Category Archives: Hiding the Seeds


“Valkyr 53, this is Dragon King actual.” Your wireless goes off quietly beside you as you sit in the cockpit of your Valkyr, silently contemplating what dishes you should serve for dinner when your sister next comes to dinner.
“This is Valkyr 53. Go ahead, Dragon King.” You grow tired of the standardized protocols employed by the Armada, but they are a peeve which must be tolerated for the sake of this mission.
“53, we’ve been picking up some weird readings in your sector. We believe there’s an unidentified craft on the other side of the large gas planet. Please investigate.” Of course there is. Jupiter’s electromagnetic field makes for quite a light show on the sensors, which means anything suspected to be behind it probably doesn’t even exist. Sensor ghosts are rather common when scanning too close to a planet.
“I’m on my way,” you reply, ignoring protocols requiring you to terminate the conversation. You’re a Valkyrie, anyway, and the Valkyries are technically independent of the Thorlinthian government and its military. As such, you don’t have to follow Armadian procedures and protocols. After setting the hype coordinates, you secure yourself to the seat and engage the hype. A quick implosion and explosion later, you find yourself staring at Jupiter’s backside, searching for any possible ships using your close-range sensors.
After about half a day of scanning and nearly returning to Earth, you notice something strange out of the corner of your eye. There appears to be a slightly misshapen area on Jupiter’s atmosphere, which means only one thing to your well-trained mind: There is a gravitational disturbance beneath it. You fly closer to investigate.
Sure enough, once you get closer, you notice that there is a distinct change in the smooth appearance of the raging gases prevalent in Jupiter’s atmosphere. You perform a gravitational analysis using one of the auxiliary functions of the Timids and notice that there is a rather large ship floating about in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Due to the erratic trail it seems to have traced, however, it does not appear to be fully operational, if at all, and is being held up by the pressure of the gases surrounding it.
Sending a quick message to Drigondii detailing the situation, you take the Valkyr into the atmosphere, an action which any engineer would probably not advise. Many of Jupiter’s gases are highly corrosive, and the storms are extremely volatile. Keeping that in mind, you engage the plasma shielding around the Valkyr. While not strong enough to stop a projectile from making it through to the heavily armored hull, the plasma shield can maintain a comfortable bubble around the Valkyr through which the gases will not be able to pass.
Once you are within your entirely too limited visual range of the ship, you open the outer shields directly surrounding the cockpit, allowing you to rely on your eyes instead of the twitchy sensors in this highly electrical storm cell. What you can make out appears to be very old and shut down. You send out a few standard interrogative signals, questioning the ship’s identity, but you know that to be useless as you move back to your small office space in the area of the ship directly behind the galley.
Reaching your desk just as the third signal is being sent, you start looking through your drawers for a small box your mother-in-law had given you in case you encountered just such a ship and which you were expressly forbidden from opening otherwise. Taking it to the cockpit, you begin to fiddle with the complex symbol on top of the box, trying to return it to the same pattern you saw on it when it was closed in your mother-in-law’s private office. As the office she shared with her brother, the Director of Internal Security, there were no monitoring devices allowed in the entire building, which meant there were bugs everywhere, and she couldn’t explain the lock mechanism aloud.
Nonetheless, you are a Valkyrie, and you quickly remembered the pattern and took only moments to unscramble the lock. Once the symbol is restored to the Tyrian symbol of the Kuli, the box gives a slight whistle as the airtight seal is opened. Opening the box, you are surprised to find a single, handheld device with which you are well familiarized. It is an old-issue hand repeater. Remembering your instructions, you disassemble using only the mental powers you possess as a Valkyrie. As you reach the final pieces, however, you notice there are two pieces that very clearly do not belong in the repeater and which would have been damaged had the gun been disassembled manually. Removing the pieces, you reassemble the repeater and absent-mindedly place it in your armpit holster.
The pieces you’ve found are considerably less foreign, and you place them together in the only apparent manner you can. The completed device, no larger than the silence stone on your Valkyrie ring, begins manipulating itself and expanding in a manner that seems physically impossible. You then realize that you had just reassembled a small hype controller, though clearly not for the same hyping your people uses, as there is no popping as the device expands, turns, and contorts, only a light pouring sound as the air around the minute hype window is displaced as more and more of the device enters standard spacetime.
After several millidays, the device stops moving. Looking at the completely returned device now resting rather heavily on your lap, you are grateful for the systems actively countering the surplus gravity provided by Jupiter, as it would likely have otherwise crushed your legs. You feel as though perhaps Drigondii’s mother could have warned you to open the box on the deck of the ship. Giving the device a face you usually saved for a misbehaving Lihandii, who had incidentally been named after her paternal grandmother, you take it with one arm and bring it back to the cargo main, along with the box.
Upon reaching the cargo main, you place the device on the deck and begin to analyze it more thoroughly. Its lower half is rectangular in nature, with a lip around the middle of the device, revealing complex circuitry unlike anything you’ve seen in your lifetime. It does not appear to be active, however, and you quickly realize why.
Taking the box’s lid, you carefully place it over the device and lower it to the surrounding lip. The device responds with a whistling that informs you an airtight seal has been formed, and the symbol atop the box begins to flicker with a soft light. Just as a slight movement starts to be noticeable on the symbol and the flickering changes to a constant light, alarms begin to trip in your cockpit, and you move quickly to respond.
As you enter the cockpit, you are surprised to see the large ship rising steadily from its prior location. Looking to your alarms, you see that electrical systems have been detected throughout the ship, and the Valkyr is responding to the ship awakening. Securing yourself into the cockpit’s seat, you maneuver the Valkyr out of Jupiter’s atmosphere and into a geosynchronous orbit from which you can safely await the rising ship without the bother of more alarms indicative of excessive pressure, temperature, and gravity, and where you can return to the Kuli device.
Returning to the cargo main, you find the device floating helplessly in the air, and you bring it back to the deck, securing it with light cargo clamps. You notice that the Kuli symbol has protruded from the device, taking a more three-dimensional appearance. The device is clearly some sort of remote activation and control device for the large ship now rising out of the gas planet’s atmosphere.
A small hologram appears above the device, displaying the ship and denoting areas which are exposed to the vacuum of space or had been exposed to high levels of radiation. You make note of a few choice areas on the ship and return to the cockpit, maneuvering the Valkyr into the ship’s main bay, which has not yet recovered enough to initiate the docking shield. Securing the Valkyr to the deck of the bay, you take the device and grab a life support extender for your flight suit.
As the suit’s helmet activates, pressurizing the suit, you give your leg a reminiscent rub, remembering another occasion in which the suit had staved off death for you just long enough to save your life. Smiling at other details of the memory, you release your leg and move through the Valkyr’s airlock, passing into the larger ship’s main bay. This was clearly once a military ship, but the bay appears to have been repurposed to receive shuttles and other non-militant ships, as the bay’s many shiplocks appear to have been jury-rigged to fit a larger variety of ships and shuttles than it had originally been designed. As you enter the passageway through a malfunctioning airlock, you notice that quite a bit of the ship appears to have been pieced together in a hurry using other ships.
Deciding to consult the device’s map, you begin to head forward, toward the area most highly shielded and protected, an area that doesn’t appear to have lost any of its functions and therefore a likely important area. Looking about as you go through the damaged passageways, you examine the more highly exposed areas of the ship. Based on the damaged airlocks and the sheer depth of the hull, clearly apparent through the holes that have been corroded away by Jupiter’s atmosphere, the ship must have been sitting in the storms of Jupiter for a very long time, somewhere on the scale of hundreds of thousands of cycles, perhaps even millions.
Finally reaching a sealed area, you pass through an auxiliary airlock and are not particularly surprised to find the air to be nearly toxic in oxygen levels. Based on the ship map on the remote device, the ship got its oxygen from plants and bacteria, which would certainly outlive any crew to produce carbon dioxide. You smartly decide to keep your life support engaged, but set it to retrieve any needed oxygen from the surrounding air to maintain a steady level of oxygen to carbon dioxide in its contained air supply.
Passing by one of the arboretums on your way to the cockpit, you notice many of the plants have died off from lack of carbon dioxide in the air, a bitter reminder of just how long the crew must have been dead, though the lack of contaminants in the air had nearly halted the decomposition of the bodies, which were still strewn about the passageways. The problem with the air must once have been quite the opposite what it is now, likely due to the loss of arboretums throughout the ship, which appear largely to be the most heavily damaged areas.
Consulting the map again, you look for an area similar to a bridge, where many personnel would be present. The first few areas you check out appear to have been galleys and engineering spaces. Reaching one of the uppermost but aftermost areas in question, you notice the door holds the same Kuli symbol as the device. After trying for a few moments in vain to search for an opening mechanism, you roll your eyes at yourself. Well that should have been obvious. Almost dejectedly, you hold out the remote device to the door, and after several beeps, thunks and hisses, the door separating the rest of the ship from the bridge’s entry airlock opens.
You enter into the airlock and shut the door behind you. Once several more beeps, thunks, and hisses have taken place, a very loud whooshing sound comes from overhead as the air is ejected from the airlock back into the main filtration system. When the final hisses of air are gone, two thunks are heard, the first from above and the second from below. Another rush of air enters into the airlock, and you are shocked to see after a sample that this is ideally filtered air, a nearly impossible feat after all this time. Moments later, the door to the highly sterile bridge opens, and you are amazed at the sleek simplicity of the design as you scan the room with your helmlight.
A series of pedestals are sticking out of the deck on each side of the bridge. Atop each pedestal is a metallic orb. There is a sum total of seven of these pedestals, the foremost being at the center of the bridge instead of one of the sides. Directly behind each pedestal is a round hatch and beside each hatch are two slots, one on either side, in which a device exactly like the one you are carrying should be resting. There is one missing from the foremost control suite, and you make your way to it, making note of the lack of displays or viewports. However the ship was controlled, its operation was beyond the understanding of any Thorlinthian, excepting perhaps the elder Lihandii Khuda’Cronell, your mother-in-law.
Placing the device carefully into the slot, the symbol retreated again into its place on the skin of the device, and the map of the ship disappeared. Immediately, the bridge’s domed wall came alight with a gentle red light, and each of the pedestals came alight with holographic displays while the devices on each side of the hatches lifted their kuli symbols on columns of light to the same level as the pedestals. The symbols then activated holographic displays of their own, facing inward to the hatches.
Upon this task being completed, hissing can be heard from each of the hatches, followed by a metallic thunk and a hydraulic hum as the hatches lift to reveal cylinders, which when fully lifted from the hatches’ enclosure, slide aft on the deck silently as the hatches return to their position flush with the deck. At this point, you look about and notice that the cylinders are actually stasis pods, and though every instinct in you tells you to draw your repeater in anticipation, you instead remove your holster and place it on the ground before you without drawing it, sensing a power comparable to your own from each of these pods. You’re outnumbered, and at the very least, whoever are in these pods are alive and potentially as dangerous as yourself, if not more so, a thought you immediately wish you hadn’t considered.
Since you have no way of determining what kind of stasis this has been, you have no idea in what condition the crew will emerge. You only know that you are usually rather irritable after a long stasis, and there has probably never been a stasis this long before. You think back to Kahlisa, who was able to remain alive in a deep state of meditation for cycles without nourishment or a stasis system. You wonder how long she could have lasted in one of these pods.
Your thoughts are brought to a halt as an arm comes around your neck. Sensing no killing intent, you do not choose to fight against the hold, as this could result only in harm to yourself and your captor. Remaining calm, you reach out with what Kahlisa called the mindspeak and what Drigondii called telepathy and touch the mind of your captor, sending only the message, ‘I am not your enemy.’
The man holding you, however, does not release you just yet, responding with the thought, ‘Who are you, and what are you doing on my ship?’ The thought is not panicked. The man is simply taking the most cautious and logical course of action, neutralizing a possible threat while assessing its status as such. He communicates with the same calculated measures as Kahlisa, though he seems to be more highly trained. Putting the pieces together, you assume this man and, most likely, every other member of this small remnant of a crew is Kuli.
‘Let the girl go, J’Ulus. She’s the one who just brought the ship back online. The Watch must have sent her here with the secondary Key. It’s the only way our systems could have been reactivated.’ The second voice, though still in mindspeak, seems only to be such out of courtesy for the fact that not everyone in the bridge may speak the same language. ‘What is your name, young student? Do you bring word from Tyria? We’ve completed our mission. Twenty planets have been successfully seeded. We would have kept going, but we ran into… difficulties’
You don’t understand what he’s talking about and tell him such. ‘I don’t understand. I am Terira, but I am no student, and I don’t know anyone named Tyria.’ At these final words, the crew of the bridge all take on expressions of mixed sorrow and pity.
A female to your left with flaming red hair speaks, ‘Tyria is the home galaxy. Are you saying you are not Kuli?’
‘She’s at least Linthian, J’Hiloa. Look at her. Looks to be from the main system, too. That system went through the Tear, though. What are you doing here, Terira?’ The woman who speaks this time is on your right. She has hair white as snow, but her face shows no signs of age, and her eyes are a sight to match her hair.
A hiss comes from the foremost pod, and a man with red hair and a fatherly face emerges. All the crew look to him, and you do the same. This man, however, dons a mischievous smile and spoke aloud in a language you are extremely surprised to hear and that seems to take aback the rest of the crew as well: English. “I think I might be able to explain the situation. Welcome aboard the Seed Ship Eden, better known to its operating crew as New Beginnings 8, young Thorlinthian. I’ve been waiting a very long time for your arrival.”