Title: The Hostages Return, Part 3
Fandom: Star Control (pre-SC1)
Word Count: 619
Notes: Early 2112, Eta Vulpeculae 2, about the same time as parts 1 and 2.
To be archived at Androsynth Series.
Disclaimer: The Star Control universe and concept of the Androsynth are property of Toys for Bob. The Androsynth society, all characters in my Androsynth fics and all extrapolation of those ideas are mine.
The Hostages Return, Part 3
Why had they asked for a quarantine, even before leaving the Ribald Prank At Your Expense? Dina didn't like the sound of that. Granted, she'd looked up what was known about the Umgah shortly after Lynn and Leon were shipped off, but couldn't remember anything about diseases crossing between sentient species. The Ur-Quan, for all their conquering nature, made sure none of their slave races would inadvertently die off from infecting each other.
They made for a very strange people, these conquerors who – within reason, she guessed – made sure that the conquered were not forgotten or left to die. At least, those among the Battle Thralls. Nobody quite knew what happened to the races locked under a slave shield, never to see the universe again except through their Starbase. They were certainly protected from the rest of the universe, but Dina guessed it was entirely possible that slave-shielded planets underwent their own forms of Armageddon on occasion. To be trapped like that...
Dina herself was not on Starbase. If there was a quarantine, she was going to stay nice and safe on the surface of EV2, thank you very much. A couple of the other Advisors had gone, and Gary had set up a feed so those important enough on the surface, such as herself, could see what was going on, and relay any questions to Gary if need be.
While the Ribald Prank began docking, Dina wondered about those slave-shielded worlds. If they had contact through Starbases, how much? The Androsynth Starbase was required to be self-sufficient and provide supplies for not only Androsynth vessels but any Hierarchy vessels that asked for it. The same would be expected at, say, an Ilwrath Starbase; if an Androsynth Guardian happened to be in the area and docked for refueling and resupply, the Ilwrath were compelled to do so. Dina wondered if any Androsynth would ever get that far; Ilwrath territory was much farther away than Earth, if in another direction.
But shielded worlds, were they expected to resupply their Starbase? If so then there had to be some contact between the Starbase and the shield world. Dina decided to look it up while waiting; she wasn't sure how soon the prisoners would be released, but it didn't look like things were moving quickly.
She found the information easily enough. Shield worlds had zero contact except every generation or two. The Hierarchy provided all supplies, including fuel and food, to shield-world Starbases. Shield-world natives provided the staffing for the Starbases, but they could not return to their planet until their term of service was up; and that term of service lasted until the Ur-Quan said it was time for fresh staff. In other words, Starbase staff for shield-worlds would spend their entire lives locked up on the Starbase, unable to contact their own people down below.
It was prison, just of a different sort.
Dina wondered if any shield-world Starbases had ever revolted against the Hierarchy. They had, and all prisoners were tortured, killed, and sent planetside with a request for fresh staff. Never had the Hierarchy lost a Starbase to native revolt. Planets that refused to send staff were completely cut off, not even permitted to staff their own Starbase; the Hierarchy shipped in staff from Battle Thrall races to run the orbital stations after that.
Dina knew she shouldn't think it, but more and more it looked like the Androsynth choice to join the Hierarchy was a good one. None of this information had been provided at the time of conquest, of course.
There was a beep on her comm. The prisoners had been released into the newly-created quarantine section. Dina closed down her research and turned to watch.