Casus Belli – 60

The Director appeared on the viewscreen. “Director. I’m happy to see you.”

What passed for a fair parody of her own smile appeared on the director’s face. “I you see am glad. Commissar gone where?”

Captain Spitzer hadn’t expected to have to declare it so soon. “I can’t say for sure, Director – it is our guess that the Safloans have taken them to the Sagittarian Dwarf galaxy. We won’t be seeing them for many hundreds of years.”

The Director shifted for a moment. “We you home leave must.” He started to gesture behind himself, but Captain Spitzer called out to him.

“Director – wait.”

He returned his attention. “Me you say what?”

She paced a second, then faced the viewscreen again. “I’m not sure how you’ll take this news, Director. I know that your people have been looking for the ancestral planet, for millennia.”

“Abode-rock? Me you of abode-rock say what?”

Captain Spitzer smiled. “After analyzing the DNA of your people and the Commissar’s, we think we have found the planet that your people originally evolved on. We’ve found your home.”

The Director looked confused. “Abode-rock gone dead lost is.”

“No – it’s not. We’ve found it. It’s a sure match.”

The Director spoke, but it was a burble of his own language, and the translation matrix sputtered and fizzed. Captain Spitzer keyed it mute and whispered. “I thought you had this fixed, Ensign.”

Van appeared in a window at the corner of the viewscreen. “I do, Captain, as well as can be expected. They’re very fluid in their syntax. And that last bit wasn’t anything I’ve heard them utter before. It’s got flavors of the Commissar’s speech, too.”

Aquico spoke out across the bridge. “Captain, if I may, it’s almost like a liturgical language.”

Captain Spitzer was a bit flabbergasted. “As in church rites?”

Aquico smiled. “Yes, Captain. I’m working on the translation.”

The Director burbled on and on, effusive to his fellows and at the Captain through the viewscreen. She wasn’t sure if she should interrupt him or let him continue until he stopped.

He drew nearer to the screen such that the lights of his own ship glimmered through the cytoplasm of his being. “Abode-rock is where?”

“Abode-rock?” She smiled. “One moment.” She muted the line and looked to Aquico. “Play me the word he used, in his language, for the name of their homeworld.”

Aquico quickly flipped levers and turned a knob. The sound patter filled the air of the bridge, but she could hear it. “Kukkukra.”

She looked at Aquico. “Could that really be a linguistic hold-over? Could that be a slightly devolved form of the name of their home planet?”

Aquico shrugged. “I don’t know how language develops for their species. If it’s anything like human, it could well be. It could be happenstance. The DNA evidence proves it, Captain, unless you’re looking for some reason we shouldn’t give them the location of the colony.”

Captain Spitzer shrugged. “No, Aquico. It’s not that. I’m just amazed. It’s nice to feel the explorer side returning. We’ve been fighting for far too long.”

The Director was gesticulating on the screen, and Aquico deftly switched the sound back on. “…is where? Captain us to tell!”

Captain Spitzer smiled. “All in due time. I think the people of Earth would like to meet those that saved them from the Commissar.”

The Director managed to look ashamed. “Saved? No. Only fight.”

Captain Spitzer chided him. “Your fleet tipped the balance. If the Safloans hadn’t snatched them away, we would’ve had the battle over in as short a time. You were great, Director. And you and your people deserve the thanks of Earth. Come with us. We’ll escort you into the inner system. You can see my home before we take you back to yours. To Kukkukra.”

She paused, waiting for a response. When he didn’t answer, she asked, “Will your people follow us in?”

The Director hesitated then agreed. “Us you to home come.” He ended the transmission and Captain Spitzer turned to Aquico. “Have you and Van been able to translate everything he was saying just before?”

Aquico smiled. “It was a prophecy, Captain. I’ve rearranged the grammar a little bit. ‘A million years will pass, brother fighting brother, a blight upon the night, but when the flying land mammals end the schism, friendship returns. A verdant world appears, and one of rust, and one of growing forests, then one of ice. Beyond these worlds, the path appears, and soon, Kukkukra.’ Or Kikkikkri, as we call it.”

Captain Spitzer smiled. “Sounds like we need to show them Mars, Venus, and Europa.”

Marie Bouc began adjusting the levers, plotting the course through the various gravity wells of the Sol System. She laughed. “Captain, that’s exactly the course we have to take to get on vector for Kikkikkri at this point.”

Captain Spitzer chuckled. “Who am I to buck prophecy?” She turned to Mistelsbog. “Well, we’re back to Earth, Mistelsbog. Do you think we’ll be hearing from Tresht anytime soon, now that we’ve saved the Space Condominium?”

Mistelsbog looked at her. “I wouldn’t doubt that they’ll pretend as if nothing happened. At this point, however, I must say that I won’t be returning to the fold. If I’ve gone native, I will embrace this freedom.” His attention diverted, and Captain Spitzer turned to follow his gaze, where Sariadzu had walked onto the bridge. “Are we allowed to have spouses aboard the ship, Captain?”

Captain Spitzer smiled. “Of course, Mistelsbog, if she chooses to stay.”

Sariadzu bowed. “Captain – permission to be on the bridge?”

Captain Spitzer nodded. “Granted. I’m glad you’re feeling better.”

Sariadzu bowed, hands steepled at her chest, and she followed Mistelsbog back into the science nook.

Captain Spitzer turned to Marie, and was about to order her to move, but Mistelsbog turned and spoke. “Captain, as I’ve been collating the reports from the various outposts, with Van’s help, we’ve noticed that there are a few that don’t seem to have been attacked by the Commissar. Should we send ships to investigate?”

Captain Spitzer considered it. “Refer it to the S.U.M. Leviathan. Admiral Kruglov can make the necessary decisions.” She turned again to Marie, but Van appeared on the main screen. “Captain, excuse me. We have an appointment on Earth with the Condominium Parliament … about me.”

Captain Spitzer nodded. “Excellent. I’d like to put that to rest.”

She turned the third time to Marie, but was again interrupted as Aquico called out.

“Captain, the Director’s calling. He seems, well, happy. He says, ‘We peace must make.’ I think that’s the best translation.”

Captain Spitzer smiled. “I like that idea.” She looked around the bridge. “Anyone else? Can we get in motion?” The bridge crew laughed. She patted Marie’s shoulder. “Before we have another interruption, Marie, take us home.”