Emerging from the other side the Hyginian survey ship found itself in a completely different system, The defensive Zeus platform waiting for them on the other side, ready with defensive weapons and support ships, the people of New Haven had over an hour to prepare for this meeting after all.
The ship slowed down after seeing the meeting party.
“This ship is from the Hyginian Federation, we come in peace.” the message is sent to New Haven’s Zeus platform stationed outside the gate. It’s a station that specializes in stationing ships for rearming and is brimming with guns on all sides.
“Hygian Federation ship, your ships will be intercepted by three drone fighters, they will be your escorts. Follow the lead to the designated hangar area. You will be met by representatives of the New Haven Directorate.” The transmission cuts and several ships of military make arrive to dock at the Zeus platform. There are transports moving from ship to ship and indeed from ship to platform. Among these ships were three drone fighters from New Haven that came to a stop in front of the Hygian survey ships.
“The drones are at a stop in front of your ship. Confirm?”
“Drone arrival confirmed, proceeding to follow the escorts to destination.”
The survey ship beams a quick report back to the mother base and proceeds to follow the escort drones, on their path the hyginian crew observe this new system they are in. A large yellow star centres the system emitting much more light than the hyginians were used to in their own system, orbiting this star is a gas giant that is quite hard to miss, it can be observed this gas giant has a moon, a blue and green gem which would fit the description of pre-disaster Earth. The crew notes how both them and this nation have settled around gas giant orbiting moons far away from Earth, but also how lucky these people were to have such a beautiful gem to live on, it truly would make sense to call it a New Heaven.
The survey ship is guided by the drones on an approach vector to a large empty hangar with lots of room to land. The two flanking the ship begin to peel off and the fighter leading will also peel off as the ship approaches 0.5km.
Zeus platform then says, “Hyginian ship, maintain your vector, landing within 0.5km.”
The ship slows down as it approaches the hangar opening and begins to extend the landing gear.
“Preparing for landing.” With a last spurring of its engines the ship lands creating an audible ‘thunk’, the ship settles on its landing gear as the hangar door closes.
Once the oxygen starts flowing back into the room the Hyginian vessel opens a ramp on its back, three fully suited people get out, their hands are empty but they carry pistols on their hips.
Exiting their vessel they were met with three representatives from New Haven flanked by automated security bots. The sound of boots and metal stomping on the clean hangar floor reverberated around the empty hangar. The three drone fighters that escorted them earlier came in and docked on the Hangar roof and were taken by some unseen mechanical system, perhaps to refuel or rearm.
The first representative began to speak, “Welcome to the Zeus Defense platform. This section of the station is to receive foreign representatives. My name is Julia Wolver, diplomatic representative of New Haven stationed here in Zeus.”
The second representative followed, “My name is Evan Langley, expert in economy and trade. I will be serving as an assistant as to whether or not we can negotiate trade.”
Finally the third, “I am Lieutenant Rowan Kingsly, military representative and tech specialist. Relay to me any desire to form some military alliance.”
Julia then begins to explain, “Usually, the lead director himself would meet you, but on such short notice the Lead Director is unable to do so. He is currently at Earth overseeing the finalizing construction of the New Haven section in the Meeting Place. A neutral space for all nations. For the time being we will stand in for them.”
The hyginians move awkwardly in their environmental suits and form up with a man in front of the other two.
”Pleasure to meet all of you, I’m the diplomat from the Hyginian Federation, you can call me Ortiz.” saying this he can’t stop thinking how he only just became diplomat, the higher-ups probably only considered them disposable and didn’t expect them to do much diplomacy if at all.
”This is a first contact mission, I’m sure we can agree on some accord, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, first things first, would it be safe to remove this helmet?” Ortiz asks while tapping his bulky helmet.
Julia adjusts her glasses, “It is good of you to ask. There’s oxygen in this hangar, as you can see we do not have suits. However, our experience in our early days says that you should first be screened for unknown pathogens. A decontamination room is adjacent to this one.” Julia then points towards the door at the end of the hangar.
“If you’d follow me, we will go through decontamination and you will also be asked to take a nanite injection in order to kill any unknown pathogens we may not be immune to.” Julia says.
[color=006400]”Alright then, after you.”[color=006400] Ortiz motions to the others behind to remain on the ship before following Julia, the weight of his suit making itself heard with each step. The rest of the crew remain on the ship or closeby, leaving the lone diplomat on his own.
Ortiz and the other personnel move into the decontamination area. It was a white clean room with sprays of decontaminants. A dispenser then presents four nanite injections. The three New Havenists took their shots and without a second thought injected themselves.
Julia then turns to Ortiz and hands him a datapad. “Please sign your name here, this is a document for nanite injection treatment. It’s to make sure that you consent to such. If not, then we’ll have to conduct our business here.”
”This is alright.” Ortiz says imagining how many medical tests he will need to go through at home after injecting himself with an unknown substance.
Ortiz removes his gloves, making a sound when the air inside the suit and the air in the room mix, rolling up his sleeve he finally injects himself with the nanites and feels the effects soon after, it’s a weird feeling for him. When he feels the effect from the nanites has finished he takes off his helmet and the bulky centerpiece of his suit, revealing his stunningly short mane of black hair.
Julia adjusts her glasses again and leads him out of the cleanroom. As they entered the station proper they moved through a hallway busy with marines, drones, and non-combatants moving to and from bringing documents to different offices. “As you can see the station is busying itself with self-defense and communicating with other foreign nations about transits through the gates. We pride ourselves in working efficiently and effectively.”
Rowan, the lieutenant, interjects, “... We also pride ourselves in security. There are several systems in place that allow us to monitor all activities happening within the station. Additionally, there are military personnel patrolling in close intervals to ensure maximum security.”
”It’s good to see your people be so diligent and hardworking, even our military officers would be impressed and trust me when I say they have high standards.”
Evan then looks to Ortiz, “I’m sure trade and economic growth is within your best interests. This station sees the transit of several cargo vessels every rotation and it never stops. Communication and smooth transit is key to ensuring that the flow of resources is uninterrupted and goes without incident.”
On their walk Ortiz tried to keep count of just how many people were passing through the hallway until eventually, defeated, he gives up with a sigh, this place sure is busy.
They then come to an overlook of another hangar that’s busy with departures and arrivals. Several transports come and go without incident and smooth operations being conducted at all times. The overlook also passed one of the hangar comms control. There were several people looking over panels and screens, all of them talking and directing ships and drones at the same time and guiding them to the hangar.
One man turned around and said, “Ah, Julia, new arrivals?”
“Yes indeed.” She then turned to Ortiz, “Meet the man that guided your ship in. People in the station just call him Garry.”
”Very nice to meet you, Inmust thank you for guiding us here.” Ortiz looks at Garry, the man seems the jovial type, he also doesn’t seems as busy as basically everyone else in this corridor, perhaps his shift has ended?
Garry takes his sunglasses and places it on top of his cap. He takes off his headphones and says, “Ah don’t worry about it. You actually gave me something to do. I handle surprise arrivals and departures. Basically stuff that’s handed to us at the last minute.”
“Despite our tight schedules there are always going to be a few unscheduled arrivals and departures. Garry is one of many flight controllers that handle those few situations.” Julia explains.
”Where exactly do all these ships come from? How many systems are you connected to?” Ortiz asks, puzzled by how could a space station be busier than a train station back in Hyginus.
“Well it’s not just our system. Six months have connected us to several systems and that has led to the neutral space known as the Meeting Place in the Sol system. We also have several planets in our system that travel to and from places. The Zeus platform is also a repair station and a military installation so it’s busier than it looks because it has multiple functions.” Rowan pointed out towards the hangar, “Look there, that’s a ship that came from deeper in our system here in New Haven, it’s dropping off maintenance supplies.”
Observing the hangar, Ortiz gets the impression the station is somehow larger than it looked on the outside, the large hangar seemingly empty apart from the newly arrived ship and a couple more parked.
”Your gate has been in operation for six months? How did it activate? We have no idea how it works and don’t know who did it.” Ortiz wonders if their gate has been open for six months does it mean there are gates that have been open for far longer? Perhaps these people are relatively newcomers in a decades, maybe century old galactic community.
Julia and the other diplomats looked at eachother, “Your gate has only recently opened…?” Julia asked, “All the information we’ve gathered from other nations is that theirs have been online for about the same amount of time. We don’t have any idea why they opened either.”
Ortiz remained speechless, all these gates had opened at the same time? Moreover it only happened six months ago, of course they wouldn’t know what caused a galactic event of this magnitude. Ortiz recomposed himself.
”That is correct, our gate has only just opened and our mission was to explore other systems and conduct first contact diplomacy.” gauging the New Heavians reactions, new gates opening are rare occurrences, at least as far as they know.
”So exactly how many known gates have reactivated?”
Julia then says, “From the top of my head around fifteen from our official count. Sixteen now including your gate. Out of the sixteen, yours is the only one yet to have opened after the six month mass activation.”
Garry then interjects, “Actually, you could’ve head straight to the Sol system and met all the other nations. We’ve been doing construction there for a while.”
Then there was a ping on Garry’s terminal. “Oop! Gotta get back to work.” He puts on his headphones and sits down by the terminal, “Zeus Platform to Sunsurfer, you’re clear on dock 11. Escorts coming to you…”
“Sunsurfer?” Julia mumbled before turning to Ortiz, “... It seems the lead director heard of your arrival and expedited his return. We should meet him at Dock 11.”
”Alright.” Ortiz followed Julia on the way to dock 11, his thoughts still on the previous discussion, fifteen open gates? mass activation? not to speak of the Sol system being used for diplomacy, is there a Terran empire and these people are their vassals? did they already defeat the demons of Terra or maybe they all killed themselves already? Maybe he’ll get some answers from the lead director.
Lead Director Hubert returned from the Meeting Place with his diplomatic transport, Sunsurfer. He disembarked and saw Julia and the others approaching him.
“As I live and breathe, if it isn’t the beautifully fabulous Julia Wolver!” he threw his hands out and walked towards her as if to hug her.
Julia pushed a hand out and held the Lead Director back as she adjusted her glasses, “Sir, I’m glad that you’ve returned from your trip.”
“Glad to be back! I hear there’s been some interesting developments here!” Hubert says.
Dick, the Director for civil development and psychology, emerged from behind Hubert and said, “It’s good to see that you’re handling yourself well Julia, both in diplomatic duties and keeping the Lead Director professional.”
Hubert then stepped back and fixed his suit, “I’m always professional Dick! Otherwise, I wouldn’t be in this position. Anyways, who’s the astronaut?” he pointed towards Ortiz.
“This would be Ortiz, the representative for the Hyginian Federation.” Julia replies.
Hubert then goes over to Ortiz, takes one hand and shakes it profusely while asking multiple questions, “NICE! ANOTHER NATION! Tell me… What’s your place like? Do you like our place? Are you war-like or peaceful? Do you have contact with xenos? What’s your tech like?”
Meanwhile, Dick then pinches the bridge of his nose then looks at Julia and whispers, “Can you stay with us, I think I’ll have an aneurysm if I continue to accompany Hubert alone on these diplomatic functions.”
“Sure… If you take me out to dinner Director Wazzinski.” Julia winked.
Dick couldn’t help but gulp audibly, he nodded, “Professional duties first Julia”
“Just like in the academy Dick.” Julia said before turning to Hubert, “Sir?”
Hubert turned to Julia, “Ah yes? Jules?”
“Maybe you should give him some space to answer sir.” she continued.
“Ah right…” Hubert took a step back and said, “... Well, introductions first I suppose. I’m Lead Director Hubert Seymour. I would be what you would call the leader of all of New Haven. Nice to meet you.”
While initially taken aback, Ortiz felt somewhat glad this Director was so warm and alive, unlike basically any high-ranking officer back home.
”The pleasure is mine Mr. Seymour, I’m a diplomat from the Hyginian Federation, me and my crew just arrived in this system to check for other life and well, here we are!”
Ortiz looked around the hangar,
”Should we proceed with the meeting here?”
Hubert smiled from ear to ear, “I don’t see why not! Come let’s do some diplomacy! Ask anything, go anywhere… Well almost anywhere… And let us have some jolly cooperation!”
”Sounds good, I think we could start us off by trying to understand each other’s nation and our priorities, just so we’re on the same page.” Ortiz said, trying to gauge the reaction of his interlocutor.
“Well, I’m an open book!” Hubert says, “What do you want to know? We’re a science oriented nation with superb medical technology. We’re no slouch militarily speaking either. Anything you’d want to know about these subjects?”
Science oriented Ortiz thought about it for a second, back in Hyginus they had seen minimal technological advancements in the span of three whole centuries.
”What level of medical technology? You see, our home is very industrious and many people work hard jobs with risk to their health, advanced medicine would be a great benefit for the workers.”
and it would also benefit the tyrants at the top Ortiz thought but made sure not to say it.
Hubert then said, “Well, since you’re here you’ve already received a Nano shot right? Nifty things. Programmable little machines that enter your body and get passed out of it over time harmlessly! All the while getting rid of any filthy things in your body. That’s pretty much the pinnacle of it.”
“... We also have enhanced prosthetics. You may not know it but the lieutenant’s right arm here is actually mechanical. However, we’ve made it so that it is as close to a human arm as we can get it. So much so that some people opt to become fully machine.” Julia follows up.
”That is truly amazing, how did you manage it? How long do these nanomachines keep their effect? I imagine it’s not indefinite.” Ortiz looked at the mechanical arm that until now he hadn’t realized was mechanical at all.
”Perhaps we could arrange a trade deal for prosthetics and such, sure it would take some time but I’m curious to know what you might need in return.”
“Well I’m sure we can arrange something, we’d need to go through official channels and work it out with your higher ups. But there are other things we’d need such as non-aggression treaties and such. It might be good to inform you of things happening on the other side of the gates. Seems like there’s talk of war after all.”
”It might be a bit early for us to jump into a war already, anyway I’m afraid I’ll have to go back to ensure stuff gets through those official channels but I’m glad to have met you, we’ll make sure to send someone over to that meeting place in Sol. Who knows, maybe that’s where we’ll meet again.”
While there were a few more exchanges of pleasantries the discussion was practically over.
Flying away the ship’s crew wondered how lucky they had been but also how many things could be hiding away further from their home system.