Two point seven trillion stars, most with planets orbiting them. The suns without habitable planets were supplied new ones as massive space tugs maneuvered uninhabited planets into the goldilocks zone where terra forming could begin. It was at the point where raw materials could be produced in unlimited supply that the empire flourished. Nothing stood in the way of progress and they were content to stay within the confines of their own galaxy.
Every solar system, regardless of the number of planets, was allowed one seat in parliament, with one democratic vote, constrained only by the Mandarian constitution. The first article was the establishment of science and technology as the universal standard upholding the empire. Their society was based on this one unalienable right of all citizens to be free to express themselves in this way. There were no amendments, no laws to contradict, and no supreme court to question article one. It had been, was, and always would be the way the empire ran. For twenty six thousand years it had been the successful bedrock of society that allowed each individual to flourish.
There were die hard conservatives who aimed to keep everything running smoothly, no matter what the cost, and Greenholze was their unofficial leader. When he had left for Earth about three years ago, he implemented some new programs that had successfully been completed by now. The first of these was a massive flotilla of Draconian star destroyers, fully operational with supply and docking facilities. Mandaria had its largest military in history.
Today was like any other day at work for Crance Birkmin, dropping out of hyper space, he coasted the massive space tug known as Star Queen into a geosynchronous orbit around the blue ball below. He was a rotund man, unashamed of his massive girth, with a clean shaved face and flat topped hair cut. His head appeared wider than it was tall, coupled with no neck, he wasn’t a pretty man. Eight hundred years old and alone, he was the best tug pilot in the galaxy.
His home was an old shack out in a forgotten swamp; the few days a year he spent there were spent in solitude because he liked it that way. He had no family but his blood line would continue artificially. He was a special breed for a special job. On the surface what he did seemed easy. The Star Queen was big, equipped with an enormous gyroscope made of density flux material, it attached itself to a stellar body by a gravity lock device. By focusing on the planets core, the ship would increase the gravity field strength exponentially by using the mass of the planet as a power source. Once locked in, the ship relied on standard collapse-core technology to drive it forward. This is where Crance’s skill came in. his main tools of the trade were a sophisticated high speed guidance computer and the joy stick. Once moving forward the gyroscope would apply steering pressure to guide the planet into position. The trick was to release the planet with the correct speed, trajectory, rotation, and tilt to send it orbiting perfectly.
Crance was an expert with over six hundred years experience under his belt. Today was no different than all the rest. He formed a calloused attitude long ago because in his job things died. Plants, animals, insects, bacteria, even humans. There was always someone or something left behind that refused to leave or was overlooked. It never changed, it was a calculated loss, an acceptable risk in the name of progress. Why should he care anyway? He had put it out of his mind after the first time and never gave it a second thought. He was part of the Mandarian dream, building the empire one system at a time, an indispensable tool he was told, which is why he followed orders and never questioned why.
His only true companion was the flight computer who one might say was his mistress, he preferred old lady.
“Emma, why do you suppose those two Draconian star destroyers are escorting us on this job, we’ve never needed protection before?”
“It would appear they want to ensure we have no interference or, make sure we complete the job.”
He loved she was smarter than him, “very thoughtful of you. Those are the most beautiful ships I have ever seen, they look to displace about one sixteenth a lunar unit, wouldn’t you say?”
“That is a very close guess, sir.”
Should I go over a see if I can move one around?” he chuckled at the joke she wouldn’t get. “Let’s get this done girl.”
He moved in the proper distance, keeping his display set to wire mesh as he always did. This kept him from getting emotionally attached to his work as would happen with a full color image. Today would be by the book, hookup, move the planet, and get out. He knew of Seaberia, for many years there was a debate about terra-forming it into something useful but the council always had some excuse why it wasn’t feasible. He was glad to see it happen. As he clamped the planet it continued to spin while he engaged his thrusters to full and slowly moved the blue ball closer to the sun.
He could feel the hum of the massive gyroscopes as they spun up to an unknown speed, he was told it was one point five million revolutions per minute; all he knew was it got the job done. This put the surface velocity of the outter edge of the wheel approaching light speed. If it were to come loose from its mounting it would careen wildly into space, destroying anything in its path, an unstoppable juggernaut that might never stop. The bearings that supported the structure were exposed to space, air friction would burn the superconducting magnetic bearing in seconds. Once up to speed, the flux density of the Beriterium metal was increased to match the planetary mass. From there Emma took over, applying feather pressure at the bearing hub which caused the massive exertion that steered the planet. Seaberia was destined for a close solar orbit.
The life sensor alarm sounded as the planet passed beyond acceptable limits. He turned it off without looking at the population density, again a habit that kept him isolated from the appalling truth of what he did.
“Acceptable risks, right Emma?”
“As you always say, sir.”
Within an hour he sent the ball spinning towards the sun where it would naturally engage its new orbit, boil off the excess water and leave a clean foundation for the terra-formers. He turned his ship and made haste for the solar edge where he could jump to light speed and get to his next job.