The ship had been stranded outside the HTS 5005 system for almost three days, there had been no form of communication from the space station. The captain had tried his best to get any signal, to send out an SOS to the nearest ship. So far, none had heard them and none had responded. Theirs was a research ship, they had been skirting around the edges of their known systems. Gathering data and trying to see if there were planets where life sustained. A three-year mission, the ship was into its second year.
The captain, J’gar, tried to send a signal to the nearest ship, nothing happened. He asked his first officer to try to see if any of the other messages had been answered. The first officer, a young but capable female of the J’Kasshi species called Magar, looked up and grimaced. There were no words needed. Magar had gotten nothing but static. She didn’t really know what to think about this, generally, it took them a few tries if they were a bit far from the boundaries but they did eventually get responses to the queries.
Their ship wasn’t even able to move, something had happened. The science department could not explain it and this was a ship full of scientists. Magar wasn’t one to be easily scared of things happening in space, if she was, she wouldn’t be the first officer. However in her decade of working in space, nothing of this nature had ever happened. She didn’t even remember something like this happening even in her studies.
J’gar slammed his hands on the panels he was studying, the rest of the crew almost jumped. J’gar wasn’t known for fiery temper and for him to display it in such fashion was a bit unnerving. He swore under his breath and barked out an order to the communications officer. “Call the senior most scientists for a meeting. I need to get to the bottom of this. Three days! We have been here for three days, surely, somebody has some idea! What are they doing?” he almost snarled.
The communications officer, a seasoned woman, just nodded in response and quickly dispatched the message through the ship’s comm systems. Within minutes, she had confirmations for the meeting. They were to meet in an hour’s time. Jasmine relayed the information to the captain in the same even tone she used for almost everything. Nobody had ever seen Jasmine loose control, ever. Some said she wasn’t really a living being, that she was something more.
Nobody really took it seriously, of course, why would they? There were literally millions of species around and Jasmine belonged to but one of them. Still, her calmness under pressure was always received with awe and confusion. Awe because it wasn’t quite as normal as one might believe and confusion because what kind of being does not crumble under pressure at some point in their life?
Magar exclaimed suddenly, “Captain! I see something. I am not quite sure what it is but it’s coming towards us, moving fast enough to be worrisome.” The navigator quickly sent the radar readings to the big screen and the bridge crew studied it. For a long moment, they were quiet. Even a pindrop could have been heard but then, just as they were inching towards comprehension, the thing they were tracking exploded.
Multiple gasps and wide eyes. They weren’t even sure what they were looking at, what they had looked at before it’s explosion. The science officers started calling the captain, asking him to get near the debris. They wanted to study it, try to understand what had happened. The captain’s answer disappointed them, he was being cautious. They didn’t know what it had been and they didn’t know what had happened to make it explode. Who knew if they neared the debris, they wouldn’t be attacked as well? No, J’gar decided, unless they had some backup, he would not take his ship near the debris.
The communication officer spoke, her voice unsure, “Sir, the static…it’s breaking up. I can decode some words. Not enough but sir, we need to move and we need to move now!” J’gar looked at her in surprise, more because of the emotion in her voice than anything else. For a moment, the bridge crew just looked at her in surprise. Weren’t they just moments before contemplating her unruffled nature? What could she have heard to make her react so?
Magar asked on everybody’s behalf. “What do you mean? What do you hear?”
The communications officer looked at her with dead eyes and said, “The drums, I can hear the drums. I know what comes for us all. The MahinGa’s.”
Every person who had been listening to the comms paled, their eyes wide and terrified. The drums and the MahinGa’s. They were going to be butchered and eaten. There was no escape. Their ship was stuck in space. The static was the only thing that was heard throughout the ship. The static and the in-between words of doom.