A Gift Of A Gift – Chapter 1

It wasn’t often that Fleet Technical Guardian So’uel Bajessa was able to give his daughter anything special. True, he was part of the Dominion Fleet, and technically a warrior, but his was a more technical role, and his speciality meant he was rarely called upon to join the crew of a starship. The adventuring life was not for a satellite systems engineer, his battlefields on a far smaller and less life-threatening scale, and involving circuits and data pathways rather than warships and exchanges of weapons fire across alien landscapes, alien star-fields, and so he never had the chance to bring back a trophy of the sort you could give to a family member, and feel proud of it… until the day he carried out some routine maintenance on a minor sensor relay platform, in fairly close orbit around The LifeStar.

At the time, So’uel had been working with the civilian space division on their Orbiting Asset Survey, checking out every known artificial object in Dominion space and either carrying out whatever repairs or upgrades were needed to keep the devices operational, or decommissioning those what were no longer needed, and simply posed a hazard to navigation. Platform SR-45-A had been functioning adequately in its later years of operational life, but just before the day in question, it ceased transmitting its data quite abruptly, and it was moved up the survey list, flagged as “Requiring Urgent Attention”. As they had done dozens of times before, the Survey team moved their ship into close proximity with the faulty satellite, and used towing beams to steer it into one of the vessel’s shuttle bays, where work could be carried out safely, and in far greater comfort than a space-going environment suit would allow.

“Looks like we’ve had some kind of impact”, So’uel reported, almost immediately. “Something penetrated the outer skin, over one of the master conduits. Can’t be anything too serious – it’s a pretty small hole. Neat, too.”

“Don’t think it’ll be anything Faenri, then”, said the Survey commander, over the shuttle bay comm-link. “We had a whole sector’s worth of navigational monitors pretty much scrapped by pieces of Sisterhood starship, but they never got this deep. All the same, take care with whatever you find in there.”

“Understood, Fleet Defender”, So’uel replied. “All right – let’s see what’s stopped you ticking…”

As he had done so many times before, So’uel disengaged the various clips and fasteners holding the outer skin of the satellite together, with much-practised skill and dexterity beyond what should be possible with the required insulated gloves, worn to protect the delicate insides of the device from being further harmed by electromagnetic contamination from the investigating engineer and shield the engineer from whatever electrical discharges the wounded satellite might deliver. The safety measures did not prove to be necessary, for the space-borne projectile that had punched through the satellite’s outer shielding seemed only to have had enough energy to do only that, before coming to rest in a shallow indentation in a plastic-composite cable housing.

“Great Lady”, murmured the Fleet Technical Guardian. “That’s the first time I ever saw this…”

The piece of space debris was an almost perfect sphere of near-transparent golden crystal, its surface so smooth one might think it had been crafted by skilled hands. “Looks like Dominium”, said the mission commander, watching So’uel’s progress through the engineer’s computer-linked goggles. “Quite a find. You don’t get much of that floating around, as it’s only supposed to appear on planets with life, and they don’t tend to break up very often.”

“Could be really old, then”, suggested So’uel, as he carefully reached inside the satellite, and plucked the eyeball-sized orb from its resting place. “Part of a planet that doesn’t exist any more?”

“Could be”, said the commander. “Send it up to Science, and they’ll take a look – and don’t worry, Fleet Guardian, I’ll make sure you get it back when they’re finished, if it comes up threat-negative. I know you have a little girl, who could do with Da’ah bringing her back somethin’ shiny!

So’uel’s commander was as good as his word. When the Fleet Guardian got his next allocation of home-leave, he brought little Masiti something that made her delicate pale green face light up with absolute delight. “It’s a jewel from Darkhawk!” , the girl exclaimed, holding the little orb up to the light of The LifeStar. “Da’ah, it’s wonderful!

“Isn’t Dominium supposed to be, well, powerful?”, enquired So’uel’s life-mate Tia’au, when they next had a moment in private. “I mean, look at that ‘Captain Dominion’…”

“The Science Team said it was completely inert”, So’uel assured her. “There’s normally LifeStar energy in the heart of a Dominium crystal, but not this one. Could be something to do with the age of it. If that piece was created from the remains of something smaller than us, or less evolved – a fish, or some kind of plant – then maybe it doesn’t ‘hold a charge’ for as long as others. They made Captain Dominion out of one single piece of crystal, so maybe the mere size of a fragment has something to do with it as well.”

“That little stone may not have any LifeStar energy in it”, said Tia’au, glancing out into the garden where Masiti stood trasnfixed by the light sparkling inside the precious jewel, “but just see how happy she is. That’s all the magic we’ll ever need…”

And that was all the magic the Bajessa family ever experienced – until the day Brighthawk came to call.

To be continued…

708-01 (6/100)

Marking TEN YEARS of The Darkhawk Diaries 02-07-2003 – 02-07-2013.

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