Invaders from the Deep
The ship slowly trudged through the region heavy with asteroids, using a laser ranging system to locate any stray boulders to steer clear of. The helms officer Derded was just thinking about food, he was starving, not having a bite to eat since the shift began. A nervous twitch was developing in one of his flipper out of anxiety stemming from hunger.
He did not want to risk reprisal by looking back at the Captain, so he kept his eyes on the holo-display bubble in front of him. Even if Derded could not concentrate it was better to look like one was working than not. In Corwarian culture, it would be acceptable for Captain Roikk to bite the head off any underling who wasn't doing their job.
Nobody wanted to say anything about eating, mealtime was always at the discretion of the Captain and this Captain would likely take any query as an insult. Out here in the deep there would be no appeals before one lost their head to an enraged Captain.
“Still not picking up anything unusual” said one of the science officers “Mapping is still nominal”
The Captain finally decided it was time. He released the grakken and they swam all over the bridge, Derded joined the others in swimming after them. Bits of grakken soon clouded the water but the filters would clean that up rather quickly. Derded was able to catch and eat a number of the grakken and his hunger was satiated for a while.
Mapping the asteroid field seemed pointless to Derded, these rocks were always moving around in the deep and they were much too far from Corwar to pose any threat. Fortunately this mission represented the final major study of the solar system, everything there was to know was known. Any new discoveries would happen outside the “white wall” that surrounded their solar system.
They knew there were many other stars and galaxies out there but most of this was obscured by the cloud of debris and celestial dust that surrounded the system. Images returned from robotic probes of what was outside the system were striking and beautiful. These images were a major reason why the space program existed in the first place.
Yet, within the system no other sea had been found. That was the main thing the people of Corwar were looking for, large oceans. The crowded seas of Coward seemed to have been maxed out. Some Corwarians even built devices to travel to and study land, but no long-term project to let them live on land had been found yet.
“We are detecting some unusual readings within the asteroid field” one of the scientists said “Let me try and get you a course bearing”
The Captain ordered the helm to change course for the new bearing. Derded did as instructed. “We will have to go around the large asteroids though” he mentioned. Yes, the energy readings were behind those asteroids. The water on the bridge was totally clear now and everyone was watching the main holo-display at the front of the bridge as they crested over the top of an asteroid.
“What is that?” someone asked
The Captain floated toward the display. “Run a detailed scan of that object!”
“Yes sir” the scientists said and bent over their consoles, hard at work. It was their moment to shine, this is what scientists dreamed of, mot likely. A major discovery right inside their solar system, this object was not natural and it had not been built on Corwar.
“It is definitely extraterrestrial, Captain” the scientists told everyone. “We don't know where it came from but it must have been sent to study the solar system. Looks like it crashed into the asteroids but the exterior damage appears minimal. Possibly it is out of fuel and is just stuck here”
The Captain waved a flipper. “Okay” he said, deep in thought “We'll take it into the hold and bring it back to Cowar for detailed study”
Captain Roikk was about to be very famous, the prestige would give him higher rank within the space services. He kept Derded and some of his other trusted crew with him as he moved up the rank ladder due to his fame.
The probe came from a distant star. The aliens there did not seem to have hostile intent but from the information gathered from the probe itself, it seemed the world it came from had large oceans indeed. This information had excited the public and propelled the creation of a large war fleet under the direct control of now Uber-Admiral Roikk.
The first thing Roikk did with his fleet was to carry out a coup on Corwar and become the undisputed ruler of all their people. Meanwhile Derded was now Captain of his own warship as the fleet set off to conquer this distant planet with the large oceans.
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