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The Ambassador

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“This is Mart Martizon for the Saturnian News Network broadcasting live from Newlon City. As I gaze out of the one hundred and fifth floor of the STN building, the tallest manmade structure on the planet, I can’t help but wonder how far we have come in the last three thousand years. The view is spectacular from a Sectal high building that dominates the very vibrant heart of a great city. But passage of time is not the only measurement of distance we can reckon, distance can be in millions of light years from the mother nest of our kind. In short, as we progress upwards in organization and power our technology also gives us a new and determined lift to the regions of the stars.

With that I bring you Heva Sidlemon.”

“This is Heva Sidlemon broadcasting live from the northern galactic world of Deloria, over seventy thousand lights from home. Here, amongst the pressing crowds of Loading Platform 54 I stand in awe gazing out the Plus-X Glass at a colossal sight. Her trim and beam speak of days as she ploughed the oceans of Deloria as a floating palace of luxury and elegance. Raised in sections too a low orbit, refitted for space flight, the beautiful liner Ethannec baths in the brilliance of the boarding lights, the final word of deep space flight. Built in 2010 by Blue Horizon Transit too accommodate thriving tourist industry, then after a series of tropical storms, retired in 2032, but purchased by Rising Sun of Settar III, and resurrected for spatial travel as a testament for galactic exploration. The Ethannec embodies all the elegance and glory of the great steam liners of old. A virtual floating palace refitted for the rigors of space flight to faraway Rominia, in the Zeaun Cluster (NGC-668) two million and three hundred and twenty thousand light years as the photon flies away.”

“As I wind my way passed crowds of first class passengers pushing and shoving their way to the boarding tubes the delightful sounds of a Delorian Wind band adds to the atmosphere of this grand lady of the stars. My Event Makers have captured an important fellow, Deric Galidian of Rising Sun, a word for SNN Sir?”

“It would take a hundred hours and a thousand words to describe this momentous occasion. But, let me flatly say I am proud of my engineers who made this dream come true. She’s a beauty, decked out and painted, reformed and recast to meet the vast wilderness of long sustained space flight. Her top speed will match any Craft Carrier of the military and exceed it. Rated at BF 12 Plus, we should make the run to Zeaun in less than four weeks at top speed.”

“That’s been a question of mine Citizen Galidian. Why Zeaun? Why not a globular cluster like Fonton in Byfilbia or the Corsight (NGC-2419) up in Byspica, why such a distant place, Sir?”

“Why? You ask why, Man? Why did Zaterite build this Imperium? Why have we conquered the stars? Why have we gone farther and further since the Great Krill? Don’t bother me with foolish questions, but ask him!”

“Senator Diopulous of Btite Regent in the Third Forsex, care to answer my question?”

“Questions and answers are my specialty.”

“I repeat, why faraway Zeaun Cluster, why not some place closer.”

“The farther the better the news and more votes, but asking is your job and answering is mine. The Emperor and Senitium just passed the Provincial Capital Act, which will create four sub-capitals in each Forsex. We have found governing such a vast area of space in an efficient manner needs a center of control and administration. The Zeaun Cluster and the main world of Rominia have been chosen for this stupendous job in the First Forsex.”

“This is tremendous news Sir, care to elaborate?”

“The Senitium and People of Amazia will be issuing a public statement shortly, but I can tell you, off the record, the Chancellor Blarton will be inaugurating the new Capital and her officials. Rising Sun offered this maiden voyage, not only as a publicity item but as a historic event.”

“You mean the Imperial Chancellor, the Emperor’s own right arm, is aboard the Ethannec?’

“None other, and I’m part of that staff. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s much work to do. Uh…if you want more on the Ethannec, see that fellow over there.”

“A word for SNN, Sir?”

“Kay Dardion, Ship’s Master Engineer, at your service.”

“How were you people able to do this?”

“Easy of course. With the use of anti-gravity load lifters, the new Galesphere technology, we cut her up in sections and re-assembled her in low orbit. The hard part was rebuilding her for space flight without compromising her luxury accommodations. Rising Sun wants to make the five week journey as…how shall I say, oceanic as possible. The two funnels are replaced by sun domes for bathing and water sports, the old steam engines are replaced by two plasmatomic reactors, one for ship’s power the other for the engines. We sealed and doubled sealed so there’s no leakage. Even the promenade decks are covered in Plus-X for maximum safety from cosmic rays and background radiation. As for communications, the Ethannec has the most powerful Cosmic Wave Transmitter yet devised. Any ship within a hundred thousand light years will hear us.”

“This maybe a strange question, but what about life boats…in space?”

“You’re still thinking the old fashion way, Sir. What could possibly happen? We have compartments, based upon the old water tight sections that can handle any decrease in atmospheric pressure, there are ample life stations, but just to make your fears rest at ease the Ethannec is carrying sixty life crafts that can handle twenty five passengers and one crew man.”

“How many aboard, Sir?”

“The Ethannec’s compliment is six hundred crew and two thousand three hundred passengers, total compliment is just under three thousand for her maiden voyage, we intend to increase that later on.”

“After you shake out the bugs.”

“There are no such things on my ship Sir, good day!”

“And what a ship it is! I saw the first class list of passengers and each one is a luminary by themselves. The most famous beside the Chancellor is Sara Klaron the biggest videofonic star of Vastuum Studios. Industrialist Sydell Mortaron of Shiperian Industries, the Empharms of Empharm Chemicals, Sel Voblin chief financial officer from the largest banking concern on Trigola III, the famous stellar venture capitalist Deirn Colin who financed this endeavor, Laren Landier of the Cosmic Church of Xippulaus, Makalion Maka the famous fashion designer from Alistar Crom and Segal Yand, chief executar of the food chain Future Fish. Traveling with the Chancellor’s party is retired Commander Davon Koddon of the Imperial Space Fleet from Byloria, Special Service Major General Allasons of security, acting Secretary Wallon of Planetary Navies and a Veonian Warlord as a guest…I can’t pronounce this name…”

“Heva, can you hear me at this distance?”

“Yes Mart, loud and clear, our linkup is excellent.”

“What are the dimensions of the Ethannec?”

“Her length is twenty five thousand four hundred and forty Illos (2,120 ft) stem to stern, six thousand Illos (500 ft) from side to side as width, and eleven thousand six hundred and sixty four Illos (972 ft) from keel to the peak of the sun dome.”

“That’s the largest spatial line ever commissioned, who is the captain?”

“Rising Sun has brought her old master out of retirement, Cfarl Leedermon…”

“Does he have the experience to pilot a liner in space?”

“According to the press release he has been brought up to par, but Staff Captain Simson is a veteran of some of the largest cargo ships owned by Risin Sun, he’ll nursemaid him if anything serious happens. They wanted a seasoned sea captain to add a certain touch of the salty brine on this maiden voyage.”

“Are you going on this trip, Heva, to cover the event?”

“No Mart, but I will be aboard the Silver Dudlien, a Laland transport that will be following the same route of the Ethannec, about two days behind on her way to Rominia. I’ve contracted two reporters who are making the trip. Avil Marow from the ‘Eye on the Capital’ news program…”

“Yes, good choice, he’s independent and a fine reporter.”

“Then there’s our old friend Jsoph Krizen from the Saturnica News Service, both will be sending me daily reports which I’ll forward on to you by cosmic compressed data streaming.”

“Krizen, I know this man, he can be difficult but is the best in the industry. He covered numerous wars from the frontlines, and took several burns from ray fire and continued with his narrative.”

“Sounds like a real trooper, Mart. I’m going aboard for a quickie, try and get an interview with Sara Klaron before they launch, this is Heva Sidlemon for SNN signing off.”

“A quickie can be construed as something else the censors might protest about. Thank you Heva Sidlemon.”

“Our next news item was hinted by Senator Diopulous and deals with the reason why the Chancellor is making this journey. Reporting from the Capitol is Sable Generion.”

“With the increase of Amazian power for the better or worse, after the abdication of the tyrant Zaterite, the new administration is consumed in a backlog of unfinished business administering the vast new holdings. This is Sable Generion reporting on a new piece of legislation that will alter the Tyocratic Constitution of the Imperium. This is Emperor Dwitinton’s third year in power and despite a very brilliant administration he and his ministers are finding it difficult to administer an organized government over the vast territories of the Forsexs. Even the military is finding it difficult to patrol and maintain an efficient system.”

“To change the Tyocratic Document by adding a new level of government control requires a total majority vote from the five councils of the entire branches of government. So far the Pariment and Secontent of the Puobative branch has voted in favor, the Supreme Secratent and the Minorium of the Freditive branch has consented and now the Senitium of the Norgative branch must consent in the majority to amend the Constitution. So important this is the Emperor himself will do the honors of addressing the three hundred Senators of the Senitium. I’ve been told on very rare occasions this is done. With normal business the Emperor sends the Chancellor or a top aide to do the presentation of new legislation. Remember, any laws passed by the Senitium affect the entire Imperium.”

“I’ve been told the burden of work is so massive that serious delays in approving documents, business charters, colonization requests, civil rights legislation under the Great Code, in stifling. I quote the Emperor, ‘no one could ever imagine the complexity we have created with our conquests, even with modern paperless computer systems, the bureaucracy is almost driven to a halt’. He goes on to say during his thirty minute speech, ‘to solve this dilemma I propose this change, the Provincial Capital Act, by Senator Diopulous and his staff, creating four centers of administrative control in each Forsex’.”

This new legislation brings into existence a new level of government. Four worlds have been chosen for their low economic status in each Forsex. In the First Forsex, is the Zeaun Cluster, the world Rominia, of Xean Regent. In the Second Forsex, the Regent of Carbodyia and the planet Carbindion, the Third Forsex in the Regent of Caliberite, the world of Calfrum, and in the Forth Forsex, Regent of Baturnia, planet Baturinian. Each new level will have a Capitalor (Consol) who will govern the Forsex with an elected council called the Capidium numbering twenty representatives. All matters deemed not on the upper levels will be handled by this new system. Each Capitalor will answer to the Emperor if something very Imperial must be decided.”

“This new system will not command the military, but be subservient during a time of war or invasion.”

“Sable, have you seen the Emperor actually address the Senitium?”

“No, M.M., all visitors and the press were not allowed into the gallery.”

“Did they pass the new Act?”

“Yes, M.M., I heard it was an overwhelming vote, no division of the house or any dissension along party lines.”

“I think that shows the success of the current administration, wouldn’t you say?”

“Yes and no, M.M., what I mean, too much control can be very bad, but too little control can be worse. You know my views, Dwitinton is a far better Emperor than Zaterite but he is aloof, seems out of the public eye, whereas Zaterite was everywhere abusing his power. With that, this is Sable Generion ending my report.”

“Thank you Sable. There’s more to be said about this but the other part of our report by Kisco Ersean is postponed. We just received word that a terrible tragedy has befallen the Ethannec on her maiden voyage to Rominia. You may question the time displacement but the launching from Deloria was under three weeks ago. My direct commentary with Heva Sidlemon was also recorded at that time. We now go to Sidlemon, live, aboard the ‘Silver Dudlien’ approaching the last reported position of the Ethannec.”

“Only two weeks ago I reported a joyous event in stellar travel, now the horrible opposite has occurred. The Saturnian Merchant Ship Ethannec has met terrible disaster at the One Million Mark in the Regent of Byflight, at a point of equal distance between our home galaxy and the Andromeda. The Ethannec, as reported, is stopped in deep space, drifting. She has launched all of her sixty life ships, cramming thirty passengers into a vessel designed for twenty five, but it’s still not enough. With one thousand eight hundred saved the remainder one thousand one hundred will suffer a terrible death. At over a million light years from Amazia, the Ethannec was struck by a type of meteor shrouded in cosmic particles that made it almost invisible until it was too late. Penetrating the cargo hold it unleashed a pressurized toxic chemical and several thousand containers of concentrated water. This has expanded throughout the ship like a deadly plague forcing the remainder of passengers to the upper parts of the ship.”

“Captain Aghorn of the Silver Dulien has pushed his ship beyond the safety limits of his reactor to reach the stricken liner in time, also the Cardinian Nova, another cargo vessel has turned aside and will be here shortly to assist. I have a last report from Avil Marow who is on the bridge of the Ethannec.”

“Avil Marow, S.M.S Ethannec at the One Million Mark, reporting. A symbol of Imperial power, the sign of opulent days of luxury and security, the Chancellor’s message of prosperity and peace, our hopes and feeble aspirations, are now a dissolving poison at our feet. The greatest achievement in spatial technology is laid low by a chunk of rock no bigger than a Zo Car, to shatter dreams and ambition as frail as glass. Captain Leedermon has succumbed to the deadly toxic liquid rising up from below. They tried to open exterior hatches to direct the pressure outward but it froze instantly making a seal along the hull. All efforts have been tried to neutralize the rising death but such a capacity of volume knows no way but up. We who are left know only the eternal image of our ambitions will triumph, will continue to exceed our limitations and press onward to future glory. This is my last request to a sane Universe. Make this grand old lady remain as a memory in the minds of all school children for all time, reminding us of our frailties in design and anticipation.”

“That was Avil Marow, now for the second reporter, Jsoph Krizen.”

“Yeah yeah I know where its at…before I join your Kamikaze Club I’ve got one last requiem to make. This is Krizen from the Saturnica gaping into the maw of poisonous death. She was built to last a century, with unparalleled luxury for space flight. A bold new world designed to make everyone fit the shoes of an aristocrat of the stars. A liner painted by a master artist’s brush to pave the way for the conquest of the Imperium. I doubt any of the past Emperors of Amazia, or those waiting in the wings, encountered such a vessel as this. But, as the clock of destiny is about to go off line, I relate the final words of a dying moment in time. I am saddened and sickened by the faces around, all holding in their palm the ultimate release, a posterity too another life. In the old jargon of her oceanic past, the Ethannec has foundered, her call telemetry stricken from the annals of history. This horrible disaster only deflates our drives and ambitions, our confidence, reducing the caring and suffering to a few foolish words. But, let us not apply the sorrow to one ship, but to all our kind, leaving those who have died as a memory, one to be used as revelation for a higher purpose. I insist with my fellow paper eater, Marow, but have the hulk remain as a monument, a colossus to the ambition and folly of our species. That’s it Sweets, be satisfied with that, this is Krizen lying down to die…someone give me a bottle…”

“We can now see the great stricken liner hanging like a white pencil against the black background of space. All those who are left have committed suicide than be eaten by the toxic mush. Who could have fathomed that the liner’s own cargo would be her undoing. Captain Anghorn is coordinating rescue operations with the Cardinian Nova, which just arrive in receiving the life ships.”

“Did the Chancellor and his party get off safely, Heva?”

“I’m sure he did Mart, even though I’ve heard not a word, but he must be aboard one of the sixty life ships. I can’t but feel the terror and sorrow of those who succumbed, those who were left behind. In the old maritime days it was women and children first but today, such laws are at the whim of the shipping companies. I think Merchant Command should enact such safety rules, I think there’ll be more endeavors like the Ethannec in the very near future. Despite this horrible disaster, Rising Sun has proven such a capital venture can be done. I’m sure we haven seen the last of her kind.”

“This definitely is a history stopper. Heva, did you ever get that interview with the actress Sara Klaron?”

“Uh…not really, Marts. Before the Ethannec left I got as far as her stateroom door and a security guard from the ship told me she must not be disturbed, she’s reading the new script for her next videofon, ‘Wake of the Stellar Queen’. I’m told she does a thorough reading before accepting the part from Vastuum Studios.”

“Do we have a list of those who perished and those who have been saved?”

“Not yet Mart, as the life ships are received both Captains will be counting ID’s as they board. As for now that’s about all I can say. This is Heva Sidlemon signing off aboard the Silver Dudlein rescue ship at the One Million Mark in deep space.”

“Thank you Heva and continue in the good work dealing with this terrible tragedy. I’ve ordered Kisco Ersean our other correspondent to Rising Sun corporate offices and to Merchant Command to follow through on this. His job will be to gather more data from both agencies and make an in-depth report for our next broadcast. We all sympathize with those who lost family and friends during this horrible disaster, one which we hope, the proceeding investigations will correct some of the wrongs that happened. This is Mart Martizon for SNN, and that is it, for 2/1/2035.”