Massimo Star Genetics Laboratory
"Let me get this straight, you expect me to analyze this, no questions asked?" Kannelas asked, not quite keeping the anger out of his voice, as his classmate from university spoke.
"Yes, I need it, as a favour." Said.
"And what happens with the results?"
"You give them to me, and I leave your name out of the reports."
"Why? This looks interesting, a whole geno-map, for a new species?"
"Is it a new species?"
"It's a geno-map for one of our bio-weapons, no one would ask for one for a species already in... the coalition...", first researcher of Star Genetics, stopped himself. "Wait, that's why you want it no questions asked... it's politically sensitive?"
"It's politically explosive, and I'll leave it at that."
"And you don't want my name in..."
"I don't want you to be disappeared before I present the results, you're my friend."
"You're the only one left, of our academy class, 'something happened' to everyone else."
"And I'd rather it didn't happen to you."
"Who's protecting you, cousin?"
"I got a sponsor in the military, not sure he can protect me, but better than nothing."
"Do I get his name?"
"If something happens to you, I give it to him?"
"No, if something happens to you, he'll contact you. If he had been compromised, we'd both already be dead. It does help that he's high rank enough to classify some of his orders."
"Oh, definitely no slouch then. Ok, and my part?"
"You're double-checking results from someone else, but you have better equipment, stronger protocols, and a reputation..."
"My reputation can't help if it's a secret I'm helping you..."
"It'll be a secret only until we present the results, those who see them will know you did this. We just don't want someone making this disappear."
"You keep saying that word, it's freaking me out."
"Sorry, but you'll be careful, right?"
"I'm not leaving here, I can't, the station is entering lockdown tomorrow due to the solar flares, you'll need special protocol just to get in and get the results."
"I got that, sponsor took care of it, I'll be back in a week."
"Thanks, here, your results. Good thing you didn't tell me a thing, I almost fainted when I found out..."
"It's a requirement, we don't get accidentally targeted for genocide by our own side often, but it's unforgettable."
"Your sense of humour still stinks, but with the magnitude of this, your sponsor, can he help?"
"The events have moved forward, the gene-map, the species petitioned to join us, and provided their own gene map, we won't need it."
"Yeah, I'm kidding, the research is still useful, as proof of attempted genocide, just not useful as proof they're our own long-lost home planet, because they claimed us. They say we're welcome to go home."
"What? You're kidding!"
"No, and it was masterful, they got the Agoban off the council, the Tih are in trouble, and the Massimi and Dejnni are in an alliance."
"You know I'm lousy at politics, what does that mean?"
"Means you can apply to leave this place, once the lockdown is over, except, instead of staying on station, you can go dirtside, visit them. See a planet, see for yourself if it's where we're from."
"There's something you're not telling me..."
"I want you out of here, asap, I'd get you out of lockdown if I could, now that I have these results, I'm not sure the Agoban and Tih won't try for something in retaliation."
Knock-knock, came the sound at the door.
"It's an auto-door, surely you can id yourself and enter. If not, go away, we're busy." Spoke Tantruit, reaching for his weapon.
"Autorization, Chalant-Six-Twelve-Pursuit-Revenge-Retaliation-Concordat." The door opened silently.
"Oh shit! One of them."
"A Nek-Mo-Tih, a thought leader hirself!"
"Tantruit Deldroma, Kannelas Dromirdon, I have come to escort you to the tribunal."
"For what charge?"
"You are not charged, you are witnesses."
"Who is being charged?"
"I can't say, it is sealed to the tribunal. Come, quickly, ours is official business of the Coalition."
"Can we know your name?"
"I am Non, thought leader of Chalant. I am acting as both a military gendarme, and a political representative in this case. Come, we are summoned. Leave your weapon here, none will bare a weapon on a Coalition Council Member in full regalia."
"There are things you're not telling us."
"As I said, the tribunal is classified. We are wasting time."
"Halt, who goes there?"
"Oh, no, they've found us."
"We are discussing admittance to Thought Leader Chalant, we wish to understand how his clearance overrides solar lockdown, considering how sensitive equipment inside may be damaged. And you are?"
"I am star-colonel Bikarssin Admilitu, commanding star force 12, assigned to starport security. I do not have autority over this civilian installation, but my men will help you gentlemen ascertain the truth of this."
"You have no autority here, Admilitu, I am on council business. In this my authority is absolute and inviolate."
"Except it's secret business of the council, how will you make me know I'm not wanted, without betraying any secrets."
"Oh, that is so simple, you see, I was distracting you and your Massimo Soldiers, making them listen to my voice, now you want to listen to me, now you want to obey what I say, and I say, come with us, give us an escort to the Council, they must hear of this..."
Admilitu blinked. Then took a rear-guard position behind his men.
"That's what your people do?"
"You thought 'thought-leader' meant I posted on social media? I am a telepath, I, Non of Chalant, am the strongest telepath currently on this station. Will you civilian gentlemen join us? It'll be much safer with a military escort of your enemies, none will know we're not on their side."
"But are you?"
"On their side? No, I was defeated, honestly, in a battle of wills, twice, by the people of the planet you're from, Tantruit, he made me swear to assist him in resolving this peacefully."
"And all the power you're losing?"
"Such a burden to think for other people, a true thought leader would rather teach people to think for themselves."
"But you're a telepath?"
"Yes, and the rules of the coalition were changed, byto make it legal for me to control others. I imagine when they find out Arnd has hundreds of thousands of telepaths, the law will be changed again."
"Come, we're wasting time."
"I come to the council, I am Non, of Chalant. I escort witnesses requested by this court."
"The chair recognizes the first maker of moving pictures of Tih."
"These are Tantruit Deldroma, geneticist of star force 9, and Kannelas Dromirdon, Senior Researcher of Star Genetics Laboratory."
"The Laboratory was meant to be in lockdown?"
"I told you that, let you remember things as they are, not as I wished you to."
"It is not acceptable for you to..."
"Implant memories at tribunal, I know, except I did not, I implanted those memories in each of you outside of tribunal, and I freed you from them. I just anticipated if I told you they were implanted, you'd tell me to remove them."
"That is correct, this court is meant to find the truth." Spoke Adjudicator Trumaki.
"Then it is accurate to say the truth was that the laboratory was not in lockdown, except to protect the research going on at the facility."
Kannelas spoke: "My research identified that the gene map in question is that of the Massimi ourselves, our own DNA, within 1 to 10 to the twentieth power margin of error. The source document claims to be a gene map of a potential target species, the 765-23XY-1790. The source date claims to be two years ago."
"Thank you, Senior Researcher Dromidon. I would call Star-Colonel Guberdot to the stand. How did you not know?"
"How did you not know they were your own people, at that time?"
"I was not yet Star-Colonel, two years ago, and was made aware of the gene map only 3 months ago. After discovering, to my dismay, that the weapon discharged against 765-23XY-1790 was killing Massimi even more efficiently than its original target, I requested the gene map, and I, and other Massimi officers, including Tantruit, noticed the unmistakable base pairs, number of chromosomes, and dna-based genetics."
"And you, Non, of Chalant, were you aware?"
"I was made aware in a cursory way only when I escorted some of the deployment squads. We were to infect some of the local lower plantigrades, and I saw in his thoughts that they had familiar genetics, but I knew not the significance."
"Who would have known the significance?"
"I suspect another telepath prevents you from drawing the obvious conclusion..."
"This court is adjourned, we will reconvene in a null-telepath area, so that we may conduct our business without interference."