Blast Into Exile: Part One

Officer’s logs: Hour 151, Day 175 of service, Year 1

It was my good fortune to be in charge of the sensor stations in main base today and it so happens that we sensed a cargo fleet coming from earth. We hailed the group and were answered by a scientist who claimed that he was being sent into exile and desired to call in at our base and to discuss matters with high command. This is a bit above my paygrade, but I was able to relay the request to the commander of the base and a meeting was soon set up between the scientist who was in charge of the squadron of cargo vessels as well as the government of Pluto. Because I had been the first person to make contact, I was allowed to be a fly on the wall of the meeting and thought it was a good way to get some positive attention. The scientist looked at me rather thoughtfully and then I found, to my surprise, that after the meeting I was called to eat dinner with him before the negotiations between him and the planetary leadership continued, since it was not clear what exactly he had wanted from the meeting, as he spent most of it talking about how he and his charges–that is what he called them–were told that they were no longer welcome on earth and that he wondered whether a tropical area could be found for them.

This was all very mysterious to me, because the exile colonies here in the Kuiper belt are a little short on tropical areas. That is not to say that we do not have many people who are descended from such areas on earth, which is the home planet of all of us, even those of us like myself that were born here in the belt, but rather that there are few areas where greenhouses have allowed for tropical areas and most of these have been devoted to keeping alive existing flora and fauna for the area. Now, I must admit that this is not an area that I focused on in my studies, so I could not help the scientist, as I assumed he was going to have a tough time figuring out where to put his charges, whatever they were, since he did not go into details. But when I had dinner with the man, he seemed to know who I was. He looked at me rather closely and said that one of his charges in particular wanted to see me after dinner. Not knowing what I meant, I said that I would be happy to see his charges after we ate, assuming it was alright, and he said that it was. He did not give me any further details about what his charges were, but proceeded to ask me questions about my background. I stated that I had been an exile on this planet all my life, and that my family had moved here during some kind of troubles on earth where it was made plain that they and their kind were not welcome on an earth that was proving itself to be increasingly unfriendly towards religious minorities like the ones my family came from. He nodded politely and left it at that.

It was after dinner when we entered his flagship, which had been able to dock on the planet itself, not a hard task because gravity is pretty weak here. We got into the ship, which was a rather utilitarian sort of ship of the kind that regularly dock here to deliver new exiles or supplies to the Belt, so I thought nothing of it. Then, to my surprise, a door within the ship opened and in came a creature of about my height that reminds of the dinosaur books I read as a child. I looked to the scientist and he said, “Do you know what this is?” I replied, “I think it looks like a dinosaur, sir,” and he said that it was, more or less. “Is this one of your charges?” I asked. “Yes,” he replied, “One of my rather high ranking charges, if I do not mind saying so.” I did not understand why he would mind saying so. I was by no means an expert in animals, but I understood that just as was the case among people that among dinosaurs there were often questions of status and rank as well, so I nodded politely. At this point the dinosaur, apparently called the Korinthidon or something like that, pressed his forehead against my own and rested it there for several minutes, at which point I understood that he was engaged in something of a ritual of friendship and bonding which was putting our electrical currents in sync with each other. When this was done the scientist had some more questions for me.

He asked me if I knew a name and then gave the name of my grandfather. This was quite a shock to me, as I had not realized that I had any sort of connection to him or to his business. I was visibly perturbed, and said that the man he had asked about was my paternal grandfather and that, moreover, it was that man’s death that had sent our family into exile. He nodded thoughtfully and said that the dinosaur I had just seen was the oldest paternal descendant of his generation from a dinosaur that had bonded with my grandfather, and that the behavior of the dinosaur as they approached Pluto was such that he recognized that he and his charges had a friend here, which confirmed their desire to call in and ask for assistance. I was a bit puzzled by this, not knowing what sort of assistance I could provide them, and then he told me that he had heard rumors–from where I do not know, as we scouts are not a talkative lot about what we see–that there was the possibility of a gate that would allow he and his charges to be free of the hostility that they faced on earth. Having seen that this man was keeping large dinosaurs clearly capable of self-defense, it was clear to me that such beings would not be very welcome on an earth that could not even tolerate peaceful people like ourselves. I told him that I had heard something of that nature but that it had not been confirmed yet, and then he mentioned that he wanted me to come with him to the negotiations in the morning. I wondered if this was okay, seeing as I am a flight lieutenant and by no means anyone particularly important in this world or any other, but he seemed to think that it would not be a problem at all. I suppose we shall see in the morning, I said as I returned to my quarters. I have not been able to sleep for hours, but I will need a good night’s rest and all my wits about me if this is going to go well in the morning.

Officer’s Log: Hour 7, Day 176 of service, year 1

It is now the morning, I was able to get to sleep and I have just finished getting ready, and I will soon be off to see what useful information I can provide to whatever discussion the scientist wants to have about his dinosaurs and their home.

Minutes of meeting: Hours 8.5 to 11.5….

Councilor Marwen presiding. A scientist, one Dr. Maxwell Stamatoyannopoulos, had brought Flight Lt. [name redacted] with him to our meeting to discuss where it is that he could find home for what appeared to be potentially dangerous dinosaurs that he had with him in several cargo ships. Feeling that this would be a delicate matter, and being a bit irritated that someone so low ranking as a mere Flight Lieutenant should be seen as a worthwhile person to getting this business accomplished, I asked that the meeting be a private executive session and it was granted without demur. It quickly became obvious that the young office who was here had been the one to inform us of the arrival of the squadron and it was also made clear that this person had a family connection to the business, because a grandfather of his, one of the late and lamented people whose suffering led to our exile to this place, had been an early invitee to the place where these dinosaurs had their home on earth, and that the dinosaurs had somehow recognized him as friend. I am not used to lizards being intelligent enough to recognize friends from foes, but as it set the scientist at ease, I felt that the young officer’s presence as useful in delicate business, and he did not appear to be the sort of person who would use such favor as he had received to push himself forward as is the manner of some, but was instead a conscientious person who I thought worth putting at ease myself, seeing as he was not guilty of any effrontery.

During the course of the evening we had gotten word back from the other bases that there was no substantial amount of greenhouse space in any of the minor planets here in the Belt that would allow for the comfort of so many dinosaurs as the professor had brought with them. He seemed to think that this might be the case and so he wondered if we would be able to spare someone who would be able to accompany him to what he thought would be a place where he could find a more permanent home. I asked him, rather delicately, where he thought this place would be, and he stated that he believed that there was some sort of gate located in Alpha Centauri that might allow him to find a safe place far away from the problems of earth. I was a bit surprised how it was that he knew such state secrets, but it appeared that this was a bit of a surprise to everyone in the room, so I figured that such investigations could afford to wait. It was at this point that I realized that the young officer could be useful, as he was himself a scout, if my personnel file on him was accurate. He mentioned that if it pleased the council that it would take a scout about nine or ten years of flying to and from, but that it could be done with a well-equipped scout vessel that was scanning the area closely and making sure that the path was well-set and scanned for debris and planets that one could use to speed one along the path, as well as an investigation of the supposed gate. I figured that this was well a good option, and had no doubt that the officer was thinking that he would be well-suited for the role, which I agreed seeing as he could probably be spared.

Seeing a way to to tease him a bit and keep him on his toes, though, I asked him what he intended to do during the decade or so that he was away, and he mentioned that if the scout ship was well-equipped with reading materials that he could do some studies in various courses that would further his education and better equip him for diplomatic and executive functions. This was quite a surprise, for although he seemed to be a bit of a shy young man, he was clearly an intelligent one, and seemed to want to spend his time constructively, seeing as such a lengthy voyage would be deadly dull unless his mind was profitably occupied. The council agreed, saying that such a wise use of time would be highly appreciated and that we would make sure that if the round-trip voyage was a success that there would certainly be something in it when he returned. He seemed satisfied with this, and we were all impressed that someone would be willing to take these dinosaurs off our hands and to do so at so little cost and trouble to ourselves.

With that it seemed as if the business of the morning had been conducted, and that we would be free of the scientist and his dinosaurs without even having to incur ill will for rejecting his request for sanctuary within the Belt. I asked the young officer how soon he would be ready for his travel and he said that as soon as it was loaded with food supplies and prepared for scanning and scientific probes that he would be ready to go forthwith. The logistics officer on duty stated that such a thing could be done within the course of the afternoon, and that they could leave this evening, and that was acceptable to everyone. I asked the officer if he wanted anything else, and he said somewhat casually that he would appreciate having a wife to come home to. The council told him that if his mission was successful that there would indeed be a wife and a good job to come back to when he returned, and he seemed happy to hear that. I made a note to seek out which families would be willing to have as a son-in-law an explorer who was a friend of dinosaurs. Such a thing cannot be too difficult, right?

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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