Something Something Something, But What?
In Orbit Above Ulat
Speaker for the God Comuro stood on the balcony of his home and watched, mesmerized, as Ulat turned below him. Every bone in his body screamed that this was wrong, that he was upside down, while his brain kept insisting that all they had to do was shut up and enjoy the ride, for everything was fine. The world below was a like dirty marble, some child's toy that had long since been neglected for lack of love by its owners. And now it truly would be, for the destiny of the Ulatarim lay elsewhere amongst those many, many stars.
'Should I fear that destiny?' he thought. 'What do you want of me, God? Give me some sign of your will. I have been blessed so far, but I fear that I must continue to rely on your wisdom. I fear, not because I believe that you will misguide me, but because I fear that I will not understand what it is you wish of me.'
The door behind him hissed open, but he ignored it. Aides and messengers had been coming back and forth on a constant basis since they had left the planet. Even now he had a part to play in making decisions for the fools that he had left in charge, and fortunately the lag between communication points had not quite reached the point where it would take them hours to get things done.
This time it was more unusual, however. The messenger in question scurried forward and prostrated himself before the Speaker, his claws wrapped tightly around a data tablet. "Sir, I beg to make a report to you. we have just received a report from the Central Observatory batteries."
"Let me guess," Comuro said tiredly, "They wishes us good luck with our grand adventure, and that God be with us. Also, that we should avoid running into any meteorites or asteroids while we are out here, and could we please check on the solar relay panels while we are going by?"
"Er, no my lord," the messenger said with a wince. Greater men than him had disagreed with the Speaker before and suffered worse fates than he could imagine. He did not want to join those less than illustrious ranks. "I am afraid its more serious than that, sir. Um, we detected a signal, sir."
Comuro froze at the news. Was this the sign that he had just asked for? "A signal? What kind of signal?"
"We, um, we do not know at this time, sir. It seems the signal was faint, and has since cut off. The Central Observatory is trying to decode it, but the signal has cut off, and without anything to compare it to they do not have much hope," the messenger explained.
Comuro whirled on the man, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him violently. "I do not care if they can tell me what it means, but we need to know from where you fool! For all you know it could be a trap set up by the Sky Eaters! We must investigate this at once!"
"Ah, they say it came from the second planet, sir," the messenger managed to rattle out, amazingly without biting his tongue.
"Alert the Captain at once! Change course! We are no longer going to the moon, instead have him lay in a course of Alevero! Has the Fanged Wonder returned yet?" Comuro began to scramble around his quarters, looking for his comm relay. They had to get things done, now! This was surely a sign, and it could not wait!
"Ah, yes, captain, they commed in late last night," the messenger offered, silently thankful that the high priest was no longer trying to shame him to death.
"Have them make best speed to Alevero as well, then! They have the fully upgraded sensor suite, have them search every inch of that cursed planet for the source of that signal! That is where we shall put our new colony! Hurry, hurry, why are you standing there?!"
A Dark Corridor On Ulat
"You did what?! Shorty asked in shock.
"I merely convinced the Speaker that it would be in his best interest to join the original colony mission. I may have neglected to mention to him that it was a one way trip, however," Undistinguished said with a fang-bearing smile.
"I love it! I love it! This is perfect, now we can begin to move ahead with some of our plans, finally!" Shorty got down on one knee, and began quickly but silently giving thanks to the Gods Who Had Been for this stroke of luck. Now that that bungling fool was out of the way, they could really energize the homeworld, and truly make something of its resources.
"Do not get too excited," Undistinguished cautioned. "I am sure that once he realizes that he is trapped he will make other arrangements to get off of the moon. All it would take is a quick trip in a boarding pinnace and he will be right back here, making a nuisance of himself."
"Then we do what we can, while we can," Shorty answered. "That fool would have had us suspend production until the new shipyards on the Alito plains were ready. Would have slowed down production by months! Now instead we can go ahead with the Spares plan, and go ahead with the automation plans. That should curtail some of the time expenditures from the plan, at least temporarily."
"We will still need those yards, though," Undistinguished warned.
"Of course we will, if for no other reason than to put more of the population into space," Shorty agreed. "But before we can do that, we need to explore, as well as put our own colonizer into space. Production has already begun on the materials and hull, but we are being slowed down by the lack of a work force. We need those automatons!"
Undistinguished nodded in acknowledgement of the point. "There is one more thing. The Central Observatory detected an alien signal from Alevero. The Speaker has already altered the course of the colony ship so that they will land there instead of on the moon. This means a potential loss of resources for both projects."
Shorty shook his head. "Not enough to matter. And with the new automation, we should be able to make up for it with numbers in the end."
"And if they find new technology?"
Shorty thought about it for a moment, then shrugged. "They have prospered from our labors for far too long, stealing our ideas and crediting themselves with it. If they find some new technology or wonder material, then we shall just have reap what they have sown and steal it from them in turn."
Undistinguished grinned. "Delightful."
"Sir, we are receiving a signal from High Command," Warder Smiddleyu announced.
"And what do those foolish priests want?" Tribal Leader Vru demanded.
"We are to make best speed to Alevero, and investigate the source of a signal that was detected there. Once there, we are supposed to rendezvous with the colony ship and provide them coordinates to land at."
"First they have us look at nothing, and now they want us to chase ghosts?" Vru asked his crew. None dared to answer, not having a good one. "Fine then, we shall do what they wish. Cmio, make our best speed to Alevero. Smiddleyu, run a constant scan as we approach the planet. Feel free to tickle it with our own communications systems while you are at it. If there is someone down there looking to talk to us, we might as well play nice before we drop on their heads with the wrath of the True God. See if you cannot provoke a response. Now get to it!"
"By your command, sir!" the crew chorused.