Authors: Ben Winston
Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Adventure, #Alien Invasion, #First Contact, #Military, #Space Fleet
Relieved, the large being nodded his understanding and thanked her, not only for the trust, but for taking the time to address his concerns. So, while Ben, Deirdre and Jorga hosted the Imperial party in the Council Chamber, Kaitlin and Marcy hosted the Imperial Guard in their apartment. Since Marcy would be called upon to testify, they also enlisted the help of Jon's twin daughters who were awed by the very large beings, but managed to be courteous and friendly.
The Imperial guard was very appreciative of their hostesses and tried to respect the fact that this was the private apartment of the Prime Council. Other than having an apartment full of large hairy beings, the event went rather well for Kaitlin and the girls.
Grand Council Chamber
Command Pod Alpha One
26 - 27 Apr. 10266 CE (AD)
Sector 34871 - Great Inland Sea
Earth, Sol system
"Prime Council, we understand you decided to move our meeting here instead of your office due to the number of people to be seen. This chamber is odd to us, could you explain its function?" the Emperor asked.
"Certainly, Majesty. This is called the Grand Council Chamber. This is where we hold the meetings of our Council as it has a special dedicated communications suite capable of linking each and every pod on the planet. The system allows for not only real time communication but data manipulation as well. From here I address the rest of the councilors to discuss issues and debate problems that require the attention of the council. It is also possible for me to address the people directly from here. From the controlling console, I have access to every type of information I might need so the Council can make as informed a decision possible," Ben finished indicating his normal seat in the great chamber. He smiled. "It's also the best seat in the room, so I thought I'd let you sit there today."
The Emperor laughed. "I appreciate that Prime Council. I assume then, that this facility is also secure?"
Ben nodded. "Actually, this is the most secure place we have, Majesty. All communications are very closely monitored and any unknown or unaccounted for signals are immediately blocked and isolated."
Hjoolous nodded. "Very nice. I might need to get the design from you and build one for myself. Now, I know it is getting very late for you and your people. I would have understood if you would have wanted to delay this discussion, but we got the impression this was rather urgent."
Ben nodded. "It is Majesty. We feel it is very important that we tell you everything about us and our technology so you can make a better decision about our status in the Empire. However, some of the information is very sensitive. Acting on the advice of Ranger Commander Halst, we asked for this meeting to discuss these items."
Hjoolous looked a little concerned for a moment, but nodded. "We understand, Prime Council. Please, proceed."
Ben bowed a little. "Majesty, the first item I would address is the question raised by Senator Glandril about Ohto. We have a device that is not available in the Empire, called a replicator. What this device does is create virtually any item or commodity literally out of thin air. How it does what it does is beyond my technical ability, however, such a device has the ability to completely destroy the economy of the Empire. It is these devices that are currently keeping my people alive. There is one available in this chamber if you would like a demonstration."
"Please! That sounds amazing!" Hjoolous replied, excited.
Ben nodded and asked the replicator for a cup of his favorite cappuccino as well as a plate of mozzarella sticks. He approached one of the Guards, but spoke so everyone could hear him. "These are two food items both of our species can safely ingest. However, I would only take a sip of the beverage until we know how the caffeine will affect you."
After getting approval from the guard Captain, the guard removed his helmet and sampled the items. He asked for another cheese stick and dipped it into the sauce that accompanied the dish. "Very good tasting, it reminds me of Coola cheese, but has more flavor."
"They are replicas of a dairy product from old Earth. They are called Mozzarella Sticks. They are a cheese, breaded and deep fried in vegetable oil," Ben explained.
The large being then picked up the cup of coffee, but before he could drink, Ben once again cautioned him. "Remember, this beverage may have an effect on you. It contains a chemical called caffeine that is a stimulant. That's why I only recommend a sip."
The guard nodded his understanding and took the sip. His eyes lit up. "Very pleasing, very rich, wonderful taste." He paused and nodded. "I understand your warning Prime Council. I feel slightly lightheaded, but energetic as well."
Ben nodded. "It should pass shortly as you didn't ingest very much. However, for those of us that have a tolerance to it, it serves to keep us going when we get tired or our energy is flagging. There are many variants of this beverage, and not all of them are sweet like this one. Some are bitter, but still have a pleasing taste."
When there was no adverse reaction to the guard, the Emperor sampled both as well and loved the taste of both. "We can see that these are two commodities that will be very popular in the Empire!"
Ben smiled sadly. "I'm sorry Majesty, but neither one will be able to be produced for at least a year, possibly longer, depending on the conditions on the surface."
"I don't understand, then how did we just enjoy them?" Hjoolous asked.
"No raw materials were used in the creation of either of those products; only energy," Ben explained. "Majesty, this is the danger of this device. There was no labor cost, no raw materials used, no shipping to get the product here, nothing. The price of those items was only the energy needed to power the unit. For all intents, they cost nothing to create, but no one got paid to make them, either."
Hjoolous sat quietly thinking about what he had just been shown. "Prime Council, you are a very wise man, and it is very fortunate that you are a friend to our Empire. You have in your possession the only weapon that could completely and utterly destroy the Empire without a shot ever being fired. This device has to be the most dangerous invention since the antimatter warhead. If we may ask, what are your intentions for its use?"
"Currently, we need to continue their use, as these devices are what is supplying all our food as well as our clothing and even the air we are breathing. However, once we emerge from our current existence, their use would have to be greatly regulated or prohibited completely. There is simply no way I can think of that would allow their wide spread use that would not have a detrimental effect on the economy. However, they could be of great assistance on military vessels or as am emergency back-up system. As I understand it, the device is capable of being limited in scope to only the production of specified items; such as ohto," Ben replied. "My Council has decided to keep this technology classified for the time being until some sort of agreement can be reached with you about their use. Every one of our people knows of the device and what it does, but only a select few know how it does it."
Hjoolous nodded. "I understand and appreciate the discretion you have shown, Prime. Please continue keeping the secret until we can discuss this issue in more depth. We will leave it to you to regulate it as you have outlined, since, as you said, you still need it."
"Thank you, Majesty." Ben replied and checked his tablet for the next item. The next issue we need to discuss is military in nature. For this I would call upon Ranger Sc'ellese and Doctor Hope Lowe of Pod 0001c, and Vice Council Jorga Bedouin of the Command Pod." He turned and looked to the elevator. In a moment, the three women entered and bowed to the Emperor. Ben addressed them.
"Ranger Sc'ellese, I've asked you here to inform His Majesty of your findings regarding Vice Councilor Bedouin; are you willing to do so?"
"Of course, Prime Council," she replied and smiled at him.
"Majesty, Ranger Sc'ellese of the Dalphine," Ben said, formally introducing her and stepping aside so she could address her ruler.
She lowered to one knee before she spoke. "Majesty, before I begin, Majesty, I feel I need to state that I have not yet earned my medical credentials; I have completed the educational aspects and I will begin my residency when we return to Hyclarion.
"Shortly after our arrival here, I met a most interesting young human woman. She came to my attention because my medical enhancements reported that she was, herself, enhanced. As she was not a Ranger, nor was she a member of our military, I immediately brought it to the attention of my Commander.
"Upon investigation, it was discovered that the Vice Council was given an experimental medical treatment for a disease that, at the time of treatment, had a fatal outcome. I discovered that she was in fact terminal when the treatment was administered. The use of enhancement procedures for this purpose is common practice in the Empire at present, however, in those cases, the patient does not remain enhanced once the condition is corrected. That is not the case with Vice Council Bedouin.
"Due to the sensitive nature of this technology, as well as the current situation of these people, I continued my investigation into the use of this treatment. I have discovered that this treatment was administered almost one local year prior to the events that forced these people into hibernation. Chronologically, this predates the discovery of this technology and subsequent implementation by the Empire by almost fifteen hundred years.
"I have since also discovered that, because of the potential of this technology, the humans have classified it. I would also mention that it is not currently in wide spread use as a medical treatment, as further research is still being completed. I have spoken to the person that has worked to develop this technology and have learned that her version has far more potential than even our own." She indicated Hope. "This is Doctor Hope Lowe, the woman most directly responsible for the development of their version of enhancement. Beside her is her daughter, Vice Council Jorga Bedouin, who is the young woman that is medically enhanced."
"By your description, Ranger Sc'ellese, the only enhancement she has had done to her has been medical?" Hjoolous asked.
"With one exception, Majesty; the controller used for enhancements is able to interface directly with any and all computer equipment currently in use by these people. She has been restricted in that interface, but the restriction is artificially imposed," Sc'ellese answered. "She has no other enhancements installed. The current version of biocyte in use is not capable of any form of combat enhancement."
"We do not understand what you mean by their version having more potential than the one currently in use. Could you elaborate on this?" Hjoolous asked.
"The explanation would involve two separate, highly classified issues, Majesty. By the oath I swore, I cannot speak of them without your direct order to do so," Sc'ellese replied and blushed in shame.
"I understand, Ranger. Without speaking of them, can you indicate which issues are involved?" Hjoolous asked.
"One issue deals with 'the mother of all races' and the other issue deals with our base enhancements, Majesty," Sc'elleses replied.
"I see," Hjoolous replied.
"Prime Council, because of the military nature of the enhancement process, all information regarding it is restricted to military medical personnel. The reasoning being the fewer that know of the secret the better. For that reason we hope you can understand why we would not have that issue discussed. Although, our current discussion would fall under the same restriction, it is one that needed to be addressed.
"As for the issue the Ranger referred to as the Mother of all Races that is more social in nature. You see, of all the diverse peoples and races of the Empire, only one appears to be almost infinitely adaptable. They can, given time and care, adjust their physiology to almost any environment. All other races share some of their traits, but none of them share them all. The enhancement of such an already adaptable race, especially as that race has a propensity for violence, is closely regulated. So closely regulated that we are required to personally authorize each individual.
"It is feared that if that race were to be given the freedom of unrestricted enhancement, they would turn on us. We personally do not believe they would, but the possibility does exist, given how that race has been treated in the past. It is one of the greatest fears of the Empire and a nightmare for the Lizards. An army of enhanced humans would be next to unstoppable, even by the Lizard's drop troops," Hjoolous said, looking at Ben.
"However, if the humans had their own world, and their own leader, we do not believe they would turn on the Empire, but embrace us as brothers." He looked thoughtful for a moment. "I should say 'I' not 'We' as this really is only my personal belief and not that of the Empire."
It was Ben's turn to be thoughtful as he considered what the Emperor had told him. "I think I might have to disagree with you, Majesty." He held up a hand to forestall an outburst. "I agree with you in principle, but it would depend greatly on the leader as well as on the people being led. Our history is full of examples of what can happen given the proper motivation by a charismatic leader; of how one man can corrupt and influence the hearts and minds of so many.
"I cannot speak for the people, the humans of the Empire, but I do know that the action of a leader should be the will of those he is responsible for. That makes the key to this as having the people believing in what is being defended. If the people agree and believe in their government and leadership, they will do whatever it takes to support that leader.
"I'm told that most humans in the Empire support and believe in it. To be honest, that was a major deciding factor in our own decision to support you. We know that if the Empire was evil, or bad, the humans living there would not support you. Clearly, that is not the case." Ben smiled. "I don't know what the future holds for us, Majesty. But one thing I can say is that, at this point, it would take something pretty major for the Empire to lose that support."