Chapter 3: I have arrived
My starship, the Emulael Enza emerges from fold-space, just beyond the orbit of Eris, and hidden behind its moon, Dysnomia. It would be foolish to let the vessel’s signature to be picked up by enemy sensors before getting close enough to Terra.
Reaching out with the ‘shard’s visual overlay, I link into my ship’s passive sensors, the virtual display showing shifting symbols and graphical representations, giving me instant readings on the Terra/Luna system further in.
So far, the Suthidruu fleet continues to swell its numbers, still communicating only among themselves. The bands they use are undetectable by conventional systems, but not the ‘shard’s. They’ve engaged cloaking systems for now, effectively blinding the humans to their presence.
I call to my Emissary, “Imegaa, I’ll need a teleport channel opened to Terra’s surface within the hour, if you wouldn’t mind, before the enemy finally opens communications with the humans.”
“As you wish, sir.” She says, in a lilting dialect of the Kai’Siri speech spoken only in the Eastern Outworlds of the Sagittarius Arm. The ship’s systems have a curious programming quirk I’ve still not fixed: The computer and all equipment on board speak and respond only in that dialect, and I’m not programmer enough to correct it.
Imegaa Mokkan, as the android’s named, is made from synthetic biologicals. I’d created her as a tribute to the girl who awakened my mind. The same girl who freed me at the cost of her own life.
She’s not my servant. She works for me, despite my protests, out of a sense of duty, like that of her “original.” Kai’Siri, loyal to the end, even as android simulacra. Their damnable code of honor. I’ve told her otherwise, but she insists that she owes me her life for making her. It makes me more than a little uncomfortable.
I created Imegaa as a faux Emissary to allay the terror my appearance causes on nearly every world I go to. Perhaps also because the worst thing I fear is being alone. The Emissary’s traditional duty has been to hold the off-switch to the Enforcer Prime’s ‘shard when among non-combatants as a gesture of peace.
Preparations are made, and the ship’s teleport systems link with the ‘shard’s coordinate feeds. Lock on. Here it comes…Any instant now, I think with dread. I hate teleporting.
I hope I don’t get sick like last time, a tiny voice within says, just before the flash of the teleport beam makes the universe go a blindingly bright blue.
Suddenly, everything is real again. My stomach lurches in protest. It’s going to be one of those days.
I gag for a bit, no mess though, recover my composure, get to my feet, and brush off my suit. That would be my ‘field dress’ from my days as an interstellar exterminator. There’s work to be done.
I get my bearings. I’m atop Devil’s Tower, in someplace called Wyoming. Awfully windy up here…
First, I think to myself, I’ll send a little message to the Crusade Swarm’s Holiest. It’ll be simple to stall for time. I hear the Holiest likes to chat just a bit before getting down to business.
Neuronal circuits not found in ordinary human brains fire a quick burst of impulses to the ‘shard’s contact points, and its processors quickly digest the information, translate, and squirt the message, a short tight-beam transmission toward the Swarm Base of the alien fleet.
The language it uses was prewired into its data core over a billion years ago, unknown, and unpronounceable to me or any living, well, human. It requires vocal equipment I don’t have. The Worms would recognize it and take the bait.
It’s just a brief sentence, though of elaborate, even baroque complexity, but stripped of it’s lyrically intricate syntax, suggestions of olfactory cues, and poetic allegorical subtlety it would have only six words were it to be in English:
Come down and talk to me.