read the previous section first: Sintam’s Tale
She knew he was desperate when he agreed to allow the Crintarians to attempt to repair his primary intelligence enhancement. Now she would have to ensure they did everything they could. It was going to cost her a lot of favors to get the people she would need.
She could see that something was missing in his eyes when they made forbidden contact. She liked forbidden things. As she walked to her transport, she heaved against a spike tree to knock it down for food later. No need to tell Biped they are also forbidden fruit. She loved them as much as she loved him. Hopefully he would continue to buy her act.
Her personal transport was directly ahead. In stark contrast to her it was completely black. Slightly taller than her and shaped like a spike, it began to open as she approached. One door hinged at the top of the spike and two doors hinged on the bottom, each shaped equally as triangles, opened quickly. The transport was completely bare of any controls. The entire thing was controlled by Wife’s enhancements. Complements of Biped.
She was not unique among the Crintarians in accepting what Biped offered in trade for a stay on their planet. The ability to be mentally in complete control of the technology that is intended to support you is a gift so great that a stay on this lowly planet is not a fair trade. It would not have been difficult for Biped to simply take his stay here had he chosen to do so. He is weak when it comes to trades.
Sintam watched as Wife’s transport lifted and zoomed away to the mainland. In the distance he could see the towering buildings that made up the skyline of the planet capital city. The monstrous structures were mostly pyramid shapes. The pull of the tri-suns made it difficult to keep narrow tall buildings standing as the core shifted and caused tremors above. The Crintarians had estimated that less than a million years were left before their suns would begin the irreversible dance of mutual death. With his help, they had managed to come up with a plan to move to a neighboring solar system. The details escaped him at the moment but he recalls thinking it was a good plan. As he thought longer about it, he wasn’t even sure where they were going. He decided to continue his meditation while his memories were archived.
His shivering brought him around and out of meditation. It was the brief period of dark this planet received. His auxiliary intelligence had kicked in and finally took over controls of his body. He was also able to think more clearly. The memory archival was done and he was thirsty. He decided to go find his inducer. Packing up his archival unit and slinging the pack over his back he began walking in the direction he believed it to be. Activating his locator he saw a ping a few hundred yards away. He activated his cruise control and temperature control and retreated into his innermost thoughts.
Wife landed safely after a brief journey to the mainland. In her three thousand years of life, she had never felt she had a task this important. The lives of her people were at a new pinnacle because of the generosity of an outsider. The death of her people was at the whim of that same outsider. The scientists of her land had predicted their planet’s demise many millennia ago. Since then they had worked furiously to get her people into space. Sadly, moving to another planet in their system wasn’t an option.
She stepped out of her transport into a vast landing bay. The bay opening above her closing as she began to walk. In front of her were a few hundred transports. None of them were a match for hers. She had the only transport in the fleet built by Biped. It was the only one in the fleet that also had defensive and offensive capabilities. That last part was a secret.
The building she began walking through was massive. It was a hangar bay for spaceships being worked on. Large empty spaces with fifteen research offices spaced throughout. She would need to take over at least two of those offices and halt work on the critical ships. It was going to be difficult to convince even one person to help her, let alone thirty.
Nearly ten thousand Crintarians had already left in ships headed for various systems. Their travels would take most of their lives. Their lives dictated by a strict schedule, including mating. The absurdness of it all made her blush in frustration, her whole face darkening to a slight pink. To force a schedule on the entire life of any sentient being was a crime in her eyes. She knew it was for the greater good and the survival of her species. She also knew that they now had a better way.
Biped told her they could simply “jump” to another planet of their choosing. The risk would be the lives of the first to try. Once successful, there would no longer be a need to risk life. He even claimed there was a 98% chance of success on the first try. Biped called it a “halt” station. They would erect the station on the destination planet and the “jump” station, on this planet, would connect to it, giving them a perfect jump each time. He said no more about it as he went blank and fell over. She caught him mid fall and was careful in laying him down. This wasn’t the first time he had lost time. She was glad he finally discovered what was causing the problem. He meant so much to her. Not to mention he was also their salvation.
Wife walked briskly, the six points at the ends of her legs causing very little sound. Although she was capable of forcing them to hard points, the twelve two inch long tendrils at the ends of each of her legs were currently spread out to allow her to move about quietly. Though, from a distance, they still looked like sharpened points. Many of the greatest scientists were hard at work on the next spaceship enhancements. She had not told them of what Biped had suggested was a better route. She needed more information and a small amount of proof before she would interrupt their work. Before that was possible, they would need to help repair the higher order functions of the Bipeds mind.
If they could accomplish this feat, it would require all of the technology help Biped had given them, and their innate ingenuity. She knew they could not match Biped but she felt he had given up. He would not even try and instead would wither and die in the bliss of their holy island. She would have to convince the scientists to help without giving away too much information. After asking for their help, she would contact Biped and convince him to share his methods to expedite the repair attempts. The most difficult part would be convincing the scientists that they should even try.
Wife was nearly halfway through the typical lifespan of a Crintarian. With the enhancements provided by Biped so far, she could no longer easily estimate her death. She would more likely choose a time to die than die of any other cause. It was a different feeling. Each choice became more important. Every action seemed to be weighed down by indecision. She could somewhat understand the reasons that some of her people had for refusing Biped. She was glad no wars broke out and no hard feelings on either side have been shared.
Those who chose to forgo any enhancements, have decided to leave on the next ship for the most distant planet we have found yet. The lives of those on that ship would end long before they reached their destination. Their children not knowing the feel of ground beneath their tentacles. Such a sad thing to have happen. If instead, we could jump to it…. Wife beamed with the thought and hurried her pace into a trot.
She soon reached the central research office. The fifteen lead scientists for each of the offices were here. She knew them very well at this point and they all enjoyed her company. She would often bring them great news or new technology Biped had shared a story about. She would explain it to them, they would be so excited as to sometimes nearly make eye contact, and she would call Biped to tell them how to make it. He would be confused as to why they hadn’t made it yet and help them along. His genius was difficult to get past sometimes. The scientists would often feel ashamed at not knowing what he was talking about.
The room fell silent and turned to her as she walked in. Fifteen Crintari men stood evenly spread through the room. Each at least twice her height with various stripes of bright colors swirling their bodies. The men of her planet were an array of colors that matched the tendrils of their holy trees. A man with a bright blue strip of color going from his left front leg, wrapping around his waist, and ending at a point below his chest, spoke first.
“Aneada, so great to see you.” His gaze rose to her lips and was the highest gaze any of these men would give her. He was ambitious.
“You as well, Gaudric, as well as the rest of you. Sadly, I’m here with very bad news.” They gathered in a half circle around her and silently waited for her to speak.
“Sintam”, it felt as odd saying his real name as it was hearing her title, “has determined the cause of his illness. It is a brutal blow to some plans he and I have been discussing. Plans that could completely alter the path of our species’ salvation to one of complete unification and guaranteed safety.”
There were small gasps in the room and some of them men seemed to baulk at the possibility. The gasps were her focus. She only needed two of their teams. She was excited that some of them were interested and she hoped she could convince more as to give her a selection.
She opened her palm to reveal the enhancement. “This is his primary intelligence.” Every man in that room eyed it greedily. They all knew what it was capable of and they all wanted their hands on it. “It has begun to fail.” The disappointment was clear in every face. “He has allowed us to investigate the cause and attempt a repair. I will require two teams for as long as it takes. Either we say convincingly that we can and explain the route to Sintam or we admit failure and return the faulty device.”
The reality of the situation began to dawn on the men in the room. This was no simple gift. Again, Gaudric spoke.
“To stop two teams would mean we would not meet our deadline for the next ship. The safety of our species is far more important than the salvation of one being. Especially one that is an outsider.”
“I agree with you. Which is why I am not commanding it. I am requesting volunteers. Before his enhancement failed, we were discussing a new method of traveling to planets that would not require ships. Wi–”
Gaudric interrupted, “That’s ridiculous. Travelling through space requires protecti–”
Wife returned the favor, “Do not interrupt me. Additionally, I did not say anything about travelling through space. As I was saying. We would still require much of the fuel to power this new method but none of the time in designing and building massive interstellar ships. Additionally, the method would provide a 100% success rate and would be instantaneous.” Murmurs began to fill the room. “I cannot provide additional details as I do not have them. What I can say is that Bip–, Excuse me, Sintam has never lied and has always provided the technology he has discussed with me.”
The men in the room were acutely aware that some of that technology never reached their eyes. They also understood that this would not be one of those technologies. The team of scientists before her all deferred to Gaudric and minutes passed as they awaited his response.
Saender broke the silence, “I will volunteer my team to assist.” Saender was in the back of the group and was a very young man. He had a brilliant green stripe extending from hand to hand, going across his shoulders and wrapping his neck. The room turned to face him, some in open shock that he spoke out of turn. “I would also propose that we start with one team and determine if another is needed after an initial investigation.”
As Gaudric began to speak, Wife interrupted, “Agreed. Thank you Saender. Your ambition will not be forgotten.” She knew he would not have helped if he had to work with another group. His proposal was final but she did not mind. She quickly realized that no others in that room would openly oppose Gaudric. She welcomed a fresh mind.
“Get to work immediately.” She handed him the device and turned to walk out.
“You can’t be serious! This is a waste of time! Saender’s team is working on propulsions and without his team we will have a ship that cannot fly!” Gaudric was obviously just embarrassed to have lost favor with her.
Without turning around, she responded, “With his help, you won’t need that ship at all.” She walked out of their office and started back to her transport. She would need the help of a few more of her citizens. Her personal team of researchers would be tasked with helping Saender in any way they could. He may be too young to deal with being around the beautiful women she was sending his way but he would have to learn to lead them. Now is as good a time as any.