Kirashi arrives, boarding the Essuru, bound for Kataru
Kirashi was tall with long brown hair. Weaved into braids and pulled back behind her head, she had the appearance of an Elizabethan noble woman. Smooth, pale skin, eyes an unearthly pallid shade of blue, she was nonchalant about her own beauty.
Entering the air-lock, she reflected she would travel further away from home than ever before. They would journey to the far end of the Orion Spur.
Their vehicle, the Essuru, hovered half a meter off the landing pad. She wore a white environmental suit with a tight, bolero jacket coming to her waist. In her boots, she was taller than most Tayamni.
Planning to go over the route, she looked for the Captain. She wanted to take a path that would bring them near the planet of Anuria, a world of amphibian humanoids, so paranoid of foreign DNA, they refused physical contact.
She climbed a stairway to the vacant bridge. Screens at workstations cast blue light into the darkened room. Turning to her right, she saw a man sitting at navigation. Various hieroglyphic shapes on the transparent shelf glowed with yellow luminescence. Hovering above was a sphere mapped with constellations, star clusters, and planetary systems.
She assumed the captain would be female. Drawing her brows together with confusion, she asked, “Captain Hurin?”
He looked up. “I’m sorry?”
“Are you Captain Hurin?” Kirashi asked again.
He smiled and shook his head, “No, sorry, haven’t seen her.” He stood and turned his palms upwards, looking up into her face. He was freckled and ruddy, reminding her of ancient European Norsemen, “I’m one of your diplomats, Alhalsu. I arrived a few days ago.”
“Ah,” she responded aloud. “You were on an exploratory mission. I heard you found candidates,” she asserted.
He nodded. “Did you get the reports?”
“I did not. Did you find more than one?” she asked.
“Several,” he laughed. “of more or less equal potential, presenting us with a bit of a problem.”
She grew more serious, “The Elders can choose.” She sent him a telepathic message, informing him she was the lead diplomat on the mission to the Kataru, and that Erish would join them directly.
He shook his head. “The problem is,” he continued, still referring to his previous mission, “There are so few of us. I don’t think there are enough for all the missions.”
“Let’s concentrate on this mission,” she looked at him sternly. “Humans will be ready soon. They will help.”
The Essuru was a medium sized Tayamni vessel, meant for long voyages. Sixty-four meters long and 48 meters at its widest point, it contained four private quarters, two larger rooms with multiple beds, a shuttle bay, mess hall, hydroponics, and a lounge. There was enough anti-matter fuel for a two-year journey. The delicate, automated process of exchanging fuel cells required that ship rest still, floating in space, for three days.
The Essuru had minimal defensive capabilities, since Tayamni rarely expected conflict.
Alhalsu looked at the vacant bridge. “I know this star class,” he said. Kirashi looked at the spherical map hovering above navigation. “Although,” he continued, “the last one didn’t have organic enhancements.” Alhalsu referred to gifts recently sent by the Amelu, the cyborg race who administer the Alliance, the original species on the Orion Spur to reach Genetic Compatibility. The First Ones discovered them millions of years earlier.
The Spur, or the swath of galaxy shared by Earth, the Tayamni, and the Amelu, tore away from other spiral arms, forming a convenient transit between the Sagittarius and Perseus spirals. As intelligent life forms proliferated, traffic along the Spur increased. Habitable planets like Terra, or Earth as English speakers called it, were increasingly valuable as oases, lying in short-cuts between spiral arms. The Tlalocs were not the first alien race to eye this system with envy.
At Kataru, the Amelu home world, the First Ones found a lifeless planet in synchronous orbit to its sun. After being struck by an errant moon, its orbit severely altered, one side of the planet baked in continuous sunlight, while the other was covered in glaciers.
After the calamity, all organic life perished, leaving self-aware, intelligent machines behind. The First Ones found artificial intelligences with distinct personalities who exchanged data, observations and analytics. They had identities, formed relationships and fell in love, without knowing touch or physical movement.
The First Ones realized, even though electronic machines, they were a life-form. The Nine gave the machines bodies, gifts of sight, hearing and movement. They added organic components. Eventually, the machines became cyborg humanoid creatures. They built flying vessels. They found an altitude in the atmosphere suitable for the life that previously existed. They connected vessels to each other at that altitude, creating settlements. The settlements became cities. Eventually, five cities orbited wastelands below, at altitudes that gave them rain, warmth and coolness, night and day. They planted forests, farms and parks. They recreated lifeforms that had once been indigenous to the planet below. They reached out to other planets, to systems in adjacent spiral arms, joining collectives and creating alliances, eventually reaching the Tayamni themselves.
Now, finally, led by Kirashi, the Tayamni would join their defensive military alliance.