Master of Violence
by AJ Marks
Jeff sat back listening in, taking some notes of who was who. The captain he dismissed a bit, but he had been the one working the machine so perhaps he was also knowledgeable with machines. He might also be there for security, like Richard and Mark were. Things were interesting for sure. He noticed Isa seemed thoughtful as well.
“I welcome you in peace, and hopefully a long lasting friendship,” Jeff said.
He noticed that Toncor looked over at Aviella before speaking.
“We thank you, but we come to require some assistance with our ship,” Toncor said. “Our jump engines were damage forcing us to this location instead of our intended location.”
That caused Jeff to frown, even as the rumble of thunder rolled though the room. He noticed that the three aliens jumped slightly at the sound.
“It’s only thunder, a natural occurrence of our planet and is associated with rain,” Jeff said.
“Then Rain is a violent person?” Aviella asked.
“Um, no,” Isa said. “Rain is a natural part of our water cycle on the planet, it falls from the sky.”
“I see, very interesting,” Aviella said. “You have a very different water cycle on your planet, fascinating.”
Jeff noticed her posture had changed slightly.
“You said you’re ship had engine trouble?” Richard said, moving the conversation back to the situation at hand.
“Yes, we were in a hurry to leave, and left too close to our planet’s gravity and damaged the engines,” Hakkas said.
Jeff understood the situation, even if he didn’t fully understand the technology he knew doing such a thing was dangerous.
“What about your people, will they not come to help,” Isa asked.
It seemed like a logical question and one which Jeff wondered about as well. Would they expect other ships to help them?
“Ah, that is a complex situation and part of what we need to discuss,” Toncor said.
Jeff had a gut feeling he suddenly didn’t want to hear what they were going to say. Were they a group of pirates, or some sort of rebels fighting their government? A thousand situations went through his mind each one getting worse and he hoped Earth wouldn’t be dragged into some civil war or worse.
“Our race was attacked by another race. We were warned, as we are now warning you that this race is extremely violent. They enslave or kill anyone they encounter. They are headed this direction and we were hoping to get far enough away from them but our damaged engines prevented that,” Toncor said to them.
It wasn’t what Jeff had been expecting and noticed that the others had a similar view. The words caused Isa to frown.
“And what do you expect us to do?” Isa asked.
“We only ask for help to repair our ship,” Toncor said. “Nothing else. What you do with the warning is your decision, not ours.”
“An intelligent race waging war across the universe, sounds unlikely to me,” Isa said.
“Yet we cannot take this threat lightly,” Richard said speaking up for the first time.
“And it would allow an increase in the military budget, something you’d like,” Isa said.
“There are good people in the military, people who do their jobs, jobs no private sector wants to do,” Richard said.
“Gentlemen, now isn’t the time for such a discussion,” Jeff said to them hoping they would calm down a bit. The last thing he needed was a fight between them in front of these aliens in their first contact with another race.
“Yes, sorry,” Isa said.
“You’re right,” Richard said.
“You are unlike other races,” Toncor said suddenly, catching them off guard.
“I don’t understand,” Jeff said.
“I can’t yet explain, but you are different. Other races when told of this ‘Dark Race’ respond like Isa, but then will either ignore it, or want to run.”
“Run from our homes, we are no cowards,” Mark said, his voice defiant.
“What is that word, I do not recognize it,” Toncor asked.
“Coward, it means to run away without fighting, allowing someone else to bully you,” Jeff said, giving a simplistic and none accurate description but one they might understand.
“Fascinating, we don’t view it that way, it’s a wise man who walks away from conflict,” Toncor said.
Jeff realized they were dealing with a very different society than what he was used to. He wondered what they might make of human history, full of war.
“You can’t always walk away from conflict, sometimes its thrust upon you,” Richard said.
“A wise man values all life, even as the expense of his own,” Toncor replied.
“Then it sounds like the person taking the wise man’s life doesn’t value life,” Richard said. “You would allow the person who doesn’t value life to live longer than the person who does value life.”
Toncor was silent as he looked at the other two and Jeff wondered what he was thinking.
“You have a point we have never thought of,” Toncor finally replied slowly, as if he never considered that possibility.
They sat there in silence for a few seconds before Mark spoke up.
“This ‘Dark Race’, who or what are they?” Mark asked, a question Jeff realized he had as well.
“We do not know, only that they attack and destroy any race they come across. There are some who fight back, but they are no match for this race,” Toncor said.
“Are they that technically advanced?” Mark asked.
Jeff understood technology could easily overcome any will to fight. All of humanity could be willing to fight, but without the technology they would lose. It was something history told over and over again. A small group of technologically advanced soldiers could easily hold off a larger number of fighters.
“Is there anything you can tell us about them?” Richard asked before Toncor could answer.
“What we have is second hand knowledge at best, when they attacked our world there were some who tried to delay them,” Toncor said.
“So there are some trying to fight,” Isa asked.
“If you mean delay, then yes,” Toncor said.
Jeff looked at the others knowing they were thinking the same thing. A delaying action wouldn’t be enough for Earth. They didn’t have the ability to evacuate the entire population. Of course the next question become where would they go even if they could? They would be on the run forever with no plan. How many other species across the universe were running from this race?
“You know anything about their technology?” Richard asked.
Jeff leaned back knowing this bit of information could become critical. Were Earth’s own defenses a match for this race, or were they hopelessly outclassed as well. Of course the entire defense force consisted of a half a dozen warships, with the largest being the Enterprise. But were its weapon systems a match for the unknown ships of this ‘Dark Race’. What were their tactics? So many unknowns and few answers it appeared would be coming from this group in front of them.
“We were only told, the group defending us did not give us much information. We had no defenses for our planet,” Toncor said. “What I do know is they attacked with several ships.”
“They’d need only a few ships to overtake a world with no defenses,” Richard said. “How far away is your homeworld?”
“You’re not actually considering this as a threat?” Isa asked.
“Its part of my job, I have to, otherwise I’d be neglecting my duties to this planet and its people,” Richard replied.
“There is no indication that such a race would even attack us,” Isa said.
Jeff understood where each person stood on the issues. Isa was one of those who thought as long as you didn’t provoke someone, they would leave you alone. But was this race one of those types of groups, or would they see such an act as encouragement to attack. Of course building up could also be seen as a hostile action and encourage attacks.
They were left with a dilemma, which to do. They appeared to have no good solutions, nor did they have any good answers.
“How long did you have before they attacked you from the time you were warned?” Jeff asked, hoping to get an idea of how long they had.
The reply came back but they could not understand it.
“Sorry, how long?” Isa asked.
“You didn’t understand,” Toncor said which Isa said no. “Then it appears such conversions have yet to be made in the translator. Such things will take time.”
“It appears its doing well,” Isa said.
“Yes, it learns quickly,” Toncor said. “A testament to its design, and the fact it has learned hundreds of languages already. You’re language, if you pardon, is quite simplistic.”
“None taken,” Isa said. “But what do you mean?”
“Some races use body gestures as part of their language,” Toncor said.
“Seems like that would make long distance communications more difficult,” Richard replied. They sat again for a few seconds before Hakkas spoke up again.
“Will you help us repair our engines?” he asked.
Jeff looked over at Isa who seemed to have a thoughtful expression but it was actually Mark who spoke up.
“I am not sure we can guarantee help, not that we don’t want to, but we might not have the technology to,” Jeff said to them. The statement seemed to catch the aliens off guard. “The engines you use are unknown to us.”
“We can help, give you the designs for the engines, and how they work as payment for any repairs you can give us,” Toncor said.
“That might work, but as Jeff said, we might not have the technology to actually repair it,” Isa said.
“Any help will be welcomed,” Toncor said.
Jeff had a feeling they had a foundation for a friendship, and perhaps a working relationship with these aliens. He hoped they could actually back up their actions and help them out.
Jeff made his way into the Presidential office where Natile Carter waited for them, along with Isa and Richard. Mark had remained with the aliens along with a new group to gather some information about the engines from the captain of the alien ship. The president seemed to be waiting for them.
“So, how are things going?” she asked. “What type of relationship can we expect from them, more ships, perhaps trade, and exchange of information?”
Jeff realized those were things he had expected at first as well, but now, things had changed quite a bit.
“Ah, it appears things are more complex than we first imagined,” Isa said speaking up for them.
“Complex, how? Are they threatening us somehow?” Natile asked now looking over at Richard who merely remained quiet.
“No, well they didn’t,” Isa said. “As I said, it’s a bit more complex than that.”
“It appears madam President, that this group are not explorers, but actually a group of refugees,” Jeff said speaking up.
“Are they wanting political asylum or something?” Natile asked.
“No, they are looking for help to repair their ship before they move on,” Isa said.
“They have declared their ability to help us learn their engines, which we only understand in theory, it could provide a large boost to our ships,” Jeff said knowing there was still more information to come.
“So, we help them, they give us technology, doesn’t sound that bad,” Natile said, then folding her hands on the desk and looking at each of them. “However, why are they refugees?”
“It appears their homeworld was attacked by another race. One which they called the ‘Dark Race’. Aside from that they have little or no information about them,” Richard said speaking up. “This race apparently goes around conquering worlds, enslaving entire races. They only know some are trying to defend, but that’s all they can do, defend enough to delay allowing some people to escape.”
“This all sounds very fanciful to me,” Natile said. “I’m not sure I can go before Congress and say we need to either plan for evacuations or a massive military budget.”
“Neither option is something the public would go for,” Jeff said. The cries from the public sector for the military budget to be eliminated was at the highest it had ever been at. Of course packing up and leaving Earth he didn’t see going over well either, at least not without a fight, and to do that they would need a military. It was a vicious cycle they appeared to be stuck in.
“How long do we have?” she finally asked.
“That is a bit trickier, it will take some time to convert units of time, measurements and such things,” Richard said.
“Then, for now, we help while we decide on what to do,” she said. “Perhaps more information will come out allowing us to choose what path we will go down.
Jeff watched as they all nodded in agreement. He wasn’t too sure, but for now it seemed like the best way to avoid scaring the public into some sort of mass panic, either to leave or build a massive military.
End part 5