Template:PostCatH Post 67 comes two weeks after CatH Post 66 and the two women, Clear and Kimleigh, have been enjoying the relaxation that comes with their time on Indra. They sit in the sun with a view of the Apojiva Valleys with Swati Ackbar while they await Kara Pashna's announcement that his preparations for space travel are complete. He eventually arrives and the two Indrans confess that their planet is doomed to be destroyed. Kimleigh asserts that she could have helped them had they told the truth sooner but they were afraid that the two aliens would leave as soon as they discovered they were in danger. Unfortunately it is now too late and a monstrous ship suddenly appears in the sky and Clear decides it's time to leave.
This Little Corner of the Galaxy
They're sitting on the side of a broad hillock that overlooks Ovai Minor on the left side and Krata Valley on the right. Somewhere on the other side of the hill would be Ovai Major. Above them is a canopy, propped up by tall sticks, to keep off the constant drizzle of the Apojiva Valleys. The red sun peaks between the cloud cover, small and meek like it isn't sure it ought to be trying to heat the planet up or not. Quite unlike the proud and vibrant Sol of Clear's own planetary system.
Clear: "You'd miss your slaves."
Kimleigh: "Subjects. Not slaves!"
Kimleigh: "They're paid."
Clear: "Do they have a choice? Get paid and be a subject or..."
Kimleigh: "You and politics. A match made in Tartarus."
Clear: "I actually hate politics but since I have to spend all this time with you, Kimleigh, I may as well annoy you about it."
She leans back and closes her eyes. They've been on the planet for two weeks now, waiting for Kara Pashna to gather up the last of the supplies he wants to take offworld. Genetic samples, not just of people but also the plants and animals of Indra. He also has a cargo hold filled with some of the technology and fashions of the Indran people. She admires the goal, trying to set up shop on another world. But she finds it strange that a single person would go in the stead of an entire colony ship. She supposes cloning and breeding your own population would probably be even easier.
However she'd also seen that the ship isn't very big and looks like it was cobbled together quickly. She would have offered the services of her own ship but they couldn't stand around trying to transport up a whole colony's worth of people from the planet to the ship. Besides, she would rather spend the two weeks relaxing than ferrying people around.
Swati Ackbar: "This one is happy these ones appreciate this..."
The Indran woman says with a melancholy smile. That smile. She always wears it when Clear or Kimleigh have something positive to say about the world or the culture or the people. The woman is a politician of sorts, though Clear hadn't learnt what exactly she did. The whole introduction had been done in the space of ten minutes wherein Clear and Kimleigh had to meet dozens of nobles of Apojiva Valleys and then sit through a long speech made by Nari, the Duke of Somewhere-Else-Valley.
Clear had found the Rebel Alliance world Dacato to be a confusing, sprawling mess of tiers, districts and ranked politicians - and that was an entire planet. This is just one region and it's already vying with Dacato for complexity. Ackbar, however, is a pleasant woman that mostly seems to spend time with her son, Teala. The boy always appears to be enjoying the freedom of life - running, climbing, singing. Just so annoyingly upbeat that Clear longed to smash his face with a rock to bring cold, hard reality raining down on his parade.
The meetings with the nobles were always very brief and mostly they spoke of preparing the vessel for departure. When Clear had asked what they're calling their ship, none of them seemed to understand the concept. Nari, eventually, proposed simply calling it The Indra, which Clear decided made a lot of sense since it was basically hoping to replicate the planet elsewhere. She hopes they at least call their new world Indra II otherwise birth certificates are going to get very complicated.
The reason for the rebooted world remains a mystery to Clear. She brought it up with Pashna once but he changed the subject. And she tried to broach it with Nari but he merely gave a politicians answer that spirals round in circles until she forgot what she'd even asked him. In the end she stopped asking and decided to just spend her time relaxing. If she has to wait around she might as well enjoy it.
Kimleigh was able to send a communiqué through Hoopa to Kalor Varkesh and they relayed a message back. Clear was impressed with the range of the communication equipment in the Æon ship until Kimleigh reveals she's able to boost the signal with her electronics power. It's like she's able to make software and hardware do things they were never intended to do. Reconfigures a whole machine to her will, just using her mind. On Indra it's not been overly useful, however. The only opportunity Kimleigh has on Indra has been with a small viewing box. The viewing box is meant to just show pictures and scenes from across the planet, but Kimleigh was able to alter it so that it would pick up network broadcasts from Earth.
As a result the two young women spent two days cooped up in their hotel apartment watching the TLC channel. From a panellist show called "All About Sex" where several people discuss human sexuality Clear wonders how such a complex social sex system has allowed their species to survive as long as they have. "Sister Wives" where a man has several wives and a million kids, none of which makes much sense to Clear except that they must rake in the cash if they're all working! "My Big Fat Fabulous Life" has a woman who is impossibly fat by salmitton standards since they're all naturally lithe - owing to their metabolism and likelihood to be performing feats of agility that would make an expert human gymnast red with envy. In a show called "My Strange Addiction" she saw a human couple with an addiction to Coffee enemas... which speaks volumes of the human condition. She watched something called "Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo" wherein a horrible child appears to be in a family that Clear could only consider abusive to what nature intended. And finally a show called "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" had Clear wondering how such a brain-damaged species managed to destroy her planet.
At least the show "Cake Boss" had cakes in it.
Yet she sat and watched it all, only dragged away by Indrans for a meeting and finally free of the brain-rot. She wonders how she had become so engrossed in such crap, like there's some kind of spell over the idiotic material that seemed to hold her attention. Even Kimleigh had been completely engaged to the point of cheering for the "Miss America Pageant".
Ackbar: "Good viewing for final time, yes?"
Kimleigh: "Yes I think so! Clear's right though. Not for the subjects!"
She glares spitefully at Clear who just snorts with an amused smirk of triumph.
Kimleigh: "But all the comforts of life in the High Empire. Still. This simple life is a welcome respite."
Ackbar: "Simple? My! The planet that is yours must be special in nature!"
Kimleigh: "Well, for example, you say planet when it should be planets. So yes. Complicated."
Ackbar: "Difficult it is to imagining this concept."
Kimleigh: "Maybe you can see it one day! I've been thinking of having an envoy come along in a few weeks and have some negotiations with your people."
Clear: "While also having big guns aimed at them, I'd imagine."
Kimleigh glowers at Clear again. She misses the the look of sadness on Swati's face but Clear doesn't. Clear sits up.
Clear: "What's the matter, Swati? You're always miserable when we talk about your planet. I was joking about the guns. Sort of. There's a bright, albeit complicated, future in store for Indra!"
Ackbar: "This one wish this one could be--"
Kara Pashna: "Here is you! Forgetting the meeting that is ours?"
They turn to see Kara Pashna coming up from the direction of Ovai Major. Swati lifts up her wrist and checks the rosy-pink watch she has there.
Ackbar: "This one is apologetic, Kara! This one should watching be this timing. Us group just watching were..."
Kara Pashna: "Acceptable is this. Really. But problematic timing is--"
He stalls and Clear sees something worried in his face.
Swati's voice rises from a meek mumble to a sudden and desperate shout;
Ackbar: "But Kara, aliens of assistance could be!? Kimleigh stating the individual originates in empire of vastness! Saving us may be within the chances!"
Clear thumps her hands onto her hips. She knew something was going on. Kimleigh just raises and eyebrow in query.
Kara Pashna: "How, Swati? How could anyone... anything saving a planet be?"
Clear: "What? The planet? What's wrong with it?"
Pashna sighs and looks down at the grass they're standing on. He looks tired, as though all the fight has been drained out of him long, long ago.
Kara Pashna: "This one apologising Captain Clear, High Legatifex--"
Kimleigh had already commended Pashna on his ability to quickly grasp proper modes of respect towards titles and manners, proposing that he ought to be the world's ambassador when it enters the galactic stage.
Kara Pashna: "Hating admission of grave lies unto your persons. Planet this is this one is in dangerous situation and the persons of us requiring the aid of the people that are you..."
Clear: "Why? What kind of danger? War?"
Humans. Is it humans?, she wonders.
Kara Pashna: "Truth of this is, this one unable to confirm. This one knows not exact detail. All this one knowing is destruction of world. Seen in visions it has--"
Kimleigh: "There are a lot of soothsayers in the universe that have been dead wrong, Kara Pashna."
Kara Pashna: "This one understanding difficulties of non-Indran individuals to appreciate this but litiks have seen this. Many. Hundreds of these people's litiks, those seeing the visions, having now the exact same image. Truth to you many of litik believing that you, Captain, were the causing of the blight..."
Clear: "M-Me!? Why!?"
Kara Pashna: "In vision always be there a red-skin woman on eve of destruction. But in another vision they seeing you--"
He looks to Kimleigh.
Kara Pashna: "High Legatifex, as well as the Captain, together. A red-and-blue saviour in the small ship you beings be possessing. Visions not exact documents for the reading of. Often confusing images they are. Only truth known for certain in all is the planet no longer will be. Along with all of people. Apologising is this one. Not unveiling this unto these ones because the people feared you beings would leave immediately. No being wanting to stay on planet doomed any moment is."
Clear: "That is a good point..."
Clear feels her stomach fluttering with panic. Sure she's afraid for the Indrans but she cannot deny - she is afraid for herself more.
Kimleigh, however, looks more determined and aggressive than ever.
Kimleigh: "You stupid, stupid, stupid man!"
Pashna looks like she'd just beaten him with a nine-tailed whip.
Kimleigh: "I am princess of the High Empire. I can absolutely save your planet. I know it. Is the planet geologically unstable? We can get scientists on that. Is the planet due for collision? We have the firepower to blast any asteroid. Instead you go and keep secrets from me and have us all sitting here in danger when I could have had people on this days ago."
She looks very cross and yet her child-like features just make her look like a little girl trying to chastise her father for smoking.
Kimleigh: "At worst I could have had transport ships in here, saving everyone!"
Ackbar: "This-This one knew it!"
Pashna looks distraught. His eyes well up and he looks at Kimleigh - begging, wishing, praying. His mouth works clumsily.
Kara Pashna: "This one... This one am... so apologising..."
Kimleigh is taken aback by the sadness and pleading in his voice. Clear figures she's not taken seriously very often. Kimleigh goes from angry-face to complete empathetic-face in an instant. Her own eyes expand into huge orbs of sorrow and she shuffles forward to hug the kara. He doesn't move as her arms wrap around him.
Kimleigh: "It's okay. Sorry I shouted at you."
Pashna sniffs it in and Clear can see the rigidness of fighting back the upset enter his posture.
Kara Pashna: "This one is apologising that... This one did not tell you being sooner... This one am apologising Swati.... apologising to all of Indra."
He looks straight at Swati and Clear believes he is memorising her face as perfectly as he can.
Kara Pashna: "This one... This one knowing it is too late..."
Kimleigh: "No! No it isn't! I can have a whole fleet here in an instant. My own ship isn't that far away... well it is but it will be here in an hour at least! I can save y--!"
There is a horrific crack that rips through the skies of the planet. It's so loud that all of them, save Pashna, clamp their hands over their ears and wince to try and hold it out. It sounds like the gates of Hell, or Tartarus, had just opened up above them. Kara Pashna just stares down in horror while Clear, Kimleigh and Swati look up at the monstrous machine that looms above them.
Clear: "We.... we go now..."