Carpathia III: Epilogue 18 - Back to Yseri

New Berengaria, Cross Spaceport

The military spaceport wasn't near as posh as the one for passengers. There wasn't even a terminal. Nevertheless, the few bystanders in the area didn't seem to take much notice of the parade of black cars headed for the Carpathia One launch pad. Regardless, it took several cars to get the entire group and their baggage to the ship and Lord Lynx was there to greet them.

Lynx: Welcome everyone! The attendants will take care of your stuff and show you to your cabins later. In the meantime, you can join me on the bridge.

It was a large group indeed to lead through the old ship. All those who came from Yseri were there, plus Kradik, Phobos, Tuomas, Jaze's parents, Artemis's parents, and Adell's parents. It took several trips on the lift to get the entire group to the bridge.

Lord Lynx: I thought you might like to be here when we take off. It's really quite spectactular. Just don't touch anything!

The others gleefully took Lynx's words to heart. The bridge a vast open area with consoles staffed by dutiful crew and a long, window that curved gently from overhead down to the floor and, seemingly, to the deck below. They didn't have a chance to look around long before Admiral Tora showed up, emerging through the lift doors behind them.

Admiral Tora: Okay, I'd like our guests to head over to the observation area while we get underway.

Admiral Tora indicated an area off to the side with a large conference table and several chairs and the group dutifully shuffled over to take their seats. Admiral Tora stood in front of the captain's chair in the center of the bridge with her arms folded across her chest while the crew awaited their orders.

Admiral Tora: All systems to standby. Set alert condition blue.

Immediately, the lights on the bridge took on a blue hue as the crew loudly acknowledged their commands and carried them out.

Admiral Tora: Engage thrusters and set to station-keeping. Inertial dampeners to full. Set gravity plating to auto-adjust. Clear all moorings. Perform final system check.

Another round of acknowledgements and button-tapping followed while the guests, particularly the native Yserians, looked on in both awe and confusion. Admiral Tora waited patiently until she finally received the one report she was waiting for. "All systems nominal."

Admiral Tora: Engage antigrav. Ventral thrusters to one quarter. Take us up.

After a momentary shudder, the ship slowly began to rise and everyone watched out the window as the city skyline started to sink below the floor.

Admiral Tora: Set 25-degree downangle. Retract landing struts. Aft thrusters to one half. Turn starboard to 285.

It was clear from the view out of the front that the nose of the ship dipped significantly, though nobody could feel it. Then, the nose of the ship quickly turned toward the heart of Carpathia City. Clearly, Admiral Tora was giving her guests a good view of the skyline as they departed, not to mention a thrill for the people on the ground watching as Carpathia One soared over the city core and into the sky.

Soon after, the planet was no longer visible, and everyone watched as the ship passed through several layers of clouds on its way into space. The blue sky gradually faded into darkness until the entire windows was filled with nothing but stars.

Lord Lynx: Admiral, how about we give our guests a good look at a tokki mothership. They might not get another chance.

Admiral Tora cast a quick side-eye at Lynx and then gave more orders.

Amiral Tora: Thrusters to one quarter. Steer port, 085 mark 310.

Suddenly, the stars in the window seems to slide to the side and then, like a star unto itself, the tokki ship came into view.

Kaoru leaped from his seat and ran to the window, regulations be damned. He decided it was worth risking getting a closer look even if someone had to drag him back to his chair.

Kaoru: That's amazing! What kind of engine does it have?

Kradik approached Kaoru from behind with a proud grin on his face.

Kradik: It is pretty, right? It uses a micro-fold drive, which is much faster than your ships. The mothership will go first and Carpathia One will be able to keep pace by using her wake.

Kaoru beamed excitedly and turned to Lord Lynx.

Kaoru: Can I be here when we go to warp?

Lord Lynx: Of course! We'll make the jump as soon as we clear the solar system. You can go see your cabins and I'll call you when we're ready.

Kaoru giddly danced back and forth on his feet.

Kaoru: I can't wait!


Space, Carpathia One

Even travelling at the speed of a tokki ship, the journey to Yseri was expected to take nearly a month. Lord Lynx explained that Carpathian scientists studied the stars taken from their cameras and videos and determined that one distant planet and moon which were briefly catalogued on a deep space mission appeared to be likely candidates for Yseri.

Everyone took their time settling into their cabins for the long journey, unpacking their bags and getting used to the hum of the engines. As an old ship, the bathing and toilet facilities were communal for all but only a very few cabins, and this was, naturally, one of the first ammenities with which the passengers familiarized themselves.

Old, indeed, the ship was. Though fully laden with modern electronics, the decor was decidedly old school and showing signs of wear. The hallways and lounge areas were all covered with plush, but worn-down carpet and the walls were fitted with scratched-up panels of what appeared to be burled walnut and fitted with tarnished brass railings. It was old world, even at the time of construction almost three decades ago, and looked as though it were meant to invoke a bygone era, and era long since faded like the varnish on the wood.

Dinner was an elegant, though stuffy affair in the ship's dining room. Though the food was expertly prepared, everyone was happy that it wasn't going to be that way every day on the ship. The younger ones, especially, were more than antsy throughout the eight courses, and even the others had some trouble sitting still the entire time. Later, Lynx and Kradik called Jaze, Kaoru, Adell, Toma, Artemis, and Ryuu into the lounge. Once everyone was comfortable, Lynx addressed the group.

Lord Lynx: Kradik and I wanted you all to know that the Tokkastran government has decrypted the information about the wormhole and a lot of other things.

The others looked around at each other for a moment, wondering how many of the gaps in their understanding might be filled.

Jaze: Is it confirmed that Yseri really is Ramewet?

Lynx nodded.

Lord Lynx: It is. That part the tokki erased completely from their database, which is why we had to find it by the stars in your photos. I think Kradik can explain better.

Kradik took a step forward, with a far more serious expression than what he normally sported.

Kradik: It turns out that we weren't always a peaceful people. There was a time, several thousand years ago, when our government was violent and expansionist and our planet was overcrowded. The government hoped that colonizing other planets and putting wormholes in place would solve that problem. Unfortunately, the nekomi already inhabited one of the most suitable planets that they found. That didn't stop the military from driving them out.

Everyone shifted uneasily in their chairs. Everything they saw and experienced pointed to something like that, and now it was confirmed. None of them were looking forward to the political fallout that may occur.

Adell: Since this is the first we're hearing about it, I guess this isn't public?

Lord Lynx: Not yet, no. We're going to get out ahead of the situation, though. After all, once we confirm that Yseri is Ramewet, that would immediately raise questions. The Queen and I, along with several advisors, are working on crafting a statement. We hope that it will minimize damages. What happened was thousands of years ago and I believe it's best to be friends moving forward. That's best for everyone.

Kradik: That's not to say we do not regret what happened. The statement will contain a very strong apology from the Tokkastran government, mostly likely read by the Queen herself.

This time, Toma put up his hand and then began speaking without prompting.

Toma: What about the Reformation? I was able to figure out that the wormhole was built right before that time.

Kradik nodded.

Kradik: The wormhole facility was the key to the downfall of the government back then, because so many things went wrong. The facility completely wrecked the ecolgy of the planet, rendering it far less pleasant. It didn't work properly. People would come through the portal before they even left and in the other direction, it would take several minutes longer to emerge on the other side than it should have. Then there was the massacre of all the scientists. We now know what caused that, but they thought it was some kind of technological failure. Nevertheless, that was the breaking point. The people had enough and a massive uprising took place. They threw the Queen out of the tower, killed most of the generals, and established a new government. That new government established the pacifist constitution, instituted the reproduction registry, put limits on scientific research, and many other things.

Kradik slid into a chair behind him and rubbed his ears.

Kradik: I can only guess why that government encrypted that period of history. Maybe they hoped the memories of that time would fade. If that's the case, it worked. They should have gone back and destroyed the wormhole facility. If they'd done that...

Ryuu: Then Wishmaster would have terrorized another planet. Possibly the nekomi. Possibly the humans. Someone was going to suffer at his hands no matter what the tokki did. That part, at least, is not your fault at all.

The others glanced around at each other and nodded in agreement.

Artemis: Ryuu is right. It's terrible what happened to the people of Yseri, but imagine if he'd decided to settle on a more heavily populated world. The damage would have been catastrophic.

Kradik smiled.

Kradik: That's very kind of you to say so. I at least hope that you can believe me when I say that our regret over everything is sincere.

Jaze nodded again.

Jaze: I believe you. Lynx, what about the nekomi? What do you think is going to happen when they find out?

Lord Lynx: I'm hoping for the best. The good news is that they are all deliriously excited over Zet and the possibility for a full cure to the infertility disease, and that wouldn't have been possible if Yseri hadn't been the way it was. Wishmaster may have inadvertantly saved our entire species.

It was indeed a complicated situation and nobody envied the position that Lynx and Kradik were in. Without much left to say, the others remained silent to think.

Lord Lynx: That's enough for now. If you have any questions, we'll be here for awhile. In the meantime, feel free to explore the ship. I think you'll find enough recreational facilities to pass the time for the journey.

Happy Holidays from Amenaru and Kit from Carpathia IV! The new page is coming along. Feel free to check out what's there at Carpathia IV!

Commissioned art in this episode from:
Atomic Clover

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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