To Save a Planet
An excerpt from
"What’s going on, Cap’n?" Jacob asked, as Abner landed the ship.
"Get those ships apart and put the Argo back together, Jacob. I’m on my way to the polar cap to get Joshua and Jordan. As soon as my ship is linked, keep dismantling the bivouac area. Get the Argo ready to fly. Link their shuttles together and transfer all our gliders and food synthesizers to Abner’s ship."
"What’s th’hurry, Juno?"
"Quakes, Jacob! The planet is coming apart, just like Little One said it would!"
"We gotta lot of stuff to deal with here, Juno …."
"Get these ships off the planet, Jacob. I’ll be back with the prima donnas."
When she arrived at the polar cap, she found that Joshua had killed several penguins and one of Little One’s people. He was cutting him up and placing sections of him in different containers. The surrounding snow was crimson as Jordan placed samples in the glider and Joshua, covered in blood, scurried from corpse to corpse, filling more sample cases.
"Why didn’t you stop him, Jared?" Juno asked, before she noticed that Jared and his guards were tied up, and bleeding as well.
Jacob arrived seconds later. He’d taken a glider and followed Juno.
"I told you to get my ship back together!" she said, angrily, as he arrived.
A thought filled her mind and she calmed down immediately. Jacob hugged her and said, "Get Jared and his team back to the Argo. Abner is taking care of the shuttles. You need me here."
She cut their bindings and asked if they could return to the Argo.
"Yes, Captain, no serious injuries; they caught us by surprise." Jared replied, groggily.
"Report to sick bay with your people, Commander," she said, as she wiped blood from her brother’s face. She turned and shot Joshua and Jordan with her stun-gun. Joshua turned and laughed at her. In the mean time, Jacob had leapt the span in two steps and pounced on Joshua. Juno increased the strength of the gun and shot Jordan again. Jordan landed face down on the snow as Jacob punched Joshua, "What have you done? You maniac!"
"My job, Jacob!" Joshua screamed waving his hands, as he tried to protect his face from Jacob’s onslaught.
"Your job," Jacob said, as he grabbed Joshua by the collar and stood him up, "Is not to kill, but simply study these creatures," he said, as he delivered a blow to Joshua’s stomach folding him over. "What’s wrong with you, Joshua? Look what you’ve done!"
"How am I to get samples?" Joshua replied, trying to catch his breath. "Botanists cut up fruit and plants; it’s no different, Jacob, just a little messier."
Little One stood in the background and watched the scuffle in tears, without saying a word. He approached his friend and tried to put the pieces back together. Suddenly, Jacob was unable to move.
Juno stood frozen looking at Little One. "I am so sorry …!" she said. “I had no idea this was going on. It is not our custom to maim and kill, Little One. Please believe me."
"It has been your custom from Cain’s time. Man has always done this; there is a morbid curiosity in him …." Lilith said, in tears as Little One turned and sent her away.
"No!" Juno replied, "Don’t send her away. What does she mean?"
"My friend cannot be restored and look at my birds!" Little One said, filled with sadness.
"What can we do to make this up to you, Little One?" Juno asked.
"Leave my planet and take these animals with you. They will pay the price for their cruelty! Nature will see to that."
"Can we help in any way, Little One?" Jacob asked, still unable to move.
"I do not envy the path you must take, Jacob of Issachar. We will take care of our friend. You must leave. Abner’s time grows short." Little One said, as he released Jacob.
Jacob loaded Jordan’s unconscious body and a severely battered Joshua into their glider and linked it to his and left Little One as Lilith returned.
Juno tried to ask her what she meant, but found herself in her glider unable to speak. They returned to the Argo to find that Abner and the crews had gotten the ships ready for space.
"You and your crony are confined to your quarters Joshua! I don’t want to see you until we reach Fleet."
"I must take care of my samples, Juno!"
"Leave the samples on the planet, Joshua. I said we’d take nothing but water, and that’s all we will take!"
"You can't do that, Juno! We worked really hard to preserve all these samples."
"You had no right, Joshua. You killed one of Little One’s friends. They’re not animals … they’re people, just like you and I!"
"Actually, Juno, they’re more plant than human …" Joshua said, as Juno cut him off.
"You had no right, Joshua! Chief, remove all his sample cases and leave them on the planet." She ordered the guard in charge.
She went to sick bay and checked on her brother and his crew and then returned to her ready room. Disgusted, she prayed as another quake shook the planet. The mountain began collapsing at the top of waterfall as she stared out her window.
She darted out of her ready room barking orders.
"Get these ships off the planet, now! There is no time!"
"Jacob! Eve! Jezabel! Get your people ready to fly!"
"Communications, get me The Savior! Are they ready to take-off?"
"Secure the decks for emergency take-off, people!" Jacob ordered.