A discussion with the Princess
I had the Princess put in one of the VIP guests’ rooms, quarters that were about four times the size of a junior officer’s room.
It was self-sufficient.
She had asked for an assistant which by her tone told me she really wanted a servant, a request I turned down because in our culture we did not believe in having servants. We had long since removed subservience, though pockets of it still existed, labelled as something more palatable.
Instead, I assigned one of the medical staff as an assistant with strict instructions that firstly she was not there to take orders, secondly, she didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to and thirdly to observe, and by any means possible within reason, find out more about their physiology and thought processes.
I called ahead of the visit to ensure it was convenient. We had spoken briefly, but I had told her I would need to speak more comprehensively at a later time. Like the other alien, she had a considerable comprehension of us and our language.
It just reinforced how insignificant we were in the universe, contrary to a lot of thinking back home who believed we were the centre of that same universe.
It was going to be a jolt to a lot of people back yo to realise we were not a superior race of beings.
Nurse Jolene Richardson was just leaving when I arrived at the door.
“Everything going alright,” I asked.
“As well as it can. It’s still quite difficult to wrap my head around the fact there are other people, other than us, though I have to say I never believed we were the only people in the universe.”
“I’m not sure what I believed, but that’s what we’re out here for. You are one of the privileged few. So far. Done for now?”
“Time for a break. She is very polite, but I get the impression she is lost. If I was to make a guess, going home might be more stressful due to how long she had been away. She wouldn’t tell me, but I suspect there might be some difficulties.”
Jolene continued on her way and I stepped into the room and the door closed behind me.
The princess was on the far side of the room, sitting comfortably on a settee, now dressed in a borrowed uniform, reading from a computer tablet. Ancient technology to them perhaps.
“Captain.” I waited until she looked up.
“I’d rather you called me Elizabeth. It’s not my real name, but it is an earth representation of it. Please sit.” She waved at a chair opposite her, and I sat. “You have questions?”
“I have an interest in where we are going, and what I might find there. So far, we’ve met with hostility, but that, I fear, was due to some of my fellow humans doing the wrong thing, and, to a certain extent, our own lack of knowledge of local customs and protocols. I hope to avoid that when we get to your home world. As with the person we dealt with on the other world, you seem to know a little about us.”
“We know a lot about every world within our sphere of space travel simply because we have to. Not all species are peaceful. Your people, for instance, have spent centuries going to war with each other, and even now, still cannot put a combined mission together for a common cause. That does not speak highly of your people.”
“We’ve come a long way in the last 50 years, but, as you say, not quite far enough. This mission’s parameters are to present a united front of many different people from our world. The other ship belongs to a more avaricious group whose ideals are not the same as ours. Unfortunately, I suspect these same traits are in your own people too.”
“We have, to use a word of yours, factions too. We are not immune to internal struggles for leadership, and division of wealth, no matter how enlightened we become.”
And that might mean they have a little human in them. In fact, I had always suspected that the human genome would be present in other galaxies like this, even if the people looked vastly different to us.
In talking to the Astro physicists and anthropologists some of whom we had on board, they quite literally couldn’t predict what we might find, but the notion some of the people would be like us had been discussed.
So had the subject of robotics and the fact we might find very lifelike robots or androids. In any case, it seemed we were predicting that the lifeforms would be far more advanced than us, and at no time have we considered they would be more primitive.
“In that, I guess we are not unlike. But one question I have, are you like the others, a consciousness in a manufactured body?”
“I am not. But we have developed a means of preserving our outer shells. For instance, I am roughly 280 of your earth years old, though, in my own world, I am very young. Our elders are roughly 1,000 of your earth years, and some of whom have transferred their consciousness mind to a more sustainable body.”
“How did you end up on the planet we rescued you from?”
“Hundreds of your years ago we were at war, not only with M but half a dozen others. I was on a communications and transit outpost with a dozen other families when an enemy ship came, killed all the adult people and kidnapped me and twenty other children, taking us back to their world to be sold. I have been gone a long time and I’m unsure if anyone related to me will still be very alive.”
“You see a princess.”
“A long time ago. I went home once and it was a place I didn’t recognise. My world had Bern conquered several times over time, and very few of my people were still alive then. I suspect there are fewer now.”
“Then this will hardly be much of a homecoming for you.”
“But I will be home, such as it is. I might have to beg your indulgence for a short time until I get settled. You might also take the opportunity to talk to other new people.”
Well, I wasn’t thinking of dumping her and running, but I had to wonder if the current leadership might be equally hostile to us as the others.
“I hope so. I can see you’re tired. We’ll pick this up later.”
“As you wish.”
© Charles Heath 2021-2022