No Intelligent Life, Part 1
We were lost. I knew one little mistake in the astrogation plotting would put us somewhere else in the ass-end of this galaxy. Probably was some ashes from my Bilarian Cigars. Cap has always told me that they would be the death of me but I ignored him. This time, it might be true. We are on the farthest reach of this stellar arm than anyone has ever explored and it was all because the guidance capacitors couldn’t handle the low-rate radiation from my cigar.
Drie’a’s people learn to accept mistakes and learning experiences and moved on better than most other cultures. The big lizard men were making them constantly. Perhaps it was because they jumped into interstellar space before they were ready or perhaps it’s just an inherent thing about the Utalis. All he and his crew knew was they had to make the best of it. Some Thinkers on Bolin believe the Utali are immune to anger, except for their distinctive battle rage that occasionally comes out in a fight. Drie’a didn’t considered that a form of anger – it was more like a thirst for the hunt and the kill.
The Thinkers of Bolin. What do they know? The Thinkers were members of a long and forgotten race and claim to be more intelligent than any others in the Known Worlds. Know one knows where they came from or how long they live, but they seem to be immortal and are probably the last of their race. They act as advisors and counselors to the Galactic Leadership Assembly that current peacefully watches over all the known worlds in the Reach.
His Utali scout team was sent out to the newest regions to be explored. Only a very small percentage of the Galaxy has been explored but some say the Thinkers once explored a larger portion of the Galaxy at one time. The exploratory team is one part exploratory and one part recon. The Assembly is not foolish enough to believe everyone they meet in the Galaxy means peace. Many wars have been fought in its formation and many species have been beaten down to near extinction to keep the peace. This is the Way of the Assembly. At least, according to the Thinkers.
The jump drive was out of it’s much needed radioactive fuel. Drie’a had just finished pre-orbit flight commands around a planet they found in a system with nine stellar bodies and a yellow sun. The planet was in that zone perfect for life but there were no signs showing on the sensors. However, there was a lot of radioactivity on the surface (which in turn could have been interfering with the life sensors). With the portable fuel extractor, the group should be able to get enough to at least get to the outer rim of the Reach.
They were all looking forward to getting home. Mating season was just around the corner and no Utali wanted to miss that. It’s a huge festival on every planet in the Utali sector and the only time his race procreated. The four black holes of Dila Mar could not hold them back from Mating Season.
Final auto-pilot protocols where in place and he joined the rest of his eight Utali-team in the back deployment bay of the small but efficient explorer scout ship.
“What took so long?” Commander H’ia looked at Drie’a with some impatience.
“Sorry, the world is nearly three-quarters water, it was a little difficult finding a proper landing zone. We’re not Porlu Fin-man, after all.”
Drie’a donned and checked the same gear his entire team was already in. Armor with built in electro-screen emitters, tactical helmet with computer patch into the ship’s limited computer, sensors and scanners displaying on his holographic HUD and gauntlet display, and just in case, a XM-4 duel function assault weapons with both lethal and non-lethal settings. His specialization implants were to stay connected to the ship and pilot it to their location by remote if they need it.
Drod, a bigger Utali, was geared up in his TM-90 heavy support weapon systems, a complex exoskeletal harness with a multi-barrel cannon mounted on it. Planning on some action, commander? Drie’a knew better than to question the commander.
With everyone in their positions for entry, the ship began to pitch and shake surprisingly hard. “Is this a sign they don’t want us here? Drod said in part as a joke.
An alarm sounded from the cockpit. “Check it out, Drie’a.” Commander H’ia said.
Stumbling against the heavy turbulence, Drie’a got to the cockpit and read the sensor warning. “No biggie, sir. Looks like higher radiation reading than expected. We can take it. But sir, it does not appear these are natural.”
“What do you mean not natural?” H’ia said in a confused tone.
“The patterns, the levels, the nature… it appears there was a war here. This was the result of some kind of nuclear war. A long time ago.”