When the destroyer reached Natamev colony, Tranis checked over the readouts and diagnostics, hoping against hope for any glimmer of life on the small moon below. He found no power readings. The quiet was ominous, and he felt a bit ill. Degorsk’s words echoed in his head.
“Peace never lasts. War always comes. Then everybody dies.”
Pushing back his disquiet, Tranis asked, “Colony com status, Weapons Commander?”
Lidon’s voice betrayed no emotion. “The colony’s communications satellite is intact and appears to be operational, Commander. If they are receiving our attempts at contact, they are not responding, for whatever reason.”
Piras was equally stoic. “Life signs?”
Taking his cue from the other two, Tranis was all business. “None on the surface. Our sensors do not penetrate beyond ten meters of the underground portion, however. There may be survivors.”
The captain drew in a deep breath. “Very well. Commander Lidon, assemble a team and go down to the colony for recon and possible rescue. First Officer Tranis will lead the effort. Captain to Medical.”
Unexpected warmth filled Tranis’ belly at the sound of Degorsk’s voice. “Chief Medical Officer Degorsk responding, Captain.”
“An expedition is going down to the planet to search for survivors. You will bring a medical party for triage and to prepare any survivors for transport to the ship.”
Tranis heard the half-second of hesitation in the Imdiko’s voice. He would have to keep an eye on Degorsk now that he had an inkling of the medic’s history. Not that he thought Degorsk would unravel on a mission. It was the after part that the Dramok had his concerns about, when the work was done and the doctor had time to think about what he’d done and seen.
“Have you been in battle yet, Tranis? A real battle, with men screaming and dying all around you? Friends … lovers falling before your eyes?”
The agony in Degorsk’s voice had affected Tranis, making him want to fix things for the emotionally wounded man. He wondered if this was this the usual response of the Dramok leader instinct for a suffering Imdiko. He had little experience with the nurturing breed outside of his Imdiko father, who had never seen battle nor known real trauma.
Tranis stepped from behind his podium. He looked at Lidon who was wrapping up assigning the recon team. He wondered if the Nobek knew about Degorsk’s past.
He said, “I will meet you in the shuttle dock, Weapons Commander.”
Lidon stepped from behind his podium. “I can walk with you, Commander. I have the teams alerted.”
Piras’ gaze was glued to his readouts. “Make it fast. Communications is now reporting two more colonies and defense stations have gone silent in the last hour. With the closest help from the fleet days away, we need to find out what’s going on before anymore of our border is affected.”
Tranis and Lidon spoke at the same time. “Yes, Captain.”
Tranis left the bridge. The limping Nobek was only half a step behind him as he entered the ship’s transport.