“Engaging jump drive,” reports Janelle.
Now this is what I’ve been waiting for. Jumping for the first time.
The world seems to fade as a massive portal opens in front of us. It streams with deep blue energy and flashes of bright light.
“Here we go!” I laugh as I fly the ship into the portal.
It’s all very calm. The process of jumping that is. The three of us can barely keep our excitement in check. After all, it’s not every day you get to go in space and visit a new solar system.
“Since it’s just a short trip, it should only take about sixteen minutes thirty one seconds until we exit jump space,” reports Janelle.
“So what do you want to do on New Valletta?” I ask Sam and Vance.
“Well, what is its history first?” asks Vance.
“Eridani Epsilon was first claimed by the Knights Hospitaller twenty three years ago and New Valletta grew from the military outpost set up there,” I answer, “It’s currently the size of a large sub-urban city. The planet has been terraformed for humans and has many smaller farms scatter across it. It has a human population of over three hundred and one thousand and an alien population of almost one hundred and eighty five thousand from assorted species. It also has the bulk of the Knights’ space fleet based there through most of it is currently privateering against the Sektain and the separatists. It has got a bunch of historic sites we can look at. I’m sure we get can some souvenirs and treats. We’re quite famous and respected there due to the League’s actions during the Invasion.”
“Do you think we’ll get into any trouble?” asks Sam and I can’t tell whether he wants a yes or no.
“I doubt it,” I reply regardless of what Sam wants to hear, “The Knights maintain very good security and a low crime rate. We and everyone else will be very safe.”
The trip has been going great so far. We easily got landing permission and we even got a tour guide, young lad called Squire Adam Vassalli. He is very eager to show us around.
Adam is eager to serve and somewhat reserved. He wears the traditional informal clothing of the Knights Hospitaller, a black robe with their red cross held up by a belt.
“Have you enjoyed New Valletta so far?” asks Adam.
“It has been really good so far,” I reply, glancing at Sam and Vance.
They were able to get some lunch at one of the cafes. Due to my armour and its sealed helmet, only Sam and Vance got something to eat and drink. Sam is still eating the last of his cakes as we walk.
“Sorry about you being not being able to eat,” apologises Adam again.
“Don’t worry about it,” I insist once again, “It is merely one of the drawbacks of the armour combined with a secret identity.”
“If you say so,” says Adam, “May I ask a question?”
“Sure,” replies Vance.
“What’s it like on Earth?” inquires Adam, “I was born and raised on New Valletta and have always wondered what the homeworld is like.”
“Well as humans have lived on it for countless millennia so it’s pretty much been changed to suit humanity,” I reply, unsure about how to explain the Earth to someone who has never been there, “We pretty much colonised all of it so most of it is just cities and roads I guess. At least in first world countries it is. Also I think that settlements would be a better word than cities. The third world countries are generally really run down and have poor living conditions. And in the past we haven’t care about looking after the planet until the last few decades so our ancestors have mucked up the planet pretty bad. And it is just too big to fully describe and that is not even mentioning that I’ve only really been in southern England so I can’t say much about the rest of the world. New Valletta is much nicer as it’s still small and the local people been making an effort to look after the planet from the start by keeping clean, tidy and nice instead of just exploiting it.”
“I see,” says Adam.
I can’t tell if he’s pleased or disappointed by my answer. Perhaps he is just grateful for an honest answer.
“Can’t be worse than the Sektain or Tarii,” says Adam after a moment’s silence, “They have been trying to assert themselves over us. Unfortunately for them, humans are very different to the vast majority of their species. They haven’t grasp how we react to things differently to them. For example, for the Tarii, punishment is transferred to the next of kin if the punished dies or escapes before they finish carrying out the punishment. A couple of months ago, a human assassin killed one of their officials, but was killed in his escape. The Tarii wanted to punish his daughter by imprisoning her for life and torturing her. So they demanded we hand her over or else, thinking that we would give in since the Tarii are technically more powerful than we are.”
“They didn’t honestly think you would just hand over an innocent,” says Sam indignantly.
“They did,” grins Adam, “So imagine their surprise when we were willing to risk war to protect the innocent from unjust punishment. Or maybe they thought we would agree because they felt worked justice the same way.”
“Justice does not work that way,” growls Sam.
“Don’t worry,” continues Adam, “A lot of humans out here feel the same way as you do and would be more than happy about somebody doing something about it. As a result, the Tarii have backed down and are keeping their heads down for the time beings. They don’t want to risk a fight over a minor matter even if we are. Especially since many humans don’t consider it a minor matter. They don’t even care about losing face at this point if means avoiding a full on war.”
“Who is the woman?” asks Vance.
“A fourteen year old called Adrianna Mallizzo,” answers Adam, “She has recently become a squire for the Order after we took her in because of the incident. Partway through it actually. Not the most orthodox way to join our Order, but Anna is doing extremely. I know her personally and I been doing my best to look after her.”