The large scorpion centered in a barbed circle glowed blood red on the back wall of the Supreme Council chamber. Imbedded computer screens illuminated the ominous faces of the council members. A single blinding white spotlight in front of the raised curved dais focused on the poor soul being interrogated in the center of the darkened room.
Number Three continued. “Commander Thompson, are you telling us this is all you found? What good are you and your men if this is all you return with? You’re useless, we can assign you a more appropriate mission.”
Charlie Thompson served the council for over two hundred years. He was their best assassin. He could infiltrate any government, corporation, or secured site, until now. This perplexed Charlie and infuriated the council which never accepted failure at any level.
“Number Three,” he choked out. “We exhausted all our resources and tortured everyone who had momentary contact with Derak Jamar. His immediate and extended family disappeared. Their files are closed. Not even our highly placed mole had the security clearance to view Jamar’s files. It’s as if his entire history never existed.”
Number Two addressed the commander. “What about his friend, Jack Morgan, and his family? We can get to him that way.”
“They disappeared too. Their files have the same security clearance. Our mole informed me she couldn’t spy any further without risking her cover.”
“Then what use do we have for this worthless slug?” Number Three demanded.
“None, Sir. She and her entire family met a slow, painful end, one of my more creative works of art. I brought her deputy into the fold with a little persuasion. He should prove more useful,” commander Thompson reported.
“Let’s hope so, for your sake, Commander,” Number Two threatened.
Number One spoke. “Commander, did you bring back any useful information?”
“Yes, Number One. There are three intergalactic corporations that have equal security measures. They have Derak Jamar’s fingerprints all over them. He is a dangerous enemy; it is reported he single-handedly took out a battalion of Kek in the Chambar Valley Offensive. It is rumored that Master Li trained him.”
“That traitor!” Number One exploded. “I have a special death reserved for him. We must tread cautiously with these two. Find a hole in Jamar’s security. Don’t fail us this time, Commander. Dismissed!”
The commander left the dreaded chambers and made his way to April’s Pleasure Palace. Maybe he could catch up with his buddy, Dr. Vander.
After the chamber doors closed behind the commander, Number One went off. “Is that what we’re down to? Pansies and cowards who have forgotten all the good we’ve done for them? I’ll show them all! Number Nine, make sure the commander’s wife dies in premature childbirth, along with the child. That will send the proper message.”
“Isn’t that extreme, Number One? He has served us…”
“Number Nine! Would you like to keep your seat?”
“Yes, Number One,” he choked out. “I’ll see to the arrangements.”
“If the known galaxy doesn’t want to acknowledge our honorable intentions and peaceful salutations, we must give them something to pay attention to. Our goal is the same, a unified galaxy ruled by our values of fairness and judgment. Who could ask for a better arrangement?”
The Planetary Survey
Derak commanded the planetary survey mission, Jack was the pilot. Shesain, Shenar, Dr. Bundett, Thumar’s leading herbal doctor, and Seamus McGrew, a planetary geologist from Earth, rounded out the crew. Jack laid in the course to the first set of coordinates.
While on the flight controls under Jack’s watchful eye, Shesain became curious about a section he had not taught her. “What does this do?” she asked, pointing to a yellow touch pad with a warning light flashing red.
“Don’t touch that.” Jack said. Damn techs were supposed to disengage that time-control panel before we left. Why is it still on? “That’s part of the time travel circuit.”
Before Jack could reach the control to disable it, Shesain’s hand slid in the direction of the yellow touch pad. Derak moved to stop her, but her fingers brushed the pad. Everyone in the ship froze. Derak, in mid-stride, felt queasy. As the crew recovered, Derak’s momentum carried him forward, and he touched the pad before hitting the floor hard. He got up and removed Shesain from the pilot’s seat. Jack took the science station.
“What did I do?” Shesain asked in shock.
“I don’t know yet!” Derak growled.
The indicator upon entering hyperspace is a clockwise swirling of stars in an inverted cone shape. This tells the Captain and navigator that they entered an artificially created wormhole. The wormhole they entered rotated counterclockwise.
“What did I do?” Shesain asked. Her voice quivered.
“I don’t know yet. I have to check the navigation computer,” Derak answered, in a consoling tone this time.
“Jack, what are you seeing?”
“The readings are crazy! Wait, the chronometer is running backwards! We’re going back in time, and I don’t know how far.”
“Is the ship recording this? We’ll need the data to return,” Derak said.
“From the start,” Jack responded.
“We should stop soon,” Derak said.
They watched in horror as the cone of earth and sky rotated counterclockwise. It slowed down, and the crew went through the same transitional sensations as they had in the beginning. When they entered normal space again, they held their breath as they hovered over a similar, yet unfamiliar feeling landscape.
“Put her in D-gen, Jack, we don’t want to be seen. We must not cause a time paradox. There is no way to know how this will affect the future we originated from, or the present timeline.” Derak ordered.
“D-gen activated. We should land and access the situation.”
“Excellent idea, Jack. Set her down in a concealed area.”
Jack landed The Shesain in a well-protected meadow outside a sizable village and shut down the engines. They all breathed a sigh of relief. Jack and Derak turned to Shesain sitting in a corner hiding her head.
“I told you NOT to touch that pad!” Jack yelled at Shesain.
“I…I…didn’t mean to. It…it…was an accident,” she answered, breaking down into tears.
Derak stopped Jack before he could go any further. He sat down next to Shesain and put his arm around her as she buried her head into his shoulder. “My dear, Chimera, when a flight instructor tells you no, they mean it.”
Derak turned towards the others. “We need to know how far back we travelled.” He lifted Shesain’s chin; smiled and kissed her. She wiped her eyes and sniffled before looking up at the others. “Shesain, you and Shenar look up the histories while Jack and I figure out how far back in time we traveled. Seamus and Dr. Bundett help the girls out, will you?” They nodded and led Shenar and Shesain to the computer station.
Jack and Derak looked at each other and shook their heads. After consulting the ship’s chronometer and computer, they time-traveled back to the year 1814.