Lt. Eviss was challenged just past the rim worlds of the next system. This system not only had a space faring civilization, they were pre-light speed. But they were right on the edge. They had a manned ship there almost immediately. The computers began to try to talk to each other. Mathematical codes were exchanged, shapes, elements, etc. Then they indicated that the ships should all land on a nearby planet.
This required that the personal debark from their ships in space suits, since it was one of the rim worlds and the cold would have killed the crews even if the poisonous atmosphere did not. So the crews of the ships did not see each other at first. A quick look as the suited figures said that the being from the local system was the largest and strongest of the beings there. it indicated a door which opened to receive the aliens. Lt. Eviss and his people went in through the same door. The door closed and the area began to pressurize and warm up.
When the pressure on his suit read normal for a Laokan, Eviss began to remove his helmet. The alien being followed suit. He looked surprised to see Eviss. Like all spacers meeting alien beings, Eviss was used to the express -ion. Try as you might, sometimes it was impossible to get across details of physical appearance. You simply had to see the people. The alien appeared to have adjusted to Eviss’s appearance, then the pilot of the other ship removed her helmet. Her name was Lt. Triess. She was a typical Laokan female. The alien hissed and spit and put his helmet back on. He cycled the inner door, entered the building, and virtually slammed the door behind him. He locked Eviss and his sergeant and Triess and her sergeant where they were. Through a small window Eviss could see him meet with other aliens in the next room. He seemed to be talking to them and pointed with exaggerated gestures to the Laokans. This went on for a few minutes. Then one of the aliens decided to test to see if something said was true. He opened the door just a crack. Then he slammed it shut again and all the aliens were talking very animatedly.
The Laokans were left alone in their space suits in that small cramped area for some time. Finally a different alien, in what looked very much like a hazmat suit came and opened the door and helped them to come into the main part of the station. They began the work with the shapes and symbols again. They gave the members of the crews their physicals, but only the males, not the females.
Then they did something very unusual. They put a display on the monitors. It was streaming video of the Laokans putting their space suits back on, going out to their ships, and leaving the planet. Lt. Eviss shook his head in a gesture they had already told the aliens meant no or disagreement. The aliens then showed him a video of them leaving the planet and the Laokans staying on the planet. In the video a ship left their planet, came to the station and destroyed it and their ships. The Laokans were also shown dead. The aliens were showing that they did not want contact. Eviss was very surprised.
He took something of a chance. He tried to tell them that he would go back to his ship, call the Lizbet and ask his superiors what to do. The aliens seemed to understand that. They let him get back into his space suit and return to the airlock. When he got there the others were all there, suited up and ready to go. All of this took place with virtually no audio communication.
The Laokans returned to their ships. Lt. Eviss called the Lizbet. “I.S.S.S. Igasuu to I.S.S.S. Lizbet, I.S.S.S. Igasuu to I.S.S.S. Lizbet.” He had to repeat the calls a couple of times to get a response. I.S.S.S. Lizbet to I.S.S.S. Igasuu, come in please.” Eviss answered the human male communications officer. “Lizbet, we have a problem here. I know that we are to make contact with thesse people, but I believe that they have refussed uss. I think they want uss to go home. Pleasse report to General Arden and assk for instruction. What are we to do next?”
“Will advise General Arden and ask his advisement,” the communications officer responded.
A few minutes later Lt. Gen. McCoy was on the communications. “Lt. Eviss,” he said after the initial call. “You and your wing personal are to return immediately to the Lizbet. Report to briefing room 2 when you get here.” That was the one next to his office as opposed to 1, which was across the corridor right next to General Arden’s office.
“Right,” said Eviss. “I.S.S.S. Igasuu preparing for launch, ssir. Igassuu out.”
He then called the other ship. “I.S.S.S. Shadzee, I.S.S.S.Shadzee.”
“I.S.S.S.Shadzee,” Lt. Triess responded, “I heard sir, preparing for launch now.” “Thank-you.” Eviss responded. The ships launched literally both together. The Lizbet send them her trajectory. They adjusted their’s to match. The ships would be picked up in space in about three days time.
On their way out of the system the smaller ships began to pick up some trans -missions from the planet. They did have video, and audio, and the dictionary was incomplete. The people appeared to be felinoid. They also did have at least one space station. So the ships, one with a human crew and the other with a Laokan crew, went there. They managed to dock with the station and went aboard it. The people, who seemed to call themselves the Leoates, were surprised but not hostile at their first sight of humans. The mood changed completely when they got their first sight of Lt. Viress, the Laokan ship commander. They attempted to attack, even though the quarters were rather limited. Tiress and
Gen. Arden and Gen. McCoy wanted to get to the bottom of what may have been an incident as quickly as possible. They began by speaking to people aboard the ship who knew the Laokans involved the best. The first person that they spoke to was Lt. Eviss’s mate, Lt. Cress. “Ssir,” she said, hissing like all Laokans, “I cannot believe that my friend Lt. Viress did anything egregious.”
“We don’t know wether he did or did not,” Gen McCoy said. “We simply want to know if you think he is capable of it.”
“Under the circumstances that you describe, no,” she said. “I know that he is not perfect, but he is usually very mild mannered. He enjoyss very much meeting new people. That was why he was so happy to get thiss assignment.”
“Thank-you, Lt. Cress,” Gen Arden said. “You may go now.” She did so and reported back to her duty station. She did not have any choice.
“She doesn’t have any experience with first contact, does she?” Gen. McCoy asked. “No,” Gen Arden answered. “She is bridge crew, 2nd shift now. She is actually one of our navigators.”
“Well, until they get back we had better talk to some of the others,” McCoy said. “Maybe the hangar crew will be more helpful.” He checked his roster of hangar crew. Then he called into the comm., “Sergeant Wilkerson report to briefing room 2. Sergeant Wilkerson, report to briefing room 2.” On the hangar deck, the grizzled Sergeant Wilkerson heard them. He started toward the briefing room.
While the generals were waiting Yeoman Johnson brought them sandwiches. “You know, there is just one thing I would like to ask you sirs,” she said. “What is that Sally,” Gen Arden asked her. “Has anyone ever thought about what we should do if these people don’t want to be contacted?”
“Yes,” Gen. Arden responded, “and there is standard operating procedure for that.” After that they examined the records of the officers involved. Lt. Eviss was experienced at meeting new species. He was one of the best at learning new languages. He had even earned decorations in that area.
“Lt. Eviss is a good officer,” General Arden said. “And he knows standard operating procedures as well as anyone. I cannot believe that he made a mistake.”
“It is not my opinion that he did,” Sergeant Wilkerson said. “All I know is what I saw. The Leoates seemed to like me, but when they saw Lt. Triess, they took an instant dislike to her.”
“Why were you working with Lt. Eviss,” Lt Gen. McCoy asked.
“Both squadrons where short one ship,” she said. “In order to get the contact done so that the Lizbet could send the information back to Head Quarters or so that it could move on if there was nothing there we were assigned to work together.”
“What do their own transmissions say about the contacts,” McCoy wanted to know. Sally Johnson answered that. “They’re somewhat peculiar they have had stories showing a lizard like people that look somewhat like the Laokans. According to the dictionary we have been able to make of their language, these people shown are a warlike species. They seem to have fought a war against them.”
“That could explain it,” Lt. Gen. McCoy said. “I suggest that we determine against allowing Laokans to contact these people until we have more information.” General Arden got on the ships comm. “To all wing commanders,” he said, “Contact with the Leoates limited to humans only until we can discover the reason for the bad reaction to the sight of Laokans.”
That was not too difficult. The Laokans were simply put to contacting other possible intelligent civilizations for the time being. Cate Carstairs and some of the other human contact teams went back to the world of the Leoates. They were a felinoid people. They had a thin soft hair all over their bodies. It went from a dark, almost black golden, all the way to white. The first of their people that they managed to make contact with was a scientist by the name of Miago. Cate tried to get him to speak to her a little more so the translation function on her combadges would translate. Finally she got “Why?” She tried to gesture things to him. That got more words. Finally he pointed up and asked “Where?” “Space.” Cate said.
The next day a doctor arrived. He had brought flash cards about what he wanted to do. Cate and ‘Blossom’ complied with his wishes. They also got him to talk about what was on the flash cards so they got more information for the dictionary. They both had complete physicals. When the Lizbet got close enough they sent the information they had to her computers. The dictionary took more and more shape.
When the Lizbet assumed a companion orbit to the space station, they began to broadcast greetings to the space station. More communication was possible then and they sent the space station a video of Laokans. They then asked who were these people. They received information. These people had space flight capabilities. They had begun to explore their section of space. They had met people who looked like that and they had a war with those people. They had recently concluded a peace treaty but they were not sure it would hold. There were many among their people who had been damaged by the war and still much hostility among their people. “We may be able to help you,” General Arden said. “And if you remain a peaceable people we may be able to offer you a great reward.”
“We shall have to wait for our leaders to discuss it,” the leader of the space station sent back. “Then we shall see if it is alright for you to bring your people in. P[ease wait where you are until you hear from us again.”
Eventually Cate and the doctor got to exchanging names. “I am Dr. Prrvao,” he was finally able to say to her and she was able to pronounce it. “I am Lt. Cate Carstairs.” He had an easier time getting out her first name then her last name. He kind of coughed it out.
It was two days before the space station got back to the Lizbet. “Our president of the Leoate Nations would speak with your commanding general,” the message said. “Is that person available to speak to us.” “I am here,” General Arden said. “You will speak with President Mivaro,” the voice said. A female voice came on, “General Arden.” She got the name out be growling it slightly. “President Mivaro,” the General got out in a reasonable imitation of the way it was given to him. “First,” President Mivaro said. “It appears that I must ask forgiveness for the way one of our space station personal handled one of your people. I have a proper historian here named Miago. He will explain more about the reason why.” Miago launched into a lengthy explanation why the incident happened. Not all of it got translated by the computer. “I would like to know more about what your enemies looked like. I believe that we will find many differences between them and the Laokans.” The space station and the Lizbet began to exchange pictures of the Leoates enemy and of Laokans. There were very many differences, including the ability to change the colors of their facial scales, which the Laokans had and that other enemy did not.
“Now,” the general asked finally, “may I allow my people to come to the space station? At the same time I would like to invite your people to visit our mother ship.”
“We would like that,” President Mivaro responded. “But first may we suggest a meeting on our space station.” “That is acceptable to us. Please inform your people. When you are ready we will be able to shuttle over in an hour.”
On the planet, President Mivaro had a press conference. “We have made con -tact with two types of beings from another world,” she said. “They are not our enemies despite the stories that they were. I shall leave as soon as the space shuttle is prepar -ed and will make peaceful contact with their leader. I believe that this will inaugurate a whole new era of space exploration for us. I believe that this will inaugurate a new era for all areas of our lives. It is my belief that we will be able to travel to the stars and colonize other worlds with our people.” The people she was speaking to began to react to that. Some were understandable afraid, others were happy and still others were excited.
A hurried session of the United Leoate States was called together. But they were unable to decide anything before the shuttle was ready. When it was ready President Mivaro got on it immediately. By the time the politicians came to a decision, President Mivaro was already a day away. The shuttle could not be ordered back now.
The next day they called both the space station and the Lizbet. “We shall arrive tomorrow at about this time,” President Mivaro told General Arden. “Please make arrangements to be on the space station at that time.
They got to the space station on time. There was a lot of news coverage about the President meeting the General. As a female she appeared, at first, to be bald. It was the males that had all the hair on their heads. She was also very pleased to meet a Laokan. “The biggest difference I note between you and the enemy we fought a war against a generation ago is your ability to change the colors of your face scales,” President Mivaro said. “May I see that demonstrated?” “Certainly,” Cress said. She promptly went through a range of feelings, from the blue of happy, to the neutral green, to the light gray of worried, to the dark gray of unhappiness. “That is amazing,” the President said, “and something our enemies never did.” “Well this is the color,” Cress said, “that I hope I am wearing the most among your people.” Her face turned a bright blue. After that the contact went pretty much as other peaceful contacts had gone. General Arden did explain in one news conference, “If you can maintain your treaty with the people you recently fought against and abstain from war with any of the other intelligent peoples around you then we would be happy to have you a part of our Inter -galactic Stellar Systems.” “If we can do that,” the President continued, “our sciences will experience a great leap forward in all areas. Even now astronomers are adding new stars and new worlds based on what these people have told us. I believe that advances in medicine are possible. Doctors, imagine healing people that you had to watch die before. Advances in computer science are possible. And of course advances in space ship design and construction. The list is virtually endless.”
Soon after that human and Laokans were invited to visit the planet that these people came from and the General invited the President to visit the Lizbet. It was all that had become pretty standard.