Chapter 9:

Encounter (Part 1)

Arc Incidents

August 6th, 2840 AD: 8:30 AM CST, Captain’s Room

Days after leaving Solar System AXZ for the next asteroid cluster, which is still days outward, Charlotte and her crew still spent late nights going over the overwhelming data from the adventure. Charlotte’s plan enabled the Noah 3 to accomplish the in person part of the mission quickly, but this was something different. This sort of data processing is done by computer, but a human eye was still needed to ensure accuracy. Last night was Charlotte’s turn.

8:30 in the morning and Charlotte was still asleep for some reason. She is two hours late and no electronics are working in her room. Her alarm never went off, her uniform was never picked up from the ground during the night either. Floating over Charlotte’s bed was a barely humanoid figure made out of energy.

“Captain Medina, wake up.” A mysterious voice appeared in Medina’s brain.

“Huh? Five minutes”. Medina turned over in bed still asleep..

“I wish to speak with you, Captain. Please get up” Another hint of the strange being’s entered her head.

“Ok, ok. I am getting up.” Charlotte slowly got out of bed with her eyes still closed.

Slowly opening her eyes, she saw the mysterious energy being just floating there. A roughly humanoid thing made out of pure gold with an infinite shine. After rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, she still saw it.

That humanoid energy being was in mid air there with no expression on its face at all because it barely had a face. Only eyes.

“Ok, what the hell?” Charlotte immediately cowered toward the wall her bed was on. “What or who the hell are you?”

“I am called End.” The voice continues to go straight to Charlotte Medina’s head.

“End? What kind of name is that?” A shriek came from Medina’s voice.

“It just is who I am. I am an End of sorts.”

“Oh really? In what way?”

“A conversation for later. Do you wish to become more decent for this conversation? I believe that is something that humans like to do. ”

Charlotte Medina looked at herself still in her military grade undergarments while still pressing herself against the wall. Immediately seeing her state of dress, she used the blanket to cover herself in embarrassment.

“Ye...yes. Meeting an alien force in my umm...this...isn’t how I thought first contact would go.” Charlotte was sweating nervously.

“I have to tell you over my years of encountering aliens of different kinds, this is the first time I’ve seen this happen.” The figure still had no expression, but said the obvious.

“I...I...I...see. Ummm. If this is a special case, why did you let me sleep in?”

“I have been watching you for three days and thought you needed some extra sleep.”

“Great, now an alien feels sorry for me.” Charlotte thought to herself.

“Ummm, could you give me 15 minutes? I want to take a quick shower too.” She jumped off the bed, pushed the clothes on the ground into the usual hamper, grabbed some clothes, and went into the bathroom that seemed to still be working.

The figure known as the end was still floating there watching this.

“Captain to bridge, you read me? Captain to bridge.” Charlotte Medina tried calling for help through electronic means but to no avail.

“Captain Medina, I will not release you until we have our conversation.”

With nothing to do but whatever the End said, Medina started up the water for her quick shower. At least the water worked.

August 6th, 2840 AD: 8:45 AM CST, Noah 3 Bridge

“Susan to Captain’s Room. Charlotte, are you there? Get your lazy butt over here.” Susan tried her best to send a message for the 15th time that morning. She sat in front of the captain’s chair while doing it.

Susan tried her best to hide how terrified she was right now in front of her crew, but it was slowly leaking out on her face as more and more time passed.

“Anything get through?” Susan looked at her communication expert Lt. Markus Mira.

“Nothing, ma’am. It’s like something is blocking the signal from getting there.” Mira sighed. “I don’t like this.”

“I don’t like this either.” Susan fell onto the captain’s chair with a loud noise. She immediately hid her face in her hands while trying not to scream.

A profound silence hit the bridge from how unusual the situation was. Even the captain, as late as she ran, wouldn’t be this late. Yet, the crew had to keep going with maintaining the ship.

“Can we send a security team to check on our Captain?” Security Officer Julie Okita suggested?

“Yes, please do.” Susan ordered. “We have to make sure nothing happened to our captain during the night.”

“On it ma’am.” Okita took a breath. “Security teams 1 and 2, hurry to the captain’s quarters now.”

“At once, Ma’am.” A focus and serious voice was heard from the talking security officer.

A few minutes passed. The bridge was silent while waiting for the results at search.

“Ma’am, we can’t even get to her room. There is an energy bubble around the door and all the walls.”

“Have you tried firing on it” Okita looked just as shocked as Susan.

“I doubt that would be effective at all, ma’am. The energy level is off the charts and our weapons don’t rate as hate.”

“Understood. Team 1, keep an eye out for the captain’s door. Team 2, return to stand by.”

“On it, ma’am.” Team 1’s leader shouted.

Team 2 immediately responded afterwards with “As ordered ma’am.”

“Commander, I have been checking the energy data in the Captain’s quarters.” Jinto Barr said. “Commander, there is currently an energy surge in the captain’s room. Also, all her communications have been hacked into.”

“There really isn’t anything normal going on here.” Susan stated. “Could this be due to what we picked up recently?”

“Oh, the coffin?”

Susan wasn’t sure who said that. “Yes, exactly. There is something funny about all of this going on.”

“I will check the security cameras, ma’am.” Okita started staring at her screen.

“Wait, you said hacked, Barr? Is it possible to reverse hack?”

“It is possible ma’am. We just can’t hack everything off at one time. I’ve never seen someone hack us so thoroughly like this. At this level, our computer can only take one part at a time while keeping us on schedule.”

“Try to hack out the outgoing signal first. We have to know what is going on.” Susan ordered.

“Yes ma’am, I will try my best.” Bar cracked his knuckles and started typing on his screen.

August 6th, 2840 AD: 9:00 AM CST, Captain’s Room

As Charlotte left the bathroom, she heard “you humans are fascinating” in her head.

“Huh, what makes you say that?” Charlotte Medina looked at his figure called End in confusion.

“Oh, some of your security team just stopped by. They never tried to fight their weapons to get through my barrier or anything, but there is a team still watching outside now.”

“Yeah, that sounds like them.” Charlotte thought a bit more hopefully. Her crew doe know a bit about my current situation after all.

“Also, your crew are starting to reverse hack me, that’s incredible.” End’s voice sounded excited. “I feel like I learn so much about your culture just from this small interaction alone.”

“I, ummm. What do you mean by that?”

“1) You guys are obviously not inherently violent or at least are not as violent now.
2) You humans are problem solvers that try to think about every step before making a more decisive decision.
3) You have powerful computer systems because you are gaining some ground on me.
4) You are all hard workers”

“I never really thought about all of that, but I suppose that’s all true.” Charlotte thought to herself.

“Sometimes, it takes an opinion from an outside source to figure this all out. Oh, are you guys from an AI controlled planet?” End seemed curious. “I haven’t dug through your archives yet.”

“Ye...yes. The Earth Grand Council has been around for hundreds of years.” Charlotte found a spot to sit in her living area. “Why are you testing us?”

“Well, I have to. Not all species that travel the far reaches of space are worthy of it.” End replied coldly.

“So you wait around to be picked up by chance then? That’s not really the most effective way to do it?” Charlotte mocked lightly as possible knowing what was in front of her.

“I wish I could get something to eat, I’m starving.” Charlotte thought to herself.

“Maybe not, but the interaction from spaceship to spaceship is important too. Besides, eventually we do get to see all of you guys.”

“So, are there more beings like you out there?” Charlotte’s already small bit of tension grew after that soft remark.

“Of course there is. I can tell you exactly where each of us is at any time through telepathy.”

Charlotte couldn’t read the tone of End’s voice, which wasn't unusual by menacing in this instance. 

“I have a feeling that other species wanted that sort of capability for their own purposes.” Charlotte reasoned out. “I bet that would be a point of contention.”

“Is that attractive to you, Captain Charlotte Medina?” End was emotionless in Charlotte’s head once again.

“Not as attractive as it would be for those who aren’t as technologically advanced. We have some capability like it and could just advance it in the future.” Charlotte answered after thinking of a stronger response.

“Good response, you passed.”

Charlotte took a deep and more relaxed sigh. “What would have happened if I answered incorrectly?”

“Oh, I would have destroyed this ship.” 

Jon Spencer