The Non Humans of the Galactic Union get more exposure to Humanity, several old friends make appearances, and Nocturn activity increases to the brink of war. Merchants ------------------------------------------------------- Wiki Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 -------------------------------------------------------
Rylak and Kylak of the Rly’Jack were talking in one of the byways of Busan Station. Kylak was still going on about becoming human. He had been asking around and found out Humanity wasn’t as concerned with what you looked like as how you thought and acted.
Rylak had to admit, the idea was intriguing. But he still didn’t buy you could just join another race.
Where would one even start? They had finally decided that rather than stay as freelancers they would hire on as guides with a Human mining company and see what they could learn.
In the Galactic Union, no one would hire a Rly’Jack outside of criminals, other Rly’Jack, and the military. The Rly’Jack were widely regarded as reckless. They were feared for their tremendous willingness to take risk. The Human’s seem to bear no such animosity, something that surprised them. Neither bothered to think it could also be that humanity hadn’t dealt with the Rly’Jack yet. Or that the humans were as bad as the Rly’Jack...or worse.
It didn’t take long to find the miner’s union. Talking to the foreman, once they paid their dues, they would be eligible to work on any of a number of human ships. Local guides were in high demand.
Rylak was hesitant, but Kylak’s excitement was infectious. Both paid their dues, posted job history and types of position interested in and left. Less than a block later their communicators buzzed, they had been picked up by a Human Company to lead a fleet called The Locust
Excited, they headed to the nearest steakhouse to celebrate. They had discovered Humans had exceptional ability to prepare meat. That was especially rare in a galaxy where many species were herbivores.
They would be joining this fleet heading into the uncharted edges of this galaxy looking for rich belts to mine.
Professor Moore couldn’t contain his excitement as he disembarked from the transport that had brought them to Station Busan. While he loved being an exchanged Professor, he missed home. Thankfully the Dean had approved a field trip to the new Human trading station.
Well, to be fair he was rather distracted by the Critters his cat kept bringing home and his response was more a “Yes, yes, whatever. Did you see where that one went?”
So Professor Moore got in touch with Dr. Less and they arranged a field trip. Sign Up for slots had filled up extremely fast. They had presented it as an opportunity to have a human cultural exchange. They even had a number of Professor’s who had signed up.
Looking around at the 30 students and 8 Professors who had signed up in addition to Dr. Less and Professor Moore, he couldn’t help but smile. This was like a giant mall, oriented to provide almost any commercial good someone could want.
As part of the field trip, each student was assigned to find a piece of human culture they found interesting and write up their report on what they found.
As they exited the airlock into the main station market area, a small replica of the classic statue from Earth, The Motherland Calls greets them. Originally, the status commemorated one of Earth’s pre colonization Major Wars, before the three great interstellar wars.
Interestingly, since the unification of Humanity in the first Interstellar war, It had become symbolic of our colonies drive to join Humanity and was often paired with the Statue of Liberty to show that while we were all Human, we were also all individuals with freedoms and a high degree of autonomy.
Historians have chuckled for as long as Professor Moore knew about the Irony of these two symbols being paired representing humanity as they spoke of opposing ideals and the duality of man. They were also major symbols for two of Old Earth’s strongest powers who were often at odds.
The Statue of Liberty replica would be on the other side of the terminal.
Before letting everyone go, Professor Moore ensured everyone’s communication unit was functional and had the right time. They would meet at this airlock in 5 hours. They were welcome to make purchases, and he had warned them that in the dining section there were alot of restaurants and to ensure they checked menu types before entering.
With his brief done, his students and professors scattered like dust in a tornado. In no time, he and Dr. Less were alone. Looking to the Professor, Dr. Less asked, so where would the educational books and practical experiments be found. With a big smile, Professor Moore led Dr. Less towards the technology wing. He also was going to make a stop at the Holobook and music stores for his own goods too.
Along the way, it occurred to him that they should get something for the Dean. He was thinking the latest in human auto-cleaning technology. The Roomba 1000020, also known as the Hal model due to the red eye on top.
Commander Barca watched as they started to turn on the broadcast feed. He was a bit shocked at the demand from the Galactic Union for more human culture. The Confederation felt it was okay to allow some of our entertainment channels and movies to be released and approved this relay after it was requested. He couldn’t help but feel that Ambassador Johnson had something to do with that.
The commander just shook his head, he never had really gotten into watch the crap they called Holovision. Daytime soaps, poorly done movies and series, all of which depicted humans are incompetent or foolish. He particularly hated most of what they call reality shows as they were about as fake as you could get.
Though, he did find he liked the History, Military, and Cooking channels. Too bad of what Commander Barca liked, only the Cooking channel made the cut for rebroadcast into this galaxy. Guess he would be watch the 10 channels worth there if he watched anything, perhaps finally getting his Spatchcocked Chicken recipe down.
Bob Marcus was visibly excited as he led Bai’len through the merchant stalls. He was trying desperately to find a particular merchant.
Bai’len was enamored by what she saw in the stalls around her. She was literally surrounded by exotic goods, she could easily get lost in the luxury of the place even without the amazing shopping.
She had resisted when Bob had talked about them taking a vacation here, she had feared how his recent exile he would be treated. But the human’s here had been welcoming. Bob had told her it was a full pardon, but it shocked her how the humans didn’t seem to know or care.
She had also been shocked at the number of human variations she had encountered. She was now convinced that while some human DNA may be intermixed, not all of these mutations were natural for a single species, no matter how isolated a population became.
Bai’len was looking as some beautiful floral patterned dresses made of silk on display at a store. The fabric was unlike anything she had seen before, smooth and strong. The clerk was just beginning to explain how Humanity apparently harvested the fibers of it from a domesticated insect
; when she heard Bob excitedly calling her. As she excused herself, making a mental note to come back for a couple of these beautiful dresses, she made her way towards him.
Bob was walking out of a store that had some of the most amazing things she had ever seen. Intricate wire work wrought around some of the most polished and beautiful stones she had ever seen. There were also beads that appears to have almost multi-hued surfaces and extremely precise angles, constantly changing as they interacted with the bright lights above them. She wanted to go in, but Bob asked if she would get a bite to eat with him first.
She was shocked as Bob picked a particularly expensive restaurant near a large water fountain. Something seemed wrong with Bob, he seemed extremely nervous, something she wasn’t used to. As she was just starting to worry, he stood up and dropped to a knee presenting her with a box. Looking her dead in the eye, he asked, “Bai’len, would you marry me?”
The Moctar have a concept of union, but it isn’t formalized like that of humans. Bob and Bai’len had discussed, but she had never really dwelled on it much. Intra-species affairs were rare, and never recognized by the Galactic Union. From the way every human there instantly fell silent, and recording devices suddenly appeared she realized the enormity of the event.
She couldn’t help but feel tears start to come to her eyes. She knew she loved Bob, but couldn’t see how they could stay together. She had wondered what would end their time, and it seem so had Bob.
Quietly she softly cried “How? I mean I love you and want to Bob, but how?”
“Accept the ring, if you agree, I can then petition your entry into humanity as my spouse. Commander Barca or any licensed religious head can perform the ceremony of union. Our love is not forbidden amongst humanity.” he pleaded. Fear of her rejection clear in his eyes.
Slowly reaching forward, she took the box into her hands. Studying the beautiful stone and intricate gold and other precious medals worked in around it. Tears still in her eyes, she look at him and said “Bob, if we can I would love to join you in union. I still don’t understand how, but yes.”
The crowd around them started to applause, suddenly making her realize how much attention they were drawing. This was apparently a human custom that everyone around her knew more about than she did. Taking the ring, Bob placed it on her finger, suddenly giddy. Bai’len felt relief as the rest of the diners went back to their meals.
They enjoyed their dinner, then Bob took her back to the Jewelry story, he offered her any ring she wanted, but she kept what she had. She did get a couple of necklaces though and a highly decorative time measuring device. She also told Bob about the dresses, he excused himself as she walked into the store.
Bob walked with her to the store where she had seen the dresses. Leaving her to examine them he excused himself to make some calls.
He wanted to talk to the station commander. Depending on what he said, Bob would be calling his old friends with the news.
He never dreamed this day would come, he was so scared she would feel the cultural differences would be too much. To Bob though, the Moctar weren’t really any different from the other subspecies that made up humanity.
He was confident she would not only be recognized, but granted citizenship into Humanity. The first Moctar Human, and his bride to be.
Still lurking in the asteroid belt, believing himself invisible to the human sensors, The Nocturn commander had been watching the human broadcasts with interest. He was amazed at how few military shows there were, and those he did see showed a very undisciplined military.
He was beginning to suspect the humans were filtering what they shared. While their shows were highly entertaining, the military action was extremely sparse. He also had tried to get some local pirate groups to do raids near the base, hoping to see what defenses they had. Unfortunately, many of his local contacts seem to have recently either been captured or killed by some detectives from D-6154 who had been conducting sting operations.
Given one of those Detectives was a Human named Alastor, he was beginning to suspect the Human’s had defenses that weren’t obvious. Most likely on the opposite side of that portal device they had setup. Ships could be seen coming and going regularly.
He was relaying priority targets back to Nocturn high command so when the strike came they knew where to focus. Recently a massive human warship had entered the system, from radio traffic it was a Battleship named the Bismark
. From the distance he could easily make out the weapon systems on it and had it flagged as a primary target. It was currently on the opposite side of the station from the asteroid belts.
This assignment was starting to wear on his crew as well. Several had reported that they thought the humans were aware of them. While he could find no hard evidence, they pointed to the fact that the human mining drones were going into other areas and several swore they caught glimpses of odd shadows when looking outside of the ship.
This was foolishness of course, they had the best cloaking system in the Nocturn Fleet.
As the Nocturn commander submitted his report to his superiors. The counterintelligence ship floating nearby routed a copy to the desk of Commander Barca. The station commander read it read it with a cold smile. He made note to send some drones close to the ship and to have the ship monitoring back off another 1000 yards.
The Bismark had done an excellent job of getting them to focus on it rather than the lack of obvious station defenses. At this time, the Drone Bays were almost full, in another week his station would be at full defensive status as not all of the missile bays were yet fully loaded. Within the station’s automated production lines, fabricators were working full time turning the metals and minerals into ordinance to correct this.
Councilor Noran read the security report and shook his head in disbelief. The Nocturn were moving their fleets again. They were assembling at six points, obviously planning on hitting six systems at the same time like they did last war.
He looked around the his office on the Council World, deep in thought despite the late hour there.
“The Nocturn would attack soon”, he thought as he wondered what was holding them back. Their economy depended upon fresh slaves and plundered worlds, he knew. If they weren’t conquering new planets, they were going into a recession.
General Bradley seemed to have already anticipated this as well. Socrates and Karl’te had been scouting systems at his order and had sent back a number of detailed reports which he had consolidated. They were flying the Galactic Union’s most advanced spy ship, but only through Socrate’s insane flying had they avoided capture or destruction. As they probed one enemy fleet location after the next.
Karl’te had been issued the G-Suit that Socrates had specified, Noran knew, but Karl’tr still swore he would never chase a synthetic human into an asteroid belt in his last audio report. The First Contact Team Leader seemed to believe that Socrates had killed more Nocturn by leading them into dangerous areas than he could have with a fleet of bombers.
The data they had collected was as valuable as their reports were humorous to read. The pairing of the dryness of Socrates reports and Karl’te’s colorful descriptions had made for interesting reading. This mission was why they knew about the six Nocturn fleets. Noran couldn’t imagine what would happen without this mission and General Bradley’s preparations.
Bradley’s ability to take large amounts of disparate data and tie it together into something he called a Sitrep (Situation Report) that presented this data in a logical and convincing manner was unreal. While an outsider and junior general, his arguments were convincing and no one dared counter them.
He had already convinced the Galactic Council’s Generals into deploying the fleet’s newest support ships. These were designed to prepare a system for battle. These ships included the mine-layers, Tethers, junk seeders and AutoDefense Turrets. The idea was to disrupt, fix, distract and damage an attacking fleet while reinforcements jumped in to finish. They had also spread reinforcement fleets within a jump.
Given they had all been systems hit during the first war, most already had built shelters for civilians. Thankfully most of those were up and running, and the new ships starting to reinforce their defenses. Not everything was in place yet, but they were already better prepared than at the start of the last war.
It was the sixth target that the Councilor was shaking his head about. The Nocturn were actually preparing to attack Busan Station. He was shocked that the Void Walker ruse was still working; the Nocturn actually seemed to think that the station was a soft target. Despite the wonders the humans were showing, the everyone seemed to still considered humanity a young upstart race.
Councilor Noran was trying to draft up an encrypted message for Commander Barca. An attack appeared to be imminent. Somehow he suspected the Commander was aware and probably betting his career on it.
“With the broadcast feeds up, many of the Galactic Union’s news groups had setup at Busan Station and were broadcasting some of the wonders the humans were trading and about the station itself. Commander Barca had practically invited them to attack.” Noran grimly thought.
Councilor Noran suspected that wasn’t a coincidence either.
He knew about what the humans capabilities from Delcat, but most of the galaxy didn’t. If the Nocturn were foolish enough to hit the Human Station, it would be a clear declaration of war, otherwise the Humans had said they would not interfere in the politics of others.
A suspicious part of Noran’s mind began to wonder if the humans were setting the Nocturn up, but the question was why. He couldn’t see what gain they would have from inviting an attack.
Suddenly, his terminal lit up as security council alarms sounded, the drafted message instantly forgotten. Turning it on, his feed immediately showed the Nocturn attack commencing. Most of the Galactic Council fleets were holding their own well, in large part due to the damage wrought by General Bradley’s new ships.
Councilor Noran read the reports coming in. On Roogna, the Rly’Jack homeworld, the Nocturn were being reported as getting landing craft to ground. Also in Crombie, home of the All’air they had managed to punch through the defenses and land craft before the reinforcing fleets had arrived. On Mundania, the Junk Seeders had managed to deploy millions of metal balls into orbit before the transports reached. Combined with the tethers, mines, and additional junk that used to be satellites, none of the Nocturn ships survived.
What really shocked Noran though was the footage from the Human Station. The Human’s were broadcasting the attack live on all of the channels they had, each narrated by different ‘On Scene’ reporters. It appeared to be going to both Humanity and the Galactic Council.
The Councilor felt a chill as he watched some shuttles try to escape the station only to be boarded by Nocturn ships near by. Vicious attacks by Nocturn fighters and cruisers were all over the station, pounding the outer ring shielding that was deploying in response to the attach. Somehow the humans seemed to capture footage of multiple strafing runs showing what appeared to be severe damage, a human reporter calming describing the terror to her audience.
Councilor Noran was enraptured with what he was seeing streaming from the human station. Part of him noted it seems oddly dramatized, almost like the reality tv they broadcast. Almost improbable when he considered what happened at Delcat.
He watched the feed as suddenly the station defenses came alive. The shield visible as it powered on, instantly taking out some of the smaller Nocturn ships unlucky enough to be too close.
On the feed, the human battleship, Bismark,
could be seen coming into view as well. No nocturn losses were visible though, neither the station or the battleship appeared to fire more than light defenses. The news reporter on the station suddenly announced an important announcement and cut away to a podium, somewhere in Humanity’s realm.
Councilor Noran realized the just anger he was feeling over this attack. He watched an older human in a military uniform, highly decorated and with visible augmentation, standing behind a podium start to speak.
“I am Field Marshall Roland and I have just been notified that the Nocturn Empire has viciously attacked our diplomatic trade station which is doing its best to hold out and has taken our Ambassador to the Galactic Union as well as a number of civilians. As you can see from the footage being shown, we must act!”
His stern features and ice blue eyes intense and cold, he commanded the attention of any who saw. Standing behind him, like a shadow was Agent Smith. For once Noran was comforted, instead of unsettled, by the presence of Agent Smith.
Councilor Noran realized with a chill, The Second Nocturn war was beginning and the Galaxy, and his life, were on the verge of changing forever.
Author’s Note: A special thanks to u/HamsterIV and u/Mobadder
*. If you haven’t checked it out, both have some excellent stories of their own. This is the conclusion of the Merchants Arc and start of the Nocturn War. While originally intended to be a longer arc…. I got bored. Nocturn War 2 is the next arc.*