February 15, 2014: 11:05 am: Pilot X, writing

The Verity descended towards a plain of identical looking, evenly-spaced one-story metal buildings. The Progons famously built down not up, so the buildings could be anything. His approved approach vector led him to one that began to slowly open to reveal a hangar. Besides the necessary landing equipment standard at all spaceports, the hangar was empty of any other ships. A solitary figure stood waiting.

The Verity touched down and before the Ambassador could finish a landing checklist a warning bell sounded. “External Lockdown Applied, All Systems Suspended,” the ship told him and displayed simultaneously. Not surprising, but disconcerting. Sort of the space travel equivalent of the spooky castle doors shutting behind you and locking.

The Progons had sent a bipedal robot to meet him. That was an unusual sign of deference. Progon machines were of all form factors, and few were bipedal. It wasn’t a necessary form for almost anything they did. The Progons generally didn’t care about making visitors feel at home either. It almost felt like they were trying to flatter him.

“Ambassador X, welcome to Tiel,” said the robot. It was likely an automata, not an inhabited machine but the Ambassador wondered. The Progons preferred to stay in large structures communing with each other in their electron-fast existence, rather than slowing themselves down into machines and the tedium of speaking aloud like an animal. Still, the Progons normally sent the equivalent of a rolling box to greet their visitors too.

“Thank you. What may I call you?” the Ambassador ventured.

“Assistant,” said the robot in a not unpleasant tone. Progons. They had names. They’r aerobats had names. But they just sucked at translation. “Assistant, er, 5.” The robot seemed to make it up on the spot. “If you’ll follow me, I’ll show you to your quarters.”

They ventured out of the hangar to a metal walkway that led directly to other square metal buildings. The Progons did like their right angles. Here and there distant movements betrayed other automata going about their business, but the Ambassador didn’t see another soul. Of course the Progons could inhabit any machine, and some inert structures if they wanted. They could have flitted into and out of the robot leading him without his knowledge.

And there were other Ambassadors on the planet as well. Some 453,000 of them. Each one kept apart from the other, equally spaced across the planet, so as not to ever come near composing a threat.

Some theorized it was a type of psychological warfare. Ambassadors on Tiel did not commune with their own kind and were left with unresponsive automata to speak with. It drove some mad. The previous Ambassador from Allendra had lasted a week. Of course he hadn’t gone mad, just requested an urgent transfer for ‘family reasons.’

The robot opened a sliding door at the end of one gangway and motioned the Ambassador to enter. Inside was what appeared to be a one story flat. If there were lower stories there was no obvious way of entering them. The quarters were sufficient. On the left was a circular mat that likely served for a bed. The Ambassador knew it was meant to serve a multitude of species hence the shape and the odd texture.

On the right was a small table that served as a desk and eating area with a chair and a few outlets for connectivity and such. Along the back wall was the kitchen. Large cabinets hung in the wall next to a mounted food preparation machine. A sink of sorts at least something that looked like it dispensed water. A lower wide bowl meant for bathing or possibly for excretion or knowing the Progons, both somehow.

The robot opened the cabinets to reveal stacks of identical bars wrapped in white paper. One side of the cabinet was refrigerated.

“We have provided a wide variety of Alenndran foods for your preparation. Stocks will be replenished automatically. Should you require other foods please make your request through the diplomatic channel you were assigned.”

In other words, you can fill out some paperwork, but don’t expect anything but these bars. The robot moved to the sliding door.

“These buttons here control the door. If you need to leave please alert us to your planned movements through the diplomatic channel you were assigned. You are expected out for exercise between the 4th and 6th hours.”

In other words, except for your daily jog, don’t leave unless we tell you to. There really wasn’t any need to. A diplomats life on Tiel consisted of relaxation, exercise, regular diplomatic meetings with a Progon representative (usually an automata) and wide stretches of boredom.

“May I be of assistance in any other matters, ambassador X?” the robot asked.

“No, thank you Assistant, er, 5,” the Ambassador mimicked the name. “You’ve been efficient.”

It was meant as flattery of its own but the robot showed no visible reaction.

“If you have further needs not previously covered by me,” submit them through the diplomatic channel you were assigned, the Ambassador finished for the robot in his head. But instead it said, “Use the communicator button on the provided device and call for Assistant 5. Have a pleasant day, Ambassador X.”

The robot left through the sliding door. What was that about? A last-minute parting shot of flattery? A communication device. Why hadn’t the robot pointed it out. The Ambassador looked around the spacious if sparse room. He saw no communication device. Was it a trick? A taunt? Then he saw it. Lying on the edge of the circular bed near the wall.

It was a small flat metal box with three buttons. Well that left him wondering which one was the communication button. Ah, it was written in Alendan. ‘Comm.’

The Ambassador had the impulse to call the robot back immediately just to see if it worked. But he didn’t. This was not standard procedure as far as he knew. The departing Alendan ambassador had briefed him and made it clear that he was left with no way of communicating directly to the Progons, probably to increase the isolation.

So what did the other buttons do? One white button was labeled Lights. He pressed it and the lights in the room dimmed. Another modern convenience. Other ambassadors reported the lights staying on at all times, messing with sleep patterns. The last green button was unlabeled. He pressed it but nothing happened. At least nothing he could tell. Maybe it blew up his ship in the hangar. Maybe it turned off the lights in some Progon room halfway across the planet.

He shrugged and tossed the device on the bed. Suddenly the door ripped open and two rolling boxes with surgical arms came rushing in and grabbed him.

“What is the nature of your emergency!” They shrieked.

“A green unlabeled button is your emergency button?” the Ambassador chuckled. “Bad design, Progons.”

February 4, 2014: 1:17 am: Pilot X, writing

Tiel appeared to be on fire. That was not unusual. Vegetation blended together on many planets to make land masses appear green. Individual fires on Tiel blended together to give the impression of a mass conflagration. It was more than appearance. The gas fields and generators that burned across much of Tiel were a conflagration. They powered the great machines in which the Progons lived.

Ambassador X knew this was but one of the reasons most Alendans worked very hard never to get assigned to a diplomatic mission on Tiel. There were few places on the planet that weren’t deadly to Alendans, and fewer people to spend your time with in the non-deadly sections.

Not to mention the Progons were deadly enemies with Alenda throughout most of time and space. Ambassador X had been assigned as a diplomat in a relatively calm stretch, thank goodness. He was the first Alendadn to serve as diplomat in more than a thousand years at this point. Well, if you didn’t count his immediate predecessor who lasted a week before having to be committed. The Ambassador was fairly certain it was a faked mental illness. And thoroughly understandable.

It was all the same to the Progons. The individual water sacks called Alendans barely registered as anything to a race of electricity. If an Alendan ever assaulted a Progon it would mean breaking their circuit and electrocuting the Alendan in the process. Also, Progons could communicate through time, so they knew what happned and would happen as much as the time-traveling Alendans. In fact they knew some things much quicker because they only had to ask their far flung machines what was going on. Alendans had to travel in space as well as time.

That didn’t mean there weren’t gaps. No race could be at all points in spacetime. So there were always mysteries. And this stretch of Progon time was a mystery to the Alendans. To be fair, this strecth of Alendan history was unknown to the Progons. They had carefully arranged to stay out of each other’s way for 1,000 years. So the Ambassador was not loving the idea of being plunked down in the middle of that quiet period and disturbing it. For one, the Progons would just call ahead to their future selves and find out what he did before he knew he would do it. HE hated that about them. For another it meant he was the one to break the fragile peace that led to the greatest war in history. A war that Alendan High Command was discovering raging in all manner of previously unknown stretches of history.

The Ambassador’s fate was start it. His mission was to mitigate it.

His only protection was his ship, The Verity. Within it, the Progons could not see him. He was protected from their prying eyes and they could not use their timecoms on him. The Verity encapsulated a singularity. This gave him a vast ship’s interior, lush with rooms, swimming pools, movie theaters, and anything else one could think of. It also gave him a time-shield that blocked attempts to read at least some of his future. The parts that existed within the influence of the singularity anyway.

It was the only way he could do this job.

He floated around Tiel for two more orbits before finally answering the relentless almost mindless request for identification and course by the Tiel Capital.

“Ambassador X de Alenda requesting diplomatic courtesies and permission to land in the capital.”

“permission granted,” the staticy voice spoke. It wasn’t a Progons. The Ambassador might never actually interact with a Progon his entire time on the planet. It was a machine the Progons had built that gave him his clearance. The machines were why the Progons were though of as a race of robots. The Progons themselves were much more insidious than robots. They had feelings and art and culture of a sort. But they were individuals made up of an electrical circuit. Their beliefs were so alien it was almost impossible for waterbag like the Ambassador to grasp them. That alone wouldn’t have been so bad if the Progons were not also convinced that they alone had the pure and dominant culture and all other beings deserved subservience, much like their machines.

“If only the robots really did rise up against their masters, ever,” mused the Ambassador. Then he took The Verity out of orbit and headed it down to the surface to begin his mission.

February 1, 2014: 2:15 am: Pilot X, writing

Encyclopedia Alendia

Progons – A race of pure electricity that houses itself in great machines.

Home planet: Tiel, which means “One”

Progons are often mistakenly thought of as a collective because of their basis in electricity. However Progons are individuals and do not and cannot merge into larger collective existence.

Unlike most biological entities, the Progons evolution was not driven by replication. While Alendans evolution centered on replication, electrical impulses did evolve in support of that. Progons early forms were driven by circuit completion with replication later supporting that.

The major step for Progon civilization was inhabiting Proroqs which allowed them mobility. Proroqs are a feature of Tiel that are natural formations that can move easily.

Primitive Progons were limited to inhabiting Proroqs but eventually learned to construct larger and more efficient machines. Eventually Progons created automata that could follow programming to build amazing cities and vehicles to leave the planet.

Actual protons exist in circuits in the great machines on Tiel. The protons most Alendans might encounter are simply robots or other automata controlled from Tiel.


Progons can send electrical signals instantaneously over long distances as well as through time. This capability has plowed them to explore the universe without leaving their home planet. Their automata expand and sometimes conquer while under homebound Progon control.

While Progon circuits can travel off planet the Progons themselves dislike travel greatly and it is an extreme rarity for an actual Progon to leave the planet.

Evolution causality controversy

Because Progons can communicate through time, some theories suggest they have caused their own evolution by sending instructions to the primitive Progons to guide them in creating machines outside the Proroqs. The Progons deny this saying it is impractical to communicate anything of significance to primitive Progons.

Most scientists believe the paradox could not be balanced and accept the Progons assurances. Alendans ave visited Progon history and have not found any evidence of interference from the future in their evolution.


Critics of Progon society say the regime has eliminated all society in order to create a culture of soldiery. Progon automata are warlike and the Progons have expanded to rule over large mounts of space centered around Tiel and the other central worlds.

The Progons and Sensaurians have no diplomatic relations but keep an uneasy distance between their two cultures. Alendans have fought fierce wars with the Progons at times but also maintain large amounts of peacetime as well. In peaceful sections of time, diplomats are often placed on Tiel, though most do not stay for extended periods for various reasons.

Accusations of a secret time war have persisted against the Progons by many sectors of Alendan and other society but no evidence for such a war has yet been uncovered.

January 25, 2014: 1:54 pm: Pilot X, writing

It was a dirty planet. Young but unorganized. Its inhabitants would not be civilized for centuries and not respectable neighbors for centuries more after that. Eventually though they would become the most respected species in existence. The Ambassador knew this because he was one of them.

The Secretary made his office in this space-time point because of just this juxtaposition. Any arrival had to observe the planet in its ancient state. The Guardians of Alenda should never forget their heritage.

It didn’t hurt that it was an unfixed point in time. In fact, the Ambassador might have visited before on this very day and not remember it. The conditions were such that nothing future visitors could do would cause any permanent effect on any significant events. Butterflies flapped their wings in vain here. The outside winds were too strong.

The Ambassador landed his ship, ‘The Verity’ just outside the rough wooden shack the Secretary called an office. He went inside and once again saw the rough interior. The Secretary easily could have constructed a modern technological space that any natives would have been shielded from seeing. Instead, he lived, dressed, and the Ambassador was reminded pointedly, smelled, in period-appropriate conditions.

“Ah, Ambassador, please come in. Have a seat. Apologies as usual for the lack of comforts, but— well you know the reasons.”

The Ambassador had heard the reasons. The Secretary wanted as little pollution of the planet as possible. Not for worries of effecting the timeline, but just for the ecological sensitivities of it. He also liked to feel the discomfort of his visitors.

“I’ve asked you here because it’s time for you to take a very difficult journey, the end of which I can’t even see.”

This was not the usual opener.

“The Progons and the Sensaurians are on the move. Both in different eras, but the effects are spread out over a vast amount of space.”

“You think we would have noticed that before,” the Ambassador ventured.

The Secrteary nodded. “A few of us have. Certainly. But only in the corners. It’s like that old adage about our home planet. If an alien landed blindfolded in the Jerendran Desert and took off his blindfold, he’d think he landed on a desert planet. Ladn in a forest and think he’d landed on a forest planet etc. We travel all through space and time, but we still only see a corner of it.”

“So what’s this issue then?” the Ambassador felt a little impatient with the Secretary sometimes.

“A war. The greatest war we know ever existed. A secret war meant to end the Guardians protection of the universe and change every unfixed point. A war only you can prevent or end. I’m sorry.”

The Ambassador bowed his head. His annoyance and mirth all fled.

“What do I do?”

“You start with a mission of piece. First to the Progons. Then to the Sensaurians. There is a possibility you can rearrange their motivations in such a way to limit the war to a more conventional size and save the universe.”

“And if I fail? Do I fail?”

“Even I don’t know if you do. It’s that obscured. But if you do, you’ll have another option. You’ll learn it in time.”

The Ambassador got up to leave.

“Oh one more thing,” the Secretary said. “Two more actually. One, hold on to the Verity tightly. You’re a pilot at heart. Don’t forget that.”

The Ambassador nodded. “And the other?”

Don’t trust the Vice-Counsel’s plan. That’s all I can say. All I need say, I think. Good luck, Ambassador X.”

Luck. It was a word the Secretary never used. It was frightening that he did so now.

January 12, 2014: 2:46 am: Pilot X, writing

“Did you hear the Ambassador arrived?”

“Yes, he flies alone you know. So unusual. But then I’ve heard he carries a singularity in his cabin. So it’s a bit done for show I should think.”

“The Verity has a singularity on board?”

“So, I’m told anyway. A whole pocket universe if the stories are to be believed.”

“Seems dangerous, if You ask me.”

“Well perhaps that’s why they don’t.”

“Don’t what?”

“Ask you.”

“Fair point.”

“So is it true about the treaty?”

“If anyone can pull it off peace with the Progons and Sensaurians, it’s the Ambassador.”

“Only Bolger can go to Nollisar, eh?”

“Something like that. He’s not like the other diplomats. Wasn’t born into it.”

“He’s a Guardian though, no?”

“Oh yes, from the central planet and everything but not one of the favored houses if you catch my meaning. Not a house at all really. Worked his way up. He’s been at all sorts of jobs, Instructor, Secretary, even Pilot I hear.”

“Would explain the small ship I suppose.”

“Explains the peace possibility too. Takes an outside perspective like his. That’s what he’s been doing the whole war. Wracking that clever brain of his to find a solution. Apparently he’s hit on it, or that’s the buzz anyway.”

“Have you met him before?”

“Once. He’s a charmer that’s for sure. And a fast-talker. It’s no exaggeration that he can talk anyone into or out of doing pretty much anything. I knew he’d untie this not we’re in.”

“So what happens to the generators then? And uh, you know the uh, conscripts if you will?”

“I expect it will just be wound down now. Less said about all that the better. Ah here we are. Mr. Ambassador, a pleasure to meet you.”

The Ambassador who is just stepping down from his ship turns to greet the two men with a menacing smile.

“Ah gentleman, just in time for some pinball,” said the Ambassador. The two other men looked puzzled. “Be with you in an Instant.”

December 28, 2013: 9:34 am: Pilot X, writing

“Commander I’ve got something. ”

“What is it Specialist?” Commander Ngtyllik moved over to Scanning specialist 12’s station.

“It’s a match for a surveillance order. The Verity.”

“The Verity? Don’t know it. Who gave the order?”

The specialist hesitated. “Uh, it says here you did sir.”

“What? I have no memory of that. When?”

“I don’t know, sir. In fact I don’t remember entering it myself. It just popped up like its always been there.”

“Nonsense. Maybe it’s from upstairs. Damned odd to slap my name on ot of ot is. Don’t worry Specialist. Good work. Do try to pay more attention when you’re authorizing orders though. Could sound sloppy not to remember orders.”

The Specialist looked doubtful. “Yes sir. I’ve sent acknowledgement and provided approach for now.”

“Good good. What else do we have on it?”

The Specialist poked around on his interface for a minute.

“Not much sir. The order only calls for an alert if the vessel is matched. it’s called the Verity. No known origin. No known crew. One race. Alendan?”

“Never heard of it.”

“And that’s it other than, oh! My apologies sir. It’s a level one alert.”

“What?! That’s ridiculous.” Level one was an all hands emergency if spotted. The idea that a level one could be spotted but nobody be expecting it or even remember entering the order was the most disturbing thing the Commander could think of.

“Well– Capture it. I’ll head upstairs and try to get to the bottom of this.”

The Commander ran up to the Captain’s office but he had already headed off to the Admiral’s Ready Room as soon as the alarm sounded. the Commander raced down the corridors to catch up and came barreling into a room filled with top officers all staring at him.

“Ah, Ngtyllik, I assume you can explain this?”


“Somewhat sir,” this brought a perturbed look to the Admirlas face. The rest if the officers look less than pleased. Nobody joked ant a Level 1 and they all seemed to know even less than he did.

“Specialist Ramsey spotted the target just now on a ship called. The Verity. Records show I gave the surveillance order at Level 1 signed off by you Admiral. Neither the specialist nor I recalled the order, which is damned odd in this case. The ships only details are a race of origin called the Alendans. I’m not familiar.”

A Captain from another part of the operation laughed. “You don’t read fairy tales then?”

“What’s that supposed to mean Fergranters?” The Admiral snapped.

“Sorry sir. The Alendans are characters from children’s stories. A once powerful race that could travel in time but reached too far and brought their entire people to destruction. Typical moral lessons and such,” the Admiral cut him off. Captain Fergranters was from the Cultural Relations arm. They could talk at length if allowed.

“And that’s all we have? Please tell me this isn’t some kind of joke Ngtyllik–”

An aide interrupted the Admiral. “Sir we ‘re getting a transmission from the ship.”

“Is it already locked on approach?”

“Yes sir. It’s been captured on my orders,” said the Commander.

“Ok, so they can’t pull much. At least we did that part right. Let’s hear it.”

A burst if static filled the room followed by a perfectly normal sounding voice speaking the dominant language of the Fringe. Cascade.

“This is Pilot X of The Verity to the command of the Fringe Cascade. I mean you no harm. Doubtless your records are in disarray or even missing about me. I can clear up the confusion. Please allow me to land peacefully.”

The message repeated.

“All right,” said the Admiral. “Peacefully. But make sure a well-armed battalion meets him to make sure it’s stays peaceful.”

December 27, 2013: 3:17 am: Pilot X, writing

His flight was timeless. The Verity was equipped with all manner of features to pass the time, entertain, research, educate and more but he made use of none of them.

Mostly he wept. Not so much for what he’d done but for the need of the doing of it. And for the fact of his survival. He could have thrown himself out of protection and disappeared like the rest of it. Often he wished he had.

But he hadn’t. It was his punishment and his reward. He must live with the guilt of surviving. And also, he must live. That was his reward. The purpose of living to tell the tale, to help the others, to see it was not all in vain.

Hence his flight to the Fringe Cascade, the most advanced civilization left. If anyone knew best how to continue afterwards it would them. Even if they didn’t know why, which they wouldn’t, to them, existence would always have been like that, but even so, they would be clever enough to know something had happened, and how to deal with it.

A light when on at the console. A very important light. A light that usually demanded immediate attention. Pilot X looked at the light and laughed. He had been detected. The Fringe Cascade were still expecting him. They had scanned him and a
Proved his approach, even though by all rights they should have no idea who he was anymore.

He reached to acknowledge the signal, and the Verity lurched and threw him away from the console. Another series of lights went on. These did not make hi laugh. These were bad. The Verity had been captured and was being pulled in. So he was expected but at the same time no longer welcome. Either they knew almost nothing or somehow they knew everything. Either way they weren’t pleased. He’d find out why soon enough.

December 17, 2013: 7:36 am: Pilot X, writing

An echo rumbled through the tower as The Verity settled into place outside the command center. Its arrival added to the clamor and noise of the ongoing battle.

“What is that?! A ship? How did it get in here?!”
“Is that Ambassador X?”
“He’s not Ambassador anymore. He’s gone rogue didn’t you hear?”
“Citizen X, please cease your activities and vacate at once!”
“Citizen? No need to insult the man if you want him to comply.”
“What’s he doing?”
“Dear stars in alignment, is that the Harmony Device? How did he get it?”
“He’s not going. To use it is he?!”
“Ambassador X, stop this minute ,”
Or maybe mor like a shoomp sound.

Whichever it was it was a small sound as he pushed down the plunger activating the device. The Verity protected him in a chrono-neutral envelope as the wave spread out from the device freezing everything. The people in the tower’s command center stopped. The battle outside paused. He cried. The wave was unstoppable now, rippling through space and time to the fringes of the universe, destroying almost all of them, rewriting history in the rest.

But he was stopping them. His people. And their enemies. A war that had unleashed a million maniacs on unsuspecting worlds. A war that would kill all the innocents, leaving him no choice but to take this action, at this moment, irrevocably.

The tower was dark now. He saw the wave returning. He couldn’t really see it, but he could catch hints of its progress as the stars went out. He knew he’d have to leave before it converged back here at the center. Even the chrono-neutral field would be wiped out then. He hadn’t stopped crying. He almost decided to stay and pay for his crime. But he knew he had one last responsibility to those left in this universe he had just remade.

He dragged himself into the Verity and told it to set course.

“Where?” It asked reasonably. Always reasonable, his ship.

He looked out at the spreading darkness and saw a twinkle of light. Stars still existed. A few. Not caught in the wave. Space travel would take ages now. People living among those stars would think it had always been that way. Because of him they would never remember the teeming life of the galaxies as they were. But they would survive. The madmen would not rule them.

“There” He pointed at the distant twinkles. “We’ll start there, I think.”

“Course set for the Fringe Cascade.”

Pilot X fled from the dark tower as it faded and disappeared into never having been.

October 4, 2013: 1:15 am: Pavaria, writing

Bev’s Bora was famous but she just felt old. She wished Marnly were here. Her husband lay in intensive care. He had told her at great length that she should forget all about him and go have fun. But here she was breaking her promise and thinking about him while she should be thinking about the big event.

“Ok Bev, we’ll need you in place now. Only three minutes,” the young aide said guiding her gently to the podium set up in the meadow.

50 years ago she had stood in this very spot and sent a message to the Zima. At the request of the Primavera’s Commander, she asked what happened to the Zima, why it had changed course towards them, and invited their descendants to board the Primavera should they eventually catch up.

Just shy of 25 years after that, someone, hopefully, on the Zima would have received the message. Survivors existed. Even though they could on,y see the one transmission from Zima’s meadow they had seen people come and go through it as early as yesterday.

In less than a minute, any return message from the Zima could arrive. Of course they might not respond immediately. Bev had prepared remarks in that expected case. But hopefully they would respond soon. She didn’t have that many remarks.

The time arrived, the aide pointed at Bev, and the lights dimmed and a spotlight highlighted her. She watched the screens of the meadow on The Zima, showing a 25-year-old picture.

“50 years ago, I was an inertial specialist with a hobby.” They laughed respectfully. “Today I’m known as Bev Bora, the world finder. Well,” she never finished the thought as a lady in a red dress walked slowly into the meadow. She was as old as Bev, but looked much more worn. Was it really her? And only 25 years after being so vibrant?

She turned and spoke. The Zima could not send audio, but new technology had been developed to read lips and simulate a voice.

An old and withered voice addressed them. “Bev Bora this is Hypotenuse Tensate Proctoress of the Longship Zima. When you sent your message I was young and our ship had forgotten itself. The meadow camera was a plaything. You were entertainment. Your message set us straight, caused us to grow up. To remember ourselves. To be again, a longship of the great exploration.

“Our ship was hit by flying rocks some 70 years before. Most of our communication equipment was taken out as well as most of ship operations. Our animals are gone. Our plants survive. Our people get by. In a last maneuver of the dying engines, our commander changed course at the expense of his life to chase after you, the Primavera. His hope was that we would contact you and be able to transfer or possibly even make repairs.

“We forgot that, but you helped us remember. I will be long dead by the time y receive this message. Perhaps you will be too. But our descendants shall meet in friendship one day. Please send us anything you can think of to help, until we can meet more directly. Our lives our yours.”

The woman bowed and stepped back as if to await a reply. Bowed her head and left the meadow empty. A dat stream then commenced with ships logs and other status updates from the Zima.

Of course Bev had guessed their need for information and assistance, and even without knowing the main condition of the Zima, had convinced command to send schematics and other helpful information already. For 50 years. Now Bev began her actual response. The real meat of her being here. She gripped the podium tightly and her eyes shined.

“To the Zima. I am Bev Bora. This will be my last message–”

An explosion knocked Bev to her feet. Followed by another and another. Shouts and confusion erupted around her. She smelled smoke. The aide rushed over to her side then fell screaming.

A tiger had her in its jaws. It looked at Bev. She froze halfway raising herself from the ground. Another explosion shook the ship and the tiger broke eye contact and leaped away leaving the dead aide on the ground.

Bev turned to run and confronted a jaguar
“Bora! Someone shouted. The entire zoo has escaped. I don’t know what’s going on.”

Bev wasn’t sure why the person felt the need to yell this lashed worked it out for herself. And from studying the Zima she had a very good guess what was happening. Meteors had crashed through the ship taking out essential systems, like the containment field on zoo animals. She had to get out of the park, not only to avoid wild animals but to get to the Bridge and warn them not to make the same mistakes she suspected the Zima made.

Although she didn’t think Zima’s zoo had run wild over the land like Primavera’s. She turned to see if she could get to a train. She never saw the lynx.

September 10, 2013: 12:00 am: Pavaria, writing

Bev Bora was not popular with the audio engineers at first, she was an amateur. They didn’t quite see why command had saddled them with a moonlighting lieutenant best left to her real skills, whatever those were.

That typical professional resentment lasted about 20 minutes not their first meeting.

“So I’m fairly certain with a proper model the Doppler shift combined with the known longship acceleration can give us a fairly precise limit on the light-year distance of the Zima. I just don’t,t have the math.”

All five audio engineers sat quietly starting at her then at each other.

“We’ll I do,” one coughed, ” excuse me, do. I do. I can calculate it.”

Bev smiled with relief. “Great! Uh, how long do you need?”

“Lady, you’re impressive. You already did all the hard work,” another engineer interjected. “It’s all the data points that are tedious. Given what you collected, I think anyone of us would be embarrassed if it took us an our.”

Be looked surprised, then smiled. “Fantastic! Well. Let me know we you have something. I’ll be at ,y post.”

Without dropping. Her smile, she turned and left, rather fled, the meeting.

In 35 minutes working with Bev’s data set, the engineers not nay had the location of the Zima, they also pinpointed its heading and found that it must have been deflected from its original trajectory. It was headed at an angle back towards the path of the Primavera. Eventually the Zima would pass behind the Primavera within 5 less than a light year.

Bev developed a 25 year program to send detailed communications to the Zima, or whoever would be left 50 years after the lady in red.

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