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Ad astra per aspera: Reach for the Stars

Chapter Text

Ever since the dawn of our civilization we have been reaching for the heavens.

 Our first manned rockets were crude devices - far more advanced vessels will follow. But for two centuries we stared longingly at the vast ocean of stars beyond our solar system, fearing them forever out of reach.

 Then, in one swift stroke, the discovery of subspace and the subsequent invention of the warp drive freed us from our shackles. The whole galaxy is now within our reach - and we raced towards the stars.

 We named her “Nephthys”. She would carry nine thousand brave souls of myriad backgrounds and professions - all willing to shrug off all they had on Tzynnia to pioneer a new age for our race. The destination: Initium, the nearest star system most likely to have an orbiting planet suitable for life. Nephthys is also equipped with the latest technologies - the most advanced modular constructors and resource gathering machines, the hardiest and most bountiful of food crops, and the latest medical equipment and supplies our colonists would ever need for years to come.

 Without the warp drive, it would take us thousands of years to reach Initium. Our colonists need only wait four months to see their destination out a window. They have food and medicine enough to sustain them in Initium for years and the best technology we can offer for their colony to thrive.

 We are ready. It is time for us to reach for the stars.

 

  • Caldorix, Exo Affairs Minister

 


 

“Ten boxes of subdermal pain suppressant injectors, five thousand count each. Two full-body scanners in strapped crates. Five boxes of reusable surgery kits, fifty count each. One box of portable body scanners, two hundred count. Ten boxes of portable power taps, three hundred count each-”

 The clang of a bolt falling to the metal floor shook the young reptilian from his work. It echoed around the cavernous room - large as it was, it was but a small section of the huge ship’s cargo hold. The reptile shook his head and fiddled with his wrist communicator, emitting beeps as he swiftly typed a message on the screen. An empathic beep confirmed his report was successfully sent, and the reptile returned to his inventory checking. The room echoed with small bleeps coming from his handheld scanner.

 “Box of antiviral capsule bottles, three hundred count. Two boxes of antifungal topical ointment, one thousand count each. Box of antibiotic capsule bottles, three hundred count. Five boxes of artificial scales, one thousand count each. Two boxes of dressing rolls, eight hundred count each. Three-”

 Another loud clang caused the reptile to whirl and face the source of the sound - a crate sitting at the wall opposite him. It had not yet been scanned, but the reptile already knew it did not contain medical supplies nor equipment. He quickly drew a stun gun from his holster and pointed it at the crate.

 “Get out of that crate slowly and with your hands held behind your head!” The reptile’s voice had the slightest hint of wavering. “You are trespassing in a restricted area. Submit and you may not be harmed.”

 To his surprise and relief, the crate opened slowly and produced two reptiles who slowly stood and held their hands behind their head in submission. Both wore civilian clothes; one of them was noticeably much older than the other.

 “Kneel. You are to be processed by Sergeant Xidlor. For the record, state your name and identifier.”

 “N-no...don’t do this.” The younger reptile started to plead, even as his elder signaled him to stop. “We’re not here to destroy or steal anything...we just want to come with you.”

 “You had your chance when you were registered into the colonist lottery. You are not allowed to circumvent it and sneak your way in. There are millions who would kill to get aboard this ship, and you do not deserve it better than any of them.”

 The soldier pointed at the equipment behind him. “All these supplies and equipment were meant for nine thousand only. Our destination is light years away. We don’t even know what the planet looks like, much less what lives on it or how we’re supposed to survive in it! We do not need more mouths to feed, this journey is dangerous as it already is.

 “You have no right to be here.”

 Brisk, strong steps echoed into the room. The two kneeled reptiles continued to plead in increasing desperation, with the soldier coldly staring down at them. The younger reptile, seething in anger, suddenly burst from his kneeling stance and leapt at the guard, fangs poised to strike. The soldier quickly drew his stun gun, but it was too late - his assailant crashed into him and brought him to the ground, pinned. The younger reptile prepared to rip into the soldier’s throat.

 “Ferad, stop...don’t do this.” The older reptile’s plaintive voice brought the assailant into pause.

 “Father, I will see you aboard this ship, no matter how many I have to kill-” Ferad turned around and froze in despair. A menacing soldier, kitted in armor, held the older reptile in a choking lock with an arm and held a sharp blade against the reptile’s neck in another. His voice, cold and deep, shook Ferad's resolve.

 “Are you sure?”

 The pinned guard, sensing an opportunity, broke free from Ferad’s grip and quickly wrestled him into the ground. Cuffs and a muzzle were immediately placed upon the reptile, who struggled futilely against his restraints.

 “With the authority vested in me by the Stellar Command, I arrest you with the charge of trespassing into military property. You will be held in probationary detention until the Civil Magistrate sees you for sentencing.

 “As for you,” The Sergeant looked at the older reptile, “You will be released. Do not try to aid, abet, or participate in actions like these again.

 “Soldier.” The guard stood to attention as the Sergeant started to drag Ferad with him. “Escort him out of the premises quietly. The last thing we want is for the crowd to realize someone managed to sneak in.”

 A quick salute from the guard. “Sir.”

 


 

“Sirs.” A soldier saluted as he entered the bridge of the Nephthys. He walked over to the captain’s chair, where a reptile clad in ceremonial uniform sat, looking at the viewscreen.

 “Admiral, the latest situation report.” The soldier handed a small tablet to the reptile, who read through it.

 “No incidents,” the Admiral hissed. “It’s too quiet - I don’t like it. But perhaps our soldiers finally started to do their jobs.

 “Very well,” the reptile sank into his seat. “We’re ready. Let’s begin.”