My starship, the Emulael Enza emerges from the Maelstrom, just beyond the orbit of Eris, and hidden behind its moon, Dysnomia. It would be foolish to let the vessel’s signature to be picked up by enemy sensors before getting close enough to Terra.
Reaching out with the ‘shard’s visual overlay, I link with my ship’s passive sensor feeds, the virtual display showing shifting symbols and graphical representations, giving me instant readings on the Terra/Luna system light hours further in.
So far, the Suthidruu fleet continues to swell its numbers, still communicating only among themselves. The bands they use are undetectable by conventional systems, but not the ‘shard’s. They’ve engaged cloaking systems for now, effectively blinding the humans to their presence.
I call to the Other, my Conscience. “Imegaa, I’ll need a teleport channel opened to Terra’s surface within the hour, if you wouldn’t mind, before the enemy finally opens communications with the humans. Jumping directly into orbit will just panic the Suthidruu, and sublight will take us hours to get there. I’ll see if I can pick up anything for you while I’m there.”
Imegaa Mokkan, as my Conscience is named, is made from synthetic biologicals. I’d built her as a tribute to the girl who woke me up on this very ship that last fateful combat deployment. The girl who freed me at the cost of her own life, using her stored brain pattern files, identical even down to the accent, last recorded memories, and mannerisms.
She’s like a daughter. She works for me despite my protests, out of a sense of duty, like the girl whose name she bears. Kai’Siri; strong, pragmatic, loyal to the end, even as replicant simulacra. Their damnable code of honor. I’ve told her otherwise, given her my best arguments, but she insists that she owes me her life for constructing her.
I’d originally created her to allay the terror my appearance causes on nearly every world I visit. I created her also because the worst thing I fear is being alone.
Preparations are made, and the ship’s teleport systems link with the ‘shard’s coordinate feeds. Lock on. Here it comes…Any instant now, I think with dread. I hate teleporting.
I hope I don’t get sick like last time, a tiny voice within says, just before the flash of the teleport beam makes the universe go a blinding bright blue.
My stomach lurches in protest. It’s going to be one of those days. I fall through space, through a bright blue tunnel in the fabric of reality. Then, suddenly everything goes still. I’ve arrived.
I gag for a bit, no mess though, recover my composure, get to my feet, and brush the dust from my new location off my suit, my ‘field dress’ from my days as an interstellar mass-extinction machine. My work suit, for there’s work here to be done.
I get my bearings, accessing the hypershard’s sensory overlay. Symbols and virtual graphical readouts fill my field of vision. I’m atop Devil’s Tower, in someplace called Wyoming. Awfully windy up here…
First, I think to myself, I’ll send a little message to the Suthidruu fleet’s Holiest. It’ll be simple to stall for time. I hear the Holiest likes to chat just a bit before getting down to business.
Neuronal clusters not found in baseline human brains fire a quick burst of impulses to the ‘shard’s contact points, and its processors quickly digest the information, translate, and squirt the message, a short tight-beam transmission toward the lead craft of the alien fleet. The language it uses was prewired into its data core over a billion years ago, unknown, and unpronounceable to me or any living, well, human. It requires vocal equipment I don’t have. The Worms would recognize it and take the bait. It’s just a brief sentence, though of elaborate, even baroque complexity, but stripped of it’s lyrically intricate syntax, suggestions of olfactory cues, and poetic allegorical subtlety it would have only six words were it to be in English:
Come down and talk to me.