And The Announcement.
Boy, did I catch some hell for this!
Not the part about Enhanced Humans. Most everyone was onboard with that, realizing it was an artifact of a prior century’s bigotry and prejudice.
No, it was the other part. Frankly, I thought Cass was going to tie me up in quarters and not in the good way. Or is that TMI?
Adam really needs your help – he’s got an entry in the October Cover Contest, and he’s looking for votes. You can vote every round (they reset on Friday), and it doesn’t cost you anything to register on the site. It’s easy to do from the computer, not so much from the phone just so you’re aware. He knows you don’t have to do this, so he’s sweetened the pot. Everyone who votes gets their name into the list of redshirts to be included in upcoming Cassidverse stories, AND you also have a chance to win a $100 Gift Card from Restaurant.com! So click one button to vote, and the other to enter the rafflecopter!
Kendra considered the layout of the bridge from where she stood. Satisfied, she said, “Susana, if you want to set up towards that end, I’m going to make my announcements here, with the bridge screen behind me.”
The reported nodded her acknowledgement and gathered her videographer.
“Admiral, why do we need them here?” said Alley quietly, as the crew set up. “We have our own systems which can do video just fine.”
“I could say we have an exclusive agreement with OAR for this sort of publicity.”
“I could say as good as our systems are, Deone is better with their camera.”
“Or I could say that I want to throw them this bone so that when we need them in our corner they’re going to owe us one.”
“That’s what I thought. Just wanted to make sure we were on the same page.”
“That’s always my intention.”
“Yup. Is that why the only one who knows what’s in your speech is Cass?”
“Maybe? Whoops, gotta run, looks like Susana has some questions. I promised her an interview,” she said as she slipped away from Alley.
“Sorry, Captain. Duty calls.”
The interview took just moments, but it was enough to get Alley enmeshed in her duties and too busy to keep pestering her. Kendra knew she was taking a chance with this announcement, but she had to do something to shake up the status quo. It wasn’t like her not to, after all.
As Kendra remembered from her days as an actress, time slipped away fast before the cameras started recording. It seemed like only seconds and she was standing before the screen, the Earth a brilliant blue-and-white ball in the upper corner and Susana counting down to air.
“Five, four, three,” and she fell silent, flashing two fingers, then one, then pointing at Kendra.
“People of Earth, your attention please. This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council.”
She paused a heartbeat then flashed her most brilliant smile, eyes only for Cass.
“I’ll give a tour of Enterprise to the first person who can ID that quote. Send your guesses up, and it’s going to be scored by a computer so no complaining if you don’t win!”
Ignoring the look of pain on Alley’s face – this was one of the many surprises in the speech she probably wasn’t going to be happy about – Kendra continued.
“Seriously, now. It’s been far too long since we were here, talking to all of you; nearly a year and a half. It’s been a busy time for us, as I’m sure you know, and I thought you would like to know more about what we’ve been doing.”
“The Terran Federation has been growing. We now have more than a half million people either signed up or working with us towards our goals of equality, knowledge, and peaceful coexistence with all of humanity. We are thrilled that so many have seen fit to join with us in pursuit of these goals, and we look forward to welcoming many more of you! There is always, I mean always, more for us to do, and there are never enough of us to do it all.”
“Two days ago this ship returned from the 40 Eridani system. Circling one of the stars of that system are two planets, twin planets. We have named these planets Freyja and Freyr, after twins from the old Norse gods. None of this is particularly important, but what is is both planets support life, life which seems to be similar to Earth. These are planets that humans may be able to live on, the first we’ve discovered. Earth may no longer need to be the only basket in which humanity keeps its eggs.”
“To keep our mission momentum going, we will be commissioning two new ships in the next three months to preserve and protect our vision; these are the Defender and Defiant. I also have the honor to announce to you the names of the ships which will be added to our exploration fleet. The first, a ship similar to the Endeavor, will be named the TFS Pioneer. Much as the Endeavour has done in her first year of service, the Pioneer is intended to push the boundaries of our reach, and our knowledge, farther than any have before. I anticipate her completion before this year is out.
“The second, a ship much like this one, will be the TFS Constitution. This name is in honor of the guiding principles of the countries many of us are from: freedom. Honor. Integrity. Justice. The preamble to the Constitution of the United States establishes its purpose, and ours, in these famous words: in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. She, too, should be completed before the end of the year.”
Kendra’s focus sharpened.
“Secure the blessings of liberty. That phrase has a special meaning to me now, after the attempts to strip them from me. I found out, seven months ago, that I am an Enhanced Human. My mother was a test tube, my father was a knife. I was designed, not randomly created. I never knew my host mother, who suffered a terrible accident before I was born and died recently. My adoptive parents never knew my background. I never knew. But someone did. When the information came out certain parties decided to use it to try to smash my dreams and the dreams of all those who have followed me on this journey.”
Her voice hardened.
“They failed. On every level, they failed, and their chosen patsy failed in his attempt to kill me when their scheme was smashed. They have failed in every court, at every level. But failure of this magnitude would not deter them; I know them well enough to be certain.”
“It is my honor, therefore, to announce that today, all across the globe, in every nation, the laws and regulations which could be used to strip the very humanity away from other people who might be in the same situation are being struck from the books. These laws no longer have a legitimate purpose, if ever they did. Simply put, they have outlived their usefulness. This would not have been possible without the tireless effort of honest and decent politicians the world over and their commitment to the same goals which the Federation pursues.”
She ignored the rooba-rooba from the people on the bridge. It gave her an idea of the likely reactions in the audience, and so far so good.
“Today I also have the honor to announce the finalization of a treaty between the Asteroid Miner’s Guild and the Terran Federation. This treaty establishes, among other details, a policy of mutual defense between us. The intent is to incorporate the Guild into the Federation and begin to transform from a simple exploration organization to a proper star nation. We welcome our new friends in the Guild into the Federation and are excited to see how they can help us achieve our goals.”
Kendra paused for a deliberate breath.
“Finally. To the Solarian Union, and specifically to Artemis. Let us stop this foolish conflict. We have both lost far too many people, wasted far too much time. Together we could be stronger and more capable than either of us are separately. I call upon the Primus, Vasilia Newling, personally. Meet with me, one on one. Talk to me. See if we can settle our differences peacefully.”
She peered directly at the camera as if speaking to a single person.
“Vasilia, I am not your enemy. If you think I am, let me change your mind. If I have offended you, let me apologize. If there is something else you need from me, tell me and we will talk. This war needs to end before more of our people are hurt. We gain nothing by it.”
Her tone lightened.
“My friends, join us. This adventure is just beginning. Together we can bring a new hope to a tired world. Changes have happened. More will come. Be part of the change.” She froze with her what she hoped was her most sincere and open expression.
“And we’re clear,” said Susana.
“Are you insane?” said Alley. “Meet with that snake?”
“Sweetheart, this may be a little too far.”
“Admiral, why meet with Vasilia Newling?” The last was Susana.
“Hold on, hold on! Alley, I won’t do anything until we work out all the details, even assuming she accepts the meeting. Cass, everything I do is a little too far. Susana, I’ll be happy to answer your questions in the conference room in five minutes.”