The modular Expedition Crew Room, further MEEP, was installed by robots, in the center of everything that is happening here, for more convenient guidance over the working moments. At the level of the glass disks, an equally large glass ball appeared, and this was the MEEP. From all the disks, wires and cables, ribbed and smooth pipes, stretched to it, through the air, it all combined into one working cycle.
The crew went up to the MEEP and immediately gathered in the last compartment, with a glass outer wall.
– This is a moment of bliss, – Timba said.
– Is this what we've been waiting for? – Vella said, ignoring Timba's words.
Everyone stared through the glass, their eyes frozen. This is what they needed. They felt like giant needles digging into the ground and tearing it from the inside, sucking everything in. The material, part of the Malonga first, twisted like minced meat, is flowing out of it now, into their pockets. A truly mesmerizing moment!
– I feel like a thief! – Tomaka said.
– No, you're wrong. We're not thieves, we'll just take some, – Pitons corrected Tomaku, reassuring him of their honest intentions..
– That's right, here later, everything will be restored anyway. Is it bad that we will be happy with this? – Timba asked Tomaka, without any remorse.
– Later, later, later. Okay, we're here for this, and we'll take it home with us. And now, I ask everyone to go about their personal business, – Tomaka ordered.
– I need to go to the men's room, – Timba said, and, satisfied, the first one disappeared from the compartment.
– I've picked up some biological specimens along the way, and I'm going to do some magic with them, – Vella said.
– If you find anything unusual, let me know, – Tomaka commanded.
– All right, – Vella said, and left.
In the compartment, there are two people left, Tomaka and Pythons.
– I want to congratulate you on your brilliant work, – Pithons said, and reached out to shake Tomaka's hand.
Tomaka secured the handshake with his own hand and smiled slightly at the Python, accepting his congratulations.
– We will have a lot of common and interesting things ahead of us! – Tomaka promised Pithons.
– I, too, think so, but in business, there are breaks. Therefore, I suggest that we finish our conversation later. The body needs to rest, – said the Python, tired with age.
– Both body and spirit, – Tomaka said good naturedly.
Their hands parted and they went to their respective compartments, which served as their rest room.
Although they, the crew, did not see each other, their thoughts were the same. Why? Because they're messy! Then they imagined themselves as princes, in the case of Vella-a princess. Then cool tycoons, with a lot of money, in general, rich people. And, Timba in his compartment, on an air folding bed, even visited the role of a wizard who lives without hard work, in his world of magic and fantasy.
To them, the sun is bright, and the sky is clear, and inspiration is inside! Benevolence! Now, their capital was rapidly increasing, automatically transferring them from a deplorable state to a club of rich people. Bliss comes and the planned dreams begin to gradually come true.
Vella, having worked her magic with the test tubes, saturated with the daily difficulties of the expedition and the jokes of the crew members, sank unnoticed, in the color pictures of the dream, trying to predict her immediate, secure future.
Pythons did not sleep, he settled comfortably in a rocking chair and also began to dream about money, about girls and gambling, because he had almost become a rich man, the elite of society. And perhaps he will buy himself a special building somewhere and retire to his work, because in his youth he dreamed of creating what would remain, paired with eternity.
Tomaki's room, darkened by artificial light, weighed on his mind a little now, but he ignored it. Relaxing his gaze, Tomaka stared far into space, through the wall, into the vast darkness and emptiness, until he fell asleep.
Everything would have continued like this, but the sky was pierced through by flying disks, resembling one plate covered with another. And there were quite a few of them. The experience of those pilots, and these are living people and biorobots, was high and they did not make a single accident in the sky. With great speed, these black disks whirled around the MEEP, assessing what was happening here.
The crew had long since woken up and was now watching through the windows of the MEEP as unfamiliar objects flew around the building, flashing their bright lights. It was easy to guess that the intentions of the guests were quite hostile, especially as indicated by their pointed weapons in the direction of the MEEP.
Tomaka, more than the others, tensed and tried to assess what was happening truthfully. Where did these unsolicited flyers come from and what to do to prevent the shooting from starting.
"Vella, prepare a first aid kit just in case," Tomaka said.
Vella quickly ran after her and soon returned, bracing herself for the worst.
"No one needs to worry, nothing bad has happened yet," Tomaka said.
"Yes, don't panic," Vella said, her pink lips trembling.
The place already allowed all the fighters to land, so the stormtroopers did. In each such disk, there was a huge hatch, through which, now, an armed landing party was jumping.
Immediately, they formed a military headquarters, with their own, previously appointed, space commander Kaaran.
In the MEEP, a robot negotiator was sent, which, as well, could translate one spoken language to another and back. But, in our case, this will become useless in the future, since it will soon become clear that both of them speak the same, in addition to their native, intergalactic language.
On the main computer of the MEEP, an incoming third-party signal was received and the first person who heard it from the crew was Tomaka. He immediately gathered the entire team closer, in the command room, to discuss further actions.
The robot negotiator was allowed, after mandatory security procedures, to go up to the MEEP. Where immediately, they determined a common language for communicating with the arrived, unknown guests.
The robot negotiator drove into the MEEP, stopped in front of the crew and everyone saw, in the air, a translucent air man, shimmering blue-blue, clearly the commander, and immediately heard, from the laser visor translator: – I, Space Commander Kaaran, under the Emperor Maront! How dare you here arrange the extraction of our minerals, without our permission?
The Space Commander of Kaaran had spoken of fossils, but Tomaka sensed that he was being deceptive. He needed something other than a threat and a simple trial.
Although the situation, in the literal sense, in the air was now tense, the crew for some reason, did not feel an obvious threat. It was most likely a feeling of some confusion. After all, according to everyone, there should be no one here on Malonga first, except for Tomaki's crew.
"I, the commander of Tomaka space expedition," Tomaka said. "We came here, on the intergalactic ship the Flying Ferix, to work on mining. According to our agency information, this planet is not inhabited by people and does not belong to anyone. And since the rights to it have not been previously claimed, then you are now violating the law of galactic property, using your superiority over us. Restricting us and our labor, in freedom and labor activity.
– The Space Commander of Tomaka, – Timba joked softly, prefixing the word" commander"with"cosmo.
– What rights and laws are you talking about? We suggest that you voluntarily open our military access, for your escort, to the place of temporary isolation, for further negotiations, – the Space Commander of Kaaran urged the crew of Tomaki.
Tomaka looked questioningly at the Pythons, the latter only helplessly raised and lowered his shoulders, there was no point in arguing with Space Commander Kaaran, in any case, he would have to obey.
– You can't come in here and tell us what to do, – Tomaka said.
– If you don't open it and let us in, we'll have to destroy you, – Kaaran said, in a promising, military voice.
Tomaka made the tough decision to let Space Commander Kaaran into the MEEP.
– Security system, disable entry-exit protection, – Tomaka commanded, and a moment or two later, armed soldiers entered the MEEP. The mining operation immediately stopped, and Space Commander Kaaran ordered that several fast-flying, lightly armed aircraft be left on guard. The rest, departed to the side where it turns out, before arriving on the planet Malongu first Tomaki, lived standing and flying near the MEEP, the military in their fighters.
– You have violated our borders, Commander Tomaka, – Kaaran said.
– But our maps, as I said, don't show your presence here, we didn't know about you, – Tomaka said.
– This does not excuse you, you wanted to take our farm, we will now take your farm, – said the satisfied Kaaran.
– But we won't give you anything, or we won't be able to fly home from here, – Tomaka said.
–Then we'll kill your crew and take what we need ourselves, – Kaaran said menacingly.
– What do you want? – Tomak asked, in an ostentatious, calm voice.
– We need your element, which is why you came here, – Kaaran said.
– Not an element, but elements. Yes, they are in our spaceship and some of them are in our capsules, but to give them to you means to leave us without everything, – Tomaka said.
– You are already without, now, without everything, and nothing prevents me from killing you, – Kaaran threatened.
– I understand that you need the elements, but our pods are hidden and covered with invisible shields, you can't find them, and your equipment can't get to our ship, so it's not profitable for you to kill us.
– Ok, then you, become our prisoners, please go out, – said Tomake, already displeased Kaaran.
– I can come with you, – Timba joked.
Kaaran didn't know Timba's humor, so he didn't understand it.
Tomaki's crew left the MEEP, under the supervision of a convoy. Everyone reached the military escort ship, settled in it, and went to the base, the mountain city of the Emperor Maront.
It took about an hour of flight, local time, and then, over a huge platform, spaceships began to land, among which was the one where Tomaki's crew was. Half an hour later, all the military personnel were drawn up in two lines, like a security fence, from the hatch of the escort ship to the hangar gate, which had already been opened long ago.
The arrested, "voluntarily", in handcuffs, were led between two lines of soldiers, in the direction of the hangar, who stood in white military clothes and closed, white helmets, with black and armored glasses. This brought a strange smile to Tomaki's face.
The hangar was completely empty, except for a huge black square in the center of the white room.
Space Commander Kaaran, Tomaki's crew, and several other escorts stood in the center of the square. The floor immediately became an elevator, with protective handrails at the edges, a control screen, and a computer consultant, in the form of a man, on solid glass. Space Commander Kaaran entered a code on the control screen and turned to the glass, saying to the smiling man on the same screen, – To the hall of justice.
– Your identity is confirmed and the command will be executed, – the man on the screen replied, and the black square fell neatly down into the void there, and through the air channel, under the dim light from the gloom, carried everyone to the hall of justice. If there is an entrance, then you can find an exit, so here, in the hall of justice, there was the same black square, it has now changed to a replaceable state and instead of it, there was another one, which was sent here by a man, from a glass screen.
– Good technology, for an extinct civilization, – Timba said, looking around at what they saw.
The hall of Justice was a large room. In the center, as it is already clear, there was a black square, but everything else was done in the style of mixed eras. There were also statues of warriors a hundred times the normal height of people, apparently defenders of good, frozen at the moment of battle, with no smaller size devils and demons seducing the forces of good. And broken, stone, and somewhere iron columns, lay against the walls, the general picture of which, beat a thin blade on the nerves, showing that death and chaos are always near. Two of the walls were closer to the black square, and two were farther away, creating a certain perimeter. And now, in one of the far walls, there was a stone throne, gray with cracks. From the ceiling behind him, the canvases descended, not man-made and frozen in time, the top of which went into invisible blackness.
Many sipurians were convicted here, and some, of course, were acquitted by local laws. Lies and truth penetrated the body, terrible visions, confused thoughts that were confused in the head. Huge pictures, misty and airy, moved everywhere, forcing fear on people. The hall came alive around Tomaki and everyone else. Ancient and modern, harmoniously merged into a single whole.
This was indeed the hall of justice.
While Tomaki's crew was looking at everything, he didn't see the most important thing, that someone was looking at them. It wasn't Chief Justice Gret, who is usually the main person in the judgment room in this hall of justice, but Emperor Maront himself. He stood on the opposite side of the throne, near the wooden gate, and watched carefully as the people arrived on the black square. Usually, at the time of the proceedings, there were always at least fifty noisy defenders and prosecutors in the courtroom, the absence of which, at such an important moment, now embarrassed Kaaran himself.
Silent music, cold, dry notes, floated in the air, bringing an ominous fear to those present.
– This is it, the first humans to visit us since our Sipurian bloodline was forgotten on the dying planet, Malonga the first. And then, unfortunately, you turned out to be thieves, although it does not matter, – said the Emperor Maront in a loud voice that rolled into the silence.
– Great Styr, with all due respect, why are you here to greet us, and not the high officers of the Hall of Justice? – Kaaran asked, alarm in his voice.
– Don't worry, dear Kaaran, today you have witnessed a new history of the Sipurians. These aliens brought to our world what we so lacked, the opportunity to discover the hidden secrets of the unknown to us, distant space. Their intergalactic ship that is in our orbit, we will take it, give it to our scientists, and soon, we will start sending our troops all over the galaxy. We will win everything that can be taken from insignificant people. Those who left us to die, – Emperor Maront replied, and walked slowly towards the "guests", spreading his arms out to the side.
– Yes, Emperor Maaront, as the commander of our army, I had the honor of speaking to you on this subject, on retribution, but we were talking about those who abandoned us, not about the entire cosmos, – Kaaran said, with a sudden sense of doubt.
– Take a closer look, Kaaran, those traitors you speak of have long since spread out from here, spreading their roots across the cosmos, strengthening their roots on different planets. And now, in order to destroy all those who forced our Sipurian race to literally survive, eat their relatives, yes, you know as well as I do what our rebirth cost, here on the planet. How we, for so many years, could not escape from this nightmare. And now that the gods have given us this chance, we just can't turn it down. And since we are grateful to you for this gift, aliens, we will not touch you. You will be under my personal control for the time being. And I warn you right away, don't try to escape or attack me in any way, you will be immediately arrested and your immunity will disappear. They'll just kill you, – Emperor Maront said, trying to guess the leader of the flight crew that had arrived.
After the Emperor Maront, he approached at a fairly close distance, which allowed everyone to get a better look at him. Everyone saw a handsome man dressed in the imperial Sipurian garb.
His black suit glistened on him. The sleeves are wide and worn in white long gloves. The trousers were tucked into high boots, giving the impression of a rider on a horse. A black-and-white cape hung from his shoulders to the level of his knees, tied in a bow around his neck and artificially raised on his shoulders. On his head, he wore a metal helmet with a chased pattern of local gods. The helmet covered his neatly braided hair and part of his forehead, which only emphasized his oval face. A straight nose, thin maroon lips, and a slightly unshaven chin.
His general appearance was similar to the formidable and cunning tyrant, as depicted in the painting "Weight crushing the world of Tania", in the role of the heavenly god Weight, who conquered people, whom Tomaka saw as a child, in a mythical book. You can give credit to the local tailors, his clothes shone with their body-permeable power.
Tomaka understood that it was useless to argue with this important man right now, and decided to simply submit to his conditions for the time being.
– My name is Tomaka, – he said.
– Very, very nice, – Emperor Maront smiled back.
– This is Pythons, my assistant, – Tomaka said, pointing with his right hand at Pythons.
– I understand, – said Emperor Maront, nodding his head slightly.
– This is Timba's co – pilot, – Tomaka pointed at Timba with his left hand.
– I understand, – Emperor Maront repeated, still nodding his head.
– And I, Vella! The crew doctor, – Vella introduced herself.
– Nice to meet you, – Emperor Maront added, and then said, – And you've already met my space commander, Kaaran.
– We didn't want to cause you any trouble, our team didn't know you were here, – Tomaka said apologetically.
– I already know that you refuse to give us the elements, – Emperor Maront said. – Where are you from? – Emperor Maront asked.
– I was born on Raibonne, a planet in the galaxy of the Catamastra Islands, – Tomaka said.
– That doesn't mean anything to me. And, how many people live in your galaxy? – Emperor Maront asked.
– I can't say that, but I think it's the usual amount of the average galaxy, – Tomaka said.
– And how much value do you have there? – Emperor Maront asked.
– I wouldn't say that much. We have to make sorties, conduct expeditions, such as we have now. Flying to uninhabited planets helps preserve our values, – Tomaka said.
– Why do I ask how our former brothers left our planet, we do not know anything about distant galaxies, their population, in general, about everything that is happening in space, – said the Emperor Maront.
– Well, then, you need to connect to the shared space library, – Timba suggested jokingly.
– What is it, a shared space library? – Emperor Maront asked seriously.
– He's joking, but there really is such a thing, they digitize a path from planet to planet and there already, collect information and distribute it throughout the cosmos. Everything is connected to flying libraries, that is, devices with large memory and data conductivity.
– So we need to join them, – Emperor Maront said ironically. – I hope our guests will share new information for us? – Emperor Maront asked.
– Over a good glass of intoxicating lyre, we could have a chat, – Timba joked, "seriously" to himself.
– We have no Lyre, but we have a refreshing champa, a tonic drink, our Sipurian wealth, – Emperor Maront said hospitably, and felt the sweet and slightly burning taste of champa in his mouth. From the sensations, he even became a little kinder, in front of everyone.
– What about the aliens? – Kaaran asked.
– They will stay here until we find a common solution, – Emperor Maront said, and then he became stern again.
– We didn't know about you, – Tomaka said again.
– But it has happened, and now I ask you not to detain me or yourself any longer, and to follow me, – said the Emperor, and without waiting for an answer, he turned to the wooden door, and entered it when it opened of its own accord, as if to admit him. The doors were equipped with multiple sensors and connected to an invisible power source.
They all followed the Emperor Marat, across the black, shiny floor, through the doors that closed behind them.
In the hall of justice, there was an ominous silence and gloomy shadows, as if alive, then appeared in the light, then disappeared, in it.