Out in the void of space, on the edge of the Bellude solar system a small ship shot past the furthest planets like a car passing trees in a forest. Inside was a human in an all-black suit, from jacket and shirt, to pants, socks, and shoes. Even their hands were covered with a pair of gloves that hid their pale hands from sight. In the centre console of their ship was a small screen with a small room filled with people sitting at a horseshoe shaped table. The person at the centre leant forward and spoke.
“Tell me, have you arrived in the Dolor system yet?”
“Yes Chancellor. It is a sad system to say the least, I am halfway through, and I see very little signs of any kind of civilisation so far.”
“Disappointing. They said that they were an advanced society, they must have low standards, something the leviathan dominion does not share.”
The person in the ship leant forward to another scanner and powered down their thrust, bringing the ship to a slow crawl. They looked out their window at the sight of the aftermath of a huge battle. Their eyes scanned the wreck as did their ship, before the pilot could confirm their systems did.
“Chancellor, it appears that there was a war here at some point. The battle field seems sizable, not to mention that my scanners tell me that there are some of the Dominions allies ships here.”
The room filled with a murmur as those at the table talked under hushed breath.
“Which systems?” The Chancellor asked.
“According to the scan there are ships from, Vento, and Maca. Them, and a substantial amount from this system. But if I am honest, the rough numbers from my scanners tell me that the Dolor system lost as much as the other two combined. Oddly the battle seems to be fairly even buy these numbers, would you like me to stay around and get an official count, it will take a few hours as I fly around.”
“No, don’t waste your time, I need you to get a representative from Dolor, I have a couple of systems that I need to talk to about… something unrelated.”
“Copy that, heading to Dolor now.”
The pilot re-engaged their engines and continued their venture into the Dolor system. Passing several planets and stations they finally reduced their speed as they approached the hub of the system.
“Planet Dolor, let us see who is in charge of you.” They said as they activated a scan on Dolors internet systems.
They say waiting for a response as they looked out their windows, watching as other ships passed by. All of a sudden they found themselves being hailed.
“Oh damn, I did not think people still used radio waves, I guess I owe R&D an apology for installing this. Go for Wren, who may I be talking to?”
“This is hub captain zero-zero-six, we are unable to read your ship signature, if you are to land in our station you need to power down any disruptors that you have active, and be ready with rights when you land, as your vehicle will be searched otherwise.”
“Oh that is cute, I don’t have any disruptors active, I just run a different ship engine to what this system is used to. So please go to your bosses, bosses, boss, or however far down the ranking you are. Because I am from the Leviathan dominion, and I need a to talk to someone who can actually help me with what I need.”
The radio was silent as Wren waited for a response.
“Please dock on platform one, it is currently being cleared for your arrival, and an envoy of officials will be there to meet you. It is both an honour and a privilege to have someone from your position here with us today.”
“The pleasure is all mine.” She laughed through the radio.
“What an absolute kiss ass, this is going to be an exciting visit, I feel like I am a first contact to tribe of savages shocked by my boom sticks, and light generating devices.” They said to their selves as they navigated the docking systems.
“By the Anom’s, what kind of archaic landing system is this, it can’t even talk to the dumb computer we had installed for lesser civilisations. How did these morons defeat two of our allies?”
Wren watched as a large dome with the number one opened up, letting out a much larger ship. She waited as long as she though she needed, then began her decent onto the platform, narrowly missing the ship that was leaving. Upon landing she pressed a button and her windows turned black, obscuring all vision of her. She relied on her scanner to tell her when the dome was shut and the building had re filled with air. She knew this was going to be a long wait so she closed her eyes and waited for her computer to wake her up.
From behind a sealed door on the far side of the platform a man in a fine military garb looked at Wren’s ship with intrigue. His neck and forehead sweat lightly as he struggled for breath while rushing to get to the landing platform in time.
“Come on, how long does venting air into the platform even take?” The man asked.
“Well about thirty minutes sir.” A nervous voice at his side spoke up.
“Thirty minutes? What was wrong with sending this person to a smaller platform? Why did we give them our biggest if their ship is the size of a shuttle?”
“I think zero-zero-six wanted to show off our biggest and best.”
“Do you think this is going to impress her, Wren is probably sitting in there bored out of their mind.”
The military man swore, and slammed his fist against the door in frustration, as he stared at the intricate designs on the side of Wren’s ship.
Once the hanger filled with air Wren was awoken by her computer giving her the all clear. She jumped to her feet and departed her ship, her feet landing on the platform as the far airlock opened, and a small collective of people walked towards her hastily. Wren rolled her eyes and walked towards them, meeting them half way.
“Wren, it is so good to see someone from the dominion showing us interest, I am the head captain on this station, you can call me, Dennis Tuis. These people behind me are here to answer any and all questions that you might have that I cannot.”
Wren lifted her eyebrows and laughed gently.
“Look I already had my ship scan your internet, and frankly I think you are all backwards apes, the social constructs you have created are baffling, obviously a more in-depth dive is needed before we can say for certain that I hate you, but for now let’s just say I hate you. Now.” She said clapping her hands together. “I don’t care who does it, but I need someone who can come with me, someone who is an authority on the war that happened between your fourth and fifth planet, because the wreckage of that zone has some items of interest, and depending on your answers depends on what happens to not only you but others within the dominion.”
Dennis stood with his mouth ajar, as did those who stood behind him. They stared blankly at Wren as she waved her hands at them.
“Shoo, get me someone worth talking to, unless you can answer all my questions about the war Dennis, but frankly by the dismal lack of awards crested on you, I would say you are not real military.”
“Now listen here, I served in that war.”
“Which is exactly why you are useless to me, I need a top brass, someone who governed the war, not a pawn. Literally any of you, leave, and return with someone I can question, I’ll be in my ship waiting for you.” Wren said as she turned from the group, walking back to her ship.
The entourage behind Dennis laughed, trying their best to stifle their enjoyment from reaching the Captains ears.
“Listen here you bitch, I won’t have some errand girl how I am not important, or worthy of your time, when clearly you are nothing more than a whipped servant.”
Wren did not reply, she continued her walk. Dennis watched as his subbordanates were walking away, discussing who they could contact. His lip curled back and he stormed after Wren.
“No, you don’t get to walk away from me, I was a crucial part of that war, and I will not have some woman come here and say she is better than me.” Dennis grabbed her by the shoulder and turned her around by force. “You will show me the respect I deserve, and you will face me when I talk to you.”
“Touch me again and you will wish you hadn’t.” Wren threatened as she stared across at Dennis, her jovial nature gone.
“Oh what are you going to do? I doubt a woman could hurt my smallest finger, let alone be a threat to me.”
Wren cocked her head, then her gun.
“You have exactly ten seconds starting now, if you are not off this platform I will shoot you.”
Dennis raised his hands high and his rage faded to fear.
Dennis turned and started to run to airlock, where his cohorts had just closed the door behind them. He slammed into the door and grabbed the locking mechanism just as a searing pain travelled through the back of his knee and out the front. He let out a scream as he fell to the ground, grabbing his knee he recoiled as his fingers touched something as hot as fire. He looked down to see a metal bar sticking through his knee, locking it into the half bent position it was in as it was hit.
Wren lowered her weapon and holstered it again, watching the captain lay on the ground in pain for only a moment before returning to her ship. She sat in it for over an hour, waiting for something to happen, then an hour more, and finally after the third hour the door began to open again, slamming into Dennis’ as it did. Out from the door a military guard stormed the platform, one helped the captain up as the others took aim at the ship, behind them a man with a military suit, and a breast full of medals stepped forward. He walked half way before looking at his men properly.
“Lower your weapons idiots, she is from the dominion, that ship could probably sink this whole station.”
“I appreciate your flattery, but sadly the best this ship could do is run from you.” Wren said as she walked out to the man. “I assume you have been selected to be my cargo today.”
“That is correct ma’am, I am general Knoxx, I was one of the lead minds that ran the war you are interested in.” KNoxx looked back to the groaning Dennis, and looked back to Wren with his mouth ajar.
“He implied he was going to harm me for hurting his feelings, used my gender as an insult, and decided my job was a flaw of my existence. So I put a searing rod of heated metal into his left patella.”
Knoxx closed his eyes and let loose a deep winded sigh.
“Get Tuis off the deck, and take him to a medical, I will deal to him later. Wren here is taking me away, I will return when the Dominion are done with their questions.”
“Sir!” The guards all called out, clapping their heels together, and walking from the platform.
Knoxx gestured forward with his head bowed slightly. “Please ma’am, lead the way.”
“I like you much better, come, the trip won’t take long, only a few hours, we are only going roughly ten systems away from here.”
“Ten?” Knoxx asked surprised.
“Yes, does that number mean anything?”
“Sort of, I assume that you have figured out faster than light travel then.”
Wren stopped with one hand, and one foot in her craft, looking back to Knoxx.
“Well sadly we figured out that actually, about point nine, nine, nine, seven was the closest we could reach. Also fun fact, the speed of this vehicle. But we did figure a way around that. Come on board, you will see shortly.”
The two of them climbed into the craft and the external doors closed, triggering the floor vents to suck the air from the chamber, in preparation for the canopy to open.
“I do apologise for all the delays you have suffered, some idiot decided to put you on a platform designed for cruise ships, and cargo drop offs. This will take a good half an hour. So maybe a good time to explain your faster than light work around,”
Wren gestured to the only seat next to her.
“Don’t touch any controls, that is the co-pilot chair, but also the only other chair, so just don’t touch.”
“Okay, so this work around, it is simple in theory, but I personally have no idea how it works. I believe there are about a million people who know in the dominion, and considering there are twenty-seven systems, that make up the Dominion, with a combined total of slightly over fifty trillion humans.”
“That is one in every fifty million humans knowing a secret, quite small, got it.”
“Right, so this is what is happening. We essentially, we, can you relax a little, it is creeping me out, you are sat like a board, you are making me feel weird for slouching.”
“This is how an officer of my rank is expected to sit, with a straight back and shoulder parted knees.”
“Oh right, image. Here.”
Wren pressed a button and turned the windows on the craft black again.
“Please for the love of Anom’s relax.”
Knoxx slouched into his chair slightly, letting out a small breath of relief.
“No one gives a shit about that where we are going, you can chill.”
“You are not what I expected to see coming from the Dominion, if you don’t mind me saying.”
“Relax, you don’t have to be so formal, we really are not a bunch of uptight pricks like your planet.”
“So anyway, where was I? Oh that is right, the work around. So we are not traveling through this universe, because it has too many laws, physics, all that nonsense. So what we did was create a drive that punches a hole into another universe that runs parallel to ours, but condensed, so even though our universes are the same size when we travel one meter in that universe, it equates to many in ours, so all we have to do is know how far we are travelling, jump universe, travel the distance, but shorter, then pop back out in this one.”
“That is, um, I don’t know what I was expecting, but that is not it. Do you know the distance difference is?”
“Well we are travelling roughly eighty light years, then doing roughly light speed, so whatever difference brings that down from eighty-ish years to about four hours.”
“So, substantially then I guess. I will be honest, it would take me a minute to work that one out.”
“Let’s be honest, not really needed to waste the brain power, knowing gives you nothing in return.”
“What does the other universe look like?”
“I don’t know.”
“But you have used it before right? I assume you used it to get here.”
“Oh I have used it many times. But it is so forbidden for anyone to look that once the jump engine engages it blacks all windows, and if you want to take the black down the ship jumps back into this universe.”
“Curious, do you know why that is?”
“Oh yeah, this one is actually hilarious. Apparently the other universe is a void, but not like space, like a complete void, no dark, no light. The first guy that went into came out crying, and vomiting. According to him it was incomprehensible, like trying to image what the universe would look like if it were a pane of glass.”
“So just a blank white space?”
“No, not white.” Wren said leaning closer to Knoxx. “Like glass, no light, no dark, perfectly see through, and like I get glass is not see through, maybe a better comparison would be air. Air is not light or dark, it is invisible, and that is what is in that universe, literally nothing. It completely ruined one of our greatest scientist’s minds, so it is just forbidden. Not that others have not looked, such is human nature, but each one comes back broken, it is impossible to imagine, so the brain breaks when it sees it. Or at least that is the theory.”
“That is a lot to take in if I am being honest.”
“Yeah you will get that, just wait till you hear about all the other Anom’s.”
“Anom’s? I thought you were reffering to a religion with that.”
“Ha, na. Stands for anomalies, universe is filled with them, physics breaking events, most are natural, but some we make. Welcome to the bigger picture.”
A light on the console lit up and Wren cheered.
“Thank you, finally. Not that I don’t love chatting, but we have about four hours of that in the void if we so desire. All this nonsense with your system has nearly been as long as the trip here, actually I think it might have been longer now that I think about it.”
Wren took the black down from the windows and Knoxx sat straight in a heartbeat, Wren laughed to herself as she took the ship out of the immediate area, being clear of everyone else she engaged the jump drive, and sat back. The ship angled itself based on her co-ordinates, then the windows turned black, and the engine started to roar like a volcano.
“Oh sorry, forgot to mention, it is loud when it jumps.” Wren yelled with her hands on her ears.
Knoxx had already covered his ears and was unable to hear Wren over all the noise.
From the outside, the ship started to shimmer, then ceased to exist. On the inside the engine calmed down, and they were able to hear each other speak once again.
“A bit loud isn’t it? I was worried that is was going to be that loud for the whole four hours.” Knoxx said as his ears adjusted back to near silence.
“Yeah, that is my bad. Supposed to wear noise cancelling earmuffs, but I forgot. This whole trip has thrown me for a loop. I think I need some sleep, mind if I catch some Z’s?”
“By all means, your ship.”
“Perfect, adjustments for your seat are on the side of the arm, feel free to pass out too if you want.”
“Thank you Ma’am.”
“Urgh, call me Wren, Ma’am makes me sound old. See you on the other side Knoxx.”
Knoxx watched as Wren fell asleep in her reclined chair, he stared at the front window of the ship and lamented what was to come, but instead of sitting on it, he took off his jacket, reclined his seat, and he too fell asleep.