“Journey to the Source” – Chapter One: Unexplained VesselsPosted: October 17, 2015 Filed under: Speculative Fiction | Tags: "Journey to the Source", short story Leave a comment
“Journey to the Source”
Chapter One: Unexplained Vessels
Zetophos descended from the ambo of the vessel Friendship’s chapel down into its nave: “Let us depart in peace,” he called out.
“To serve in love and thanksgiving the Giver of Light and Life,” replied those assembled for the Sacred Liturgy. Zetophos completed the liturgy with the dismissal and final blessings. He consumed the remaining Bread and Drink of the Sacrament, reset the Altar, then began to remove his vestments in the sacristy.
“Father,” inquired Hyperet, “may I enter?”
“Yes, come on in.”
“Commander Ophelim has called for assembly of all the middle and senior officers in a half-turn.”
“Thank you,” answered Zetophos. “What is the reason?”
“I am a junior officer. I wasn’t informed.”
“Thank you, again.” Zetophos hung up the last of his vestments in the closet. He put on a fresh cassock, and laid his captain’s sash upon his right shoulder. He drank a glass of water and brushed his hair. “Spendos?” he called out to the Mathos. 
Spendos entered the sacristy. “Yes, Father, what is it.”
“Lunch must wait. We’ve been summoned by Commander to a meeting.”
+ * +
Zetophos and Spendos took their seats at the table in the Commander’s hallroom. Other officers had already arrived and others followed their entrance. All stood and saluted when Commander Ophelim entered. Ophelim then sat down.
“Be seated,” ordered Ophelim’s Sergeant at Arms.
“Thank you for your quick assembly at such short notice.” There was a note of gravity in Ophelim’s voice. “Captain Hodegey will begin by showing you the video of what we have encountered over the past day. Captain, please proceed.”
The screens before them opened and lightened. Zetophos adjusted its angle as the video began to appear.
“We have ‘companions,’” began Hodegey. “We have observed six of these vessels. They come and go at will. They are seen all around Friendship, but prefer our aft, as if tracking us. Their intentions are unclear, and at present there has been no certain aggressive behavior in their movements.”
“Captain, do we know their origins?” asked a midofficer.
“No,” answered Hodegey. “There has been no report of their presence until we entered this deadspace. It is while we began waiting for pressed space conditions to develop that they have been with us.”
Spendos asked his question: “Captain Hodegey, could they be Our Friends? Are they meeting us?”
“Very, very unlikely – in fact I would say impossible. From what we have learned about them is this – their technologies and materials clearly parallel ours. We have no evidence that they have ventured beyond their own solar system. It is doubtful that they have the ability to make such a voyage. No, they have nothing close to the needed technologies. It is not them.”
Many officers assembled began to exchange looks of concern. Commander Ophelim added to Hodegey’s information. “These vessels move in a manner we cannot explain. They come and go. There is no ability to track their movements. They gather, they leave. One is present then it is gone. Their disappearance is not by a typical magnetic spreading. There is no trace of this. There is no explanation of which we know. I have seen nothing like this, and neither has Captain Hodegey nor Captain Brabeu”
Silence held the hallroom.
Commander Ophelim broke the silence. “Captain Zetophos, Father, I and Captains Hodegey and Brabeu have asked this among ourselves…could these be immaterial? Could they be a physical manifestation…” he heistated and paused, “…of Others?” 
Zetophos was without answer.
Commander Ophelim interjected, “Hodegey, please start up the next set of videos. Father, and all of you, watch carefully. Father, I know you have had experiences with both the Light Ones and the Dark Ones. Look at what comes next.”
Zetophos and Spendos shifted in their chairs. Zetophos placed his hands on both sides of his screen. A sphere appeared on the screen. It was upon Friendship in a moment. It backed away and became oblong, then it took the shape of a cone. Then the cone began to spin, and the rate of rotation increased. He first saw the point of the cone, then its flat base. Hodegey slowed the video.
“All take note,” ordered Ophelim.
A mouth seemed to appear at the base of the cone as the rotations were slowed. The words, “we see you,” seemed to be formed by the mouth. A chill gripped all assembled.
Zetophos sat stunned as did all others. Spendon looked at him and touched his right forearm. Zetophos let go of the screen. He leaned forward as he gathered together a proper response. He sat up straight and looked directly at Commander Ophelim. “Commander, I have had very limited experiences. But, in my limited experiences of the Others, I believe I can answer that this is not the action of those Others of the Light. They do appear unbidden, but they are humble. Their first words would be courteous, and they bid a response. There is no show or display like this demonstrated in this video. This reeks of pride. The Dark Others act in this manner.” Zetophos paused and added, “Sir, if there can be no other explanation, we need to be on guard. I am alarmed. My only experience with Dark Others began with such an intrusion.”
Commander Ophelim concluded the meeting. “Father, Mathos, begin your work after tomorrow’s Matins since there is no Vespers this evening. All matters heard and discussed here are to remain unshared. All are dismissed.”
 A Mathos is an ordained office, a deacon.
 Others are immaterial beings. There are three divisions. First are the “Light Ones” – those who are agents of the Giver of Light and Life’s holy purposes. Second are the “Dark Ones” whose actions are dark, disruptive, disturbing and evil. Lastly are the “Neutered Ones” – those who are extra, neither good nor bad. These are like the birds of the air, the fish of the seas, and beasts of the fields and forests- they simply occupy their places, and are very rarely noticed.