The sensation of taking complete control of the Quirennal had been an overwhelming one for Captain Jyster. If she had not had her brain waves transferred over to the advanced isomorphic program all those centuries ago, she would never have truly understood what it was like to be complete commander and master of your vessel. Though her existence was now beyond the simple confines of flesh and blood, she did on some occasions miss what she had been before. The constant feedback from everything on occasion was overwhelming and required a lot of effort to keep everything in balance. She had done it long enough now that it was now second nature to her. Most systems were automated and rarely required her full attention.
Stood within the main command and control centre of her vessel, the ship’s sensors (both external and internal) were constantly feeding her up to the minute data from every nook and cranny of her vessel. It was almost as if she could feel every molecule that belonged to her ship. She could tell that the ship’s outer hull armour, after her recent use of the coaxial warp drive, was still heavily damaged. Centuries of drifting in space and the constant barrage of the elements that lived in space had already weakened the almost impenetrable metal. The pressure from all of these elements had caused a lot of damage, one that would take almost decades to repair. Nevertheless she had found the perfect hiding spot. A nebula, by Federation standards, was class nine. Its deep pinkish and purple hues of gases would keep away any passing aliens from trying to claim salvage rights.
The hull wasn’t the only system she was keeping a close eye on. Since the Odyssey’s crew had been taken to look after her children, their constant use of the particle synthesisers to create so much to make their existence as comfortable as possible had put a high strain on the Quirennal’s thermionic generator. However, Jyster felt it was worthwhile. The Federation crew had appeared to show signs of settling in and adjusting to their new lives. Jyster had sacrificed power from other systems to ensure the main habitat, which they had originally called the valley, remained operational at all costs.
Maintaining the ship’s systems was not the only task she had prioritised. Jorgeh and Wylem, her sons, had been at the top of this list. Everything she did was for her children. They came first and their survival was paramount to her. Every decision she made, from quickly asserting control over the Quirennal, taking in the Odyssey’s adult population and providing them all with the safe home they needed, all of it was for them. Compromising with Captain McCallister and allowing some of the adults to return to the Odyssey had been part of that decision making process as well. She knew they would resist her if she had not shown them some sort of compromise. Her programming was advanced enough for her to realise that she could easily be one step ahead of McCallister and his crew. They could never blindside her. She was too quick, too powerful, too clever for anything they could try. The ship’s advanced systems aided her with that, so it meant that her efforts in reconnecting with her sons could be at the forefront of her concerns.
That said, her attempts to establish some sort of relationship with them had not gone in the correct direction she had originally calculated. She had not wanted to place either of them with Captain McCallister and his wife, though they would have been the perfect parents due to them having children of the same age as Jorgeh and Wylem. Based on what she had accessed from Odyssey’s computer records the three sons of McCallister and Reyas were well-rounded individuals and aspired to take their life journey in various directions. Though she wanted that for her own sons, she did not want the leader of the people she had kidnapped to use her sons against her. Instead, from what she had read about Odyssey’s first officer, he was the perfect choice. Someone who had been cared for during his early years that were not his birth parents meant he would have some level of compassion for her sons and their current predicament. Furthermore she had accessed Duncan’s personal logs and had discovered he was in a relationship with another officer who was the ‘godfather’ of McCallister’s sons. After searching through the Federation database what a ‘godfather’ was, she had eventually discovered that Senior Chief Court had been and still was heavily involved in the care of the McCallister-Reyas offspring. Based on this information, she had determined that Jorgeh and Wylem would survive under their care. Impressed that both men had been amenable foster fathers to her sons (she had overheard a conversation between them that neither of them blamed her sons for the situation they were in), she had appreciated how they had gone out of their way to help settle both Jorgeh and Wylem.
That said, the reception she had received from both of them had not been what she had expected. Based on what had happened previously, Jyster was certain both of her sons would appreciate the effort she had gone to ensure they lived. She had put everything on the line just for her children. Instead, in the past two months Wylem refused to speak to her while Jorgeh had been aggressive at every encounter. She could not blame either Duncan or Court for this. Nor could she place their reactions on McCallister’s shoulders. It was all her and she could not work out why. She gave them everything.
The social event that the Odyssey crew had planned and organised was occurring and she could see that everyone there was enjoying themselves. She had not wanted to disturb this, her programming had calculated that if she appeared or stopped anything then it would result in further damaging any hope she had of proving to them, as well as her sons, so she was adamant she’d let it happen without a hitch. The pressure on the power systems and particle synthesisers was pretty high, but she felt the system could operate well.
Checking in on it with her sensors, she noticed McCallister and Reyas moving away from the event. Hoping they weren’t up to anything she transferred her projection to a spot just ahead of them on the path they were on.
“Leaving, so soon captain?” She asked.
Almost jumping out of his skin, McCallister was surprised at the sudden arrival of Jyster and noticed the same expression across Reyas’ face too. Turning back to Jyster, he had stopped walking to answer her. “It’s more like a brief retreat.” He indicated to their wet clothes and damp appearance.
“No-one can really enjoy themselves while soaking wet.” Reyas stated. “We’re heading home to get dried and changed.”
“Indeed.” Jyster replied back, after realising she had misunderstood what they were up to. “Enjoy the rest of your evening.”
She then switched off her projection before them and moved to find her boys. On the beach, they were sitting around a naked flame with their foster fathers. They appeared to be eating a melted lump of what her sensors told her was mostly something called sugar. She could see Jorgeh was in a good mood and that Wylem was guzzling down the sweet food he was cooking. Laughter filled the area they were in while they enjoyed the event. Realising that in the last two months her sons had formed a strong bond with both Duncan and Court, she felt like her efforts were worth it. Both of them were happy with whom she had selected to care for them. Her thoughts turned to wondering if she could ever have a moment with them where they would actually want to speak to her. They were equally stubborn in their own ways. However she loved them and would do anything to ensure they remained alive.
Deciding not to appear in her isomorphic form, she turned her full attention to working out how she could use the ship’s systems to repair the outer hull to ensure the Quirennal’s longevity. Between creating automated repair bots, using the translocator system and particle synthesisers, she could not see anyway else. As she started to make the calculations needed to begin this important work, the internal sensors detected a breach from the habitat. Instantly she turned her focus and noticed a small group of the Odyssey’s crew exiting through the same passageway they had originally used to access the stasis chambers. Before she could stop them, several more alarms went off as systems began to lose significant power. Unable to stop them or what was happening, she attempted one more time and after failing one more time she transferred her projection into the chamber the Odyssey group were all in.
“Stop, whatever you do next could result in people becoming hurt.” She called out to them. Within seconds she had recognised Commander Tremt Hunsen, Lieutenant Commander Lukiz Jen, Lieutenant Commander Cline Lenjir and Lieutenant Keli. All four of them paused.
Raising both hands in the air, Hunsen answered her back. “We don’t mean anything by this. We noticed the passageway opened and we were curious to see what was wrong.”
“There’s nothing wrong here.” Jyster spat back out. “Return to the habitat at once!” Her projection then fizzled out.
“You appear to be malfunctioning as well.” Lenjir stated.
“Can we be of assistance?” Jen offered.
“No, stay back.” Jyster said as she closed her eyes and accessed the translocator system and moved them all back to the social event, back to where she was before. Her control over the ship’s system was fluctuating. One moment she had it, the next it was gone then back again. The constant interruptions prevented her from working out what was causing the problem and it resulted in her own projection being sent back to where she had last been, the spot where her sons were. Not wanting to lose complete control, she used the translocator to move Captain McCallister and Commander Reyas to where she was. A number of the Odyssey crew had reacted in surprise at what was going on the moment she appeared with the four she had caught snooping around. What was even more surprising was seeing Captain McCallister and Commander Reyas both wearing their uniforms.
Unable to work out why they were dressed like that due to several more systems failing, Jyster was not going to lose. Bringing everyone together, she knew where they were was the best plan for now. Another alarm went off, something was approaching the Quirennal, but she couldn’t focus on that as Captain McCallister was now speaking to her.
“You seem to be suffering from some technical glitches here, Captain Jyster.” He said, surprisingly he didn’t sound like he was mocking her. “Can my crew help?”
Ignoring him, she closed her eyes as she attempted to work out what was approaching the vessel. The nebula was doing an excellent job of hiding them from her. Though her sensors were advanced, they were still not good enough to break through the interference.
Deciding she needed to refocus the ship’s power to regain some sort of control, she started to shut down the particle synthesisers that were active and being used in the habitat and transferred their power to the sensors and other critical systems. The simulation they had created with the various homes and other luxuries the Odyssey crew had created all disappeared which resulted in several of her ‘guests’ responding with shock at the sudden removal.
“Mom, what the hell are you doing?” Jorgeh then shouted as he stood up from where he had been sitting on the beach with his brother and others.
Duncan stood up besides her eldest and grabbed him by his right arm to hold him back. Almost protecting him from her. Court had moved quickly to stand between her and Wylem. She had no plans to harm either of her sons. Why would they act like that?
“Not now, Jorgeh.” Jyster snapped back as she eventually regained control and transferred herself to the ship’s command and control centre. She knew McCallister was behind what was going on. She needed to work out what and how. However she needed to deal with the incoming threat first. McCallister and the others weren’t going anywhere any time soon.
Activating one of the floating holographic displays, she was able to determine who was approaching the Quirennal.
There before her, striking through the pinkish and purple fields of gases was one ship she had thought she had outrun. Darting in her direction at impressive speeds, the chevron shaped vessel was quickly entering hailing range. Not believing the nerve they had, she would not let that ship get any further with whatever was happening. Looking closer at it’s hull markings, she zoomed in on the words on it’s dorsal side and read it’s name.