They had their own rooms, their bedding was comfortable, their clothes were acceptable and food was edible albeit strange looking. They definitely were treated fairly well all things considered, but they didn’t feel at home anymore.
Even raynor who expected something like this had wave after wave of unease wash over him at every gear turning or computer noise or electronic whizzing. He was afraid, more than he expected to be, and Cassandra was still unable to deal with the situation but at least coherent by this point. Everything felt like a lie to them, Cassandra in denial and Raynor believing it too good to be true. They didn’t want to accept that not only was their home planet gone for good along with everyone they ever knew and potentially loved, but it’s been gone for twelve millennia.
There was a commons area, and a fairly advanced piece of technology in it that Keldin named a synthesizer. “It can’t create anything you want, but it can materialize basic products,” he explained. For a time, Raynor and Keldin were in the commons while Cassandra stayed alone in her room. Unlike Raynor, Cassandra lost a lot of important people in her life, and it seemed recovering from the shock wasn’t going to be easy.
“In all honesty, you seem to be taking things fairly well even after I’ve explained your situation. Your species fascinates me,” Keldin explained, pressing a few buttons to activate the machine. “Place your finger her, and simply think of an object,” he said. “I hope you don’t mind if I study you for a while. I’m a researcher myself, and of course I’ll try and respect your privacy.”
The machine whirred and crackled, a small beam shot out from it and landed on a platform meant to hold whatever is created. The object was foreign to Keldin of course, but quite familiar to Raynor since it’s a replica of something his father gave him as a child. “Sure, I don’t really care at this point. How about you and I play a game while we talk?” Raynor unusually casually stated holding up a newly created chess set.
Keldin listened as Raynor explained the rules of the game and each piece’s importance, his personal favorite being the Knight. “They’re not as versatile as rooks or bishops, but they don’t have to wait to come out when the pawns block their path, and are the only piece able to jump right into the board.”
“Hmm, I see. We have a children’s game very similar on our home station, I enjoyed it myself as well. I’d be glad to challenge you to a game of “chess” as you call it.” He exclaimed.
Raynor knew the outcome, but didn’t care. He knew someone as intelligent as Keldin could destroy him in a heartbeat in this game, and the creature did. At least Raynor held his ground, making the game last for over one hundred turns. As Raynor carefully placed each piece back in it’s proper place on the back of the collapsing chess set, he asked Keldin “You said home station right? Not home planet. Do you not have a planet of your own to go to as well?”
“Alas, no. It was inevitable ours would be destroyed, our sun turned into a red giant and eventually consumed our world.”
“Wow…I’m so sorry.”
“I appreciate your concern but it is of no worry to us. There were no casualties during the evacuation, and we still have various stations throughout this galaxy we live on,” he reassured. “That is the goal of my mission, terraforming a new planet.”
“Um…sorry but what is terraforming.”
"Terraforming? Oh, that must be the word you imagine when I send you my thoughts. My apologies, I’ll explain.
Terraforming is an extremely complicated science of creating a solar system with a sun in a particular stage of development and a planet in its own development as well. We do not have the technology to create a star, but we can create a planet, just once though as long as the materials are present."
“Huh, impressive. But if you’re the head of that, shouldn’t you be looking for a place to terraform instead of chatting it up with me?”
“Actually, the process has already begun. The ship is currently removing the radiation from your planet, as well as bringing in two nearby planets to be crushed and condensed into a new planet suitable for us.”
“Wow! That’s awesome, you can do that?”
“Indeed, it’s like the synthesizer over there that you used to create this chess set, just on a much more massive scale. While we can’t just bring one into existence like magic, we can use the remains of your planet, as well as the red desert planet and the smaller gaseous planet in your solar system to synthesize one capable of sustaining an oxygen based ecology.”
“Mars and Venus then, that’s frigging sweet,” he laughed.
“I assume those were the names of the planets I mentioned, that you humans came up with?”
“Yeah, we had 9 planets in our solar system from what we could tell…well, 9 until some jackass decided to say that Pluto was too small to be a planet.”
“Interesting, so you were advanced enough to look through space telescopically. That clues me in a little more to the functions of your society, as well as why this isn’t so far fetched a concept to you.”
“Speaking of which, how many other alien species are you aware of?”
“Aside from the human species we learned of today, just two. The Etherians, my own race, and the Djinn.”
“The Djinn? I’ve heard that word from somewhere before,” Raynor paused to think. “Oh yeah…it was in a literature class I took. We were studying mythology and stuff at the time and they came up.”
“That’s fairly possible all things considered. The Djinn are nomads and specters. They developed technology to dim light from their body, to literally become invisible.”
“Why in the world would they want to go invisible?”
“Before I gained this ship, the Etherians were once at war with the Djinn. Not all Etherians are as…hospitable as I can be, if you can understand.”
“no…no, I get ya. Believe me we have…well had a lot of people like that on Earth.”
"At any rate, the war was put on a cease fire at the development of terraformation technology. I was given ten years in our time, roughly twelve or thirteen in yours to find a suitable location for a new homeworld, so we didn’t have to take theirs from them.
The war was deemed necessary as we couldn’t seem to coexist."
“Problems with how they work I take it?”
"No not exactly, we couldn’t breath their air. They breath helium and exert hydrogen. We’ve had a way to force a planet to produce oxygen instead of some other element for some time now, but we’ve only just gained the ability to force a planet to produce oxygen with -no- atmosphere.
The science is far too complex and tedious to explain at the moment, but once I figured it out I was able to persuade the Etherian high council to stop the war and let me search for a location suitable enough for a new planet.
And that’s why I’m out here all alone today."
“I see, it must be lonely. I guess that’s why you brought us on board, not just for study, but for company too,” a female voice said from behind. Cassandra had calmed down finally, and was prepared to talk to this creature she was looking at.
“Yes…an artificially intelligent computer can only keep you ‘company’ as you put it for so long.”
“So what happens after the planet is formed? What happens to us?”
“Well, considering you are a new sentient species, I have no doubt the Etherian high council will have no trouble offering you suitable accommodations on our new world. Until then though…I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with this malfunctioning ship of mine…”
An alarm began to sound, a high pitched buzzing noise. “I’m afraid I have to go, it seems I’m in for a long overdue conversation with the high council. I’d like to ask that you don’t explore this ship, as some areas can be potentially hazardous to you. This room and your quarters are still fine though.”
Keldin left rather abruptly, frustrated before he even got to where he was going, cursing the names of a few Etherians.
Cassandra sat down near Raynor, “So what now?”
Raynor just looked at her with a puzzling look, “What do you mean?”
“I mean, what’s going to happen to us now that…that Earth is gone.”
“Well, we move on I guess. Either we die here soon or we get to live out the rest of our lives on the new planet he’s creating. I’m fine with either I guess.”
“Jeez, you’re pretty upbeat aren’t you,” she quipped.
“Listen, I was ready to off myself before I found out about this cryogenics thingy. I figured it was worth a shot to at least become a lab rat or something, and that maybe I’d get lucky and wake up long after everyone I ever knew had since died. So, it’s like I said earlier, I was hoping for something like this. I might have well just won the lottery.”
“Fine, I guess, if that’s the way you wanna look at it, all cynical like and depressed. I didn’t want that to happen, I had plans to marry James that coming summer, it was going to be perfect and then this happened.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize anyone with a future would voluntarily go into one of these things.”
“Well…I only did it because I really wanted to believe it would work, it just worked a little too well. Right now, like you, I’d rather be dead than be without him…”
“Well you’ve got me at least…” Raynor said, trying to comfort her. It was for naught though.
“Hmph! Like I’d ever have sex with you, pervert!” She shouted.
“Wait…what? I never said anything like that, the hell are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb! I know what you were getting at, you’re just like everyone else who stares at me,” she said, scoffing at him and walking away with her head held high.
“What’s her problem?” He said, extremely confused at this point. He wandered back to his room after getting a decent meal from the synthesizer. He was glad he could use it to make food similar to earth food, as opposed to Etherian. “Condensed nutrients and soy just don’t have the same impact as a good burger and some fries do,” he thought.
He opened his door, there was a message on the monitor near the door. “I scanned your thoughts and thought you might like to wear something you might feel more comfortable in, and so I had the synthesizer in your room make a few items for you. I’ve no idea why you would want to wear them but you have your reasons for wanting to wear regular clothing afterall, even though they aren’t necessary.”
He half dreaded and half grinned at what Keldin may have put in his room. He sort of knew what it would be, and at first was angry with Keldin, but quickly dismissed any frustration. “He’s an alien and unaware of how humans think…not like he could judge me any worse than dad did afterall.”
He opened the door, and on his bed sat a blue and red pacifier, and one of the thickest diapers he’s ever seen in his size.