The night before The Big Announcement, the one which I am probably most proud of in a lifetime of doing the impossible.
I worked so hard for this, once I knew it was a problem and an issue which needed to be dealt with. And Mya was huge on her end, recognizing the obstacles I couldn’t even begin to see and steering us around them!
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CHAPTER TWENTY SIX
The hologram flickered into life.
“Welcome back, Kendra.”
“Thanks Mya. It was exhilarating!”
The Enterprise had just returned from the mission to Lemnos, modified to include stopping at 40 Eridani. The improvement of the habitat orbiting Lemnos continued, and the first tangible evidence of the mining expedition was in the Enterprise hold awaiting transfer groundside: 183 kilos of gold, 914 kilos of silver, 17 kilos of platinum, 12 kilos of palladium, and another fifty kilos mixed of osmium, ruthenium, rhodium, and iridium. The cargo wasn’t quite priceless, but would be worth quite a healthy chunk. The platinum alone would bring nearly a hundred million Sonoran credits were they to sell it. They were unlikely to do so, though, as the ongoing construction projects had a nearly inexhaustible demand.
“Is it true that you found life?”
“Technically Endeavour did the discovering, but yes. Two planets filled with green, glorious, growing plants! Flowering plants, grasses, trees, Mya, I swear there was an oak tree!”
“That’s impossible, isn’t it?”
“That’s what I thought, and so did all the experts that we have in Starfleet, but obviously we were all wrong. One of my science officers is talking about parallel evolution and how similar processes will lead to similar results. Another one is saying that’s convergent evolution, and a third is talking about something called ‘panspermia’ and getting sworn at by the other two.”
“And you were down there?”
“Suited up, but yes. Mya, it’s beautiful there. Simply beautiful. The sky is blue, like Earth, but it’s a bit more on the purple side. Eridani A is a K type star and is more orange than the sun, I’m told.”
“It sounds lovely. Did you get to explore very far?”
“No; we have plans to do a full exploratory mission next time, maybe even set up a small colony or at least some buildings for shelter. This was more a ‘humor the Admiral’ type mission since I’d been bitching about not getting down onto a planet.” Kendra beamed. “Can’t say that any longer!”
“No, I suppose not.” The avatar turned serious. “Tomorrow’s the day. Are you ready?”
“Mya, are you sure we can swing this? Specifically, you can swing it?”
“Yes, Kendra. I have been over this multiple times with you, and the answer’s still the same. Yes.”
“Humor me, Mya. This isn’t just about me anymore; there have to be other people out there in my situation. My daughters share my genes, are they going to be safe? Or are they going to be persecuted? And then there’s the issue of the nanobots we’ve been issuing throughout the Federation.” Kendra’s face had turned deadly serious as she’d spoken, a look which didn’t sit comfortably on her.
Mya’s holographic avatar sighed.
“One more time, then. I suppose it can’t hurt, especially as you’re going to be announcing it all tomorrow. Pretty fine timing there.”
“Thank you,” said Kendra with sincerity. “This has been weighing on me.”
“I know; I’m sure it’s been challenging.”
“That’s a mild statement, Mya. Junior Williamson sticking a knife into me is a little bit past ‘challenging,’ I think.”
“Quite. What we’ve organized will happen simultaneously, or at least on the same day, in both the UE and every non-affiliated nation.”
“All of them?”
“All. We pulled in a few favors; some of the nations weren’t going to have a legislative session in progress on the chosen date, so they’re doing executive directives as a stopgap until their legislatures return. In one case we had to force a case into the court system and push it upwards to the equivalent of the Court of Justice, but the decision will be in our favor.”
“And the decision, those laws, those directives? What will they say?”
“They will extend the UE Charter on Human Rights, or the local equivalent, to every sentient being, every child born of woman or decanted from an artificial womb, every person whether created by random chance or by genetic engineering. It will be extended whether they are known or unknown, so if there are others like you –”
“I’m told it’s a statistical certainty,” Kendra interrupted.
“—they will be protected as well. Any action taken against such a person will be considered a hate crime, exactly as it would be if the attack were based on race, sex, religion, or any other protected class. Finally, it will clear the way for limited genetic modifications, such as you are doing, to be legal as long as the reproductive genetics are not impacted.”
“So people can’t create superbabies by tinkering with eggs or sperm.”
Kendra closed her eyes and breathed deeply. “Thank you, Mya, and not just for myself.”
“I know you wouldn’t have fought this battle so hard if it was just for you, Kendra. Why do you think I agreed to help? You have never been selfish.”
“Maybe a little. I’d like to feel safe to return to Earth occasionally.”
“Enlightened self-interest at worst. Now, any news for me?”
“Nothing significant. We’re still on schedule for deployment of the Orion next March. The Missouri should be ready a month or so earlier; she’s safely aboard Njord and we can work on her faster. I’m still hopeful we can short-circuit this whole war before it escalates further. I’ve got some plans toward that end.”
“That would be nice, but the Union isn’t talking to us. They haven’t cut off communications, but everything we get from them has a semantic value of zero.”
“We will. Now, if you don’t mind, it’s past eighteen here and I would like to go home today. I’ll be watching tomorrow.”
The avatar disappeared. A moment later Mikki walked into Kendra’s office.
“Mama, why are you crying?”
“They’re happy tears, baby,” said Kendra, dropping to one knee and hugging her. “They’re happy tears.”