Not only facing the stress of his new job of keeping the massive station safe, there is also something else going on deep under the darkness of space. Something that will threaten the known galaxy. Show Less
Straight in to the Action
For five years Ethan had served the public faithfully in the Sol System, but after incalculable cargo searches, dock inspections, and responding to varying crimes and incidents, he began to desire more of a challenge. He had heard stories about the adventure and intrigue that could be found out working with the Galactic Police (or for short the GalPol), and after numerous transfer requests, his Chief had finally given in. That meant for Ethan was a trip across the void to Diplo-17, a trade hub for four sectors and sitting on the bleeding edge of known space.
Haphazardly running a brush through his short cropped blond hair, Ethan adjust the pale blue police uniform he wore and made sure the white stripe running down his arms were in line with the pair that ran down the outer seam of his pants. Adjusting the holographic SolPol badge, he grabbed the two dusky, beat up bags and took off at a jog to the central observation deck of the star cruiser. Many of the passengers had gathered to watch the docking maneuver of the extra-solar craft that was barreling toward the station at high velocity. For the next 30 minutes, the visual display of burning nuclear fire ejected from the engines gradually slowed the ship to an acceptable velocity for docking.
At first, their destination was out of range of the naked eye, but the telemetry displayed on the glass window by the onboard computer showing where it was began to adjust its reticule size as the massive station began to come in view.
The station was the strangest tangle of tubes, massive arches, and extruding pylons lit up with light of their occupants. The shape of the station was spherical with for immense pylons coming out of its center. From there, towers of small arches, branches, and tubes sprang away to lead to other smaller attached sections like a leafy earth bush that had not been trimmed in decades.
“Attention passengers, we will be docking at port S116 module 2126 in ten minutes. We will be debarking shortly after. Please have all your luggage with you and your IDENT cards ready to scan. All non-oxygen based life forms can find a breather recharge center to the left of the customs station for your convenience.”
The pilot continued with the usual amenities common aboard a civilian ship, but Ethan was not paying attention. He watched as the starship slipped gracefully through the gangling arches and pylons and made its way to an area at the outskirts of one of the immense pylons. He could see hundreds of other ships nestled against the hull. The ship slowly came to a stop and it was a few minutes before the docking clamp affixed itself to the cruiser, reverberated through the whole of the ship.
“Passengers, please make your way to the port docking hub for immediate disembarkation. Thank you and we look forward to your return flight with Omni Space Ways.”
The umbilical to the station was a small tube that had extended five feet from the station to the ship's exterior hull. Following single file with the rest of the passengers, Ethan found himself expelled in to the open area that was the space port. The high ceilings and natural light made it feel as if he was at one of the space ports on Earth. The crowd continued to push him forward past customs and in to the main walkways running between the entrance and other docking ports. Ethan was about to heft his bag and start the long walk to an air taxi when he felt a hand tap his shoulder.
When he turned, he tried not to step back in surprise. The creature in front of him was definitely alien. Its body was a thick greenish tubular stack and it thinned toward the top into a stalk with one bulbous eye attached at the end. It had four feet with four toes spread out to hold its balance and four arms to match. The relaxing part of such a strange person in front of him was that it wore its own version of the Galactic Police blue uniform. It squawked at him in an unintelligible dialect.
“I don’t understand you.” Ethan said slowly trying to enunciate. The alien seemed to understand and offered a small device. The proffered silver apparatus was a standard translator that attached to the skull above one of his ears. Placing it, he felt the mild pressure of the microscopic cilia press into his skin and radiate its energy toward his brain. For a second, he felt dizzy, but it passed as quickly as it came.
“Sorry, sir, I forgot you had not been issued a trans-linqua yet.” The creature began in what sounded like strange loping English.
“It’s quite alright. I’m getting used to a lot of things myself. I’m Ethan Hawke, you here to pick me up?”
“Yes, Colonel Tower likes to show good to new fish.”
The grammar and the words seemed a little off, but that was probably the translator trying to compensate for some strange part of the alien’s language. It was a good bet that it was something else he would have to get used to. It was amazing that technology was even able to keep up with such vast different speaking styles of the species known in the galaxy.
The alien, which he learned was named Jal Dok, took him to a small cruiser that had been parked in a painted off section of the space port. Climbing aboard the two man hover cruiser, they quickly soared into the air and toward the exit.
For the next thirty minutes, Ethan was subjected to a kaleidoscope of aliens, architecture, sights, and sounds. If the station looked complicated on the outside, the design on the inside was worse. The layout was a mixture of wide open spaces and close knit communities layered in on each other. It was virtually impossible to tell where one section began and another ended. The only marker that Ethan had to go by was the definitive walls that encompassed each kilometer or two of station.
“The metal world is broken into sections, sub-sections, zones and chapters. It is how we know where we need to go on a call.” Jal Dok explained as they zipped through special marked tunnels that seemed to be only for law enforcement. Not only was the ground structured, but the air where the speeders and cruiser zipped about was sectioned off with government having the highest tier of air space.
The menagerie of hodgepodge sectors began to disappear as they exited the curved wall of a section and the two found themselves in a massive vertical shaft filled with traffic and in some areas, floating platforms.
“This is the Hub Central. Its runs the whole length of the Bastion.”
“Bastion?” Ethan asked curious at the alien’s choice of words.
“Yes,” Jal Dok bobbing his one eye on its long stalk in an attempt to mimic the human nod of confirmation. “The Diplo-17 has always been called the Bastion by its inhabitants even before the Galactic Confederation became the managers of it.”
“Ah. Well, then explain to me--”
Ethan did not get a chance to finish his sentence as the radio on the holographic displayed panel beeped loudly interrupting his sentence.
“Attention all Cruisers. There is a 92-Alpha in progress in Section 3, Sub-Section 21, Zone Terimata, Chapter Zea. First responder needed.”
Jal Dok quickly looked from the radio to the Ethan.
“92-Alpha? That still means a shooting in progress, right?” Ethan asked. He had not had a chance to brush up on the radio calls that might have been different.
“Most excellent yes,” Jal Dok said, his language became more erratic as he became excited.
“We be the closest cruiser. Must respond.”
Jal Dok waved a tentacle over the blinking yellow light on the dashboard.
“Cruiser 117-Klep responding.” he said in his squawking voice. “Note to central. One transient in vehicle. Gal Pol Transfer 2238-charlie.”
“Notice logged.” the computerized voice returned. “Transient authorized to respond.”
“Good be for you,” Jal Dok said with a clicking that passed for laughter. “You be trusted already. Hold on to your hair follicles!”
Before Ethan could grip the sides of his seat, the cruiser nosed down and dropped toward the bottomless shaft below.
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