James was tired, scared, confused, angry, but also just a tiny little bit excited about all this. He never quite found his place on earth, he was a good student, a good athlete had a good group of friends through most parts of his life, but there was always something missing, some inner peace that couldn’t be archived. That was until he did his first mission in space, as soon as he left the Earth’s orbit that missing piece was finally filled, looking down on Earth and then out onto infinity made him truly happy for the first time in his life, true unconditional happiness.
He had a fiance before his first stint in space, but that fell apart once he came back. After that he gave his all to become a part of the ISS program, he needed to get back to space and find that inner peace once again.
Now he, along with his 34 crew members, was deeper into space than any human before. They found themselves in a dance between two warring factions of alien species that were far more technologically advanced than humans, but somehow even that was nothing, there was always a bigger fish as they now were dragged thru the galaxy by the Qhiks, an ancient species that made the Anoi fear for their lives.
The Qhiks have been hauling them thru space for almost an hour now without any effort to contact them. The Anoi was nervous and looking for a way to escape this situation, but so far nothing worked, they’ve completely lost control over the ship.
The Anoi was certain that the Qhiks were going to kill them all and even worse, they feared they would wipe out their home planet and their whole species from existence.
The command room had no windows or openings so after Azcrawford finally snapped out of his state, they all walked back to the hangar which had enormous windows on two sides. The sight was incredible and terrifying, there were dozens of Qhiks ships on both sides of the Anoi vessel. The Qhiks’ warships were smaller than the Anoi and to James, they somehow looked even more alien than the Anoi’s. They were triangular in shape and they had a huge circular extension at the bottom that resembled a space elevator prototype that James had seen at several congresses before. The ships glowed orange from various points, the brightest being at the point of the triangle and the bottom of the extension.
“What are they planning to do with us?” Meng broke the silence asking no one in particular.
“Azcrawford, what are they doing?” James redirected the question toward the ship’s leader.
“I have no idea, maybe they are bringing us as proof before they do some destruction,” Azcrawford said. “But whatever it is, it can’t be good.”
“What’s that thing?” Eric said from across the room looking out of the window.
“What did you see this time?” James yelled back and walked towards him, Azcrawford and Meng following him.
The scene was breathtaking, there were two planets that looked similar to Earth orbiting a decently sized star. But that was not what Eric pointed towards, further away from the two planets there was a pentagonal-looking structure that was being opened and the inside of it glowed the same orange as Qhiks ships. The Qhiks were hauling them directly towards that object.
“What is that thing?” Eric asked.
“That is most likely a gate,” Azcrawford answered. “We tried to understand how they can jump from one corner of the universe to another, so we came to a conclusion they must have found a way to build some form of teleportation. We couldn’t snoop too much to not startle them, so we couldn’t find any proof but our experts’ working theory were the gates, and it would seem they were right.”
“Can’t you do the same?” James joined the conversation.
“No, while we can jump and travel light years in seconds, our drives need time to recharge after a few jumps and the maximum distance with one jump is around a quarter of the Milky Way galaxy length or around 25 000 light-years, but the longer the jump the less accurate it is and that’s how we ended at your doorstep after the battle. We usually tend to jump around 8 000 light-years when we travel big distances and between 1000 and 2000 when we want to maneuver with precision.” The lanky Alien learned his lesson and explained things right away as humans would ask for details anyway, whether they understood what he talked about or not.
Before anyone else could mutter a word a strange voice, echoed through the ship in what seemed like Anoi language. The ISS crew looked among themselves.
“Can anyone understand what it’s saying?” Chloe asked and the rest of the crew confirmed they couldn’t.
“Who is speaking and what is it saying?” James asked Azcrawford directly.
“It’s them, wait…” Azcrawford answered and did a similar hand gesture to a human, meaning wait don’t bother me now.
The voice continued to speak for almost a minute and all the Anoi just stood still. The voice stopped and the Anoi started speaking to each other.
“What did it say?” James asked again.
“They said that they were about to destroy us, but saw 35 signatures of other species and then decided to bring us all into their own solar system for further evaluation,” Azcrawford answered. “And they also said not to touch anything as we won’t be able to get back control of the ship.”
“So we are going through the gate?” Chloe added.
“Yes, they said not to worry about it, we wouldn’t feel a thing,” Azcrawford answered and then turned towards his crew.
The Anoi’s kept to themselves the rest of the way towards the gate and James, Meng and Chloe did the same, they gathered the ISS crew in the corner and discussed their situation amongst themselves.
“If everything the Anoi said is true, we need to get the message to the Qhiks that we have nothing to do with this,” Chloe said to the crew.
“I agree but how, if you didn’t notice even the Anoi can’t contact them and we don’t even know how any of their technology works,” Meng said.
“I know that, I am just saying so we are all on the same page.” Chloe continued. “If we get separated and captured by them, whatever happens, we need to say that we are here just by mistake.”
They all agreed on the matter and then split into smaller groups to discuss the crazy things they’ve seen since the Anoi appeared. They had no idea how much time has exactly passed, but it didn’t seem like an important thing at the time either.
James and Meng just stood in silence by the window looking at the two Super-Earths and then at the gate. The gate was now fully open and orange light spilled in and out of the structure. They were almost at the gate and by James’s estimates, it would take them less than ten minutes before they entered it.
The voice could be heard once again and Anoi explained it just said that they would enter the gate in a matter of minutes and that they would instantly appear in a solar system of a galaxy far away from Milky Way.
James embraced himself to a handle as they approached the gate and its orange light. The light reached towards the Anoi ship like it wanted to grab him, the view out of the hangar windows turned completely orange, and then only seconds later it dissipated, and they arrived.
James, the ISS crew, and the Anoi all rushed towards the window and there was something to see. It was a binary solar system, two suns working together to give life to ten planets. Both stars had some kind of a structure around them, a Dyson sphere if James had to guess. Their suits had the capability of zooming in large distances and looking at all ten planets it seemed like they all were habitable, at least to the naked human eye. They had oceans and what looked like large continents, each planet was orbited by massive structures, most likely space stations.
The voice echoed again and this time even the ISS crew could understand it.
“Welcome to our home,” The Qhiks voice said.