Pilgrim's Trail Part II
Pigrim’s Trail Part 2
Oddly, the eight planets that surrounded Tau Ceti held no life at all before the arrival of humans, but they were all in what astrophysicists called the “Goldilocks Zone”, not too hot, not too cold, but just right to sustain life. The planets even had water, but at no point had all the right combination of chemicals come together to begin the life process.
All eight planets of the Tau Ceti Solar System were almost equidistant from Tau Ceti, had almost identical orbits, were similar in size and were spaced at distances from one another proportional to their size. Because they all exerted equal gravitational force on Tau Ceti, the orbital plane of the planets is perpendicular to Earth’s Solar System and the Cloud impaired view, the planets were not discovered until 375 years earlier when an ion drive probe came through the inner wall of the Cloud and revealed their presence.
Hank’s scan for biologics did not reveal any life forms and he was about to turn the wrist rocket back to the search for the slaver’s ship registration when a signal did show on the screen!
His heart stopped when he saw not one but two low level life readings near the engine compartment of the ship, right where the Astra-Scyphozoa would be!
He started to calm down when he realized that the signal was inside the ship. Then is disappeared.
Hank stared at his wrist rocket for a moment, confused.
Then the two faint signals returned.
He began to walk to the rear of the ship, the signal disappeared again but he continued walking. He had some idea of what he was going to find in the engine compartment once he got there. Someone’s pet in suspension sleep, he thought.
He swung the bulkhead door open and saw nothing!
Engine room was something of a misnomer because the engine was actually outside the ship. The room he now stood in was for primary control of the engine when not controlled by the bridge. The room also contained the ship’s life support systems, spare parts and emergency life pods.
Hank looked at his wrist rocket again and had to wait for a moment for the life signs to return to the screen.
The two signals reappeared and by orientation were to Hank’s front.
He was looking at the Captain’s Life Pod, which was twice as large as a regular life pod, and as he looked at its position on the floor he noticed that it was out of place. One side was farther from the bulkhead than it should have been.
Hank walked to the end that was away from the wall and saw two cargo containers behind the life pod. His wrist rocket told him that the life signs were coming form inside the containers.
Hank used his wrist rocket to turn off the artificial gravity in order to make moving everything easier. The Captain’s Life Pod weighed about 12 tons but he easily pushed it out of the way once he had undone the shackles that held it to the ships floor.
He moved the two containers to the center of the room and put the Captain’s Life Pod back in place.
Making sure everything was close to the floor he slowly reengaged the gravity.
He stepped up to the first container and undid the latches. He figured that he was going to find a pet or maybe a stock animal of some kind.
He pushed open the lid and saw the face of a child through the glass of a suspension chamber!
Hank’s heart stopped! This was the reason that the suspension chambers had been hidden in cargo containers behind the Captain’s Life Pod!
The face was that of a girl, probably about 16-years old, a prized commodity for the Slavers.
The data plate said that he name was Lilith and nothing else. It was common practice to just place a name or nickname of the individual on the suspension chamber for two reasons. First, when the individuals were awakened it took some time for them to recover their memory so they had to be addressed by some name until they remembered who they were. Second, if the individual had to be jettisoned in an emergency or died from a chamber malfunction it made it easier for the survivors involved if they didn’t have too much information about the individual.
As he looked into Lilith’s face and thought about the fate that she had escaped he remembered his own fate years before.