Back on the alien vessel
I was surprised the alien captain was not getting impatient with the way this matter was dragging on.
If this was back on earth and we were dealing with an alien incursion, there would be a lot of shooting by short-tempered small-minded fools who only knew one way of dealing with seemingly insurmountable problems.
In that regard, these aliens were better than us, and I had to wonder if they were dealing with this problem in a manner we would understand, and if that was the case, what would have happened if my ship had not made a timely, or untimely, arrival.
It also begged the question of how either of us could move forward from this point, because the only logical outcome was to hand back the criminals.
I wonder what Nancy was thinking, the fate of diplomatic relations, if they were possible after this, in her hands.
There was also a question of what the Russian captain had been promised in return for trying to save them. It would have to be significant for him to put his vessel and its crew on the line.
I looked at the Russian Captain, not looking very comfortable, on the end of a weapon he clearly knew could kill him, or worse.
“What did they promise you?”
His mouth moved, an indication to me he was going to say they didn’t, which to me meant that it was not something he wanted to talk about in front of the Aliens.
The alien answered for him. “Technology, perhaps our secret weapons, the criminals are all people who have worked with or worked on some of our most secret projects.”
Which begged the question, what did they do wrong that they were labelled criminals.
Perhaps the alien could read my mind because he added, “and who had used that technology illegally, or tried to sell it to our enemies.”
So, a new piece of information; the alien has enemies. It raised another question, what if we had met their enemies first?
“Sir.” Number one had come back online, hopefully from the location if the so-called criminals.
“What the situation?”
“I’ve spoken to a chap named Midava, who seems to be the spokesperson for a group of seven I can see. Firstly, they are different from the captain of the vessel you are currently on. He tells me, and several of his colleagues are from a different world, as are others, who were recruited to work on advanced technology. It seems their home planets are far more advanced than the captains.”
“OK. Just hold it there for a minute.” I looked over at the Captain. His expression hadn’t changed, but he had been listening intently.
“Would you like to explain your planets existence among what it seems to me, a galaxy of other civilisations.”
“We are just part of a much larger galaxy, yes, though I would question our level of development in their eyes “
“So, these so-called criminals are from different worlds?”
“We do not discriminate, as some others do.”
There was no acrimony or anger in his tone. He was relating information, and answers to my questions, from their perspective. I realized that I could not judge these people in the same terms as I would one of my own people, and that was going to be the hardest problem we were going to have in dealing big with new people
Quite simply, they were not us.
And, equally, we had no right to judge them according to our rules.
“Sir.” Number one again.
“Midava tells me they are being held against their will simply because they want to go home. Apparently, their hosts do not want their homelands to know their level of technology improvement. I think you can understand the implication.”
I could. “Thank you, number one.”
“It’s all a matter of perspective,” the alien captain said. “Other worlds, like other countries on your planet, group together in what you call blocs. They are more technologically advanced, so they deigned to ignore us, and it has taken a long time for us to become as advanced. Those people came to us and said they wanted to help us, without the knowledge of their leaders, because it was unjust. We willingly accepted it and for years the association was mutually beneficial, they got the recognition they would not get on their homeworlds, and we got the technology. This ship is one of the benefits, along with its weapons. When they wanted to go home, their work, they said, was done, and they wanted to see their families, the high council decided against it, for security reasons, and when they tried to escape, they were detained. You would call it political expediency.”
“But in an enlightened and just society such as yours, don’t you think that is wrong to deny them. I suspect as you might give a bit more thought to the matter, that telling their homeworlds what they’d done would most like condemn them to death, so I’m sure telling anyone anything about their time with you was the last thing on their minds. It’s food for thought. However, since is not my objective to interfere in your sovereign right to dispense justice in accordance with your laws, I will have the prisoners returned to you.”
“You can’t do that,” the Russian captain said.
“I can, and you will. There are far larger implications in play and if necessary, I will enforce our laws upon you, which will, if the Captain desires, hand you over as well. I suggest, to avoid trouble you give the necessary orders to your crew forthwith.”
To the alien captain, “I expected as a courtesy that you, myself, and the leader of these so-called criminals sit down and have a discussion about their options.”
“I will need to deal with the high council.”
“Then do so now, before we make any arrangements. And release my fellow captain. Using force will not give what you want, and sets a bad precedent if you seek to have any sort of relationship with us.”
A nod from the alien captain to his subordinate, and she let him go, and it was hard to tell if she was upset or not.
Both then disappeared, leaving us alone on an empty bridge, if that was what it was.
“You do realize what will happen to them when he gets them back,” the Russian captain said.
“That’s not our problem. If our roles were reversed, would you want them to weigh in on our affairs?”
“That’s not the point “
“That is the point. Were not here to tell others what to do but to hopefully forge new relations with people who have the means to help us find a place in a new galaxy. We’re here to learn and share if that’s what it takes.”
“And if they are the devil instead?”
“I’m sure you will be very well placed to discern whether they are or not, based on your own actions.”
He didn’t seem annoyed at the inference, which to me showed a marked disregard for anyone but themselves, underlying the people who had put him aboard his ship and what their purpose in getting out into the galaxy first was.
The cold war back on earth had just moved out in the galaxy, and if not now, they would eventually be a threat, not only to ourselves but anyone they came across in their travels.
“You’re making a mistake, once they get what they want they will dispense with us.”
It was a possibility, but the problem for the alien people was, we were here, now, and if he did destroy us, they had to know we knew about them and more of our ships would arrive in time, and they would be hostile, especially if we didn’t report back. And if they had been observing life on earth they’d know we would seek retribution
Perhaps that was the reason why he didn’t destroy us in the first instance.
“How long do you think they will be?” Nancy had found her voice, finally.
I’d almost forgotten she was there.
“How long do you think it would take to talk to a high council? If it’s anything like back home, it could take forever. Any ideas on how, if you get the chance, you’re going to approach setting up diplomatic relations?”
“None whatsoever, sir.”
“Good, a clean slate. Start thinking about it.”
She looked around. “You’d think there’d be a chair to at least sit down.”
A second later three chairs appeared.
“You only had to ask!”
© Charles Heath 2021-2022