I slammed on my reverse thrusters and cursed the hooligan who had just cut me off. Even in the air they still had to have marked roads and laws. I continued on my way to the Great House of Spacefaring Heroes. My name and picture was now in there with the best of 'em. Neil Armstrong, the crew of Apollo 13, and many more space heroes. I was indicted into it about fifty years ago when I put the galaxy at peace. Well, not the whole galaxy, but the inhabitants of the Alpha Sector in which Earth lies. Even going near 200 klicks it was still going to take me about two hours to get to the Great House. Two hours of nothing but flying a three man "car" with only one person. With the vehicle on auto-pilot to my destination, two hours was way too much time for me to think about why this ceremony I was going to was taking place.
In the year 2013 the United States' government released the truth about Area 51. In the 1950's an alien spacecraft was recovered from the desert of Roswell, New Mexico. Since that day, the United States' greatest scientific minds have been trying to duplicate the alien technology. Everything from the navigation system to the gravity generator to the propulsion systems. In 2013 the news that the alien technology had been successfully duplicated was let known.
At first I didn't believe it, but I was only ten years old at the time. My mom and dad had told me stories of the alleged Roswell incident, after all that's where we lived. I didn't believe them either. As I aged, the United States created the USSF, United States Space Force. On my eighteenth birthday, I joined the USSF. I went through the simulators , class time, and actually flying in the alien inspired spacecrafts. And wouldn't it figure that my first routine mission would not be turn out to be routine.
We had come so far in the twelve years that the world had known the truth. So far we had found three habital planets other than Earth. These planets were named Econation 1, 2, and 3. The quadrilateral between our sun, the farthest point of Econation 1's orbit, the farthest point of Econation 2's orbit, and the farthest point of Econation 3's orbit was known as the Alpha Sector. It spanned trillions of cubed light-years. So far we had colonized Econation 1 completely, and started Econation 2's colonization.
There is a very good reason Econation 3 remained uncolonized by Homo Sapiens. The Septanas. The Septanas are a reptilian, humanoid species that inhabit Econation 3. We are at war, by definition of the word, but I just consider it a collection of hit-and-run raids. We send supplies to the Econations, they raid us when we come out of the wormhole, then they split through another wormhole.
We can't negotiate with the Septanas. They speak in hisses and clicks; it's like trying to talk to dolphins. We have not yet been able to translate their alien language. They hit us, they run. It's been that way for years.
I changed that.
I was the best student of my graduating class at the Academy. The USSF officials said that I was the best they'd seen in the history of military training. Everyone, before getting accepted into the academy, had to take a physical and a psychic test. I passed the physical exam with few difficulties, nothing out of the ordinary. It was the psychic exam I took that threw everyone for a loop. The exam was the standard Rhine's Extrasensory Perception exam. I scored a perfect score. They couldn't stop me! I whizzed through the Academy.
My first mission was to send supplies to Econation 2. I was twenty years of age. I thought this assignment was a little too easy, given what I was capable of, but I knew that I had to start somewhere. I figures that I'd launch from Space Station Pi, enter the wormhole a few hours later, come out the other side, fly for a few hours to Econation 2, drop off the supplies, then come home; a simple days work. Or so I thought. This is how it really happened.
It was a dark, cold midday. In space it was anyway. On Earth it was bright and sunny.
I was in the freighter Anaconda. It resembled the plane from a nineteen eighty's movie Batman. Lagging behind it, connected by an energy link, was the cargo. I didn't know what was in it, that was classified. The fear that the Septanas might somehow find out about it and raiding it kept it classified. It would take two hours and twenty-three minutes to reach the jump-point at the wormhole, according to the Anaconda's navigational computer.
I flipped a switch and after a moment the light above it flashed on. The ship was now set on auto-pilot. All that I had to do now was lay back and enjoy the low hum of the sub-light thrusters.
For about one half of an hour, the front viewscreen was exactly the same as one might see if they looked up to the sky at midnight with a cloudless sky and no artificial lights for several kilometers. To the untrained eye, which included me, the swirl of the wormhole could not me seen until it was twice the size of the largest star in view.
It was amazing to see for the first time, the swirl-like formation that the gravity well emitted.
It took nearly two more hours before the wormhole was all that I could see through the screen. In the exact center of the viewscreen appeared a pinhole of black. Another fifteen minutes later and the starless blackness filled the screen. My computer started to countdown to the time to jump.
Color just appeared out of nowhere. The blackness turned into a swirling pastel rainbow of colors. After a while, watching it became boring and I needed something to eat. I knew that the trip would take nearly four hours. I went to the back of the cockpit and grabbed some rations. After eating them, I washed it down with some water and fell asleep in the captain's chair.
I awoke to the sound of the five minute alarm. Even though time had passed for me, the trip through the wormhole to everyone outside of it was instantaneous. I had five minutes until the ship exited the end of the hole.
Those few minutes went by quite rapidly. The whole time I was doing checks on the systems. If anything was wrong, I'd have to turn around, in the wormhole, and go back and forth until the problem was fixed.
A black pinpoint appeared in the blossoming rainbow that was the wormhole. Soon it grew and grew, just like I'd entered it, until it filled the screen. Just as quick as I'd entered it, I exited the wormhole.
The sky around me was just like it was in Terran skies; stars, a looming planet twice the size of our moon, and a sun in the distance.
There was one exception: Septanas.
In an instant there was white balls of energy flying around me, ion projectiles. I entered evasive maneuvers. I weaved, twisted, and looped. This was a hard task, with cargo in a two kilometer long carrier dragging behind me. I evaded the ion missile for at least an hour; I knew the effort was futile, I only had four manually aimed missiles. All four of them missed their mark.
There was a bright flash as I was finally hit. Lightning started crossing the panels and monitors as the ion particles shot every fuse and wire. I tried to jump to the floor to get away from the electricity, but as I went to get up I instinctively pushed off from the controls and got electrocuted. The only thing I remember was pain going up my arm and to my skull.
I slipped into the blackness known as unconsciousness.
When I awoke, I didn't open my eyes immediately. My arms were numb. From what I could tell, I was sitting in the captain's chair with my hands tied behind it and my ankles tied together under it.
I heard tinkering in the background. The Septanas were raiding my cargo! It figures that my first mission would turn out this way.
((This becomes quite boring after so many times.))My eyes flew open, and I wriggled and squirmed until I was facing the back of the cockpit. One of the Septanas were looking in the supply cabin for anyting of value.
((Humans, so stupid,)) he thought after seeing me turn toward him. Shaking his head as he thought it. He went back to his rummaging.
I could hear his thoughts! It was overwhelming! I knew that I had scored well on the Rhine's, but this was too much. I did the only logical thing I could think of: communicate. But what do say on a first encounter?
((What are doing to my cargo?)) I concentrated onsending the thought toward him. It must of worked because he jumped back and tripped over his own tail onto a pile of spare parts.
(( What the ...?)) he thought. He clicked twice and hissed once with a snap of his mouth closing the statement. He was probably asking if I was the one that had said that. I went on that thought and tried to make conversation without provoking him to shoot me with the blaster hanging on the belt at his hip.
((Yes, that was me,)) I thought to him nodding my head to get the universal meaning across. ((I can't understand what you say, but I can understand your thoughts.))
He caught on.((You're different from the other humans aren't you?))
I just nodded my head. I guess he started to like me because he asked, quite politely, if he could bring his comrads in to me to them. I nodded again.
He hissed louder than I thought possible. His companions came running in almost immediately. They clicked and hissed for a few minutes until the Septana who I'd been talking to pointed at me. They turned their heads ever so slowly. I knew they didn't believe him.
((Hey,)) I thought. They both jumped back in surprise.
We talked for a few hours after they got adjusted to "thinking" to a Terran. In the end I was untied and was much more knowledgeful of the Septanas' lives. The only reason they raid Terrans is because their planet has few materials good for building spacefaring ships. Since we couldn't understand them and couldn't understand us, there was no room for peaceful trades.
I was escorted to the Septana homeworld and to their main military base. There I was allowed to set up communications with Earth. I arranged a meeting for a couple of Septana ambassadors to go to Earth and negotiate peace. I would be the translator of course.
By the closing of the negotiations, I was to be the one to learn how to translate and teach others how to comprehend the Septana language. There would be no more raids, and the Septanas were allowed to colonize Econation 2 along with Terrans as long as we could visit their homeworld and study it.
For the next forty years, I taught Septana culture and language at the University of Space Station Nine. After those forty years, I decided to retire. Ten years later I recieved a data disk with a hologram telling me that I'd be admitted into the Great House of Spacefaring Heroes.
I finally arrived at the Great House. Parking the craft was no trouble; I was the first one there. Once I was in there, I found my seat and started going over my speech for the hundreth time today.
Within half an hour, the House was full of people, some I knew, most I didn't. I greeted, shaked hands, gave autographs, and had a few holophotos taken. Then it was time. I was so nervous, why though, I didn't know; I knew the speech by heart.
Some guy handed me a handkercheif to wipe off the sweat pouring down my face. I put it down and walked up to the podium. My speech was perfect. The responce was not.
After I finished everyone on the floor just sat there and stared at me. That didn't help my nervousness. All of a sudden everyone stood up and started yelling and clapping. It was so sudden I almost fainted. After the ceremony was complete, I went home and got a well needed sleep.