Chapter 5: Conspiracy Theories
K'orrza Rahn lay in his bed, glancing up at the ship's bulkheads, replaying the events of the last few clicks over and over in his mind. He kept trying to find the one point in time where it all went wrong. Where this whole endeavor went from a voyage of discovery and scientific exploration into an Abborian military exercise with only one goal in mind: planetary extinction. ACe's cold and near perfect logic dictated why it must be done, even if there were just, to K'orrza anyway, too many questions as to the reasons of how. Too many unseen loopholes. There was just something off about all of this. His gut reaction was telling him something. But by the abyss he just couldn't see what it was yet. He closed his eyes and tucked his hands under his head, wishing to the Creator that they'd of never found that Voyager probe in the f---
Everything seemed to click all at once. The probe. K'orrza sat up in his bed, his mind making the connections, the small and insignificant threads over the last few turns all started to come together to give K'orrza a view of the bigger picture. If he was right, he'd have to be cautious, he'd have to be ready. Dressing quickly he moved to the tech lab, back towards his personal lockers and to a small oblong box that contained what he needed.
K'orrza slid quietly into the command chair, saying nothing for a moment as ACe went about running multiple programs across the ship, from life support to passive scans of the outlying environment of Earth's moon. K'orrza steepled his fingers and leaned back in his chair. "Got a moment for a hypothetical, ACe?" ACe continued its multiple programming functions, but nevertheless responded. "Go ahead, Protectorate." K'orrza chose his next words carefully. "What are the odds....mathematical odds here.....of finding a probe that in the middle of nowhere. And when I say that, I mean just off the charts literally in the middle of dark space that, by my estimates, won't even reach the nearest star point for another forty thousand cycles?" ACe seemed to start, K'orrza had his full attention now. "Eh, well. Yes. I'd have to," ACe paused, and literally did a "clear throat" noise. "I'd have to calculate the odds, but, well, given that I'm currently busy at the moment I'd have to get back to you on that."
"You're lying to me," K'orrza simply said. "You can perform nearly a thousand different tasks in under a milli-bit. In the time it takes me to form a thought in my mind you're capable of formulating nearly a million different algorithms at once." ACe swiveled his camera around, his camera lens nervously tightening and expanding, like someone who was wringing his hands after being caught doing something they weren't supposed to be. "So hypotheticals aside, what are the odds. I really want to know the odds here," K'orrza said, anrrowing his eyes slightly. ACe slid a little further away from K'orrza. "Protectorate I don't see why I should ha--" K'orrza slammed a fist down on the chair's arm, "ANSWER ME!" he yelled. ACe slid back, and for a moment it seemed to weigh its options. Finally it turned back to the console and began to resume its task. "The mathematical odds of us intercepting a probe of that kind in the middle of dark space," it sighed, "is approximately sixty-four million, five hundred and thirty three thousand, nine hundred twenty one," he finally answered coldly, "to one."
"And yet we're the one percent. You know I seem to recall a certain artificial unit particularly interested in this sector of space a few clicks back. And yet we're the one percent that managed not only to find it, but travel to its point of origin. To a planet. A life seeded planet which, if you really look at it, is like trying to find a single grain of sand in the middle of an ocean. And that planet just happens to conveniently be advancing, according to you anyway, by reverse-engineering Adronian tech. And why, considering how by now there's no doubt that the Adronians are aware of this planet, and why they have they not" K'orrza counted, "....in the nearly seventy cycle span of time never even bothered to take their toys back? I mean it's not like they're nestled on the galactic edge and just couldn't get here any sooner. If I had to guess, it'd only take them less than a parsec to get here. And that's with time given to amass a force sizable enough to make earth stand up and take notice."
ACe simply sat there in place, said not a word of protest. K'orrza crossed his arms. "So are you going to tell me how long has the council known of the Adronian/Earth partnership or are we going to have to dance around the issue while you "calibrate" all damn day?" ACe moved just a fraction of an inch, turned to glance at K'orrza then shrugged. "They've known since they intercepted the emergency pulse from the Adronian's crashed scouter. And' they've known that the Adronian people have done all they can to hide it." ACe turned to finally face K'orrza. "We've been monitoring the two worlds, Earth in particular, since their Roswell incident. Our whole purpose was to intercept the probe, ascertain their defensive capabilities, and see what kind of resistance they will offer when the fleet arrives. We've also been told to download every lethal level pathogen that these humans are susceptible to, and then eradicate them without posing health hazards to our own troops."
"So this was never going to be a ground based fight, just plague them out of existence and...." K'orrza paused. ACe finished his train of thought, "....re-seed the planet with Abborian interests. From here the Hegemony has a firm launching point to annex Adronia Prime next. But without probable cause to do what we needed to do, the High Council, Abboria itself, would face sanctions by the other fifty independent star systems out there. If we made it look like a backwater planet had illegally gained tech by stealing another species' hardware, we could effectively do what we needed to do without facing war crimes." K'orrza leaned forward in his chair incredulously. "You don't think that exterminating an entire planet of life isn't a war crime? It's global genocide!"
It was K'orrza's turn to start as ACe swiveled around and nearly shouted at him. "They're not a species they're animals! Germs! VERMIN! Mindless brutes who are more content to simply sit there and SLAUGHTER their own kind in the name of their GOD or of "progress", or just simple greed. Humanity is nothing more than warmongering beasts!" ACe slid forward until he was almost inches from Korrza's face. "The galaxy, the entire universe would be better off without this puss-ball of a planet mucking up what the Hegemony has struggled so hard and so long to maintain. A balance. A very effective and peaceful balance. A balance that, in time, the whole universe will see just how noble, how truly effective it all is. They will strive to be like us. They will want to BE us. To become a member of the Hegemony would be a rite of passage. A privilege. An honor." ACe was practically snarling, "And any world that resists, any species that objects, will be systematically swept away to make room for their betters."
K'orrza simply stood up, cool, casual, in control. "Resistance against tyranny, against extinction, is never futile. I'm putting a stop to this whole thing." ACe seemed to laugh. "You can't stop what's already been set in motion, Protectorate. The ship is in lock down, the fleet will be here in less than a cycle. We have front row seats to a new chapter in Abborian history. You can try, but you'd have more success trying to stop a wave from crashing against the shore by trying to stand in its way. You will be destroyed just like humanity if you resist." K'orrza tucked his arms behind his back, still maintaining his casual demeanor. "I can still stop you," he said. ACe seemed to snort, "Protectorate you can't do any-" before he could finish, Korrza whipped his right arm back around, a small brass knuckle looking device with a palm button trigger on his hand.
With a quick push, the EM pulse stunner fired off an orb of pale blue softball sized swirl of energy that spiraled out from his weapon, splashing off the command console and forking out to ACe's ceiling platform. The ship's power fluctuated wildly, the lights and the console panels flicking and blinking as the electrical surge wrought havoc on the overly sensitive devices. ACe seemed to just sit there, stuttering his last letter in this soft "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" noise. K'orrza suddenly seemed to remember to breathe, letting out a quick "guhh" as he brought the weapon down to his side.
There was no time to celebrate. The EM pulse was a temporary stun. He had maybe two, three ticks before the ACe and the ship's systems rebooted. K'orrza bolted for the ship's engine room, where ACe's positronic blue box resided. His brain, in other words. He had to shut him down. Because there was no doubt that once he...."awoke".....there would be a reckoning.
He raced past the tech lab door, scooping up a small backpack that he slipped over a shoulder mid run, finally coming to the floor hatch that led to the lower deck. With the power still fluctuating across the ship, he had to manually pry the hatch open, using both hands to slide open the hatch just enough to put his heels on and, with a heave, used his legs to push open the hatch to a ladder leading down to the sub-deck. He let his feet dangle over the small opening and leapt, reaching out and grabbing at the ladder supports as he awkwardly slid down halfway before he lost his grip and fell the rest of the way. He didn't even have a chance to yell as he landed on his back, letting out a harsh "guffoawll!" when he hit. The backpack had, fortunately, taken most of the fall's impact, leaving K'orrza with a small stinging sensation around his shoulders.
He rolled over and pushed himself back up, continuing his run down the hallway. Halfway there he noticed the engine room emergency door was down. He cursed under his breath. He'd have to manually open it, taking up precious time. But there was no other way inside. He came to a sliding halt, reaching for the pack slung over his shoulder and was about to reach into it when he noticed the ship's power smooth out and normalize. That was both fortunate and unfortunate for K'orrza all at the same time. He could simply punch in an override on the nearby locking mech and be in without having to resort to prying it open. But it also meant that ACe was awake. And that spelled all kinds of trouble for him. He punched in the code as quickly as he could. The emergency slid to the side with a hiss, K'orrza started to take a step......
And froze in place.
Standing before him was a bulky, oval headed robot, the pulsating light blue I-shaped scanning sensor on the faceplate seemed to look down at K'orrza with no small amount of rage. K'orrza blinked and tried to bring his EM pulse gun up. But the robot was inhumanly fast, grabbing K'orrza by his forearm. The pulse shot harmlessly over ACe's Mobile Suit and hit the overhead light panels, causing it sputter out with a loud pop and shower of sparks. With an effortless twist, ACe snapped K'orrza's forearm like a twig. Korrza let out a cry of pain, one that was cut short as ACe punched him full force in the chest, sending him sailing back halfway down the hall. K'orrza's head bounced off the floor plate with a loud smack, and his world suddenly went very, very dark.
Short Story: Starlight and Song
Blog entry posted by wastelander75, Jul 2, 2012.