Thursday, December 29, 2011

Star Traveler Update - What is it?

“Ma-rye-a said she did not detect you sleeping,” Sam said as introduction for his intrusion into my bedroom so late at night.

“No, I’m awake,” I answered. “What’s up?”

“I have been very unsettled by this new Attalla,” Sam started to explain.

“As have I,” I interjected.

“There is a box in his room that I cannot access. It makes me very uncomfortable.”

This statement from an AI, even if it was my security AI, made me extremely uncomfortable.

“What do you think is in the box?” I asked Sam to hypothesize.

“We think it is a weapon of some sort,” Horus chimed in.

Horus rarely spoke unless I asked him to assist in decision making. They obviously had been working on this among themselves.

“I have suggested he might be armed to protect himself from the iisadsu that killed Attalla Five,” Ma-rye-a said. “It would be a very logical thing to do.”

“He is an ambassador,” Carrie joined in. “He shouldn’t carry a weapon. Isn’t it against their code?”

“It is in other galaxies, but I don’t know about this one.” I was confused. I had been living in a state of confusion since ‘this’ Attalla arrived.

“I checked the regulations. It is against policy, but not forbidden,” Sam advised us all.

 “So, I can see you have all been talking about this – what do you suggest we do?” I asked.

“I just don’t know if we want to be a part of this any longer,” Horus said. His voice sounded concerned - firm. Of course, that was the way Daniel programmed him in order to make him appear a better decision maker.

“I don’t know how we could get out of it at this late date,” I said.

“We’ll be there by morning,” Ma-rye-a sighed resignation.

“I wanted to bring this up earlier, but…”

Sam was interrupted by Horus.

“I advised waiting. It is my fault,” Horus said. “I wanted to give Ambassador Attalla an opportunity to tell you of his plans. Unfortunately, he has not been forthcoming.”

“Well, I must admit that I would not go back to the planet without a weapon either,” I confessed to my crew. 
“I do not think anyone is safe in so volatile a situation.”

“I don’t think it is that kind of a weapon,” Sam started to clarify. “We’re not talking a handgun here.”

“I looked directly at Sam’s monitor. “What do you think it is?”

“The box is hermetically sealed,” Sam said. “We think it is some sort of chemical weapon.”

Monday, December 26, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Rerun

It is very uncomfortable having Attalla Six onboard. I have tried to see things from his point of view – from his people’s point of view, but I just can’t. Attalla Six unsettles me as much as Attalla Five seemed to fit in.

It is not that the current Attalla has not tried to fit in – he has. He explained to me that only the current Ambassador is active in public, the rest of them live together in a compound on the home planet. They eat, sleep and school together in order to have similar memories from which to draw. The active Attalla comes home each night to the compound and tells the others all about his encounters and decisions during the day to keep all the others in the loop.

It was told my Attalla kept a journal and sent daily reports back to the compound via his sub-space com-link along with his reports to his superiors. The current Attalla knew everything about my ship and crew – however, it seems he and his ‘brothers’ were not privy to Attalla Five’s feeling for me. My Attalla kept those to himself. Attalla Six is blissfully ignorant of what was developing between us.

Chee lived with them all. She has had no trouble adjusting – in fact, she is happier now that Attalla Six is aboard.

However, I cannot feel for this stranger in the same way I felt for his predecessor no matter how much alike they seem to be. He is not the Attalla I shared meals with or played Cue or drank tea. He is his own version of the man I loved. Unlike Chee, for me, they are not interchangeable.

We will arrive at the iisadsu planet shortly. I hope he is more successful than my Attalla in reaching a treaty. I do not care to meet Attalla Seven. I wish to be done with this mission and away as soon as possible.

Merry Christmas!

From the Kingdom of the Last Dragons and the deck of Ma-Rye-a, we all wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Attalla Six

“She’s coming around,” I heard Ma-rye-a announce.

“I’ve had people be surprised, but I have never had anyone faint before,” I heard Attalla say to Ma-rye-a.

“She was very fond of your predecessor,” Ma-rye-a said.

I was just awake enough to think this was a very odd conversation. When I opened my eyes I found myself lying on the bed in my cabin with Attalla sitting on a chair at my side.

“Are you all right?” Attalla asked. I noted that Chee had left me and was curled affectionately around Attalla’s neck.

“I held you when you died,” I said in a stunned voice. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that Attalla had arrived from the surface and was sitting at my side when I knew his body was in stasis below decks in the storage bay.

“No,” Attalla said. “You held Attalla Five when he died. I am Attalla Six.”

“They are clones,” Ma-rye-a tried to explain. “He told me there has been an Ambassador Attalla for over five hundred years.”

“There was an original Attalla centuries ago,” Attalla picked up the thread of the story. “Number One was elected by the people. He was a popular and effective Ambassador. He managed to establish treaties that others before him found impossible to accomplish. He brought peace and prosperity to the solar system. It was decided that the system could not live without his wisdom and guidance. Doctors and scientists were commissioned to clone him so that the people would never be without his leadership. There is always a new Attalla ready to step in and take over. We all have his collective memory, his morals, and his general outlook. Of course, we do have individual experiences when we venture out from the collective.”

“How many Attalla’s are there?” I asked coming up on one elbow to a sitting position.

“Currently, me and three others,” Attalla answered. He offered me a glass of water supplied by Moby from the prep unit. “The cloning is spaced out so the people have one available anytime we are needed to take over. I am approximately ten years younger than Attalla Five. Seven is ten years younger than me and Eight is ten years younger than Seven.”

I shook my head to his offer of a drink.

“Nine is ten years younger and Ten is currently being cloned. He is in the tube still,” Attalla finished.

Whether it was the shock, or the so-matter-of-fact explanation of the loss of someone I thought was so special and unique, I started to cry. Even though I had only known him a few months, I loved him. I could have become very attached to him.

“Please, don’t cry,” Attalla soothed. “Five will be missed, but he is not gone. I am the better part of him and can hopefully settle the dispute between the iisadsu and the oacoco.”

Six was mistaken. He was just a copy of the man I knew. The man I knew was a product of his personal experiences and he was gone.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Surprise!

I had no idea three days ago that I would be picking up a replacement for Attalla when I contacted his home world. After I reported the death of Attalla and detailed all I knew of the incident, my government contact told me to report immediately to pick up a ‘replacement Ambassador.’ That is how they had phrased it ‘replacement Ambassador,’ as if Attalla could be replaced like a faulty part on a hyper drive. It irritated me – no, it made me downright angry, but I had a contract and I wasn’t about to acquire any bad credits for not following through on my mission.

Here it was three days later and I was at the rendezvous point as instructed.

“Permission to come aboard?” a familiar voice asked.

“Sam?” I asked.

“The pod is off our port bow,” Sam confirmed.

“Permission granted,” I replied as I mentally scratched me head. “I’m coming down, Sam.”

I reached the bay just as the new Ambassador’s pod pulled in. The engines shut down. I waited for the Ambassador to immerge.

My brain had just enough time to register that it was Attalla that had immerged from the pod before I did a most annoying female thing, I fainted dead away.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Never again

I sat on the bridge crying uncontrollably. Attalla was dead. He had never regained consciousness. He just quietly slipped away. I was sobbing so hard I did not hear Ma-rye-a’s soothing voice. I didn’t register Moby’s offer of tea. I didn’t acknowledge Sam asking me if he should remove the body for refrigeration.

All I could see and hear in my head were the times Attalla had comforted me - the sound of his laughter as he threw morsels for Chee to catch. I cried for our lost friendship and for the relationship that 'might have been.'

Chee was wrapped around my neck trying to give and receive comfort from me. I had no doubt that she knew Attalla was lost to us both. I reached up and stroked her soft fur. She trilled and nosed the palm of my hand affectionately.

I wanted to turn Ma-rye-a around and go back to blast those feathered freaks to the four corners of the verse. I wanted revenge. I wanted, for the first time in my life, to kill.

“Ma-rye-a, lay in a course back to Ambassador Attalla’s home planet. Contact his superiors – I want to talk to them as soon as possible. They have to be updated on the situation.”

“Immediately,” Ma-rye-a confirmed.

I absentmindedly stroked Chee again. She unwrapped herself from around my neck and perched on my shoulder. I had to pull myself together. My crew and Chee were depending on me. As much as I wanted to wreck havoc on Attalla’s killers, I couldn’t. I had to go through proper channels. I had to stay calm - rein in my anger and all the pent up emotions.

“I’m going to get Chee something to eat. Patch the call into me in the galley when you get them.”

Taking care of Chee would calm me down. Knowing she depended on me now would keep me headed straight.

I picked up the mug of tea from the prep unit and headed for the mess. Tomorrow, next day at the latest, we would see that justice was done.

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