My mind felt like a blender, mixing together all my thoughts until they made no more sense than one of those odd smelling green smoothies my mom likes to diet on. I tried going over the facts in an attempt to orient myself. I am on a ship. My dad is apparently captain. This guy is really my dad? We’re near Pluto. How are we near Pluto? Mia likes Pandas. Does she like flowers? Wait, flowers are on land and we are in space. We are in space?
“Okay,” I said slowly, wheels still grinding in my head. “If you think I stand a chance of understanding everything within an hour, you better get to talking er…this is the point where I’d say your name, only I don’t know it. And while we’re on the topic of names, I go by Ren. No one that actually knows me ever says ‘Rene’, F-Y-I.”
If the bitterness stung him, it didn’t show. His cool patience was getting to me, to put it mildly.
“Name is Nial. As you’ve gathered, I am captain of this ship as I am liaison for the Moira galaxy, which as I mentioned, we will be arriving at shortly.”
He spoke with such superiority that I was fantasizing about slapping the smug off of his face but the last bit of his spiel caught my ear.
“But you said we were just outside of Pluto.”
He grinned a knowing smile, like he had been sitting on a secret and could not resist the urge to finally let it out.
“Yes, we are just outside of Pluto, only…not your Pluto. You see, we are already far past the Milky Way galaxy. Hyper-speed can be quite disorienting when you are not used to it. Ah, let me see…hmm, this might take more than an hour after all. We call it Pluto because like yours, it is at the very edge of the Galaxy. When you’ve traveled as much as I, you learn that proper names are not quite as unique as you’d like to think…although names from your galaxy are used more often than any others, being more popular than the rest.”
Last I checked, hyper-speed was in Star Wars, as was the existence of anything living outside of Earth. I was starting to feel like I was a pawn in an elaborate cos play. I found Nial’s attempt to be Han Solo very lacking.
“You do realize that explanations that don’t do much explaining are not very helpful.”
For the first time since meeting him, Nial began to actually look frustrated.
“Alright, fine. You want a condensed, nicely wrapped little synopsis, eh? Well, here we go then. The Moira Galaxy is historically the oldest galaxy, the mother of all other galaxies, if you will. All other planets can trace their population back to Moira, even your little Earth. As for Moira’s reason for sending people to other planets, well, that’s above my pay grade. All I know is that Moira is very interested in keeping tabs on the activity of the inhabitants. That’s where I come in. I travel to planets, your Earth mostly, and gather information to report back to Moira. It would not be entirely wrong to say Moira’s plans are experimental in nature. To what end, I simply do not know.
Something about his frank tone sobered me quickly. This wasn’t a hoax.
“You said earlier that you’re a liaison. What you’re telling me sounds like you’re really more of a spy.”
Nial nodded assent.
“Yes yes, technically I am a spy. Only, not much of a good one, seeing as how I managed to be involved enough to have a son. Some would call that blending in. Others would call it jeopardizing the mission. I say it’s a messy grey area that no one can really train you for but you should have sense to know that someone will get hurt.”
Nial looked like he wanted to say more. I’m not sure I wanted to hear it just yet. This Moira place, as unbelievable as it may be, was far easier to discuss than a father and son heart to heart.
“What about Mia and the rest of the, I guess crew, are they spies too?”
Nial resumed his collected captain stance, seeming relieved that I didn’t try to pry into our family history.
“The men and women you saw earlier are mostly clueless about my doings on Earth for Moira. Their main task is helping man this ship. Mia is the big exception to that, of course, being a special issue. She’s my second brain and holds all the data necessary to my task. She knows more languages than any previous model and she’s absolutely necessary when I need someone on ground in the nuclear areas.”
Whoa, hold up. I made Mia blush and she’s a model? My brain should have been asking about more practical questions but I couldn’t get over the fact that someone gorgeous like Mia would be working here on this ship instead of gracing the cover of a magazine hidden under my mattress.
“So how long has Mia been your partner in crime?” I asked with nonchalance…and failing.
“She was issued to me right almost as soon as I started working as investigation, about thirty years now.”
“Wait, there’s no way she could be that ol–”
Sirens began screaming, cutting off my question. Nial whipped around and ran for the door just as Mia came hurrying through it towards him.
“Captain, sir…Caspian has entered our perimeter. Shields are up to highest capacity and I have commanded the crew to take up their stations but…”
Mia looked at Nial with fear. Nial thought hard, but briefly, then turned to me.
“This doesn’t sound good,” I wagered.
“That’s because it isn’t.”
Project: Chain Reaction is a collaborative event crafted by bloggers Eric, Cameron, Cara, and myself. This week kicks off our second round, during which we will be handing the story off in a different order. Also new this round, we will no longer be challenged by pictures. Instead, we will each incorporate a reference/allusion to a cinematic space location/character, the challenge being that no reference/allusion can be from the same space universe/film series used by a previous story post. Enjoy the ride!