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Chapter Forty Five - Back to the Presidium

Updated on May 31, 2021

The Information

"Cilla, wake up,"

The voice belonged to Donovan Paulwell, my Captain. Before I open my eyes, I mutter; "I always wanted you in my bed..."

"I have to talk to you..."

This didn't sound sensual. I forced open one eye, gave him a study in the dark room. The light from the sani wasn't doing much, as he was out of its arc.

"What is it?" I ask, sitting up, holding the sheet to my chest.

"Dress...I...I'll meet you...outside..." he decides, leaving my cabin.

I don't often get over six hours sleep. This better be good.

I lay back a minute, trying to get my brain into first gear, then wandered into the sani, washed my face, pulled on a body suit, tossed a jacket over my shoulders, stepped into the corridor beyond my cabin, where he posed.

Trying to Find Sense

Without a word he went walking to the rounded transparency, which gave a view of space. I yawned, well I was tired.

"We've been requested to make port on Cyberus, and..."

"Like I didn't know that?"

"Turn this ship over, return to Presidium."

"Good, cause this was my last trip anyway...."

There must be something I'm missing...cause Donnie was still staring at me.

We'd been assigned to the Invictus, the most powerful ship in the Universe. We weren't an army, we were simple security for merchant ships.

Why Hawking Corporation had requested we use this battlecruiser on escort work was their business. Asking us to return it and go back to our own ship is not out of the loop.

Further, considering that all we did was ride back and forth and play blind and deaf when Gennies had their covens, so...Wait.

I ask; "Turn this over to who? The Company?"

I realised it wasn't the Company, the way his voice had quivered on the words 'turn this ship over', I knew.

He couldn't bring himself to say it. Instead; "Them," he mouthed.

"Them? Them who?" I demand.

"The Gennies."



"Turning over the most powerful warship in the galaxy to Sagir? Are you mad? Who gave that order?"

"Who do you think?" he flipped.

"That idiot Rhyse? Is she mad? When?"

"We have a month to reach Cyberus, then the ship will go into dry dock...."


"You asked when. About a month."

"Giving Sagirs this ship is giving a baby a bottle of napalm."

He sat there like he'd zombied.

"Donnie, you know what Sagirs will do with this ship?"

"It is a warship, Cilla."

"The woman is insane!"

"She works for Hawking, it's his call."

"No, Donnie, it's her call. She was in love with Gye. And she's doing everything for him, dragging Hawking into it."

He shook his head.

Anisette Rhyse had demanded we take Gennies as security on all flights.
Not Gennies, Eugenics from Sagir.
The first, her beloved Gye.

Since then, we've had dozens of Gennies, most named Gye Tomaka. Now she intends we hand them the Invictus.

"Donnie," I whisper, "if you hack Hawking's annual reports you'll notice their Insurance Premiums have fallen by ninety percent, and their sales have increased by the same figure. But that's icing. The cake is Gye."

Even a double digit I.Q. would catch the bytes. It had been good business. But it wasn't just business.

I looked around, there were no ears,

"When Sagir makes war against Dalmar, she can take credit."

"Hawking does make the best warships and weapons," he mused.

"I wouldn't be surprised if both sides bought from the same seller..."

"I would," he mutters.

He was right. Since the death of 'our' Gye at the hands of Dalmar, Hawking had ceased to trade with them. I might as well cut to the quick.

"Y'know Donnie, Gye the First, never made as much impact on me as he did on you or her. I'm seeing him and them from a safe distance. And I'll be honest. I don't give a fuck what they do to each other. I don't like Gennies, and though I can admit the lust factor, you've got more personality in your big toe. So tell me, what was it you saw in Gye?"

"It's a guy thing, Cilla. To put it into words you'd understand can't happen."

I felt like spitting, "That's a cop out."

"It is, because I don't want to explain it."

"Donnie, this is not a shrug. We can't do it."

"What's the alternative? Take this ship and race into the void? Fine, we become outlaws, Sagirs get hundreds of other ships. We, being renegades are at war with every planet in the galaxy, have no place to dock..."

"We give the ship to Dalmar."

"I'll blow it up first, Cilla."

He was dead serious.

"I see you chose your side."

"Cilla, I don't own this ship. I'm it's hired captain. If I don't report, this ship will be registered as stolen. Then we'll have a choice, kill our own people or surrender and be executed. We have to report."

"I don't like it."

"Cilla, you don't have to. I'm just telling you. I'm telling you so that we proceed to Cyberus without hitch. We don't discuss it, we don't debate it, we just do it."

"That bitch Rhyse has been working on this war for what? Six, Seven years? Eight years? Huh? How long has it been? Was it when she met Gye? Before?"

"You keep talking as if she's in charge. She isn't. She's just Hawking's face. The Corporation decided. And it's the Corporation who pays our salary. We're the hired help."

"I gotta get some coffee.." I say, moving to the galley.

I Could See It Coming....

I was at the coffee urn before I realised Donnie wasn't with me.
Just like him.
Wake me from a deep sleep, dump his problem in my lap, and leave it, like it's my baby to mind.

Don could of sat on the message until tomorrow, after dinner, after lunch if he couldn't wait.

Why wake me the minute he gets it?

I sat in the Port corner, but it smelled like Sagir, so I moved to another table.
I don't like them.
I don't believe in their superiority.
I am not pandering to their Eugenics.
Whatever the Sagir and Dalmar have/had/will have means dogshit to me.
I don't want to be part of it...I don't want to know about it.

Giving the Sags this ship is war.
The Dalmars will, the second they learn of it, attack Sagir.
The Sags will retaliate.

And what of the Gennies on Molbe, Tellur and Yangban?
Won't they dive into the fray, creating one massive inter-galactic war?
And where does that leave normal humans?

Anisette Rhyse, hoity-toit lifted pinky hand on bosom, Rhyse is going to start
the biggest war in history.

And there is nothing I can do about it?

Two Gye's enter.
They don't see me at first.
They're babbling away in their foreign language.
When one realises they are not alone, for a picosecond maybe less, he pauses,
then goes on; I'm nothing to them. I don't think they know my name.

One starts cooking, his voice a low hum. The other one, his voice is the same. Not identical, but so similar, you can't tell who is who.

They all have the same name. Gye Tomaka, (I forget the two intervening names.)

They are so handsome, so perfect, they are ugly. They've actually become ugly to me because they are so perfect.

They are talking in the language no one not them understands. I could be a footstool for all the attention I get.

And to these creatures, Rhyse wants to hand this ship, aware of what use they're
going to make of it.

This can't be right, but then, right and wrong are what?
A matter of profit?
That's what it is.

Somehow, Hawking has figured out that a war would be profitable. And has chosen which side will give the most profit.


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