Somewhere in the vast dark...
Tribal Lord Vru stood on the bridge of the Fanged Wonder and stared out in wonder at the big, vast, dark...nothing. "Sensors!" he barked. "Report at once! What am I looking at?"
"Er, nothing sir!" replied Warder First Class Smiddleyu. "Sensors report null on all values. There is nothing out here, sir."
Vru harrumphed and returned to his lounge in the middle of the bridge. "A useless waste of our time. This entire voyage has been absolutely pointless. We head north, and there is nothing to be seen. We head south, and there is nothing to be seen. We head west, and there is nothing to be seen. Warder Smiddleyu, what do you believe will happen when we go east? What mysterious wonders or threats shall we find there, do you think?"
"Er, none sir?" Smiddleyu offered.
"Exactly!" Vru declared in exasperation. Sighing, he ordered, "Scout Cmio, take us to coordinates 270-000. Then return us to Ulat, once we have finished the scans there."
"Right away, sir," Scout Cmio acknowledged. There was a hum as the drifting corvette's engines kicked in.
"Hmmmm," Vru mused aloud.
"What is it, sir?" Smiddleyu asked.
"We are the first of our species to come this far, are we not?" Vru asked rhetorically. "Thus it is up to us to come up with the new traditions that our species shall need to embrace as we travel the stars. I was pondering whether or not there should not be some phrase for a Captain to make it clear that he has finished giving orders and that it is time to carry them out. What do you men think?"
"How about, 'Let us be about it'?" Smiddleyu suggested.
"No, it does not quite roll of the tongue," Vru said dismissively.
"What about, 'Make it so'?" Cmio offered.
"I feel it lacks a certain authority," Vru answered.
"Perhaps, "By your command'?" War Marshal Gatu asked.
"No, but I like the sound of that for the rest of you. Ship, broadcast to all hands. Attention all crew, from now on all orders shall be acknowledged by the response, 'By your command!' Ship, end transmission. Still, what shall I say?" Vru muttered. He snapped his fingers as inspiration struck. "I have it! From now on, all orders by a captain shall be made official by the phrase, 'Now get to it!'"
" A wonderful idea, sir!" Cmio agreed.
"A true stroke of genius, sir!" added Smiddleyu.
"Well done, sir!" called Gatu.
"Well, men, we've done our duty here," Vru announced. Let us begin to head home. Now get to it!"
Back on Ulat
The ceremony had been timed perfectly. Speaker Comuro stood atop the temple at the center of the domed colony ship. He looked out at the crowd of gathered warriors, resplendent in their finest harnesses, their trophies of war and conquest glittering in the dark light of the new dawn.
"My people! Not a tenday ago we launched a new era of our race! Even now, the Fanged Wonder races amongst the stars seeking the Demons who tried to slay our homeland! We wish those brave warriors the blessings of God on their quest, but we cannot allow them to do it alone!
"Rather, we must make it clear that this is the quest of our entire race! Let nothing stop us or prevent us from seizing the destiny that God has laid before us, for it is up to us to seize it in our claws, no matter who or what shall challenge us for it! Do not harken to the words of the unbelievers, who would have us stay here on our poisoned heart and try to rebuild. They are in league with the foul spawn of evil, and would see us destroyed.
"Today, as this new dawn rises, so once more does our people rise from the ashes of this broken world. We shall follow in the foot steps of those brave explorers in the Wonder out amongst the stars, where our tribes shall rule supreme!"
He stamped his staff three times upon the deck, the signal to the waiting crew members. With the third clang! of ironwood on steel, the colony ship's mighty engines roared into life, the entire vessel trembling as flame poured out of the bottom of the ship. It rose slowly into the air, not so much a ship any longer but an entire bottled city finding its wings. The gathered warriors cheered in their ascent, and Comuro drank deep of their adulation as the ship rose higher into the lethal clouds.
Comuro turned upwards to the shining glass of the dome, and watched as the poisonous mists curled away from the glass. Soon they were above the poisoned atmosphere, and the dark, blurry sun resolved in a warm sapphire orb, surrounded by thousands of glittering, diamond like stars.
'A blessing,' thought Comuro, 'A sign that this is truly God's will!
In A Dark Corridor
The first Ulatarim was noticeable for his lack of height. It was rare to see such a one who had survived the culling of the youth pens. Most runts were killed by accident in the games that were played. It was never anything personal, nor something to be desired, but then it was also something that few ever bothered to try and prevent, either.
His companion was much more common, of average height and build with a gray patterned fur that made it easy for him to get lost in a crowd. A perfect description for one who never wanted to be described, lest his existence and his actions be brought to the attention of the Shamans. More than a few of his friends and allies had already been caught and "removed", usually through some orchestrated challenge they couldn't avoid.
"Do you have it?" asked Shorty.
"Aye, they're here," answered Undistinguished. He reached into his harness and pulled out a pair of data chips. "Everything you need to know about the colony projects, as well as the information on the new threshold drives. It should be everything we need to get away from the madness Shamans have built into Warriors.
"And what of the new shelter?"
Undistinguished growled in the back of his throat as he bared his fangs. "Some of my compatriots have altered the star charts. According to anything the Shamans can access, or even most of the Technicians, for that matter, 08191987 does not even exist. Its just more empty space like the rest of the sectors they plan on "investigating". They are aiming instead for a world more than ten light years in the wrong direction entirely. And with the prototype step drives they are being given, it should take them longer to reach their destination than it will to make it to ours."
"Then let us hope the hijacking goes well. Do you know when it will be?" Shorty asked.
Undistinguished bared his fangs. "Soon."