. He pointed into the far distance on a hilltop. “There’s a house up there that someone built. They have no next of kin and they died just a few days before it was completed. I can’t give you the house but I can at least let you stay there for the duration of your visit. I ask only that you clear the landing pad and put your vehicle into storage so that we can keep the runway clear.” He offered Lilith as he removed his hand from her shoulder and took a half step away from her.
The house was quaint and quiet; a good place to retire to if one desired. The building was two floors and had an excellent view of the settlement. It was isolated enough that noise and traffic wasn’t going to bother the occupant but close enough that help was merely a few minutes away if it was needed. The lower floor was mostly glass on the closest side but whoever had built it had left telltale signs that the glass was ballistic and would stop most bullets… and plasma. Lasers, being that lasers were light, would likely pass straight through. It was furnished inside with handcrafted furniture though it was apparent that whoever did it was a hobbyist rather than a professional. Neoconcrete made up the majority of the home which made it thermally insulated and extremely resilient. Atop this was a layer of plastic meant mostly for decoration.
“I hope it suits you. As for you…” he spoke first to Lilith and then to Adri. “There’s another similar house nearby next to the mines. It’s a little bit noisy but I gander that you’d probably appreciate the noise being used to close, confined spaces within a starship where people are constantly coming and going nearby.”
And so follow them, the dravin did, admiring the sleek and modern design of the home, as well as the more rustic furnishings. Cozy, Adri thought to himself, thinking in the back of his mind on how it could be made even cozier. But he was reeled back to reality once Charlie made note of him, and the dravin seemed to take a more tense stance.
“Thank you,” Adri said quietly, that sound of like feathers slowly ruffling themselves emitting again. One might think that perhaps this was made from his wings shivering, but in fact it was made by the porcupine-like crest that ran down the dravin’s neck, the quills all equally shifting in slow synchrony. “When you have time, there are some things I am required to inform you of.”
The dravin seemed to make a nod, as if hinting that he was trying to not be rude amidst all this discussion between Charlie and Lilith. And with that, after being handed a datapad, he turned on his heels and motioned to depart.
Upon the document was a blueprint for a factory that created textiles. Normally a heavily polluted industry, the Alliance’s engineers had come up with a solution to clean up the environment… and it worked fairly well if she had an eye for such things.
Polluted gasses, rather than being filtered, were pumped into a water tank where they would settle after being filtered. The water itself was contaminated of course but it was a hell of a lot easier to clean water than it was to clean a gas. Once the water was purified the contaminants were sent away to be packaged and processed by other industries. Contaminants included things such as carbon dioxide which was compressed into a solid state before being split from the oxygen contained inside it; leaving behind carbon which was extremely useful in the steel industry and oxygen which was bottled and sent on excursions into space for astronauts, Marines and Navy.
It was ingenious to say the least; not that Charlie understood it of course. “Our industry has come a very, very long way since our time on Earth when we were still in the cradle of humanity. There are many, many other designs just like this. I won’t claim to understand them nor will I claim to have invented them… but what I can tell you is that they definitely work. Burning fossil fuels? Filter it in a manner similar to this and you’ll find you’re actually helping the planet rather than choking it out. Plastics? Make them biodegradable. All of this and more will be at your fingertips. Our designs and regulations are strict… but they work. And they work well. Back at home you’d never even smell the burning paper in a factory or the like unless you were on a frontier planet that hadn’t gotten that far to upgrading their technology to the modern era.” He stated as he pressed the datapad into her hands.
“I’m not taking no for an answer. Keep it. Use it. Give these people a better life than any of us can ever dream of.” Charlie added as he stepped back and looked back towards the colony. “Anyways, if you ever need a design we’ve got them. The Alliance back where I’m from is pretty interested in research and development. Our superpower as a nation? Our infantry, air superiority and heavy industries. No one out produces the Alliance for long. And no one outmatches her on the ground or skies.” He continued before looking back to where Adri was. “In any case, I have a need to be someplace. You can come with if you’d like but it’s entirely up to you.”
He made his way down to Adri again and left the feline up on the hilltop so that she could ruminate over the events that had transpired. As he walked he made a few commands with his implant to inform the command center that they would be opening up new mines and beginning to get a handle on industry; giving people generous amounts of room to grow and rights to land for practically nothing. Then again the market as far as the Alliance was concerned was civilian owned and operated with little government interference. Thusly; the excavators that were already onboard the starship would be put to good use and in short order for silver, gold, platinum, iron and copper… everything needed aside from a few composite plastics and of course uranium and tungsten to get starships built and ready.
“Sure. Inform away.” He spoke when the Dravin spoke to him. Charlie was patient but when it came to conversation there was a definite get-to-the-point attitude that he had. “I take it you’re sticking around for a bit?” he questioned before the Dravin began to speak. When he was undoubtedly informed of the ambassador status of this creature Charlie nodded and gestured with his hand. “Explore as much as you want… just no restricted areas of course. And try not to break anything.”
It was noisy, sure, but that didn’t bother the dravin. It fact, he hardly noticed it at all. The house was a Primeval Symbiosis nestled among the woods, the outside black and the front was all glass. While the outside was quite sleek and modern, the inside had more rustic touches. The wall’s were all stacked soapstone, mostly grays with touches of brown here and there. There were wood shelves hitched onto the walls here and there, and a pale bamboo wood floor. The way different parts of the house was put together was like a tiny house, with an open kitchen, and the livingroom and bedroom blending together, the middle of the house an open space. It was small and cozy, and as long as it was small, the dravin was happy.
Adri was staring outside the massive window front, gazing out at calm woods that weren’t caught in winter. It was warm here, with a spring-like breeze. He wasn’t use to this. All Adri had seen before was either a harsh winter land or the guts of a warship, maybe the all-metal surface of one of the orbital rings around Jötunheim. This was different, and foreign. But pulling him back from reality was Charlie entering the house- Adri had... left the door open...
Before Adri said a word, he waited for a certain cat-woman to come following close behind, snapping at Charlie’s heels, even. It was only when he realized that she hadn’t come that he finally addressed Charlie with a nod of welcome.
“As I... said before, there is... things, we must discuss.” Adri started, obviously unsure of his words sometimes, and being rather lengthy on the ending S’s of his sentences with like a snarl. “By order of my Superior, I am to be the ambassador of the dravin people. I... guess this means that my stay is... a while.”
Adri watched as the human gestured with his hand, finding his body language to be full of a rather ignorant confidence. He wasn’t sure if he should be glad or not of being the ambassador around these people, that is, if they all acted as such. But despite current feelings, the dravin knew that he couldn’t neglect an order either.
“Of course... uhhh...” He trailed off upon hearing that he was free to explore the limits, and asked to not break anything. “Really... all I’d like is to uh... fondle what technology I can get my hands on to....” Adri said quietly.
“With this trade being considered successful, our people’s shall know each other as allies.” Adri added, seeming to make a heavy sigh, along with some low chittering. “Just know that there are limits to what the dravin will do beyond simple trade.”
It was merely a second… nothing more than a blip in time that had come and gone faster than anyone would ever hope to remember. McKinley was buried a war hero. Charlie was later decorated for his own actions that day in a similar fashion. But Charlie felt like anything but a hero.”GROUP! ATTENTION!” shouted a military officer as Charlie stood in the rain in a dress uniform. The sounds of marching feet accompanied the foot-first coffin that was rapidly approaching his position.
In darkness… I shall be light.
Charlie saluted the other soldier carrying the coffin and wrapped his hand around the rail to guide it forwards just a little further. His steps were timed perfectly and Charlie’s eyes looked straight ahead as he moved towards the recently dug grave. The rain was still pouring when he reached it. The coffin had arrived via a horse-drawn carriage earlier. Six men had carried it a hundred yards before they exchanged their positions with the next six. Then the next. Then the next.
In times of doubt… I will keep faith.
“Specialist McKinley was a special man who came along in a time when he was needed most. A time that is now gone forever. When men believed and sacrificed, when hero’s walked the earth in mass. When patriotism was not just a word but by what men lived and judged the worth of each a man who lived a life most of us cannot comprehend. An era now gone as this warriors tour of duty ends at this station, and begins anew in the heavenly fleet. Sail on Marine into your unaccompanied tour, we salute you.” The Chaplain began as a small contingent of Marines waited nearby with rifles in hand. “What greater honor, that when a man moves forward, he leaves behind in each of us the best of what he was; a defender, protector, supporter, victor, a warrior, the last of the breed from an era when ships were made of steel and the men just as strong. He has reported for duty that takes him away from us for now as the Lord calls him home.” The Chaplain continued as he procured a Bible from within his jacket. “Those of us who remain behind, remember, and will continue to remember, because he now resides forever in our hearts. As I look towards heaven I can imagine him now… a beret draped just above the eye, as he draws upon his pipe and quietly he waits: The guardian of heaven’s gate… ‘My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." The Chaplain read with the Bible in his hands as tear drops joined raindrops from nearly every soldier that was present.
In those of rage… I shall hone my craft.
“We cannot know nor never understand the mercy and grace of our Lord. We cannot ever understand his plans for us… but we can understand that the Lord has not returned this day… but instead has called another of us home. Heaven needed another hero.” He finished with a brief nod to a nearby commander.
In vengeance… I shall have no mercy.
The nearby drill team went through the process of a twenty-one gun salute and the sound echoed on hills and metal and rocks and grass; painting the area with their distinct thunderclap. One of the spent shell casing was placed within the flag of Virginia before it was customarily folded atop the casket. It had been a necessarily closed casket funeral. There wasn’t much left of McKinley to view. And no one sane wanted to see what a plasma grenade did to a poorly armored body.
In the midst of battle… I shall have no fear.
The casket remained steady. Charlie’s arm ached. It even threatened to buckle but he held firm despite the ache and tearing muscle. “Ma’am.” The highest ranking officer, a Captain, spoke to a grieving mother as she kneeled and placed the flag in her hands. “I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Empire they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.” She spoke as Avery McKinley’s mother nodded her silent thanks both to the officer and that the rain hid what she could not compose herself enough to hide.
In the face of death… I shall have no remorse.
The casket was lowered and Charlie, like dozens of others, snapped into a salute. McKinley had been well liked. And his actions in death had saved dozens of lives on the trenches of Passchendaele.
He dressed into his armor immediately after. There was nothing underneath it. Wearing a skin-tight suit of armor over anything with buttons or seams was asking to have circulation cut off or worse; have it pressed into the skin until it broke bones. Once he was dressed however he made his way outside to find some food.
“Oi! Adri!” he called when he eventually came across the giant lizard-man. Bird. Thing. Charlie wasn’t one hundred percent sure what he reminded him of. “Heading out to do some scouting and see if I can’t find something to shoot and eat. Wanna come?” he called as he waited for the Cat-woman to show up. She had to be here somewhere! What kind of business partner would miss a potentially world-shaking discovery out in the wilderness?