Smugglers of Earth – 4

The Nexus Space Station sat in orbit 400 kilometers above the planet of Bendaiir. The size of a small town, The Nexus was large enough to hold 500 people comfortably in its 4 quarters. Much smaller cruise ships and freighters came and went at regular intervals. Delivery ships docking to the mothership. Every few minutes, the Nexus fired its massive boosters to keep from being pulled down out of orbit by old earth’s gravity. Attached behind the body of the Nexus was a sort of interstellar trailer with hundreds and hundreds of bright blue capsules of varying sizes. Like a massive tray of eggs being pulled behind the ship.

At the helm of the Nexus, Captain Maddox was leaning over a communication device growing increasingly frustrated at the reception. “Hello? Marlon? Smuggler 1, do you read?”

“It’s the storm sir, they say it’s the storm of the century. Likely to go on for many hours still.” Marcus the engineer was pushing buttons and reading lists of code from the multiple screens on the dash board as he spoke. “I think it threw our co-ordinates off too. Last reading we had of the Smuggler, he was at the bottom of Colm Naiir. We wanted to port him to the top for the view.”

The Nexus was created in a moment of crisis. In the year 2200 The Bantam Civilization opened a portal to old earth, leaving the planet open to a classic Bantam siege. First the large, strong and alien Bantams had negotiated with the frightened humans, taking minerals and metals by the ship load through the portal, enriching a few humans and draining the planet at an alarming rate. Then water and food became their priority.

Desperation grew on old earth but any resistance by humans was quashed by the Bantams with advanced weapons and magic. Lakes dried up, forests turned to farmlands with no human access. The Bantams intended to bleed the planet dry.

In a panic, the UN and all banking organizations of old earth diverted all funding to a full scale planetary migration. Humans managed to find a habitable planet, pack up and leave with startling success and haste. What they left behind was the animals.

Increasingly endangered and prized throughout the galaxy as rare hostages, pets, and zoo exhibits – old earth’s biodiversity was on the edge of disappearing. Old earth’s red list of endangered animals had hundreds of species with less than 5 individuals accounted for. Nexus was created to smuggle the most endangered animals to safety. The most advanced weapons and transportation technology made the Nexus a formidable ship, able to move freely through the Milky Way. Blue pods cryogenically froze the most endangered animals of old earth, ready for space transport and introduction to the manufactured biospheres of new earth. But first, the animals had to be found and saved. The strategy was to smuggle the animals away from captivity and have them ported up to the Nexus. Sometimes the animals were captive on old earth. Often they were in the far flung planets of the Milky Way. Planets such as Bendaiir with its shepherd trolls.

Captain Maddox let out a frustrated sigh and bowed his head, “I guess all we can do is wait it out then?”

Marcus nodded, “That, or maybe he can use a card. If not, those trolls will get more and more rowdy. Not good smuggling conditions though, and a potential danger to the asset.”