“Sir we have been followed, it appears to be Kraz’ox scout ship,” Roanne, one of the three combat specialists on the Pegasus, said.
“Target it right away, try to jam its communication towards other Kraz’oxs,” James said decisively.
“Yes, sir,” Roanne answered and started playing with the hologram ahead of her. “Target locked, communications jammed, should we fire right away.” She asked looking at James.
James thought about it for a second, but decided against immediately shooting at the alien ship, “Don’t shoot, open a channel towards him, I want to know how he managed to follow us.”
Roanne nodded and went back to work, moments later she nodded back toward James, the channel was open.
“This is Captain James Barnes of the battleship Pegasus speaking, disable your weapon systems and power down your ship right away if you don’t want to be destroyed,” James said and waited a few moments before Chloe confirmed the Kraz’ox ship has shut down all its systems besides communication.
“We are going to board your ship, and take you in for questioning, do you understand?” James continued.
“I understand,” Kraz’ox voice echoed inside the command room of Pegasus.
James called for Hugo Lawson another close friend of Luitenant William Grant who was appointed as chief of the strike team on Pegasus I. His team included six more members on the shortened crew and, at full capacity his team could count up to fifty members once everyone goes through training. James gave Hugo instructions to board the Kraz’ox shield, take the Alien and his ship into Pegasus, and if the alien tries anything funny, Hugo had full clearance to end it there.
For now, only ten smaller combat and explorer ships were part of the Pegasus I hangar, Hugo and his team would split into two for the upcoming mission.
Anxiety and stress never completely left James these past three years, and after a short period of a lull after a successful jump, these feelings came back like a storm once the Kraz’ox ship followed them. James felt confident that the Kraz’ox couldn’t send a signal back to the Kraz’ox command as they intercepted him as soon as he jumped in, but if he was alone, was yet to be seen.
James, Chloe, and the rest of the team watched the live feed, from cameras integrated into battle suit’s helmets, as Hugo and his team approached the Kraz’ox ship. The boarding went without a problem, Kraz’ox alien, who introduced himself as Youx, complied with everything Hugo has demanded. They easily retrieved the Alien and his ship into the Pegasus. On Captain James’s command, Hugo brought the alien into one of the rooms designed to keep eventual prisoners, something they didn’t anticipate happening on their first-ever mission.
Alien complied with everything Hugo’s team said and waited for Captain James in silence sitting at the table’s far side. As James entered Alien stood up and extended his hand as if to shake hands, something Kraz’ox never did. James shook his hand reluctantly and after doing so the Alien introduced himself once again.
“I am Captain James Barnes of the first human interstellar ship Pegasus I,” James said.
“My name is Youx,” The alien said with a slight accent and James noticed he was not using a translator, but speaking directly to him.
“How do you know our language?” James asked.
“I am fascinated by new cultures and yours is one of the most vibrant and beautiful I’ve seen in my life,” The alien said.
“So, what are you? You can’t be just an ordinary soldier, tracking us here, knowing this well, you must be someone of a rank,” James asked.
A tiny smile appeared on Youx’s face, humans could rarely see when Kraz’ox smiled, but this time it was noticeable. Youx then went into his story, how he hated war and everything that comes with it but was forced into this one because of the mobilization caused by heavy losses on both sides. He hated the job, but as all Kraz’ox did it to his best capabilities and that’s how he tracked Pegasus, by scanning everything and looking for the slightest details, Kraz’ox were perfectionists as a species.
James was not sure if he believed him, but there was some sincerity in the Alien’s voice, but for now, he was to be locked in this room and treated as a prisoner of war. There could be some use for him once they eventually head back to earth, there as still so much to learn about Kraz’ox, maybe he was a blessing in disguise after all.
James returned to the bridge and the view was magnificent, ancient planet decorated the screens and the windows of the ship, Ephulea III stood silent in all its glory.
“No life sign readings coming from the planet or anywhere in the system sir,” Roanne said.
“Good,” James said with a nod. “You all know your tasks for the rest of the day after that get some rest and tomorrow we proceed with the mission.”
They agreed they would run diagnostics and wait at least a day before going down to an Ephulea III just to be sure Pegasus’s systems worked perfectly after the first jump. Until tomorrow James could finally rest, this was the easiest part of their mission, just merely arriving here, now they had to explore the ancient planet and somehow return to Earth without Kraz’ox noticing, but those were thoughts for tomorrow, James went to his cabin and sunk into the bed.
James floated in space without a suit, but somehow was alive and not cold, he could move freely, like diving through water. In the distance, Earth and Qhiks home planet somehow stood side to side. Seconds later darkness, with neon blue veins running through it appeared behind the two planets, towering over both of them and slowly engulfing them. James stood and watched in horror as always before the voice started calling him once again. “James, James, you know what you have to do,” the deep thunderous voice said. “Who are you, what are you?” James tried to ask this voice all kinds of questions, but answers never came, it repeated itself like a broken record. “You will have to decide James, you will have to choose and sacrifice them!” The voice said and as always that was a queue for him to wake up.
James awoke sweating once again, the same recurring dream returning to hunt him once again. The dream started a few days after he returned to Earth and reappeared every so often, no patterns, just randomly it would appear. James couldn’t really go to a psychiatrist without revealing too much about everything that was going on, but luckily for him Dr. Jones at South Pole Station finished Psychology amongst other things and James talked with him regularly. What they derived was that it was just James coping with the insanity of the whole situation, aliens existing, getting taken by one, finding out even more ancient aliens exist that are scared of some unknown all-eating space monster, and also by the fact that James from and ordinary astronaut became a Captain of first Human space battleship and was responsible for so many people. James accepted that answer, it was a logical one, but he also felt like there was more to it, there had to be, a dream can’t repeat itself almost to perfection this many times.
James stood up and got dressed, there was no time to dwell on this today, they had a planet to explore.