Captain’s Log, Intergalactic Date 677061.95

The Impulsive has been called to the Parada system, where the Union transport ship, Immaculata, is dead in space after a malfunction of their warp drive converter. Naturally, according to its captain, they were scheduled for a system refurb when its current mission was done.

At any rate, a tug is on the way, but the Immaculata is carrying diplomatic parties from nine different systems to Belon, where the Union Council is meeting to vote on the inclusion of the NAME system. It’s a momentous occasion for the Union, and the vote must be done with all reps in person, so it’s vital we get them to the planet in time. 

So it looks like dress uniforms for all, and we’ve got Todd’s janbots hard at work cleaning guest quarters and common areas.

After helping Todd most of the night getting the janbots programmed, Ellie dropped him off at Enigo’s quarters then headed to her own bed. A scant two hours later, a page from Commander Smythe woke her. They’d gotten an abbreviated manifest from the Immaculata, just a list of representatives by planets. One of them was her registered homeworld of Chatway.

“That doesn’t make sense,” she protested as she sat up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “Chatway’s a retired member of the Union. They can’t participate in galactic politics.”

The commander replied smoothly but sternly. “Be that as it may, Lieutenant, there is a Chatway delegation among those we’re bringing aboard. Given your connections to the royal family and your parents’ positions as ambassadors, you should be there to greet them. Dress uniform. Twenty minutes.”

“Yes, sir. Twenty minutes. Doall out.” She ordered the replicators to produce a Hoodacino and her dress uniform in that order. She downed the strong coffee in quick swallows, then got a quick shower. She called up the latest Chatway hairstyles in her mirror and found one that she could adapt quickly to her short hair. By the time she emerged, her uniform was ready, complete with the jewels that marked her accomplishments and heroisms.

She bit back the feelings the squarish award jewel generated in her. She’s saved the ship, but not Loreli or Doctor Pasteur. Evidence to the contrary, she would never feel she deserved it.

The hall was abuzz with activity as security and administrative personnel escorted their rescued diplomats to quarters. The Kitack group was arguing that the quarters were too small for three, as one of their group suffered from migraines (or the alien equivalent) and needed a space for his isolation chamber.

“We’re not really built for this many guests,” Ensign Mort replied, exasperated. Apparently, she’d said this more than once. “But if you’ll all just wait inside, I’ll see what we can do once everyone’s settled.”

Ellie entered the lazivator and gave it directions as she reviewed in her mind the standard greetings for Chatwayan nobility. There were several, all dependent on the relative variance in positions. As godmother to the princess and daughter of the Union ambassadors to Chatway, she herself had a spot in the matrix, which made it harder. She wished she knew who these representatives were, or at least what their rank was within Chatwayan society.

Ellie stifled a yawn as she left the lazivator. She passed a trio of Globbals, escorted by Ensign Gel. Gel gave her a cursory greeting but continued his conversation with his charges. The universal translator didn’t share with her the meaning behind their plops and burbles.

Commander Smythe nodded to her as she entered the teleporter room and took her place at his left. He stood as straight and professional as ever as he instructed the teleporter minion to bring in the last of their guests, but there was a hint of relief in his voice. If he had more information about the delegation, he didn’t share it. She wondered if he’d had any sleep at all.

“There are three, and they were sent by the king,” the commander told her as the teleporter lights started to sparkle.

She nodded. For the most part, that meant equal or greater standing to her. That made things easier.

Then the shimmer ended, and she realized nothing was going to be easy about this mission.

“Mother? Father?”